World History Timeline

A work in progress (updated 11/20/2018) … 
 
13.7 billion years ago
Universe appears. Sensitive radio telescope technology which shows faint cosmic microwave background radiation is dedected in 1964. Radio telescopes are observing instruments used in radio astronomy, which studies the radio frequency portion of the electromagnetic spectrum emitted by astronomical objects, just as optical telescopes are used in traditional optical astronomy which studies the light wave portion of the spectrum coming from astronomical objects.
 
4.5 billion years ago
Our solar system forms with earth. How do we know? We’ve used the debris from meteor impacts, such as the Meteor Crater in Arizona, assuming that the material from such meteors coming from the asteroid belt would have been made at the same time as the Earth.
 
3.5 billion years ago
Prokaryotes, single-cell organisms without a nucleus, appear in fossil record. They are the first living organisms. The name comes from the Greek ‘pro’ (before) ‘karyon’ (nut or kernel), since it lacks a membrane-bound nucleus.
 
1.5 billion years ago
Eukaryotes,  multicellular organism with nucleus, appear in fossil record, among the first of these being algae.
 
535 million years ago
Cambrian Explosion would see super biodiversity on earth. Tardigrades, ‘slow walkers,’ appear around in the fossil record (discovered in 1773 by a German pastor named Johann Goeze). 
 
65 million years ago
Asteroid hitting the Yucatán peninsula wipes out dinosaurs, as part of one of five major extinction events. Mammals and birds, the latter descended from theropod (carnivorous, bipedal) dinosaurs, emerged as dominant large land animals. Georges Cuvier in early 19th century is first to establish notion of extinction and identify dinosaurs through fossil evidence. We may be currently living through one of the biggest extinction events as our human population displaced and destroys other species. We have succeeded to increase our carrying capacity through agricultural production, medical advancements, and public health measures—yet our population is now slowing down  since there is less need for children as labor. We have moved from positive feedback loop to negative with 1.1% growth (slowing down since 1960s).
 
3 million years ago
Lucy, Australopithecus afarensis, ‘Southern ape from Afar,’ is uncovered in Ethiopia.
 
2 million years ago
Homo Erectus, followed by Homo Habilis, and later Neanderthal, appear. Discoveries of the former made by Louis, Mary, and son, Richard Leakey in Olduvai Gorge, northern Tanzania.
 
600,000 years ago
Homo Erectus gains control of fire, tool-making well underway among Neanderthals (either H. neanderthalensis or as H. s. neanderthalensis)
 
200,000 years ago
Modern humans (Homo sapiens sapiens) appear in Eastern Africa; we are foragers, nomadic hunters and gatherers.
Beginning of Paleolithic (‘Old Stone Age’), the great stretch of human history, till the Mesolithic about 20,000 years ago.
 
100,000 years ago
Out of Africa. Humans begin migration out of Africa to Eurasia, and will populate the world, albeit in very small numbers.
 
10,000 years ago
Neolithic Revolution (‘new stone age’), with tools that are more polished. Up to this point, since 200,000, most of human history, small communities, with global migration, little population growth. We cultivated grains in Mesopotamia, yams in Africa, and rice in China. Human population will now begin to grow with the domestication of animals and the development of agriculture.
 
3,500

Wheel invented in Mesopotamia 

3,100 BCE
Egypt unified. First written language soon developed by Sumerians of Southern Mesopotamia (Bronze Age to 1,000 BCE; bronze made of 90% copper and 10% tin; we know of large tin mining from Afghanistan by looking at ice core samples and measuring the levels of pollution found from the production of bronze.)
 
2,500
Cities are developed in India, and China, in addition to Mesopotamia and Northeastern Africa; with sedentary civilization comes hierarchy and class division. The Egyptian physician Imhotep describes 200 diseases. 
 
2,000 BCE
Judaism begins with Abraham
 
1754
Hammurabi’s Code
 
1478
Hatshepsut comes to throne
 
1352
Akhenaton comes to throne following Amenhotep III
 
1,250-1,200 BCE
Exodus under Ramses II and Olmec civilization begins; collapse of multiple civilizations in eastern Mediterranean, including Minoans, Mycenaeans (drought theorized by looking at pollen levels in dug out mud of dried up lagoon), Hittites. Egypt survives.
 
509 BCE
Roman Republic
 
500
Hippocrates, physician
 
c. 483 BCE 
Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, passes away
 
425 BCE
Herodotus
 
411 BCE
Thucydides 
 
327 BCE
Alexander, tutored by Aristotle, reaches India
 
c. 240 BCE         
Eratosthenes, based at the great library and research center of Alexandria, calculates circumference of Earth (engineer Archimedes and his screw, heliocentric theorist Aristarchus of Samos, mathematician who developed geometry Euclid, are contemporaries). The Musaeum (‘the instituons of the muses,’ since it was dedicated to the muses, the nine goddesses who inspire literature, science, and the arts—the source of knowledge embodies in these—including Clio, the muse of history, daughter of Zeus).
 
232 BCE
Ashoka Maurya, spreads Buddhism
 
221 BCE
Qin Dynasty
 
196 BCE
Rosetta (town of Rashid) made by Ptolemaic ruler, discovered in 1799.
 
27 BCE
Roman empire and development of first concrete, pozzolana
 
4 BCE
Jesus born
 
60
Boudica, queen of the Iceni people of Eastern England rebels against Romans
 
130
Galen, physician 
 
312 
Emperor Constantine converts to Christianity
 
415 
Hypatia, who, teaches astronomy, philosophy, physics, and mathematics, is killed at the direction of the Bishop of Alexandria, Cyril, who is later made a saint.
 
5th c. 
Indo-Arabic numerals being used
 
476
Fall of western Roman Empire
 
622 
Year one of Muslim calendar 
 
711
Islam reaches Iberia and India; Chinese invent gunpowder
 
800
Charlemagne coronated Holy Roman Emperor and unites much of Europe
 
869
Zanj Rebellion 
 
1010
Ibn Sina (Avicenna) Persian physician writes The Book of Healing and The Canon of Medicine
 
11th century Arab scientist Ibn al-Haythan considered to be one of the first to postulate on the nature of light and optics leading to the concept of the telescope, as well as one of the first researchers to use the scientific method. 
 
12th c. 
Ibn Rushd (Averroes) interprets Aristotle
 
1215
Magna Carta
 
1324
Ibn Battuta begins journey and Mansa Musa of Mali empire will set off on Hajj the next year
 
1444
First African captives taken to Portugal 
 
1450
Johannesburg Gutenberg moveable type printing press
 
1453
Fall of Constantinople
 
1489
Leonardo da Vinci dissects corpses
 
1492
Columbian Exchange
 
1517
Martin Luther and Protestant Reformation 
 
1519
Cortez begins conquest of South America
 
1543 
Polish astronomer Copernicus’ heliocentric theory; Girolamo Fracastoro germ theory published three years later.
 
1526
Mughal Empire
 
1568
Native Americans push out Spaniards at Joara (Xuala) 
 
1600 
Giordano Bruno championed a much more expansive understanding of the Earth’s place in the universe, with the Sun being just one star among all the others, and is burned at stake; Malik Ambar in power
 
1610
Galileo telescopic observations
 
1619
Jamestown, VA, 20 Africans; Francis Bacon publishes Novum Organum Scientiarum (‘new instrument of science’) a year later, challenging Aristotle’s methodology of coming to a scientific ‘truth’ by way of argument (using his logical rules), arguing instead that ‘truth’ required evidence from systematic observation. The title of the book was a reference to Aristotle’s Organon, his treatise on logic and syllogism. Lays the groundwork for the ‘scientific method,’ consisting in systematic observation, measurement, experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses—a proposed explanation for a phenomenon—that can be tested, but provisionally accepted (different from a scientific theory, which is an explanation that can be repeatedly tested … yet accuracy is different from precision).
 
1628
William Harvey explains the function of heart to circulate blood; Robert Boyle, a founder of modern chemistry, performs controlled experiments and publishes, having devised the vacuum chamber (air pump) and defining the modern idea of an ‘element.’
 
1640
racial codification begins in Chesapeake
 
1676
Nathaniel Bacon’s Rebellion; Antoine van Leeuwenhoek, pioneer in microbiology, observes bacteria in water.
 
1687
Isaac Newton three laws of motion and gravitation in Principia
 
1688
Glorious Revolution, Germantown, PA, Quaker petition against slavery
 
1712
Thomas Newcomb builds first practical dream engine 
 
1757
John Campbell invents sextant, enables sailors to measure longitude accurately for the first time
 
1776
Declaration of Independence
 
1789
French Revolution 
 
1791
Steamboat invented by John Fitch; Bill of Rights ratified
 
1796 
Dr. Edward Jenner introduces idea of vaccinations (taken from Ottoman Empire, taken from India) with small pox on young English boy.
 
1803 
Louisiana Purchase
 
1804
Haitian Revolution
 
1808
British and U.S. end slave trade
 
1814
George Stephenson builds Furst practical steam locomotive
 
1824
Peru gains independence 
 
1831
Michael Farady discovers electro-magnetic current making electric generators and motors AND Nat Turner revolt, North Carolina law then prohibits teaching enslaved to read or write.
 
1833
Britain abolishes slavery 
 
1835 – Saul, an enslaved African American (of General Hamilton), known to have assisted in setting up escapes for others with Levi and Vestal Coffin almost twenty years earlier uses the Underground Railroad to gain his own freedom.
 
1839
Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect which explains how electricity can be generated from sunlight.  
 
1846
First successful surgical operation using anesthesia by William T.G. Morton 
 
1848
Seneca Falls Convention 
 
1854
Broad Street cholera outbreak in London to be studied by John Snow, shows a clear understanding of Girolamo Fracastoro’s pioneering work on germ theory from 1546. Snow is challenging the dominant miasma theory of ‘bad air’ first proposed by Galen. Smallpox vaccination in use in Europe, with similar treatments in India dating to 1,000 C.E.
 
1857
Dred Scott case
 
1859 
Charles Darwin Origin of Species; John Brown raid at Harpers Ferry; Louis Pasteur begins to amass evidence to support Germ Theory of Disease 
 
1865
13th Amendment abolishing slavery in the U.S.
 
1873
James Maxwell publishes Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism
 
1876
Alexander Graham Bell patents telephone
 
1880
Thomas Edison patents incandescent electric lamp
 
1884
Berlin Conference
 
1896
Pleasure v. Ferguson, separate but equal
 
1903
Marie Curie wins Nobel for work on radio activity; Wright Brothers first engine-powered airplane
 
1905
Albert Einstein theory of special relativity
 
1907
Plastic based on synthetic polymer called Bakelite
 
1908
Dr. John Leal conceived and implements first disinfectant of a U.S. drinking water supply using chlorine; Henry Ford launches Ford Model T
 
1917
Russian Revolution
 
1919 
Francis Aston pioneers first mass spectrometer and used to discover many isotopes.
 
1920
19th Amendment women’s suffrage; first radio broadcast in Pittsburgh, PA
 
1928
Penicillin antibiotic discovered by Alexander Fleming; TV sets put in three homes with programming beginning; invention of coolant chemicals for air conditioning and refrigeration
 
1929
Stock market crash, Great Depression 
 
1934
Karl Popper’s falsifiability; Lev Vygotsky ‘tools and results’
 
1945
Atomic bomb and end of WWI
 
1947
India gains independence AND Carbon-14 dating is invented by University of Chicago chemist. Radioactive carbon-14 (an isotope of carbon) has a half-life of about 5,700 years. In 1947 American chemist Willard Libby figured that plants absorb some of the trace carbon-14 from the atmosphere (some nitrogen turning into carbon-14 when hit with cosmic rays) while they absorbed ordinary carbon in photosynthesis. Once the plant died it couldn’t absorb any more carbon of any kind, and the carbon-14 it contained would decay at its usual rate without being replaced. By finding the concentration of carbon-14 left in the remains of a plant, one could calculate the amount of time since the plant had died. With this technique we could determine the age of plant-based artifacts (wood, parchment, textiles) up to 45,000 years old. This has allowed estimates of the age prehistoric dwellings, and ancient documents and clothes, among other things. Also in 1946 a Welsh chemist John Beynon constructed the first mass spectrometer designed to study organic compounds unrelated to petroleum; there was also the invention of the transistor, allowing electronic equipment smaller, leading to computer revolution. So, in this year we’ve got India’s independence, discovery of carbon-14 dating, mass spectrometer to study organic compounds, and the transistor!
 
1953
Structure of DNA is discovered
 
1954
Jean Piaget theory of development AND Algerian war of independence begins AND Brown v. Board of Education
 
1955
Jonas Salk develops first polio vaccine
 
1957
Sputnik launched by Soviet Union; NASA formed within a year
 
1959
Invention of the silicon chip; Abu arrives to U.S. to study engineering 
 
1960
Woolworth sit-in and 16 African nations gain independence
 
1962
Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions
 
1965
Voting Rights Act AND Birth Control pill made legal for married couples
 
1971
Voting age lowered from 21 to 18, 26th Amendment
 
1979
Iranian Revolution 
 
1983
Discovery of HIV virus that causes AIDS
 
1988
Lenora Fulani on ballot in all fifty states
 
1989
Fall of Berlin Wall; World Wide Web invented by Tim Berners-Lee
 
1991
Collapse of the Soviet Union
 
2003 
Complete sequencing of human genome  
 
2008
Barack Obama elected U.S. President
 
2011
Arab Spring
 
2016
Three nanotechnologists win Nobel Prize in chemistry for building miniature machines out of molecules
 
2018
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