History Timeline

Mongols

Temujin Unifies Mongols

1200 AD

Around 1200, a Mongol clan leader named Temujin sought to unify the Mongols under his leadership. He fought and defeated his rivals one by one.

Temujin Accepted the Title Genghis Khan

1206 AD

In 1206, Temujin accepted the title Genghis Khan, or "universal ruler" of the Mongol clans.

Genghis Khan Invades the Northern Jin Empire

1211 AD

After invading the northern Jin Empire in 1211, however, his attention turned to the Islamic region west of Mongolia. Angered by the murder of Mongol traders and an ambassador at the hands of the Muslims, Genghis launched a campaign of terror across Central Asia.

Central Asia became Completely Under Mongol Control

1225 AD

Angered by the murder of Mongol traders and an ambassador at the hands of the Muslims, Genghis launched a campaign of terror across Central Asia. The Mongols destroyed one city after another - Utrar, Samarkand, Bukhara - and slaughtered many inhabitants. By 1225, Central Asia was under Mongol control.

Genghis Khan Dies

1227 AD

Genghis Khan died in 1227 - not from insolence, but from illness. His successors continued to expand his empire. In less than 50 years, the Mongols conquered territory from China to Poland. In doing so, they created the largest unified land empire in history.

The Mongols Divided their Empire into Four Khanates

1260 AD

By 1260, the Mongols had divided their huge empire into four regions, or khanates. These were the Khanate of the Great Khan (Mongolia and China), the Khanate of Chagatai (Central Asia), the Ilkhanate (Persia), and the Khanate of the Golden Horde (Russia). A descendant of Genghis ruled each khanate.

Marco Polo Arrived at Kublai Khan's Court

1275 AD

The most famous European to visit China in these years was a young Venetian trader, Marco Polo. Marco Polo traveled by caravan on the Silk Roads with his father and uncle, arriving at Kublai Khan's cour around 1275. Polo had learned several Asian languages in his travels, and Kublai Khan sent him to various Chinese cities on government missions.

Kublai Khan Attempts to Conquer Japan

1281 AD

After conquering China, Kublai Khan tried to extend his rule to Japan. In 1274 and agin in 1281, the Great Khan sent huge fleets against Japan. The Mongols forced Koreans to build, sail, and provide provisions for the oats, a costly task that almost ruined Korea. Both times the Japanese turned back the Mongol fleets.

Kublai Khan Dies

1294 AD

Kublai Khan died in 1294. After his death, the Yuan Dynasty began to fade. Family members continually argued over who would rule. In one eight-year period, four different khans took the throne.

India

Chandragupta Claimed the Throne

321 BC

Chandragupta Maurya may have been born in the powerful kingdom of Magadha. Centered on the lower Ganges River, the kingdom was ruled by the Nanda family. Chandragupta gathered an Amy, killed the unpopular Nanda king, and in about 321 BC claimed the throne. This began the Mauryan Empire.

The Mauryan Empire Stretched More than 2,000 Miles

303 BC

After several years of fighting, Chandragupta defeated Seleucus. By 303 BC, the Mauryan Empire stretched more than 2,000 miles, uniting north India politically for the first time.

Chandragupta's Son Assumed the Throne

301 BC

In 301 BC, Chandraguptas's son assumed the throne. He ruled for 32 years. Then Chandragupta's grandson, Asoka, brought the Mauryan Empire to its greatest heights.

Asoka Became King of the Mauryan Empire

269 BC

Asoka became king of the Mauryan Empire in 269 BC. At first, he followed in Chandragupta's footsteps, waging war to expand his empire. During a bloody war against the neighboring state of Kalinga, 100,000 soldiers were slain, and even more civilians perished.

Asoka Dies

232 BC

After Asoka died in 232 BC, his noble policies of toleration and nonviolence failed to hold the empire together. Such actions had demonstrated Asoka's concern for his subjects' well-being.

Greeks, Persians, and Central Asians Poured into Northern India

185 BC

Northern India had to absorb a flood of new people fleeing political instability in other parts of Asia. For 500 years, beginning about 185 BC, wave after wave of Greeks, Persians, and Central Asian poured into northern India. These invaders disrupted Indian society. But they also introduced new languages and customs that added to the already-rich blend of Indian culture.

Chandra Gupta I Took the Title "Great King of Kings"

320 AD

The first Gupta emperor came to power not through battle but by marrying a daughter of an influential royal family. After his marriage, Chandra Gupta I took the title "Great King of Kings" in 320 AD. His empire included Magadha and the area north of it, with his power base along the Ganges River.

Samudra Gupta Became King

335 AD

Chandra Gupta I's son, Samudra Gupta, became king in 335 AD. Although the lover of the arts, Samudra had a warlike side. He expanded the empire through 40 years of conquest.

The Rule of Chandra Gupta II Began

375 AD

Indians revered Chandra Gupta II for his heroic qualities. He defeated the Shakas - enemies to the west - and added their costal territory to his empire. This allowed the Guptas to engage in profitable trade with the Mediterranean world. Chandra Gupta II also strengthened his empire through peaceful means by negotiating diplomatic and marriage alliance. He ruled from 375 to 415 AD.

The Rule of Chandra Gupta II Ended

415 AD

Indians revered Chandra Gupta II for his heroic qualities. He defeated the Shakas - enemies to the west - and added their costal territory to his empire. This allowed the Guptas to engage in profitable trade with the Mediterranean world. Chandra Gupta II also strengthened his empire through peaceful means by negotiating diplomatic and marriage alliance. He ruled from 375 to 415 AD.

The Gupta Empire Ended

535 AD

After Chandra Gupta II died, new invaders threatened northern India. Theses fierce fighters were called the Hunas. Over the next 100 years, the Gupta Empire broke into small kingdoms. Many were overrun by the Hunas or other Central Asian nomads. The Empire ended about 535 AD.

Timur the Lame Destroyed Delhi

1398 AD

In 1398, Timur the Lame destroyed Delhi. The city was so completely devastated that according to one witness, "for months, not a bird moved in the city." Delhi was eventually rebuilt.

Babur Inherited a Kingdom in the Area that is Now Uzbekistan and Tajikistan

1494 AD

In 1494, an 11-year-old boy named Babur inherited a kingdom in the area that is now Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. It was only a tiny kingdom, and his elders soon took it away and drove him south. But Babur built up an army. In the years that followed, he swept down into India and laid the foundation for the vast Mughal Empire.

Babur Led Troops to Victory

1526 AD

Babur was a brilliant general. In 1526, for example, he led 12,000 troops to victory against an army of 100,000 commanded by a sultan of Delhi. A year later, Babur also defeated a massive rajput army.

Akbar Rules India

1556 AD - 1605 AD

Babur's grandson was called Akbar, which means "Great". Akbar certainly lived up to his name, ruling India with wisdom and tolerance from 1556 to 1605.

Mumtaz Mahal Dies

1631 AD

In 1631, Mumtaz Mahal died at age 39 while giving birth to her 14th child. To enshrine his wife's memory, Shah Jahan ordered that a tomb be built "as beautiful as she was beautiful."

Shah Jahan Became Ill

1657 AD

When Shah Jahan became ill in 1657, his four sons scrambled for the throne. The third son, Aurangzeb moved first and most decisively. In a bitter civil war, he executed his older brother, who was his most serious rival.

Aurangzeb Rules India

1658 AD - 1707 AD

A master at military strategy and an aggressive empire builder, Aurangzeb ruled from 1658 to 1797. He expanded the Mughal holdings to their greatest size. However, the power of the empire weakened during his reign.

Europe

The Plague Broke Out in Florence

1348 AD

In the year of Our Lord 1348 the deadly plague broke out in the great city of Florence, most beautiful of Italian cities.

Cosimo de Medici Controlled Florence's Government

1434 AD - 1464 AD

Cosimo de Medici was the wealthiest European of his time. In 1434, he won control of Florence’s government. He did not seek political office for himself, but influenced members of the ruling council by giving them loans. For 30 years, he was dictator of Florence. Cosimo de Medici died in 1464, but his family continued to control Florence.

Leonardo da Vinci Lived

1452 AD - 1519 AD

Leonardo da Vinci was a painter, sculptor, inventor, and scientist. A true "Renaissance man", he was interested in how things worked. He studied how a muscle moves and how veins are arranged in a leaf. He filled his notebooks with observations and sketches. Then he incorporated his findings in his art.

The Turks Conquered Constantinople

1453 AD

Christian scholars in Constantinople fled to Rome with Greek manuscripts when the Turks conquered Constantinople in 1453.

Donatello’s Statue was Created

1460 AD

Donatello revived a classical form in his statue of David, a boy who, according to the Bible, became a great king. Donatello’s statue was created in the late 1460s. It was the first European sculpture of a large, free-standing nude since ancient times.

Lorenzo de Medici Came to Power

1469 AD

Cosimo de Medici died in 1464, but his family continued to control Florence. His grandson, Lorenzo de Medici, came to power in 1469. Known as Lorenzo the Magnificent, he ruled as a dictator yet kept up the appearance of having an elected government.

Michelangelo Buonarroti Lived

1475 AD - 1564 AD

Like Leonardo, Michelangelo was a Renaissance man.
He excelled as a painter, sculptor, architect, and poet. Michelangelo is most famous for the way he portrayed the human body in painting and sculpture.

Baldassare Castiglione Wrote a Book Called The Courtier

1528 AD

Baldassare Castiglione wrote a book called The Courtier (1528) that taught how to become such a person. A young man should be charming, witty, and well educated in the classics. He should dance, sing, play music, and write poetry. In addition, he should be a skilled rider, wrestler, and swordsman.