AP World Timeline


Yellow=Having to do with Religion Green=Having to do with Exploration & Settlement
Red=Philosophers & Scientists Purple=Having to do with War & Treaties
Navy=Dynasties & Empires
Turquoise=Reigns of Various People
Orange=Having to do with Slavery

Ottoman Empire

1289 - 1923

The Ottoman Empire conquered Constantinople, renamed it Istanbul, and established it as their capital. The empire spread into parts of northern Africa, Greece and other areas of southern Europe, as well as into areas of the Middle East. The Ottomans also successfully spread Islam as they conquered various lands and were known for their powerful military forces (such as the light cavalry and Janissaries).

Prince Henry the Navigator

1394 - 1460

Prince Henry was, as his name may suggest, prince of Portugal. He sponsored voyages down the coast of west Africa and even conquered the Moroccan port of Ceuta. These accomplishments enabled Portuguese merchants to set up trading posts in strategic locations where they could exchange leather, textiles, and metalwares in return for gold and slaves.

Beginning of Portuguese Slave Trade


The Portuguese slave trade began because there was no labor force available in to work the sugar plantations (engenhos) in Sao Tome and other Portuguese holdings. As a result the Portuguese turned to Africa and relied mainly on slave labor. The use of slave labor eventually travelled to South America. which led to Brazil becoming one of the wealthiest sugar producing lands.

Reign of Mehmed the Conqueror

1451 - 1481

Mehmed the Conquerer was able to capture Constantinople for the Ottoman Turks who then renamed it Istanbul and established it as their capital. Mehmed centralized Ottoman rule, promoted Istanbul as a commercial center, and laid the foundations for an absolute monarchy. He was also able to conquer vast amounts of land, spanning from Serbia to Crimea, engaged in naval war with Venice, and briefly invaded Italy before his death.

Reign of Sunni Ali

1464 - 1493

Under Sunni Ali the Songhay Empire was able to consolidate power and reject Mali authority. Sunni Ali also built an efficient military and administrative system by instituting a hierarchy of command in the army and appointing governors to oversee provinces. He also established an imperial navy that patrolled the Niger River (a very important commercial waterway).

Songhay Empire

1464 - 1591

The Songhay Empire was located in western grasslands of Africa. It embraced many important trading cities, such as Timbuktu, and participated in Trans-Saharan trade. But the Songhay Empire was the last of the great imperial grassland states as it was weakened by a Moroccan army using muskets and then fell to internal revolts by the subjects.

Martin Luther

1483 - 1546

Martin Luther was the man who initially started the Protestant Reformation by attacking the sale of indulgences by the church. With the aid of the printing press Luther soon gained a large following, especially in Germany, and the cries for church reform grew.

Dias' Voyage Into the Indian Ocean


Bartolomeu Dias continued Prince Henry's explorations by sailing around the Cape of Good Hope and entering the Indian Ocean. While Dias did not venture further due to complications with the weather and his crew, the way toward trade with eastern countries lay open to other Europeans.

Columbus' First Voyage


Columbus set out on his first voyage intending to sail to Asian markets. However when he did land it was in the Bahamas, miles away from his intended destination. News of the New World soon spread across Europe and many countries realized great profit from Columbus' discovery.

Treaty of Tordesillas


The Treaty of Tordesillas divided the world along an imaginary north-south line 370 leagues west of the Azores. The Spanish owned all land to the west of the line and the Portuguese all land to the east. This allowed the Portuguese to settle in Brazil and profit from the lucrative sugar industry.

Safavid Dynasty

1501 - 1722

The Safavid Dynasty existed in what is modern Iraq and Iran and was established by Shah Ismail. This dynasty spread the Twelver Shiism religion which held that there were twelve imams after Muhammad and the twelfth would appear one day. Initially the militancy was distinctly Turkish until it and the administration was reformed by Shah Abbas. This then led to even more expansion that brought areas such as Mesopotamia under Safavid rule.

John Calvin

1509 - 1564

John Calvin was a French Protestant who moved to Switzerland to escape persecution. Once there he began a Protestant community (Calvinism) with strict moral and disciplinary codes. The Calvinists also worked as missionaries, most actively in France.

Spanish Conquest of Mexico

1519 - 1521

Hernan Cortes was the Spaniard who was able to conquer Mexico. This was done by placing the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan under siege and starving the city into surrender. Divisions among natives, better weaponry and armor, as well as epidemic disease aided the Spanish in their conquest. The conquest also set the Spanish up to profit considerably from the extensive amounts of silver to be found in the Mexican mountains.

Reign of Suleyman the Magnificent

1520 - 1566

Suleyman continued Ottoman expansion into southwest Asia and Europe. He put Vienna to siege, captured Belgrade, and even killed the king of Hungary. Under his rule the Ottomans also built a large and powerful navy. In addition to their fleets they inherited or gained support from other groups and were able to challenge Christian and Portuguese fleets throughout the Red Sea, Indian Ocean, and Mediterranean.

Mughal Empire

1526 - 1858

The Mughal Empire was founded by Babur when he was unable to establish a central Asian empire. Therefore he turned toward India and conquered areas that would eventually embrace almost all of the subcontinent. Successors would consolidate rule and attempt to bring religious peace to the land although in the long term relations between Muslims and Hindus grew only worse.

Foundation of the Society of Jesus


The Society of Jesus was founded by St Ignatius of Loyola. He and his followers soon came to be known as Jesuits. They were required to complete a rigorous and advanced course of education and, as a result, made remarkably good missionaries. They were able to attract Christian converts in India, China, Japan, and the Philippines.

Council of Trent

1545 - 1563

The Council of Trent was an assembly of bishops, cardinals, and other high ranking church officials. They all met to discuss reform within the Catholic church as well as the church's doctrine. The council decided to demand church authorities to observe high moral standards and schools and seminaries were to be built in districts to prepare priests for their roles.

Reign of Akbar

1556 - 1605

Akbar created a centralized administrative structure for the Mughal government with ministries that regulated the empire's provinces. He was also able to consolidate Mughal power through his military campaigns. Not only that but Akbar tried to bring a sense of religious tolerance to the empire by abolishing religious taxes. However he drew some heat from the staunch Muslims and when he died and Aurangzeb came to power Muslim superiority was reestablished which angered the Hindus.

Galileo Galilei

1564 - 1642

The discoveries of Galileo finally brought an end to the notion of the Ptolemaic universe. He showed that the heavens were not the "perfect" realm commonly believed and he also stated that the velocity of falling bodies depends on the height from which they fall and not their weight.

Reign of Emperor Wanli

1572 - 1620

Wanli was emperor during the Ming Dynasty. Under his rule the Ming dynasty was powerful and prospered economically. It was also he who allowed Matteo Ricci to travel to Beijing and establish a Roman Catholic mission there.

Spanish Armada


Spain attempted to force England back to the Roman Catholic church by sending the Spanish Armada (130 ships)to dethrone Queen Elizabeth, who was a Protestant. They were defeated by the English forces who sent unmanned ships that were lit on fire into their midst, and so the effort failed.

Tokugawa Shogunate

1600 - 1867

The Tokugawa Shogunate took power away from the daimyos and put it into the hands of the shogun. It was Tokugawa Ieyasu who established the bafuku government that the Shogunate was run under throughout its years. Also during this time period foreign relations were highly restricted, putting Japan at a disadvantage later in history, although there was a lot of Chinese influence apparent in Japanese culture.

Thirty Years' War

1618 - 1648

The Thirty Years' War originally started due to religious tension within Bohemia. As more and more countries joined the war the motives began to grow more political and economic. Nonetheless, the Thirty Years' War was immensely destructive and led to shifts in boundaries and religious impact (as a continuation of the Peace of Augsburg).

John Locke

1632 - 1704

John Locke strove to discover the natural laws of politics. He did not like absolute monarchies and believed that constitutional governments were best on the basis that the power lies in the hands of the people. It was Locke who provided justification for the Glorious Revolution in England and the following institution of a constitutional monarchy.

Qing Dynasty

1644 - 1911

When the Ming Dynasty fell the Manchus seized their chance to come into China and establish the Qing Dynasty. The Manchus organized a powerful militia, formally proclaimed a new code of laws, and built a centralized state. The civil service examinations became even harder, Confucian values were promoted, and the government became more bureaucratic.

Peace of Westphalia


The Peace of Westphalia did an end to the Thirty Years' War but not to conflict within Europe. The Calvinists were finally included in the freedom of religion offered the Lutherans in the Peace of Augsburg. The Peace of Westphalia also allowed states to act in their own interest in political and diplomatic affairs.

Seven Years' War

1756 - 1763

Commercial rivalries as well as political differences were contributing factors to the Seven Years' War. While countries such as Spain, India, Austria, Russia, Prussia, France, and Britain fought (and involved indigenous peoples), the biggest result of the conflict was establishing Britain as the dominant European power.

Establishment of the First Colony in Australia


The first colony in Australia was a made up of about one thousand passengers, of which eight hundred were convicts. Therefore the first European settlement in Australia was a penal one. It was not until the late 1830s that free settlers outnumbered the convict migrants. However this movement did bring a European population to Australia for good.

End of the British Slave Trade


The British were the first to emancipate all slaves. Soon many other countries followed such as France, the United States, Cuba, Brazil, and eventually, though much later, Angola and Saudi Arabia. Therefore, Britain set the example when it came to abolishing slavery and the slave trade. The abolitions also came about because it became less profitable to buy slaves since cheap manufacturing was on the rise.