AP World History Timeline (1450-1900)

Periods 4 and 5 Dark Red-China Pink-Asia Orange-Middle East Yellow-The Americas Green-Africa Blue-Europe Dark Blue-Russia Black-Multiple continents/world interactions


Incan Empire

Approx. 1200 - 1572

The Incan people began as a pastoral tribe around 1200, it is considered to have become an empire circa 1438 and its last stronghold was conquered by the Spanish in 1572. The Incas lived in the Andean mountains of Peru and were known for the terrace farming of potatoes and quinoa. They also had the royal road which connected to a complex road system that ran through the majority of the empire.

Ottoman Empire

1299 - 1922

During the period of 1450-1900 the Ottoman Empire experienced both great expansion and the majority of its decline. The Ottoman Empire had Sultans such as Mehmet I and Suleiman the Magnificent that expanded Ottoman territory greatly and encouraged cultural and economic growth throughout the Empire. One of the Gunpowder Empires. Later on, the nationalistic views of conquered people under Ottoman rule would eventually lead to the empire's downfall.

Ming Dynasty

1368 - 1644

Followed the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty, followed the Confucian ideals well set into Chinese culture, as well as civil service exams and foot binding. Early Ming allowed for contact with foreigners (Zheng He) while later Ming restricted outside contact. Some outside influence included Jesuit missionaries from Europe such as Matteo Ricci. The Ming dynasty declined due to financial strain and famine and was finally taken over by the Manchurians who formed the Qing Dynasty.

European Renaissance

1400 - 1600

A period of cultural and artistic flourishing throughout Europe. Began in Italy, was influenced by Greek and Roman culture, the ideas of humanism and a renaissance man developed during this time period. Was able to begin in Italy because there were many wealthy merchants and family that could fund and commission artists. Many new artistic techniques were developed and several scientific discoveries occurred as well. Some renaissance artists and intellects are Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Donatello.

Aztec Empire

Approx. 1428 - 1521

(The Aztec people dominated large parts of Mesoamerica prior to 1428)
The capital Tenochtitlan was built on an island in the middle of Lake Texcoco.
Forced conquered peoples to pay tribute, human sacrifice was common, had a 365 day calendar
Once they came in contact with the Spaniards, smallpox killed a large portion of the population, Cortez finally conquered them.

Age of Exploration

Approx. 1450 - Approx. 1600

A period of time where European ships travelled throughout much of the world, exploring and trading as well as conquering and claiming land for their mother country. This exploration led to the Columbian Exchange, imperialism, and helped fuel European countries into global superpowers over the new few hundred years.

Columbian Exchange

1492 - 1750

Goods were traded between the New World and the Old World, both parts were introduced to new foods, livestock, and diseases. Population increase in Europe due to new staple foods, population decrease in the Americas due to diseases and slaughter by the Europeans.

Columbus' First Voyage


Christopher Columbus accidentally found the Americas while he was trying to find a new route to the Indies.

Safavid Empire

1501 - 1736

One of the three Gunpowder Empires, were primarily Shia Muslim and were known for conflict with the Sunni Muslim Ottomans. Had no tolerance for other religions, forced everyone to convert. Was founded by Ismail, the leader Shah Abba made the city of Isfahan a symbol of beauty and gained new territory. A series of weak leaders led to a weak navy and economy, the Ottomans and Russians seized Safavid territories.

Atlantic Slave Trade

1502 - Approx. 1860

The trade of African slaves was highly profitable in the Americas, natives were dying off too fast so Europeans turned to Africa for slave labor. The kidnapping and trading of slaves became a staple of the world economy, as a main branch of the Triangular trade.

Protestant Reformation

1517 - 1648

The rebelling against and breaking off of many members of the Roman Catholic Church, was started by Martin Luther and continued by others such as John Calvin. Prior to the Reformation, the Catholic Church was the end all and be all for the majority of Western Europe, the Reformation caused Europeans to question the Church and its ethics. Many people and even whole countries rejected the Catholic Church and began practicing Protestantism and other forms of Christianity.

Mughal Empire

1526 - 1857

A Muslim Dynasty that ruled a majority of the primarily Hindu India. One of the Gunpowder Empires. Founded by Babur, used zamindars for taxation, had a caste system, and had flourishing overseas trade. Akbar was very tolerant of other religions, Shah Jahan commissioned the Taj Mahal, and Aurangzeb was very intolerant to Hinduism.

Scientific Revolution

1543 - 1687

The Scientific Revolution was a period where scientific and philosophical discoveries were constantly being made and developed, changing Europeans' view on the world.
Caused people to think more logically and scientifically, the concept of natural laws developed, science gained wider appeal

Tokugawa Shogunate

1603 - 1867

Tokugawa ieyasu established a centralized government, the Tokugawa Shogunate, daimyos were closely controlled by the Shogun. The Tokugawa Shogunate provided stability and encouraged economic growth, arts and culture developed under the 250 year rule.

Qing Dynasty

1644 - 1912

Last Dynastic Empire of China, were ruled by the Manchus, who gained the respect of the Chinese by upholding Chinese traditions and Confucian values. Originally let very limited contact with foreigners for trade, however later on the Qing would become very weakened and no longer be able to contain foreign influence. In fact, European countries will make spheres of influence throughout China, and the Ming will fight in the Opium Wars against the British for bringing opium into China. America will finally establish the open-door policy so that all countries can trade with China, however Ming China has been weakened beyond repair.

Age of Englightenment

Approx. 1650 - Approx. 1800

An intellectual movement that applied the ideas of the Scientific Revolution to reform social, political, and economic aspects of human society.
Centered in Paris, France
Many people were unhappy with the actions of their rulers
Enlightenment thinkers include John Locke, Montesquieu, Voltaire, and Rousseau

Russian Empire

1721 - 1917

Functioned as an absolute monarchy until the Revolution of 1905, was a primarily agricultural society. The monarchs were known as tsars, or tsarinas. One of the most famous tsars was Peter the Great who helped to westernize Russia and also gained the warm water port of St. Petersburg.

Industrial Revolution

1760 - 1840

Began in Britain, spread to the majority of Europe and the rest of the world, the industrial revolution was the rapid transition from a primarily agricultural societies to highly industrialized societies. Led to urbanization and child labor in many cases. Also encouraged Europeans to gain colonies in order to supply their industrial factories with the raw materials needed to manufacture goods and markets to sell the manufactured goods to.

American Revolutionary War

1775 - 1783

America's fight for and gain of independence from the British influences others all across the world to fight for their independence as well.

French Revolution

1789 - Approx. 1799

The French Revolution was very bloody revolution that started with a totalitarian dictator and ended with one until Napoleon was overthrown. France was in debt and the French monarch was doing little to help to starving peasants and workers of France. Fueled by enlightenment ideas and the recent success of the American revolution, the French began to revolt. Through the storming of the Bastille and the Great Fear, the king loses all of his power and the country is in the hands of the people. Much blood is shed(The Reign of Terror), including that of King Louis XVI and revolution leader Robespierre. France attempts to stabilize but does not succeed in doing so until Napoleon takes power.

Latin American Revolutions

Approx. 1791 - Approx. 1825

Haiti: 1791-1804: Led by Toussaint L'Ouverture and Jean-Jacques Dessalines, 100,000 slaves revolted for freedom from France and citizenship and equality for all people, Haiti was made an independent country and Dessalines helped to write the constitution
Venezuela & Argentina: 1811-1821: Led by Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin, fought for independence, gained it and helped neighboring regions fight for their independence as well
Mexico: 1810-1821: Led by Miguel Hidalgo and Jose Morelos, fought for independence from Spain, finally gained it once they got support from the creoles
Brazil: 1821-1824: Led by Dom Pedro I, was a bloodless revolution, the Brazilians got Dom Pedro to agree to rule Brazil as an independent country

End of the Holy Roman Empire


(Began circa 800 AD when Charlemagne was coronated)
The last Emperor was Francis II, the Holy Roman Empire fell due when Francis II abdicated after a defeat by the French under Napoleon.

German Unification

1815 - 1871

The process of the unification of separate German states into one large unified state. Otto von Bismarck, prime minister of Prussia, was the primary leader in this unification. He used realpolitik, "the politics of reality" and masterfully used a combination of politics and military endeavors in order to achieve his goal. Germany was officially united when King Wilhelm I of Prussia was crowned Kaiser in 1871.

Italian Unification

1815 - 1871

The process of the consolidation of the different states of the Italian peninsula, began with the Congress of Vienna and was finally completed when Rome became the capital of Italy. The idea of nationalism amongst the Italian people was highly influential in the unification of Italy. Camillo de Cavour, prime minister of Victor Emmanuel II and the nationalist Giuseppe Garibaldi were the primary leaders of the unification. Garibaldi allowed Emmanuel to be the king of the united kingdom of Italy.

Meji Restoration Period

1868 - 1912

A period of economic, industrial, and cultural growth in Japan under Emperor Meiji. Meiji modernized Japan's military, government, and industry, he also improved education, using European countries as models. This rapid modernization allowed Japan to become an imperialistic nation.

Age of Imperialism

1870 - 1914

Due to the Industrial Revolution, many European countries needed more land and resources as well as a market to sell their manufactured goods and therefore turned to the rest of the world in order to take what they needed. They took land and claimed colonies all throughout the world. The natives of the land were often exploited and even abused to the point of death for the sake of the colonizers. The Europeans justified their actions as the civilization of lesser peoples.

The Scramble for Africa

1881 - 1914

A part of the Age of Imperialism, the entire continent of Africa was divided amongst the European countries, except for Ethiopia and Liberia, which managed to remain independent. The European colonizers used Africa to gain the raw materials they needed for their industrial factories by any means necessary, with no regards for the Africans' wellbeing.


Mehmed the Conquerer

1432 - 1481

Mehmed II was the Ottoman Sultan that conquered Constantinople and expanded Ottoman territory greatly. Used gunpowder and changed the Hagia Sophia into a mosque.

Christopher Columbus

Approx. 1451 - 1506

Accidentally discovered the Americas in 1492 when trying to find a new trade route to Asia. Went back to the Americas several times in order to bring more goods back to Spain, was known to be brutal to the natives there.

Nicholas Copernicus

1473 - 1543

Developed the heliocentric model, however did keep the crystalline spheres, did not publish The Spheres of Heavenly Bodies until his deathbed in fear of controversy

Martin Luther

1483 - 1546

Ninety-five Theses
A priest that came to reject many of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church in Europe, in an attempt to dispute the teachings, he wrote the Ninety-Five Theses and was a prominent figure in starting the Protestant Reformation in Europe.

The Conquistadors

Approx. 1485 - Approx. 1547

Hernan Cortez- Conquered the Aztec Empire
Francisco Pizarro- Conquered the Incan Empire
Primarily sent from Spain, the Conquistadors explored large portions of the New World claiming it for their mother country, they exploited any riches found their and killed thousands of natives and pillaged their civilizations.

Suleiman the Magnificent

1494 - 1566

Suleiman I was the sultan of the Ottoman Empire during its Golden Age, he conquered large amounts of land, however he could not conquer Vienna.
Practiced Devshirme- took Christian boys and turned them into soldiers (janissaries) for the Ottoman Empire.

Toyotomi Hideyoshi

1536 - 1598

Unified Japan under his authority in 1590, Tokugawa Ieyasu created the Tokugawa Shogunate after his death.

Akbar the Great

1542 - 1605

One of the greatest emperors of the Mughal Empire in India. Expanded the Empire greatly, to include nearly the entire subcontinent of India. He also greatly increased the wealth of the empire and was known for his tolerance of other religions in order to gain the support of non-Muslims, which was the majority of the population.

Tokugawa Ieyasu

1543 - 1616

Founder and first shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate, had the daimyos meet under his rule in order to establish a centralized government, the Shogunate was only meant to be a temporary replacement of the emperor; however, Ieyasu and his descendants ruled Japan for 250 years.

Tycho Brahe

1546 - 1601

Stargazer who meticulously recorded star data for years, catalogued over 1000 stars. His data helped Johann Kepler develop his theories of motion.
Had a pet elk.

Matteo Ricci

1552 - 1610

Jesuit missionary from Europe who spent much time in China and the Ming court. He wrote down his experiences and brought them back to Europe, sparking interest in China amongst many Europeans.

Galileo Galilei

1564 - 1642

1st scientist to use the telescope, wrote several scientific works, developed his Theory of Inertia, considered the first modern science because he developed the scientific method of revolution

Johann Kepler

1571 - 1630

Developed the first theories of motion using Brahe's data. Developed 3 "laws" of motion to explain planetary movement

John Locke

1632 - 1704

Two Treatises of Government
England, believed in Natural Rights (life, liberty, and property), believed in the consent of the governed

Isaac Newton

1642 - 1727

The Principia
3 laws of motion, law of universal gravitation, developed calculus

Kangxi and Qianlong

1654 - 1799

Two strong emperors who ruled the Qing dynasty-
-Kangxi: 1654-1722 (ruled from 1661-1722)
-Qianlong: 1711-1799 (ruled from 1735-1796)

Peter the Great

1672 - 1725

Famous Tsar of Russia that attempted to westernize Russia, succeeded to some degree, also gained a warm water port: St. Petersburg, this was significant because this meant that Russia could trade and also develop a navy, which Peter did.


1689 - 1755

Baron Charles-Louis de Montesquieu
The Spirit of the Laws
Believed in a separation of powers, three branches of government-one to make the laws, one to enforce the laws, and one to interpret the laws (checks and balances)


1694 - 1778

Believed in freedom of expression


1712 - 1778

Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The Social Contract
Well known for the social contract theory, in which members of society must agree to follow the general will of the society (the laws made by the government) and in exchange all members of the society will receive liberty so long as they do not break the laws made

Adam Smith

1723 - 1790

Considered the father of modern economics and capitalism, laid the foundations of the free market economic theory


1758 - 1794

Maximillian Robespierre was an important leader of the French Revolution, helped in the establishment of the French Republic and the execution of King Louis XVI. He and the Committee of Public Safety were the primary orchestrators of the Reign of Terror, in which there mass executions of enemies of the revolution, which included anyone who was possibly an enemy, even if they really weren't. The Reign of Terror ended with the execution of Robespierre.

Napoleon Bonaparte

1769 - 1821

A French military and political leader who gained much power during the French Revolution and became Emperor of France for a period of time. Engaged in in a series of wars known as the Napoleonic Wars and conquered large portions of Europe. He was finally defeated and forced into exile, however he did manage to escape and return to France and ruled France for another 100 days until being defeated and exiled for good.

Simon Bolivar

1783 - 1830

"George Washington of Latin America"
Helped Venezuela and Argentina gain independence from Spain along with Jose de San Martin and also helped other neighboring regions fight for their independence as well.

Karl Marx

1818 - 1883

Philosopher, economist, and sociologist
Known as the father of Communsim
Marx and Engels jointly wrote The Communist Manifesto