World History Timeline (1450-1750)

The Early Modern Era: the 15th century through the 18th century

Peoples and Events

The Events have point.
The Peoples had label.

Prince Henry the Navigator

Approx. 1394

Prince Henry was from Portugal and was extremely important because of the series of voyages he would sponsor down the west African coast. Merchants would establish trading posts in important spots and would come to exchange European goods for gold and slaves.

Beginning of Portuguese Slave Trade

Approx. 1441

This was the beginning of the brutal slave trade in the Atlantic. Slaves would be kidnapped and traded from Africa and then brought to Europe or the Americas to work. Most slaves went were taken by the Portuguese to Brazil where they would work in the sugar plantations. This is important because of the devastating effects it had on the African population and the culture it created in the Americas, especially in Brazil.

Martin Luther

Approx. 1483

Martin Luther was a German monk obsessed with the idea of salvation and was angry at the way the Roman church was abusing their power. He attacked and wrote about the sale of indulgences and overall corruption of the Church and gained a following. He was so important because he basically started the Protestant Reformation and so many people, most importantly German princes, agreed with him.

Bartolomeu Dias's voyage into the Indian Ocean


Portuguese explorer who went from Portugal and rounded the Cape of Good Hope to enter into the Indian Ocean. Although he was not able to explore an further it is important because he had opened up a route to India, China and islands in southeast Asia all full of resources.

Columbus' First Voyage

Approx. 1492

Christopher Columbus was a Genoese mariner looking for a trading route to Asia through the west. Being a little confused with his geography he though this would be profitable. Fernando and Isabel of Spain fund his voyage and he finds the Caribbean word of his travels spread and soon all European powers are sailing to America. This is so important because of the immense exchange of plants, animals, culture, disease, and people that takes place and changes the world forever.

Treaty of Tordesillas

Approx. 1494

This was a treaty that Spain and Portugal signed and it split the world along an imaginary line (north-south 370 leagues west of Azores/Cape verde Islands) Spain could not take any land west of this line and Portugal got the land to the east of the line. This was important because it is what gave Portugal Brazil and Spain everywhere else and there rule impacted the future of these lands a lot.

John Calvin

Approx. 1509

He was a French lawyer who converted to Protestantism and then established an ideal Protestant community in Geneva. He was important because he started Calvinism which would use missionaries to spread their protestant ideas.

Spanish Conquest of Mexico

Approx. 1519

Hernan Cortes led 450 soldiers to Mexico in search of gold. The first place they found was the Aztec capital on Lake Texcoco after some fighting they were able to get the Aztec to surrender. Steel swords, muskets, cannons, horses,disease, and alliances made with people who did not like the Mexica is what gave them there advantage.

Foundation of Society of Jesus

Approx. 1540

The Society of Jesus was founded by St. Ignatius Loyola a nobleman and soldier who after an injury turned to religion. It was established to extend the boundaries and influence of the new Reformed Roman Church. Known as Jesuits they were strictly and vastly educated which helped them to become great missionaries and would advise kings and rulers. This is important because they could influence them towards policies that would benefit the church and in their missionary efforts would make Christianity a widespread even global religion.

Council of Trent

Approx. 1545

This was an assembly of bishops, cardinals, and other important church authorities who would meet to discuss reform and issues of doctrine. Important because this was a big part of the Catholic Reformation, they said church officials would have better moral standards and build schools and seminaries to better educate priests.

Galileo Galilei

Approx. 1564

He was from Italy and using the recently invented telescope towards the sky was able to discover and see new things about space. Like the sunspots and moons of Jupiter and the mountains on the moon which changed peoples view of space as a whole. He also helped and understood to an extent the law of inertia before its time. All of this is important because it was a big part of the scientific revolution in that it was such a change from the Ptolemaic ideas of the time.

Spanish Armada

Approx. 1588

This was a naval fleet sent by King Philip II of Spain to the Queen Elizabeth of Great Britain. King Philip who was Catholic was mad at Queen Elizabeth for being a Protestant and wanted England to return to its Catholic ways, however it didn't work.

Thirty Years' War

Approx. 1618

A war that started out as a Bohemian religious conflict (Protestant vs. Catholic.) and escalated into a giant war that involved all the major powers at the time. As time went on it turned into a more political war where individual powers were fighting to get away from the idea of religious unity and they wanted to become independent centralized states. Important because that is was happens with the Peace of Westphalia.

John Locke

Approx. 1632

Was an English philosopher who was interested in the natural laws of politics. He disagreed with divine-right theories that gave way to absolute monarchies and fought for constitutional government where the people had a voice. He is important because his theories and ideas led to the Glorious Revolution and the constitutional monarchy in England.

Peace of Westphalia

Approx. 1648

The Peace of Westphalia marked the end of the Thirty Years’ War. This treaty forever made Europe a land of competing, independent, sovereign, states. Religious unity had forever come to an end in Europe. This treaty did not end fighting in Europe but marked the beginning of the "era of sovereign states.” (Traditions and Encounters 506).
The Peace of Westphalia was the treaty which would end the Thirty Year's War. It basically agreed that all countries would recognize each other as sovereign and equal. This is important because although the fighting didn't stop after this it would end the idea of a possibility of religious unity and Europe would continue with sovereign states.

Seven Years' War

Approx. 1756

The Seven Years War was a war that originally started against France when he was becoming to strong in Europe and would later turn into an even larger affair involving France, Austria, and Russia against Britain and Prussia. It is important because it shows the distinct sovereignty of each nation and because of the involvement in the Americas it shows the war was on a global scale fighting more imperialistically.

Establishment of 1st Colony in Australia

Approx. 1788

The first colony to be established in Australia, by the British, was a penal colony. It brought 1000 passengers and 80% of them were convicts and for a long time afterward the criminals outnumbered the not-criminals. This is important because it isn't until even later after that that European migrants and settlers start seriously streaming to the continent and making lasting connections.

End of the British Slave Trade

Approx. 1807

Denmark was the first to abolish the slavery trade in 1803 and afterwards Great Britain and other nations followed suit. Although it was illegal to trade slaves slavery was still legal so some slaves were still being sold and shipped illegally. British naval squadrons would patrol the west coast of Africa to stop this and the illegal slave trade did end. The abolition of slavery came later because of economic and moral reasons.

Reigns, Dynasties and, Empires

Ottoman Dynasty

Approx. 1289

The founder of this dynasty was Osman Bey who was chief of semi-nomadic religious Turks. They expanded through religious war and had great military success. Important because of their effective use of gunpowder and expansion.

Reign of Mehmed the Conqueror

Approx. 1451

Mehmed the Conquerer was another Ottoman Emperor (absolute with centralized state) who would capture Constantinople which would become the capital. The importance of having Constantinople as a capital is that it was the perfect spot to become a booming commercial center. Also under him the empire would successfully expand to Serbia, Greece, and Albania.

Songhay Empire

Approx. 1464

This empire, replacing Mali, was the ruling power in west Africa, Sunni Ali was the emperor where they grew the most. And in 1591 they fall to a Moroccan army because of subject revolts. This is important because after this regional kingdoms and city states start to emerge.

Reign of Sunni Ali

1464 - 1493

Sunni Ali was a Songhay ruler who would conquer and increase the size of the empire, gain wealth and control the central Niger valley. He had a complex administrative and military system that would help him keep his power.

Safavid Dynasty

Approx. 1501

One of the Islamic (Shiite) Empires they were important because they connected India and Europe and provided a link to the Silk Road for the time.

Reign of Suleyman the Magnificent

Approx. 1520

Also a ruler of the Ottoman Empire who would continue the expansion of the Empire His two biggest and most important feats were that he would greatly expand into southwest Asia and central Europe but also improve the naval power of the Ottomans.

Mughal Dynasty

Approx. 1526

The Mughal Dynasty in India was started by Babbar "the elephant" but the leader who truly brought it to its grandeur was Akbar. It is an important empire at the time because it will come to encompass almost all of the sub-continent of India and the use of artillery and firearms in its invasions.

Reign of Akbar

Approx. 1556

Akbar was a terrific, charismatic, absolutist leader of the Mughal Empire. Under him there was a tight centralized government, expansion, religious tolerance/diversity, and saw himself as a ruler for all people of India ("divine faith") He also sponsored arts and public works. His reign was important because it was the height of the Mughal Empire and Akbar is a great example of an absolutist ruler and "philosopher king''

Reign of Emperor Wanli

Approx. 1572

Emperor Wanli reigned during the Ming Dynasty and is important because he is a good example of emperors ignoring government business while enjoying themselves. He would refuse to meet with officials, to taste wine, and would use eunuchs as intermediaries. Eunuchs could easily win favor with the emperors and would bring corruption and inefficiency to the government which would be cause to the end of the Ming Dynasty.

Tokugawa Shogunate

Approx. 1603

This was established under Tokugawa Ieyasu and he was the first shogun. He got rid any threatening power the daimyo and samurai had in order to restore stability and increase prosperity through out Japan. They also cut off a lot of possibility for foreign relations to decrease the European influence that could threaten the power of the shogun. This was important because it hadn't been done before this and is the first time Japan is successfully unified and and rulers after Ieyasu will use his policies to keep the prosperity.

Qing Dynasty

Approx. 1644

The Qing Dynasty was started by the Manchus from the north and they ruled with a lot of the same policies as the early Ming dynasty. They had a centralized government with rigid civil service exams. Positions were given based off of merit, not blood and Confucian ideals were becoming very prevalent again. This was an important dynasty because it restored China to its old traditions and prosperous times.