AP World History Timeline


Shang Dynasty

1600 BCE - 1029 BCE

First real dynasty of ancient China. This like many other ancient civilizations was based around a river basin. This time the river was the Hwang Ho River Valley also know as the Yellow River. Also like many of there civilizations created a trade based civilization. The Shang controlled at its height large parts of north China. It did this by having a very large and technologically advanced military. This included chariots and walls. Although it had controlled a large amount of territory the Shang was relatively isolated. It had some contact with Mesopotamia but, had mostly limited contact with outside powers. They made leaps in pottery and silk as well. The Shang also had a much greater focus on family then other civilizations at this time. It developed a patriarchal system were the oldest male led the household. they believed that the gods controlled all aspects of life and that ancestors could communicate with them. This gave ancestors an even more important role.

Western Zhou Dynasty

1029 BCE - 771 BCE

Wu Wang ousted the Shang Dynasty and started his own called the Zhou. The Dynasty is the longest Dynasty in Chinese history if you include both the Western and Eastern Zhou. The Zhou started the important idea called the Mandate of Heaven. The Mandate Heaven was basically that the heaven would grant the Zhou the power to rule as long as leaders led wisely and justly. The Zhou also developed the feudal system in China similar that of Middle Age Europe. The emperor wold rule over the whole land but, since the Zhou controlled to much land for one emperor to control the emperor nobles were given small parts of the kingdom to control. Basically resources went up and protection went down. This system worked for about 200 years but, slowly the nobles built up enough power and resources to become there own kingdoms. Some these kingdoms were so complex that bureaurcracies developed. Eventually barbarians pushed the Zhou out of the Wei River valley and we switch to the Eastern Zhou.

Eastern Zhou Dynasty

771 BCE - 256 BCE

The Eastern Zhou is best know for its development of Confucian ideals and for the development of many of the Chinese philosophies. The Eastern Zhou did not technically end until Qin forces took its capital but the warring states period is also during this time. This is because the Zhou was broken up into many different kingdoms by this point and they were warring.

Warring States Period

475 BCE - 221 BCE

Pretty much like it sounds.

The Qin Dynasty

221 BCE - 209 BCE

The first dynasty of imperial China. This dynasty is named after it's founder Qin Shi Huang who united the kingdoms that had split apart during and after the end of the Zhou. This dynasty was short and like many the preceding Dynasty was based on agriculture and trade. It also had a strong army under one emperor. One the biggest characteristics of this dynasty was that it believed in Legalism or that humans were naturally because of this many new systems were put in place including standardized laws, weights and system of writing. They aslo introduced civil services exams for the military. It also started the construction of The Great Wall of China. The Dynasty fell after the death of the emperor.

Han Dynasty

200 BCE - 220 CE

This dynasty was founded by Lu Bang. The emperors of this dynasty replaced legalism with confucianism. Although caused many changes including promotion based on merit not birth the Han did keep the 3 braches of government started by the Qin. The Han expanded the civil service exams to all government positions. This was made possible by the invention of the printing press and better paper. This dynasty also had two historic emperors. One being Han Wudi who expanded the Han to the South China Sea and modern day Vietnam. Wu Ti was another one who protect the Han from barbarians who may have been the Huns and expanded China to central Asia. Agricultural developments in this dynasty also causedd an increase in people. The Han dynasty eventually fell like many other Chinese dynasty with outside pressures and the internal government becoming corrupt.

Xin Dynasty

9 CE - 23 CE

This was founded by Wang Mang who took the throne from Liu family. Who claimed leadership by saying that the mandate of heaven had lost favor with the Liu. Some historians consider this short dynasty to break the Han into two period
Western and Eastern Han. Wang Mang although a good military general create bad policies and reforms that led to decline and the dynasty never outlasted him. The Han came back but, was considerably weaker.

3 Kingdom Period

220 CE - 280 CE

The Wei, Shu, and Wu ruled China independent. This time in history is relatively unimportant as far as developments go.

Sui Dynasty

581 CE - 618 CE

Although this Dynasty is short lived it did united northern and southern China for the first time in 300 years. This dynasty created the equal field program inorder to close the gap between the poor. This also prevented nobles from owning too much land and creating independent kingdoms.

Tang Dynasty

618 CE - 907 CE

The Tang expanded China a great deal in parts of Manchuria, Mongolia, Tibet, and Korea. The Tang emperors legitimized their control by using the Buddhist ideals that the kings spiritual agents that bring subjects into the buddhist realm and buddhist monasteries were important allies of the early Tang. The Tang got to big and internal rebellions caused the Tang to collapse and smaller kingdom developed.


916 CE - 1121 CE

This rose after Tang fell the Liao developed in Northern China. It quickly gained territory with its strong and tech savy army. This helped them make the Song a tribute state. Meaning that the Song gave the Liao cash and silk in return for peace.

Song Dynasty

960 CE - 1127 CE

The Dynasty created many tech advances. The includes improvements the compass, weaponry developments, and figured out how to use gunpowder in war. The civil service exams also reached their maturity during this period. Large crowded cities also developed. Although many tech advances were created during this period the status of women declined during this dynasty and fot binding became widely practiced. The Song was a tribute state to Liao unti they asked the Jurchens in the northeast to help them over thrown the Liao. The Jurchens and Song were sucessful but, the Jurchens turned on the Song and pushed them out of Northern China and Central China. This created the Southern Song.

Jin Dynasty

1127 CE - 1234 CE

They were the ancestors of the Manchus who became the Qing. They had a strong military.

Southern Song Dynasty

1127 CE - 1279 CE

This dynasty continued the Song. It was eventually overturned by the Mongols. They made great advances in ship building technologies and developed China's first permanent navy in 1132 CE. They were also able to hold off the Jin even though they out numbered them.

Yuan Dynasty

1217 CE - 1368 CE

This dynasty was established by Kublai Khan and was under Mongol control. It conquered Southern Song under the rule of the mandate of heaven. It was basically when China was ruled by the Mongols. The dynasty ended with the Red Turban Revolt of the people.

Ming Dynasty

1368 CE - 1644 CE

Built a strong central government based on traditional Confucian principles. It reinstated the civil service exams and reinvigorated chinese culture. They built big fleets and Zheng He led expeditions and reached the California coast. In order to control cultural diffusion the Chinese government stopped the voyages. Ming switched to using silver money instead of paper to stop counter fit. Unfortunately the discover of silver in Americans caused inflation and China was unable to cheap European powers at bay. Famine, revolts, and other internal problems left the Ming vulnerable and Qing warriors from Manchuria ousted the Ming emperor.

Qing Dynasty

1644 CE - 1911 CE

The Qing weren't ethnically Chinese and wanted to stay ethnically surperior. Since only 3% of the state was Manchurian they had to use ethnically Chinese people to run the government. They expanded the civil service exams and the new systems made it more equal between poor and noble to get jobs. They had many Confucian scholar emperors. China expanded into Mongol, Tibet, and central asia. Vietnam, Berma, and Nepal became vassal states of China. The government tried to control trade with European merchants and were not very successful. They tried to keep trade to just Canton but after the Opium Wars a wealthily merchant class developed on China's coast. the Qing eventually fell after a revolution much like France, United States, and Mexico. With the fail of the Qing Imperial China also fell.

Ancient Civilizations- (Most of Them Near Rivers)

Civilizations near the Nile (mainly Egypt) are in Blue. Area near the Tigris ad Euphates (mainly Mesopotamia) is in Orange. India is in Green. Bantu is in Purple. Mesoamerica is in Yellow.

Old Kingdom

2649 BCE - 2152 BCE

Egyptian civilization developed along the Nile River. The Nile River flooded most regularly of the rivers were civilizations appeared. This regular flooding allowed for a stable agricultural schedule and allowed Egypt to compile a stable food base. '
Even before this time the kingdom was already united under King Menes who built the capital in Memphis. Egypt was also polytheists like many of the ancient civilizations. Ra the sun god was Egypt's main god during this period and actually came out of a smaller town. This is the time period is what most people picture ancient Egypt as. This is when the pyramids were built.

Indus Valley

2500 BCE - 1500 BCE

Like the most of other civilizations in during this time period Indus River Valley is built around the banks of a river. Large mountians to the north and west of the river valley made the Indus Valley more settled from invaders then other civilizations like Mesoopotamia and China. The Indus Valley region was not entirly cut off though. The Khyber Pass through the Hindu Kush Mountains provide the Indus Valley connect to the outside world and was used by the merchant class for trade. At its height the Indus Valley streched for about 900 miles. It had two major cities Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. These were home to about 100,000 people which for ancient civilizations is huge. The cities were also very sophsicated with building plans, uniform construction, and a wastewater ststem that was mpre advanced then ones in the Dark Ages. This incidaites a lot about the civilization including that it probably had a strong central government that was led by a preist-king. thge Indus Valley people were also polythestic. Around 1900 BCE the cities were abandoned for a still unknown reason and and in 1500 BCe with the arrival of the Arryans the civilization had crumpled.


2300 BCE - 1700 BCE

Mesopotamian civilization was center around two rivers in the fertile crescent. The Sumer civilization rose in the Southern part of Mesopotamia and although we only have records of civilization starting in 2500 BCE historians believe that it started in 4000 BCE. They created a successful agricultural and river management. This was key because the Tigris and Euphrates rivers did not flood regularly. they not only developed these but, they also created a form of writing called cuneiform. Cuneiform as well as the invention of the wheel aloud the mesopotamians to transport goods extremely quickly and efficiently. Sumerians like most of the Mesopotamian civilization were polytheistic meaning that they worshiped more one god. One interesting thing about Sumerians is that each each city-state had a god that worshiped the city-state's god as well as a whole other set of gods that everyone worshiped. the priests of each city had almost all of the power seeing as they were only ones who could communicate with the gods. they believed that they flooding was caused when the gods were unhappy. They built ziggurats or temples to please the gods. Eventually floods, outsiders, and other factors caused the Sumerians to burn out.

Middle Kingdom

2040 BCE - 1640 BCE

During this period not much happened. The ap world review book and ethel wood don't say that much about this period. The Thebes united Egypt again and foreign invaders eventually unified Egypt.


2000 BCE - 1450 BCE

The Minoans came out of the island Crete and were highly influenced by other civilizations at the time including Egypt, Syria, and Mesopotamia. The Minoan civilization is best know today for the myth of King Mino and his maze with a minotaur. the Minoan civilization was destroyed probably the Mycenaen Greeks.


1800 BCE - 1700 BCE

As the Sumerian city-states declined the city in Akkad rose North of Sumerian and eventually rose to dominate the region. Sargon the Great founded the empire and gained power by giving soldiers land and by claiming to be able to communicate with the gods. They developed the first known code of laws which is written in cuneiform. They were eventually taken over by the new powerhouse of Mesopotamia.


1792 BCE - 1500 BCE

King Hummurabi expanded Babylon and also extended laws. He developed the Code of Hammurabi that describes code of laws that dealt with every part of daily life. This code has often been credited to be a significant step toward our code of laws. Thy helped stop harsh government punishment and favoritism and worked on just getting even and not on getting more.


1600 BCE - 1200 BCE

They had their capital in Anatolia which is present day Turkey. They used horse drawn chariots. Due to the their location they had access to copper, silver, and iron deposits. they also developed iron weaponry. They peaked in the 1500s BCE.


1600 BCE - 1100 BCE

We are unsure of the exact descendant of them but, some people believe that might be ancestors of the Minoan's themselves. They became a military power extremely quickly. Although they were a military might they made most of their money by trade and piracy. We don't know much about the political system of the Mycenaeans. The trade relations were strained between the Mycenaeans and the Hittites. This caused the siege of Troy.

New Kingdom

1550 BCE - 1070 BCE

At the decline of the Middle kingdomthe Hyksos began to rule arounf the Nile at the beginng of the New Kingdom native Egyptians overthrew them. This period is best known for Egypt's massive expansion into Syria-Palestine and into Nubia. Syria-Palestine was important trading crossroad and because of this Egypt and Hittites fought battles and evetually signed an arguement over the control of the area. During this time Egypt also grew trade relations especially with Punt and neighboring civilization.


1500 BCE - 400 BCE

This civilization is based in modern day Mexico. They were an urban society that sustianed themselves on corn, beans, and squash. Like most the other civilizations in this period they were agricultural advanced and worked on irrigration systems, constructed large scale buildings, polythestic, and developed a system of writing. The reason that this civilization was important is that developed similarlly to other civilization even though it was in a different part the world and had no contact with the other civilization. Another important thing about the Omec is that did not develop ina river valley although their was water able there was not a main source of water. This disproves the theory that you need a river into have a civilization. Not that rivers aren't extremely important the Olmec never became very powerful unlike the river civilizations.

Bantu Migration

1500 BCE - 250 BCE

Farmers in the Niger and Benue river valleys in West Africa began to migrate south and east and as they migrated they brought their language and culture. As they moved and settled into areas that were formally occupied by nomads. Many nomads settled as well and adopted the Bantu language and culture. It is widely believed that the migration was caused by climate changes, made the area near the Sahara desert to dry to live in. Not all of the bantu people migrated. We know this because the city of Jenne-Jeno has been found in the Bantu's original home ground. The city was at first a fishing settlement and then evolved into a more urban city.


1499 BCE - 322 BCE

The Aryans were a nodamic tribe that came from the Caucasus Mountians. They used advanced military techniques including horses to defeat the Indus Valley people. The tribes migrated in the Valley independently and eventually settled. One of the most important things that thwe Aryans brought to India was thier belief in recarianation. The recorded their beliefs in the Vedas and Upanishads. These beliefs evolved and formed what is now known as Hinduism. The Aryan social structure also would have a profound effect on later developments in India. This combined with Hinduism is what later became the caste system in India. The Aryan social structure divied its people into 3 classes. From warriors at the top to priest and then peasants. As the society developed a land owning and merchant class was added above the peasants and the priest class would move to the top since they were closer to the gods. When it first started people could move between classes but, as it became more engrained in society the classes became more rigid. Until you only be in the caste you were born in. This system was held up by Hinduism. They believed in karma and the you would be reincarnated based on your previous life. This meant that if you were a good peasant in this life in your next life you could move up the system. The Aryan culture and society continue to grow untilv Alexander the GReat conquered them in about 321 BCE.


911 BCE - 612 BCE

They were in Northern Mesopotamian. Although they had a more temperate climate and more rain then early Mesopotamian societies this also unfornatly made them more exposed to raiders. They origin is in Northern Tigris River. They expanded in the 9th century across trade routes westwards toward the Mediterranean. They also expanded to the north into modern Armenia, east to Iran, and South Babylonia. The Assyrian kings were extremely important and had both secular and religious duties. There social structure was broken into 3 major social strata free and land owning citizens, farmers and artisans, and slaves. the economy is based on agriculture but, also had a strong merchant class. They fell due to a corrupt government that exploited the citizens in order to benefit the nobles.


900 BCE - 200 BCE

The Chavin had a similar civilization to the Olmec expect that they were located in Andes. They also access tot the coast and because of this had seafood in their diet. Seafood id the most common protein for ancient civilizations due to the fact that fish are easy to kill and find and unlikely to kill you.

Medes and the Chaldeans

600 BCE - 529 BCE

The most important king during this time is Nebuchadnezzar who worked to rebuild the architecture and the culture of the old Babylon civilization. He continue to expand in the fertile crescent like the assyrians before. It eventually failed and the Persians rose to power shortly after.

Classic Civilizations


800 BCE - 323 BCE

Persian Empire

529 BCE - 330 BCE

The Persian establised a huge empire. It spanded from beyong the Nile River around the Mediterranean though present day Turkey and parts of Greece and then eastward through present day Afghanistan. The empire was built apon the work of 3 kings. These kings were Cyrus, Cambyses, and Darius 1. Crypus captured the kingdom ogf Lydia which brought all of Anatolia under his control he later look Mesopotamia as well. Cambyses conquered Egypt and sent scout to both Nubia and Libya. Darius 1 was able to bring the Medes into decline and make Persia more dominate in the fertile crescent. Darius 1 also divided the empire into 20 provinces who all payed truibute to government. Due to the empire being so large the persains built a system of extremly long roads called the Great Royal Road. Persia also had a very distint religion called Zorastrianism which shows the exssitence of a dualistic universe in which the god of good, Auramazda, who was locked in an epic struggle against the god of evil, Angra Mainyu. This relgion had an impact on both Judaism and Christianity. They came in contact with many civilizations but, were eventually defeated by Alexander the Great.


509 BCE - 479 CE


300 BCE - 800 CE