World History Timeline


Early Agricultural Societies

10000 BCE - 600 BCE

In response to warming climates at the end of the last Ice Age, some groups adapted to the environment in new ways, while others remained hunter-foragers. Settled agriculture appeared in several different parts of the world. The switch to agriculture created a more reliable, but not necessarily more diversified, food supply. Agriculturalists also had a massive impact on the environment through intensive cultivation of selected plants to the exclusion of others, through the construction of irrigation systems, and through the use of domesticated animals for food and for labor. Populations increased; family groups gave way to village life and, later, to urban life with all its complexity. Patriarchy and forced labor systems developed, giving elite men concentrated power over most of the other people in their societies. Pastoralism emerged in arts of Africa and Eurasia. Pastoral peoples domesticated animals and led their herds around grazing ranges. Like agriculturalists, pastoralists tended to be more socially stratified than hunter-foragers. Because pastoralists were mobile, they rarely accumulated large amounts of material possessions, which would have been a hindrance when they changed grazing areas. The pastoralists’ mobility allowed them to become an important conduit for technological change as they interacted with settled populations.

Early Urban Societies

5000 BCE - 600 BCE

They all produced agricultural surpluses that permitted significant specialization of labor. All civilizations contained cities and generated complex institutions, such as political bureaucracies, armies, and religious hierarchies. They also featured clearly stratified social hierarchies and organized long-distance trading relationships. Economic exchanges intensified within and between civilizations, as well as with nomadic pastoralists. As populations grew, competition for surplus resources, especially food, led to greater social stratification, specialization of labor, increased trade, more complex systems of government and religion, and the development of record keeping. As civilizations expanded, they had to balance their need for more resources with environmental constraints such as the danger of undermining soil fertility. Finally, the accumulation of wealth in settled communities spurred warfare between communities and/or with pastoralists; this violence drove the development of new technologies of war and urban defense.

Trade Writing

3500 BCE - 2000 BCE

As the buying and selling of goods became more involved, people needed a systematic way to remember information. The complex financial exchanges required a way record quantities, previous agreements, exchange values and contracts. Then came a solution: Trade Writing. Trade Writing is The ability to use written symbols to record quantity and meaning is a giant stride in the development of civilization.
The Middle East is believed to be where writing began. The Sumerians, in southern Mesopotamia, were the first to develop written language around 3500 B.C.E. Their system of writing was cuneiform, began as literal representations of quantity and pictures. Their writing later evolved into becoming abstract characters and became phonetic

Agricultural Societies Gain Momentum

2500 BCE - 1000 BCE

Agriculture had a huge uprising and continued to grow massively during this time.


1812 BC - Present

The association of monotheism with Judaism was further developed with the codification of the Hebrew Scriptures, which also reflected the influence of Mesopotamian cultural and legal traditions. The Assyrian, Babylonian, and Roman empires conquered various Jewish states at different points in time. These conquests contributed to the growth of Jewish diasporic communities around the Mediterranean and Middle East.

Collapse of States and Empires

600 BCE - 600 CE

Empires typically collapsed in part due to issues with collecting taxes. Sometimes specific classes were exempt from paying taxes, and sometimes the government grew too large to pay its debts through taxation. Another factor in imperial collapse was government's inability to assert control over powerful landowners or independent regions. Drastic changes in population size contributed to weaknesses in empires. Typically, weakened empires could not defend against nomadic invasions, once factors above had contributed to their decline. Thousands of years of destructive agricultural practices finally took their toll on land in Africa and Eurasia.


600 BCE - 300 BCE

Confucianism is a way of life taught by Confucius in China in the 6th–5th century BCE. Sometimes viewed as a philosophy, sometimes as a religion, Confucianism is perhaps best understood as an all-encompassing humanism that neither denies nor slights heaven. It has been followed by the Chinese for more than two millennia.

Imperial Expansion

600 BCE - 600 CE

As the early states and empires grew in number, size, and population, they frequently competed for resources and came into conflict with one another. In quest of land, wealth, and security, some empires expanded dramatically. In doing so, they built powerful military machines and administrative institutions that were capable of organizing human activities over long distances, and they created new groups of military and political elites to manage their affairs. As these empires expanded their boundaries, they also faced the need to develop policies and procedures to govern their relationships with ethnically and culturally diverse populations: sometimes to integrate them within an imperial society and sometimes to exclude them. In some cases, these empires became victims of their own successes. By expanding their boundaries too far, they created political, cultural, and administrative difficulties that they could not manage. They also experienced environmental, social, and economic problems when they over exploited their lands and subjects and permitted excessive wealth to be concentrated in the hands of privileged classes.

Achaemenid Empire

558 BCE - 330 BCE

The Persian Empire went through several permutations. Achaemenid Empire, (550–330 BCE), was the first Persian Empire. It reached its height under Cyrus the Great. It encompassed present-day Iraq and Iran, Syria, Israel, Anatolia, parts of Egypt, the Arabian peninsula, much of Central Asia, and Macedonia to the north of classical Greece. The hostility and opposition between the Persians and Greek civilization would provoke the wrath of the king of Macedonia, Alexander III of Macedon, (Alexander the Great), whose conquest of Persia ended the Achaemenid Empire.

Philip II's conquest of Greece

338 BCE

Han Dynasty Rules

220 BC - 220 AD

The Han Dynasty was one of the longest of China’s major dynasties. In terms of power and prestige, the Han Dynasty in the East rivalled its almost contemporary Roman Empire in the West. With only minor interruptions it lasted a span of over four centuries and was considered a golden age in Chinese history especially in arts, politics and technology. All subsequent Chinese dynasties looked back to the Han period as an inspiring model of a united empire and self-perpetuating government.

Roman Empire Rules

31 BC - 476 CE

The Roman Empire was the most extensive political and social structure in western civilization. By 285 CE the empire had grown too vast to be ruled from the central government at Rome and so was divided by Emperor Diocletian into a Western and an Eastern Empire. The Roman Empire began when Augustus Caesar became the first emperor of Rome and ended in the west, when the last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed by the Germanic King Odoacer. In the east, it continued as the Byzantine Empire until the death of Constantine XI and the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453 CE. The influence of the Roman Empire on western civilization was profound in its lasting contributions to virtually every aspect of western culture.

Roman Empire Control

200 CE - 284 CE

Dozens of emperors fought for control of the Roman Empire, and ultimately the empire was divided in two, which contributed to the collapse of the western portion

The Gupta Empire Rules

380 AD - 550 CE

The Gupta Empire stretched across northern, central and parts of southern India. The period is noted for its achievements in the arts, architecture, sciences, religion, and philosophy. Chandragupta I started a rapid expansion of the Gupta Empire and soon established himself as the first sovereign ruler of the empire. It marked the end of 500 hundred years of domination of the provincial powers and resulting disquiet that began with the fall of the Mauryas. Even more importantly, it began a period of overall prosperity and growth that continued for the next two and half centuries which came to be known as a “Golden Age” in India’s history. But the seed of the empire was sown at least two generations earlier than this when Srigupta, then only a regional monarch, set off the glory days of this mighty dynasty in circa 240 CE.


1450 CE - 1750 CE

The interconnection of the Eastern and Western hemispheres made possible by transoceanic voyaging marked a key transformation of this period. Technological innovations helped to make transoceanic connections possible. Changing patterns of long-distance trade included the global circulation of some commodities and the formation of new regional markets and financial centers. Increased trans-regional and global trade networks facilitated the spread of religion and other elements of culture as well as the migration of large numbers of people. Germs carried to the Americas ravaged the indigenous peoples, while the global exchange of crops and animals altered agriculture, diets, and populations around the planet.

Little Ice Age

1500 - 1600

During this time, Europe and neighboring countries along the North Atlantic experienced an extremely cold climate, and the Little Ice Age affected agriculture, health, economics, social strife, emigration, art, and literature. Diseases, like malaria, came along with this Little Ice Age and killed mass numbers. With lack of crops, the economy was imbalanced and the prices for crops were raised, which usually led to rebellions or revolts. Raids took place as a result and made the structure and condition of urban-civilizations decline even more. After the Little Ice Age, civilizations reconstructed and revived themselves and the population grew once more. Timbuktu, Baghdad, Huangzhou, and Venice benefited from the warmer temperatures that came after the end of the Little Ice Age.
Lead by Chinggis Khan, the Mongols expanded teir empire by ending or interjupting many graet civilizations. He brought together both the Mongols and nomadic neighbors and they invaded and controlled over central Asia, northern China, and eastern Persia. Their invasions were seen as savage-like assaults by barbicans due to their ferocity and mass slaughters.
The Vikings, or Scandinavian pirates and traders, emerged in the 700s. They invaded many areas, often by sea. The era of their invasions is known as the Viking Era. To Europeans, they were seen as barbarians. The Vikings raided several parts of Europe and had destructive, but short-term, effects.


1700 - 1800

Enlightenment ideas questioned established traditions in all of the areas of life, often preceded revolutions and rebellions against existing governments.
Believers of the Enlightenment ideas, Enlightenment philosophers, applied new ways of understaqnding the natural world to human relationships, which encouraged observation and inference in all aspects of life. Enlightenment philosophers also critiqued the role that religion played in public life, whereas they insisted on the importance of reason rather than revelation. They also developed new political ideas about the individual, natural rights, and the social contract.
Enlightenment ideas can be found in the American Declaration of Independence, French Declaration of rights of Man and Citizen, and Bolivar’s Jamaica Letter. These historical and revolutionary documents influenced resistance to existing political authority.
Enlightenment ideas caused people to challenge the existing-notions of social relations. This contributed to the expansion of rights, abolition of slavery and the end of serfdom.

Industrial Production Starts


The industrial production began during the Industrial Revolution, in England, 1760. Europe’s location on the Atlantic, with numerous harbors and ports, gave it access to natural resources and markets outside England’s borders. They had access to foreign resources and markets. Industrial production occurred at a dramatic rate, requiring machines and massive amount of raw materials to produce enormous quantities of products. Britain had large and accessible supplies of coal and iron, 2 important raw materials used to produce goods in the early Industrial Revolution. They also had water power to fuel the new machines, the harbors for its merchant ships, and rivers for inland transportation. The demand for processed goods increased, so jobs for the industries hired more workers so they could satisfy the demands at a faster rate. The people would become more reliant on the industrial production of goods. Unfortunately, the structure and conditions of the industry were harsh on the workers, tiring them out and exposing them to diseases within the unsanitary conditions of the factories.

French Revolution

1789 - 1799

The French Revolution was a revolution in France from 1789 to 1799. It led to the end of the monarchy. The Revolution ended when Napoleon Bonaparte took power in November 1799 and began his dictatorship. King Louis XVI was executed.


1917 - 1989

Communism is the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat.