Timeline of Human History I: Prehistory to 1499

This is the first part of a four-part Timeline of Human History.  To see the other parts, click on the following links:
Timeline of Human History II: 1500-1799
Timeline of Human History III: 1800-1899
Timeline of Human History IV: 1900-Present

NOTE: Many of the dates given below are approximate and some are the subject of intense debate.

6.5 million years ago (mya)

  • Possible human ancestor Sahelanthropus tchadensis, which lives in trees but may be bipedal, appears in Africa (Chad).

    Scientists have reconstructed what Sahelanthropus tchadensis may have looked like.

6.0 mya

  • Possible human ancestor Orrorin tugenensis, which lives in trees but is probably bipedal, appears in Africa (Kenya).

    An artist’s depiction of Orrorin tugenensis.

5.6 mya

  • Hominid Ardipithecus kadabba, which lives in trees but may be bipedal, appears in Africa (Ethiopia).

4.4 mya

  • Bipedal, tree-living hominid Ardipithecus ramidus appears in Africa (Ethiopia).

    A artist’s depictions of Ardipithecus ramidus.

4.0 mya

  • Bipedal hominid Australopithecus anamensis appears in Africa (Ethiopia; Kenya).

3.85 mya

  • Bipedal hominid Australopithecus afarensis appears in Africa (Ethiopia; Kenya; Tanzania).

    A reconstruction of “Lucy”, the first Australopithecus afarensis skeleton discovered, from the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

3.5 mya

  • Bipedal hominid Kenyanthropus platyops (possibly an Australopithecine) appears in Africa (Kenya; Ethiopia).

3.3 mya

  • Bipedal hominid Australopithecus africanus appears in Africa (South Africa).

    An artist’s imagining of Australopithecus africanus.

2.95 mya

  • Australopithecus afarensis becomes extinct.

2.7 mya

  • Bipedal hominid Paranthropus aethiopicus appears in Africa (Kenya; Ethiopia).

    An artist’s reconstruction of Paranthropus aethiopicus.

2.6 mya

  • The Quarternary glaciation period begins.
  • Hominids begin making Oldowan-type stone tools (Ethiopia).

    A stone tool from the Oldowan period.

2.5 mya

  • Bipedal hominid Australopithecus garhi appears in Africa (Ethiopia).

2.3 mya

  • Homo habilis, the first member of the genus Homo, appears in Africa (Kenya; Tanzania).

    An artist’s reconstruction of Homo habilis.

  • Bipedal hominid Paranthropus boisei appears in Africa (Tanzania; Kenya).
  • Paranthropus aethiopicus becomes extinct.

2.1 mya

  • Australopithecus africanus becomes extinct.

2.0 mya

  • Bipedal hominid Paranthropus robustus appears in Africa (South Africa).

1.9 mya

  • Homo ergaster and Homo erectus appear in Africa (Kenya).
  • Homo erectus begins to migrate out of Africa.

    A reconstruction of Homo erectus.

1.8 mya

  • Earliest fossil evidence of hominids (Homo erectus) outside Africa, from Dmanisi, Georgia.

    Computer-reconstructed images of five hominid skulls from Dmanis, showing wide variation.

1.7 mya

  • Earliest evidence of hominids (Homo erectus) in China.
  • Hominids begin to make Acheulean-type hand axes and stone tools carved on both sides (Kenya).

    This Acheulean hand axe was found in Kenya and dates to 1.76 mya.

1.5 mya

  • Possible evidence of control of fire, by Homo erectus, at Koobi Fora (Kenya).

1.4 mya

  • Homo habilis becomes extinct.

1.3 mya

  • Homo heidelbergensis appears in Africa (Zambia).

    An artist’s depiction of Homo heidelbergensis.

1.2 mya

  • Homo antecessor, which may practice cannibalism, is the first hominid to appear in Europe.

    Artist Mauricio Antón’s imagining of Homo antecessor at Atapuerca in Spain.

  • Paranthropus boisei and Paranthropus robustus become extinct.

790,000 BCE

  • Definitive evidence of controlled use of fire by Homo erectus at Bnot Ya’akov Bridge site (Israel).

700,000 mya

  • Homo antecessor has become extinct (Europe).

600,000 BCE

  • Homo heidelbergensis begins to migrate out of Africa.
  • The Denisovans, a species of Homo, appear in Europe.

300,000 BCE

  • Homo neanderthalensis appears in Eurasia.

    Artist John Gurche’s impression of an adult male Homo neanderthalensis.

  • Hominids in Europe are making sharp knife-like tools and scrapers using the Levallois technique.
  • Spoken language may begin at this time.

250,000 BCE

  • Hominids are cooking food by this date (and possibly much earlier).

200,000 BCE

  • Homo heidelbergensis becomes extinct.

195,000 BCE

  • First evidence of anatomically modern humans (Homo sapiens) (Ethiopia).

    Reconstruction of Homo sapiens idaltu, which was discovered in 1997 in Ethiopia.

170,000 BCE

  • Based on studies of body lice genes, humans in Africa begin to wear clothing.

143,000 BCE

  • Homo erectus becomes extinct.

120,000 BCE

  • Homo sapiens begins migrating out of Africa to Eurasia.

    A map showing Homo sapiens migration out of Africa, with pior Homo erectus and Homo neanderthalis expansions for reference.

80,000 BCE

  • Perforated seashell beads are the first evidence of personal adornment (Morocco).

    Perforated seashell beads found at the Grotte des Pigeons in Morocco.

73,000 BCE

  • Start of the Lower Pleniglacial Ice Age.

70,000 BCE

  • Eruption of the Toba supervolcano (Indonesia).
  • Engraved cross-hatch patterns on pieces of ochre in Blombos Cave may be the first abstract representations, symbols or art (South Africa).

    Etchings on an ochre stone found in Blombos Cave in South Africa.

58,000 BCE

  • End of the Pleniglacial Ice Age.

55,000 BCE

  • Homo neanderthalensis and Homo sapiens may be interbreeding in western Asia.

46,000 BCE

  • Homo sapiens has probably reached Australia.

43,000 BCE

  • Homo sapiens arrives in Europe.
  • Human tool-makers in the Aurignacian culture are creating long blades (Europe).

    Three views of an Aurignacian blade.

41,000 BCE

  • Flutes made from animal bones may be the first known musical instruments (Germany; Slovenia).

    The Divje Babe Flute is a portion of a cave bear femur with holes in it, found in a Slovenian cave.

38,000 BCE

  • The first humans arrive in New Guinea.
  • Homo neanderthalensis is probably extinct.
  • The Upper Paleolithic Aurignacian culture carves the Venus of Hohle Fels and the Lion Man of Hohlenstein-Stadel from mammoth tusks (Germany).

    The Venus of Hohle Fels is the earliest known representation of a human being.

33,000 BCE

  • Earliest evidence of the domestication of the dog (Russia).

30,000 BCE

  • First evidence of hand woven cloth, made from flax fibers (Georgia).
  • The paintings in Chauvet Cave are made (France).

    Paintings of horses and a rhino in the Chauvet Cave.

28,000 BCE

  • The Venus of Willendorf figurine is made by the Upper Paleolithic Gravettian culture (Austria).

    A view of the Venus of Willendorf figurine.

25,000 BCE

  • Humans bury a dog with a mammoth bone placed in its mouth (Czech Republic).

    Archaeologists discovered the remains of this dog buried with a mammoth bone in its mouth at a human settlement in the Czech Republic that dates to 22,000-25,000 BCE.

24,000 BCE

  • The Upper Paleolithic Gravettian culture carves the Venus of Brassempouy figurine, the first known depiction of a human face (France).

    Venus of Brassempouy is the earliest known representation of the human face.

23,000 BCE

  • Beginning of the most recent Ice Age.
  • The earliest known permanent human settlement, at Dolni Vestonice (Czech Republic).
  • The Upper Paleolithic Gravettian culture carves the Venus of Laussel (France).
  • The Venus of Kostenki figurine is made by the Upper Paleolithic Gravettian culture. (Ukraine).

    The Venus of Kostenki figurine.

20,000 BCE

  • Greatest extent of glaciation during the most recent Ice Age.

    Extent of glaciation and exposed land during the last Ice Age.

  • Earliest known pottery vessels (China).

18,000 BCE

  • Possible start of human migration into North America across the Bering Land Bridge.
  • The Upper Paleolithic Magdalenean culture carves a likeness of a bison onto a spear thrower made out of a reindeer antler (France).

    The partial spear thrower known as Bison Licking Insect Bite.

15,000 BCE

  • Humans begin making composite tools, such as blades fastened to a stone or wooden shaft.
  • An artist sculpts two bison out of clay in Le Tuc d’Audoubert cave (France).
  • Paintings in Lascaux Caves (France).

    Paintings in the Lascaux Caves, including a human figure next to a dying bison.

13,000 BCE

  • End of the most recent Ice Age.
  • The Altamira Cave paintings (Spain).

    A bison on the ceiling of the Altamira Cave.

11,000 BCE

  • Humans living in Franchthi Cave are eating lentils, vetch and pistachios (Greece).
  • At Abu Hureyra, humans are cultivating rye (Syria).

9600 BCE

  • Founding of a permanent settlement at Jericho (Palestine).

9500 BCE

  • Humans are cultivating emmer and einkorn wheat, barley, peas, lentils, bitter vetch, chick peas and flax at various locations in the Levant (Syria, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Jordan, Cyprus and Turkey).
  • A hunter-gatherer community constructs the temple-shrine at Göbekli Tepe (Turkey).

    The excavation site at Göbekli Tepe, in Turkey.

9400 BCE

  • Jericho now consists of 70 dwellings, a stone wall and a tower (Palestine).

    A view of the remains of the earliest wall/tower at Jericho.

9100 BCE

  • Farmers at Klimonas build a permanent agrarian settlement with mud-brick buildings for agricultural storage (Cyprus).

9000 BCE

  • Oldest surviving wooden bows (Denmark).

    A German bow used by the Holmegaard culture that dates to 9000 BCE.

  • Domestication of sheep in several locations in central and southwest Asia.

8820 BCE

  • A permanent settlement begins at Amesbury (UK: England).

8700 BCE

  • A copper pendant made at this time is the first evidence of metalworking (Iraq).

8000 BCE

  • Agriculture is well-established along the banks of the Nile (Egypt).
  • Domestication of goats (Iran).
  • Domestication of pigs (Near East; China; Germany).
  • Domestication of squash (Mexico).

7500 BCE

  • Domestication of cats (Cyprus; Near East).

7000 BCE

  • Agriculture is well-established in Mesopotamia (Iraq).
  • Franchthi Cave dwellers have domesticated emmer wheat, barley, sheep and goats (Greece).
  • Between 5,000 and 7,000 people live in the settlement at Çatal Hüyük (Turkey).

    A view of the archaeological excavations at Çatalhöyük.

  • Woven linen cloth is being made in Çatal Hüyük (Turkey).
  • Domestication of cattle in North Africa, India and Mesopotamia.

6500 BCE

  • Agriculture using irrigation begins in Mesopotamia and Egypt.

6000 BCE

  • A fortified settlement is established at Erbil in Mesopotamia (Iraq).
  • Earliest evidence of winemaking (Georgia).
  • Domestication of chickens (India; Southeast Asia).
  • Domestication of llamas (Peru).
  • The Seated Woman of Çatal Hüyük figurine is made (Turkey).

    The Seated Woman of Çatal Hüyük (the head and right arm rest are restorations).

5500 BCE

  • First evidence of sailing boats (Kuwait).
  • First evidence of copper smelting (Serbia).

5000 BCE

  • A permanent settlement is founded at Argos (Greece).
  • Invention of the ard plow in Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley (Iraq; Pakistan).
  • Oldest traces of beer brewing (Iran).
  • Oldest evidence of rowing oars (China).
  • Domestication of maize (Mexico).
  • Woven flax cloth is made at Fayum (Egypt).
  • Rice and sorghum are domesticated in Africa’s Sahel region.
  • The Sitting Woman and Thinker of Cernavoda figurines are made by the Hamangia culture (Romania).

    The Thinker of Cernavoda (left) and Woman of Hamangia, from Romania.

4500 BCE

  • First evidence of bronze making, using copper and tin (Serbia).

4400 BCE

  • Invention of the two-beamed horizontal loom (Egypt).

4000 BCE

  • The first wheeled vehicles appear in Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and the Northern Caucasus.
  • Domestication of the horse (Ukraine; Kazakhstan).

3800 BCE

  • The Sumerians found the city of Ur (Iraq).

    The ruins of the City of Ur.

3761 BCE

  • The earliest date in the Jewish calendar, representing the year before the creation of the world (Anno Mundi).

3700 BCE

  • First evidence of agricultural field systems and stone walls (Ireland).

3650 BCE

  • The Minoan culture begins on Crete.

3500 BCE

  • The potter’s wheel is invented in Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley (Iraq; Pakistan).
  • Glassmaking begins in Mesopotamia and Egypt.

3400 BCE

  • The first forged bronze nails (Egypt).

3300 BCE

  • The Bronze Age begins in the Near East.

3200 BCE

  • Neolithic farmers construct the Newgrange monument with stone tools (Ireland).

    An aerial view of Newgrange.

  • The first writing systems appear in Mesopotamia (cuneiform), Egypt (hieroglyphics) and the Indus Valley (Indus Script).

    An inscription on a clay tablet written in the archaic cuneiform script and dating to c. 26th Century BCE.

3100 BCE

  • Menes or Narmer (possibly the same person) unites Upper and Lower Egypt.

3000 BCE

  • First evidence of ox-drawn plows (Egypt).
  • Smelting of iron ore to make wrought iron begins (Middle East).
  • The Jomon culture begins making flame-style ceramic vessels (Japan).

    A flame-style vessel made by the Jomon culture in about 2500 BCE.

2700 BCE

  • The Old Kingdom begins in Egypt.
  • The Sumerians invent the first abacus counting machine (Iraq).
  • The Indus Valley culture is using seals carved with pictographic symbols in commercial transactions (Pakistan; India).

    Seals found at the Indus Valley city of Mohenjo-Daro.

2650 BCE

  • Egyptian architect, engineer and physician Imhotep is born.

2630 BCE

  • Imhotep begins constructing the Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqquara (Egypt).

    The Step Pyramid of Djoser.

2609 BCE

  • Khufu is born in Egypt.

2600 BCE

  • Dwellings in the Indus Valley cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa have flush toilets connected to a sophisticated sewage system (Pakistan).
  • The Sumerians create the earliest known works of literature (Iraq).
  • The mosaic-decorated Standard of Ur is made in Sumeria (Iraq).

    The Standard of Ur.

  • Construction of the stone circle at Stonehenge begins (UK: England).

    Stonehenge from the air.

  • Death of Imhotep.

2589 BCE

  • Khufu becomes the second pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty in the Old Kingdom (Egypt).
  • Building of the Great Pyramid of Giza begins (Egypt).

    The Great Pyramid at Giza, Egypt was built as the tomb of Fourth Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu.

2566 BCE

  • Death of Pharaoh Khufu (Egypt).

2558 BCE

  • The life-sized Statue of Khafre (Khafre Enthroned), the fourth Pharaoh of the Fourth Dynasty in the Old Kingdom, is carved (Egypt).

    Khafre Enthroned is carved from anorthosite gneiss.

2532 BCE

  • The Great Sphinx of Giza is completed (Egypt).

    The Great Sphinx of Giza.

2400 BCE

  • Earliest surviving parchment documents, made of leather (Egypt).
  • bronze head that may represent Sargon or his grandson Naram-Sin is made in the Akkadian Empire (Iraq).

    A carved Akkadian head, possibly of Sargon.

2350 BCE

  • The Victory Stele of Akkadian Emperor Naram-Sin is carved (Iraq).

    The Victory Stele of Naram-Sin.

2300 BCE

  • Invention of the iron plow (China).

2100 BCE

  • Sumerian King Ur-Nammu issues the earliest known law code (the Code of Ur-Nammu) and builds the Ziggurat of Ur (Iraq).

2000 BCE

  • Oldest known steel artifact (Turkey).
  • First wooden pin lock (Egypt).
  • The first spoke-wheeled chariots appear (Russia; Kazakhstan).
  • Work begins on Karnak Temple Complex at Luxor (Egypt).

    A view of the Karnak Temple complex in Luxor, Egypt.

  • Frescoes are painted in the Minoan city of Akrotiri on the island of Thera (Greece).

    The Spring fresco at Akroktiri.

  • The oldest known version of the Epic of Gilgamesh, an epic poem written in Sumerian cuneiform (Iraq).

1900 BCE

  • The Myceneans arrive in Greece from the north.

1792 BCE

  • Hammurabi becomes king of the Babylonian Empire (Iraq).

1754 BCE

  • Babylonian King Hammurabi issues his code of 282 laws (Iraq).

    The Code of Hammurabi is engraved on an eight-foot tall diorite stele, with a portrait of the king receiving the laws from Shamash, the sun god.

1750 BCE

  • Death of Hammurabi, king of Babylon (Iraq).

1720 BCE

  • The Hyksos invade Egypt and rule for 150 years.

1700 BCE

  • Minoan palaces on Crete are destroyed.

1600 BCE

  • The Hittite civilization based in Anatolia is the dominant force in the eastern Mediterranean region (Turkey).
  • The Chinese writing system is fully developed.
  • Making of you vessels begins (China).

    Hu Shi Ren You (“You depicting a tiger trying to devour a man”) from the late Shang Dynasty (c. 1100 BCE) is now at the Cernushi Museum in Paris.

1595 BCE

  • The Hittites and Kassites attack and defeat Babylonia (Iraq).

1580 BCE

  • Pharaoh Ahmose drives the Hyksos out of Egypt and establishes the New Kingdom.

1540 BCE

  • Egypt under Ahmose subjugates the Nubians (Sudan).

1500 BCE

  • The Aryans of Central Asia invade and overcome the weakened Indus Valley civilization (Pakistan).
  • The Olmecs begin to carve sculptures of colossal heads (Mexico).

    Two Olmec colossal heads located at the Museo de Antropología de Xalapa in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico.

1479 BCE

  • Egyptian forces under Thutmose III defeat an army of Canaanites (led by the king of Kadesh) at the Battle of Megiddo. (Israel).

1400 BCE

  • The Olmecs dominate Mesoamerica (Mexico).
  • The Ugarits invent the first alphabet (Syria).

1375 BCE

  • Akhenaten IV becomes Egyptian pharaoh and imposes monotheism (Egypt).

1353 BCE

  • Relief sculpture of Ahkenaten and his Family (Egypt).

    Relief sculpture of Akhenaten, his queen Nefertiti, and their children, sitting under the rays of the one god, Ra.

1350 BCE

  • The tomb of the scribe Nebamun is built and decorated in Thebes (Egypt).

    Nebamun Hunting Fowl, a tomb painting, shows the scribe and his family enjoying the afterlife.

1345 BCE

  • The Bust of Queen Nefertiti is made in Thutmose’s Amarna workshop (Egypt).

    The Bust of Queen Nefertiti may have been a sculptor’s model used to produce multiple likenesses of the queen.

1323 BCE

  • The 18-year-old Pharaoh Tutankhamun, wearing his funerary mask, is buried inside three coffins in a tomb in the Valley of the Kings (Egypt).

    The Funerary Mask of Tutankhamun was intended to help his ‘ka’ or spirit reunite with his body in the afterlife.

1303 BCE

  • Birth of Ramesses II in Egypt.

1279 BCE

  • Ramesses II the Great becomes the third pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty in the New Kingdom (Egypt).

    Four giant statues of Ramesses II greeted visitors to the temple built by the pharaoh at Abu Simbel.

1274 BCE

  • The Egyptians under Ramesses II defeat the Hittites under Muwatalli II in the Battle of Kadesh (Syria).

1258 BCE

  • Ramesses II and Hattusili III sign a peace treaty between Egypt and the Hittites in Kadesh (Syria).

1213 BCE

  • Death of Ramesses II (Egypt).

1200 BCE

  • The Hallstatt culture dominates central Europe (Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Switzerland).

    A map of the Hallstatt culture in Central Europe.

    A map of the Hallstatt culture in Central Europe.

  • End of the Bronze Age in South Asia and the Near East.
  • The Iron Age begins in the Near East, India and Europe.

1184 BCE

  • The Greeks capture Troy, marking the end of the Trojan War (Turkey).

1180 BCE

  • End of the Hittite empire (Turkey).

1175 BCE

  • Egyptian forces led by Pharaoh Ramesses III defeat the invading Sea Peoples on land (at the Battle of Djahy) and at sea (at the Battle of the Delta) (Egypt).

    A relief sculpture from the Mortuary Temple of Ramesses III in Luxor depicts a warship of the Sea Peoples during the Battle of the Delta.

1130 BCE

  • The destruction of Mycenae signals the end of the Mycenaean Greek civilization (Greece).

1100 BCE

  • Date of legendary Dorian invasion of Greece (Greece).

1090 BCE

  • The Nubian Kingdom of Kush achieves independence from Egypt (Sudan).

1050 BCE

  • The Phoenician alphabet – the basis for most later alphabets – is established (Lebanon, Syria).

    The Phoenician alphabet and the alphabets derived from it.

1046 BCE

  • King Wu defeats the Shang Dynasty and establishes the Zhou Dynasty (China).

1010 BCE

  • According to the Bible, David, king of Israel and Judah, captures the Jebusite fortress of Jerusalem and makes it his new capital (Israel; Palestine).

1000 BCE

  • The I Ching is written in Early Old Chinese (China).

962 BCE

  • According to the Bible, King Solomon builds the First Temple in Jerusalem (Israel; Palestine).

900 BCE

  • The Chavín civilization is established in the northern Andean highlands of Peru.
  • The Cascajal Block, possible evidence of an Olmec writing system, is inscribed (Mexico).

    The Cascajal Block (left) and a graphic depiction of the signs carved on it.

814 BCE

  • The Phoenicians establish a settlement at Carthage (Tunisia).

776 BCE

  • The first Olympic Games are held at Olympia (Greece).

753 BCE

  • Legendary date of founding of Rome by Romulus and Remus (Italy).

745 BCE

  • Tiglath-Pileser III establishes the Assyrian Empire (Iraq).

    This relief sculpture of Tiglath-Pileser III from the walls of his palace is now in the British Museum in London.

725 BCE

  • The Iliad, an epic poem attributed to Homer, is written down in Ancient Greek (Greece).

722 BCE

  • The Assyrians conquer Israel and take thousands of Israelites into slavery (Israel).

710 BCE

  • Assyrian King Sargon II begins building a new capital at Dur-Sharrukin, with entrances protected by winged human-headed bulls or lamassu (Iraq).

    One of Sargon’s lamassu, now at the Louvre in Paris.

700 BCE

  • Shintoism develops in Japan.
  • First lock and key that requires a keyhole (Greece).
  • The first umbrellas are used to provide shade from the sun (Assyria).

    This bas relief from 700 BCE depicts Assyrian King Ashurbanipal under an umbrella.

  • Archimedes’ Screw is invented, long before Archimedes is born (Greece).
  • The Odyssey, an epic poem attributed to Homer, is written down in Ancient Greek (Greece).

668 BCE

  • The Assyrians under King Ashurbanipal conquer Egypt.

660 BCE

  • Accession of Jimmu, legendary first Japanese Emperor (Japan).

650 BCE

  • A Babylonian revolt against Assyria results in the Assyrian destruction of Babylon (Iraq).

645 BCE

  • The Lion Hunt Frieze of Assyrian King Ashurbanipal is carved on the walls of the North Palace in Nineveh (Iraq).

    In a section of the Lion Hunt Frieze, King Ashurbanipal engages a lion in hand-to-paw combat.

630 BCE

  • Sparta puts down the 20-year revolt of the Messinians, led by Aristomenes (Greece).

624 BCE

  • Lao Tzu (Laozi) writes the Tao Te Ching, the founding document of Taoism (China).

    Song Dynasty stone sculpture of Laozi at the foot of Mount Qingyuan (960-1279 CE).

621 BCE

  • Draco drafts the first Athenian constitution (Greece).

621 BCE

  • Lyric poet Sappho is born on the island of Lesbos, Greece.

612 BCE

  • The conquest of Nineveh by an alliance of Babylonians, Medes and Scythians leads to the fall of the Assyrian Empire.
  • The Medes begin to establish an empire (Iran).

609 BCE

  • The Kingdom of Judah, under Josiah, defeats the Egyptians, under Necho II, at the Battle of Megiddo, but Josiah is killed in battle (Israel; Palestine).

605 BCE

  • The Babylonians, under Nebuchadnezzar II, defeat the Egyptians, under Necho II, at the Battle of Carchemish (Turkey; Syria).

604 BCE

  • Sappho is exiled to the Greek colony on Sicily for 10 years during political disturbances on Lesbos (Italy).

    This bust of Sappho, now in the Musei Capitolini in Rome, is a Roman copy of a 5th Century BCE Greek original.

600 BCE

  • The 16 Maha Janapadas (“great kingdoms”) arise in India.
  • Zoroastrianism becomes formalized as a monotheistic religion (Iran).
  • The crossbow is invented (China).
  • The Zapotec culture develops a writing system (Mexico).
  • Greek sculptors begin carving large free-standing nude statues of kouros (boys) in a semi-realistic style.

    Kouros Boy sculpture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

  • The Classic of Poetry (Book of Odes), an anthology, is published (China).
  • Aesop’s Fables are written down in Ancient Greek (Greece).
  • Birth of Cyrus the Great in Persia (now Iran).

594 BCE

  • Solon begins legal reforms in Athens (Greece).

586 BCE

  • The Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar II take Jerusalem, destroy Solomon’s Temple and force many Jews into exile in Babylon (Israel; Iraq).

575 BCE

  • Nebuchadnezzar II builds the Ishtar Gate in Babylon (Iraq).

    The reconstructed and reduced-scale Ishtar Gate at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

570 BCE

  • Death of Sappho (Greece).
  • Pythagoras is born in Samos, Greece.

563 BCE

  • Birth of Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) in Nepal.

559 BCE

  • Cyrus the Great becomes Achaemenid King of Anshan, a Persian vassal state under the Medes (Iran).

    A bust of Cyrus the Great.

  • The Avesta, the central text of Zoroastrianism, is written down in Avestan (Iran).

558 BCE

  • Birth of Darius the Great in Persia (now Iran).

551 BCE

  • Birth of Confucius in China.

550 BCE

  • After four years of rebellion, Cyrus the Great overthrows the Medes and establishes the Persian Empire (Iran).

539 BCE

  • Cyrus the Great of Persia conquers the Babylonian Empire and frees the Jews, who return to Jerusalem (Iraq).cyrus conquests

535 BCE

  • According to legend, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus becomes the seventh and final King of Rome (Italy).

534 BCE

  • According to legend, Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha) abandons his life as a prince to lead the life of a mendicant (Nepal).

532 BCE

  • Earliest reference to theater in Athens, which would have included the choros, a circular dance, and frenzied Dionysian dances (Greece).

530 BCE

  • Pythagoras establishes a religious sect in the Greek colony at Croton that pursues his philosophical, mathematical and musical theories (Italy).

    Bust of Pythagoras from Musei Capitolini, Rome. Marble Roman copy of a 5th Century BCE Greek bronze original.

  • Death of Cyrus the Great of Persia (Iran).

525 BCE

  • The Persians under Cambyses II conquer Egypt.

521 BCE

  • Darius I becomes leader of the Persian Empire (Iran).

515 BCE

  • The Euphronios Krater, a terracotta bowl depicting the death of Sarpedon in the Trojan War, is made by potter Euxitheos and painted by Euphronios (Greece).

    The Euphronios krater.

  • Darius begins building the city of Persepolis, which will serve as the Persian capital during the Achaemenid Dynasty. (Iran).

    The ruins of Persepolis.

512 BCE

  • The Persian Empire reaches its greatest extent (Iran).persian empire

509 BCE

  • According to legend, the rape of noblewoman Lucretia by the son of Roman king Lucius Tarquinius Superbus and her subsequent suicide leads to a popular uprising, the overthrow of the monarchy and the establishment of the Roman Republic (Italy).

508 BCE

  • Athens adopts democratic government under Cleisthenes (Greece).

500 BCE

  • The Nok culture thrives (Nigeria).

    Terracotta sculpture of a Seated Dignitary, make by the Nok culture.

  • The Jains propose that all matter is made of tiny particles (atomism) (India).
  • The temples at the Greek colony at Paestum (now Campania) are completed (Italy).

    The ruins of Greek temples at Paestum in what is now Italy.

  • Invention of the moldboard plow (China).
  • The Chinese discover a method for making cast iron.
  • Traditional date of Sun Tzu’s Art of War (China).

499 BCE

  • The Greek Ionian city-states in Asia Minor, led by Aristagoras of Miletus, rebel against Persian rule (Turkey).

498 BCE

  • Pindar begins writing his Victory Odes in Ancient Greek (Greece).

    A Roman copy of a 5th Century BCE Greek bust of Pindar, now located at the Museo Archeologica Nazionale in Naples.

495 BCE

  • Pythagoras dies.
  • Birth of Pericles in Athens, Greece.

490 BCE

  • The Greek city-states stop the Persian invasion at the Battle of Marathon (Greece).

486 BCE

  • Death of Darius the Great (Iran).

483 BCE

  • Death of the Buddha (India).

480 BCE

  • After losing to the Persians under Xerxes at Thermopylae, the Greek navy defeats the Persian fleet at the Battle of Salamis (Greece).
  • Greek sculpture enters the Early Classical phase with the Kritios Boy.

    The Kritos Boy.

  • Birth of Athenian playwright Euripides in Salamis, Greece.

479 BCE

  • The Greeks defeat the Persians at the Battle of Plataea (Greece).
  • The Analects of Confucius, the basis of Confucianism, is written (China).

    Tang Dynasty painting of Confucius by Wu Daozi.

  • Death of Confucius.

475 BCE

  • The Zhou Dynasty wanes and the Warring States period begins (China).

470 BCE

  • Birth of Socrates in Athens, Greece.

464 BCE

  • An earthquake in Sparta, Greece kills c. 20,000.

461 BCE

  • After the expulsion of Cimon and the murder of Ephialtes by the oligarchs, Pericles becomes the unchallenged leader of Athens (Greece).

    Bust of Pericles in the Museo Pio Clementino, Vatican City. It is a Roman-made marble copy of a Greek original by Cresilas dating from around 430 BCE.

460 BCE

  • A bronze statue of Zeus or Poseidon (the Artemision Bronze) is created (Greece).

    The Artemision Bronze.

  • Greek sculptor Myron creates the bronze original of The Discus Thrower.
  • The Riace Bronzes, two bronze statues of warriors, are created (Greece).

    A pair of bronze statues of warriors was found near Riace, Italy.

  • Hippocrates is born in Kos, Greece.
  • Democritus is born in Abdera, Greece.

458 BCE

  • The Oresteia Trilogy, plays by Athenian playwright Aeschylus, is written and performed in Ancient Greek (Greece).

450 BCE

  • Hallstatt culture evolves into La Tène culture, which then spreads through much of Europe (Belgium, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania).
  • Celtic artisans create the Basse-Yutz flagons (France).

    The top portion of one of a pair of flagons found at Basse-Yutz.

  • Oedipus the King, a play by Athenian playwright Sophocles, is written and performed in Ancient Greek (Greece).

447 BCE

  • Phidias creates a 38-foot-tall statue of Athena for the Parthenon in Athens (Greece).


441 BCE

  • Antigone, a play by Sophocles, is written and performed in Ancient Greek (Greece).
  • The Histories, by Herodotus, is written in Ancient Greek (Greece).

440 BCE

  • Leucippus and Democritus develop a theory of atomism (Greece).

435 BCE

  • Phidias creates a 42-foot-tall Statue of Zeus at the Temple of Zeus in Olympia; a sculpture of ivory plates and gold panels over a wooden framework, it shows the god sitting on a cedar wood throne decorated with ebony, ivory, gold and precious stones.  It was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (Greece).

432 BCE

  • The Parthenon is built on the Acropolis in Athens.  Sculptor Phidias oversees the artwork, including the Parthenon Frieze (Greece).

    The Parthenon was a temple to Athena, the patron goddess of Athens, and is a prime example of the Doric architectural order.

431 BCE

  • Start of the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens (Greece).
  • Medea, a play by Euripides, is written and performed in Ancient Greek (Greece).

430 BCE

  • A plague hits Athens during the Peloponnesian War, killing up to 25% of the population over the next three years (Greece).

429 BCE

  • Death of Athenian leader Pericles (Greece).

427 BCE

  • Birth of Plato in Athens, Greece.

425 BCE

  • Invention of the catapult (Greece).

413 BCE

  • Sparta emerges victorious from the two-year-long Sicilian campaign and siege of Syracuse by the Athenians in the Peloponnesian War (Italy).

411 BCE

  • Lysistrata, a comic play by Athenian playwright Aristophanes, is written and performed in Ancient Greek (Greece).

410 BCE

  • Several of the medical treatises that make up the Hippocratic Corpus are written (in Ancient Greek), possibly by Hippocrates of Kos. (Greece).

    A replica of a Greek bust of Hippocrates from about 150 CE.

406 BCE

  • Death of Euripides (Greece).

405 BCE

  • The Erechtheion, dedicated to Athena and Poseidon, is built on the Acropolis in Athens (Greece).

    The ruins of the Erechtheion on the Acropolis.

  • First performance of The Bacchae, a play by Euripides, written in Ancient Greek (Greece).

404 BCE

  • Sparta captures Athens, ending the Peloponnesian War (Greece).

400 BCE

  • The Birds, a play by Aristophanes, is written and performed in Ancient Greek (Greece).
  • The Peloponnesian War, by Athenian historian Thucydides, is written in Ancient Greek (Greece).
  • The Bhagavad-Gita is written in Sanskrit (India).

399 BCE

  • Plato writes the Apology and the Crito in Ancient Greek (Greece).

    A marble bust of Plato.

  • The trial and execution of Socrates in Athens for impiety and corrupting the minds of the youth (Greece).

387 BCE

  • The Celts sack Rome (Italy).
  • Plato founds the Academy in Athens and writes the Meno in Ancient Greek (Greece).

384 BCE

  • Aristotle is born in Chalkidiki, Greece.

380 BCE

  • Plato writes his philosophical dialogues The Republic, The Symposium and the Phaedo in Ancient Greek (Greece).

371 BCE

  • Thebes, led by Epanimondas, defeats Sparta at the Battle of Leuctra (Greece).

370 BCE

  • Lysippos creates a bronze statue of Heracles, which is now lost; a marble copy by Glykon is called the Farnese Hercules (Greece).

    The Farnese Hercules is a Roman copy of a lost Greek original.

  • Hippocrates dies.
  • Democritus dies.

356 BCE

  • Birth of Alexander the Great in Macedonia (now Greece).

350 BCE

  • The Mausoleum of Helicarnassus – the tomb of Mausolus, a satrap in the Persian Empire, and Artemisia II of Caria, his wife-sister – is completed. (Turkey).

    Detail of the Amazonomachy, a frieze carved on the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.

  • A Greek sculptor, possibly Praxiteles, carves the marble statues Hermes and the Infant Dionysus and Aphrodite of Cnidus, both of which are lost and known only from Roman copies (Greece).

    The Venus Colonna, in the Vatican Museums, is considered the most faithful Roman copy of the lost Greek Aphrodite of Cnidus.

  • Leochares carves a bronze statue of Apollo, which is now lost; the Apollo Belvedere is a Roman copy (Greece).

    The Apollo Belvedere is a 2nd Century CE Roman marble copy of Leochares’ lost bronze original.

  • The Recognition of Sakuntala, a play by Kalidasa, is written in Sanskrit (India).

347 BCE

  • Aristotle founds the Lyceum in Athens (Greece).
  • Death of Athenian philosopher Plato (Greece).

345 BCE

  • Mahapadma Nanda founds the Nanda Dynasty and begins building the Nanda Empire (India).

343 BCE

  • Aristotle begins a three-year position tutoring Alexander (the Great), son of King Philip of Macedonia (Greece).

340 BCE

  • The bronze Marathon Boy is created (Greece).

    The bronze Marathon Boy was found in the Bay of Marathon in the Aegean Sea in 1925.

338 BCE

  • Philip II of Macedon defeats an alliance of Greek city-states, including Athens and Thebes, at the Battle of Chaeronea, resulting in Macedonian hegemony in Greece.

336 BCE

  • Alexander the Great becomes King of Macedonia (Greece).

335 BCE

  • Between 335 and 322 BCE, Aristotle writes Poetics, Nicomachean Ethics, Physics, Politics, Rhetoric, Metaphysics and On the Soul in Ancient Greek (Greece).

    This marble bust of Aristotle is a Roman copy of a Greek bronze original by Lysippos, c. 330 BCE. The alabaster mantle is a more recent addition.

333 BCE

  • Alexander the Great defeats the Persians under Darius III at the Battle of Issus, although Darius escapes (Turkey).

331 BCE

  • Alexander the Great defeats Darius III at the Battle of Gaugamela and occupies Persia (Iraq).alexander empire

326 BCE

  • Alexander the Great defeats King Porus of the Punjab in the Battle of the Hydaspes (India).

325 BCE

  • The Nanda Empire reaches its greatest extent, under Dhana Nanda (India).

    A map of the Nanda Empire at its greatest extent.

    A map of the Nanda Empire at its greatest extent.

323 BCE

  • Death of Alexander the Great in Babylon (Iraq).

322 BCE

  • Chandragupta Maurya overthrows the Nanda Dynasty and founds the Mauryan Empire (India).
  • Aristotle dies.

304 BCE

  • Birth of Ashoka Maurya in Pataliputra, Patna (now India).

300 BCE

  • Earliest known inscription in the Mayan language (Mexico).
  • Construction begins on the Great Pyramid of Cholula (Mexico).

    The remains of the Great Pyramid of Cholula.

  • First known watermill (Greece).
  • Euclid’s Elements, a 13-volume work on geometry, is written in Ancient Greek (Egypt).
  • The epic Sanskrit poem the Mahabharata reaches its modern form (India).
  • Vishnu Sharma’s work of fiction and poetry Panchatantra is written in Sanskrit (India).

287 BCE

  • Archimedes is born in Syracuse, Sicily, Magna Graecia (now Italy).

285 BCE

  • The first true lock is built in the Canal of the Pharoahs between the Nile and the Red Sea (Egypt).

280 BCE

  • Chares of Lindos creates the 98-foot-tall Colossus of Rhodes, a statue of the god Helios and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, which is erected on the island of Rhodes (Greece).
  • At 393-450 feet tall, the Lighthouse of Alexandria is the tallest man-made structure and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World (Egypt).

273 BCE

  • Ashoka the Great becomes leader of the Mauryan Empire (India).

    This relief sculpture depicting Ashoka the Great (left) and dating to the 1st or 2nd Century CE was recently unearthed at Gulbarga stupa in the village of Kanganahalli in southern India.

265 BCE

  • The Mauryan Empire reaches its greatest extent (India; Pakistan; Bangladesh).

    A map of the Mauryan Empire at its greatest extent.

    A map of the Mauryan Empire at its greatest extent.

259 BCE

  • Birth of Qin Shi Huang in Handan, China.

250 BCE

  • Archimedes publishes On the Equilibrium of Planes (explaining the law of the lever), On the Measurement of a Circle (estimating π), and On Floating Bodies (explaining the principle of buoyancy), written in Ancient Greek (Italy).
  • The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is completed (Turkey).

    Visitors to Miniatürk, a Turkish miniature park, can see a 1/25th scale model of what the Temple of Artemis may have looked like before it was destroyed in 401 CE.

  • Ashoka the Great begins erecting stone pillars, some with carved animal capitals, at important Buddhist sites (India).

    The Lion Capital of Ashoka.

238 BCE

  • The Roman Republic annexes Sardinia and Corsica.

232 BCE

  • Death of Mauryan Emperor Ashoka the Great (India).

230 BCE

  • Dying Gaul, a bronze sculpture, is created in Greece.

    A Roman marble copy of the original bronze Dying Gaul is located in the Capitoline Museums in Rome. (Photo by Jean Pol Gradmont.)

226 BCE

  • An earthquake in Rhodes, Greece destroys the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

221 BCE

  • Emperor Qin Shi Huang defeats the other Warring States and unites China for the first time, establishing the Qin Dynasty.

    A painting of Qin Shi Huang.

216 BCE

  • The Carthaginians, led by Hannibal, defeat the Romans, led by Lucius Aemilius Paullus and Gaius Terentius Varro, at the Battle of Cannae in the Second Punic War (Italy).

212 BCE

  • Archimedes dies.

210 BCE

  • Death of Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

208 BCE

  • The Terracotta Army is buried with Emperor Qin Shi Huang (China).

    Some of the life-sized warriors of the Terracotta Army.

207 BCE

  • A Roman army under Marcus Livius and Claudius Nero defeats Carthage, led by Hasdrubal Barca, at the Battle of the Metaurus River in the Second Punic War (Italy).

206 BCE

  • The Han Dynasty begins (China).
  • Completion of the first Great Wall of China, which was begun under Emperor Qin Shi Huang.

    A map of the Great Wall of China, showing various periods of construction and reconstruction.

202 BCE

  • The Romans under Scipio Africanus defeat Carthage, led by Hannibal, at the Battle of Zama, ending the Second Punic War (Tunisia).

200 BCE

  • The City of Petra is founded (Jordan).

    The Treasury building (Al Khazneh) in Petra was built about 1 CE.

  • Apollonius of Perga writes On Conic Sections, a mathematical treatise, in Ancient Greek (Greece).
  • Invention of paper (China).
  • Invention of the first modern treed saddle (China).
  • Winged Victory of Samothrace and The Three Graces are carved in Greece.

    The damaged statue of Winged Victory, also known as Nike of Samothrace, is now in the Louvre.

  • The Nazca culture begins to draw huge figures of animals, plants, geometric figures and straight lines in the Nazca desert (Peru).

    The Nazca people created enormous drawings in the desert, including this spider.

190 BCE

  • Hipparchus of Nicaea is born in Iznik, Bithynia (now Turkey).

180 BCE

  • The Pergamon Altar is built by King Eumenes II in Asia Minor (Turkey).

    The Pergamon Altar is now located at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin, Germany.

168 BCE

  • The third Macedonian War ends when the Romans under Consul Aemilius defeat the Macedonians at the Battle of Pydna (Greece).

160 BCE

  • The Kingdom of Judea, led by Judas Maccabeus, achieves independence from the Seleucid Persians (Israel; Palestine).

150 BCE

  • The astrolabe is invented, possibly by Hipparchus of Nicaea (Greece).

146 BCE

  • Roman armies conquer Greece.
  • Rome captures and destroys Carthage after a three-year siege (Tunisia).

133 BCE

  • The Roman conquest of Iberia is complete (Spain; Portugal).

    A map of the conquests of the Roman Republic by 100 BCE.

    A map of the conquests of the Roman Republic by 100 BCE.

120 BCE

  • Hipparchus of Nicaea dies.

109 BCE

  • Sima Qian publishes Records of the Grand Historian, a historical chronicle (China).

100 BCE

  • Mesoamericans establish the city of Teotihuacan (Mexico).
  • The Romans invent the warded lock (Italy).
  • Glassblowing is invented (Syria, Lebanon, Israel).
  • The silver Gundestrup Cauldron is made, possibly by the Thracians (Denmark).

    The Gundestrup Cauldron.

  • Alexandros of Antioch sculpts a marble statue of Aphrodite, now known as the Venus de Milo. (Greece).

    Venus de Milo.

  • The most recent books of the Old Testament are written (Palestine, Israel).
  • Birth of Julius Caesar in Rome (Italy).

82 BCE

  • Sulla is elected dictator of Rome and begins a brutal repression of his opponents (Italy).

73 BCE

  • Spartacus, a Thracian-born gladiator, leads a slave revolt against Rome (Italy).

    An 1830 marble sculpture of Spartacus by Denis Foyatier, now at the Louvre in Paris.

71 BCE

  • A Roman army led by Praetor Crassus puts down the Spartacus-led slave revolt (Italy).

70 BCE

  • Birth of Roman poet Publius Vergilius Maro (Virgil) in Andes, Cisalpine Gaul, Roman Republic (now Italy).

69 BCE

  • Birth of Cleopatra in Alexandria, Egypt.

65 BCE

  • The Romans, under Pompey, defeat Mithridates VI of Pontus in Anatolia (Turkey),

63 BCE

  • Pompey conquers Jerusalem and makes Judea a Roman province (Israel; Palestine).
  • Birth of Gaius Octavius (Octavian, later Augustus) in Rome (Italy).

60 BCE

  • Pompey, Marcus Crassus and Julius Caesar form the First Triumvirate to rule the Roman Republic (Italy).
  • Frescoes are painted in the Villa of the Mysteries near Pompeii (Italy).

    The frescoes in the Villa of the Mysteries may depict induction into a religious cult.

57 BCE

  • The Temple of Horus at Edfu is completed (Egypt).

    The ruins of the Temple of Horus at Edfu.

54 BCE

  • The Romans, under Julius Caesar, conquer parts of England and establish Roman rule (UK).

51 BCE

  • Peace treaty between the Han Dynasty and the Hsiung-nu of Central Asia (China).
  • Cleopatra VII Philopator begins a 21-year reign as the last pharaoh of the Ptolemaic Dynasty (Egypt).
  • Julius Caesar crushes the revolt of the Celtic Gauls, led by Vercingetorix (France).

50 BCE

  • The founding of the Three Kingdoms of Korea: Koguryo, Silla and Pakche (Korea).
  • The Romans build the aqueduct of Segovia (Spain).

    The Roman aqueduct in Segovia, Spain.

  • The Battersea Shield, a bronze sheet with La Tène style decorations that covered a wooden shield, is made by the Celts (UK).

    The Battersea Shield was discovered at the bottom of the River Thames. It may have been thrown there as a form of tribute.

  • Lucretius publishes his Latin philosophical poem, De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) (Italy).

49 BCE

  • Julius Caesar and his army defy Rome and cross the Rubicon, starting a Roman civil war (Italy)

48 BCE

  • Julius Caesar defeats Pompey the Great at the Battle of Pharsalus (Greece).

45 BCE

  • Julius Caesar defeats Pompey’s sons at the Battle of Munda, ending the civil war (Spain).
  • Julius Caesar is declared dictator for life (Italy).

    This bust of Julius Caesar in the National Archaeological Museum of Naples is a 110 CE copy of a 50 BCE original.

  • Sosigenes of Alexandria develops a 365-day, 12-month calendar with leap years, which Caesar adopts as the Julian Calendar (Italy).

44 BCE

  • Brutus, Cassius and others assassinate Julius Caesar in Rome  (Italy).

43 BCE

  • Octavian, Marcus Lepidus and Mark Antony form the Second Triumvirate and rule Rome as dictators (Italy).
  • Assassination of Cicero (Italy).

42 BCE

  • Forces of the Second Triumvirate defeat the armies of Brutus and Cassius at the Battle of Philippi in Macedonia (Greece).

40 BCE

  • Rome conquers Egypt.

31 BCE

  • Octavian’s fleet, led by Agrippa, defeats the forces of Mark Antony and Cleopatra at the Battle of Actium, ending the civil war that began with Julius Caesar’s assassination (Greece).

30 BCE

  • According to legend, Cleopatra commits suicide with an asp (Egypt).

27 BCE

  • Octavian, now Augustus, becomes the first leader of the Roman Empire and brings Pax Romana during his 41-year reign (Italy).

    The 1st Century CE statue of Augustus known as the Augustus of Prima Porta is now in the Chiaramonti Museum in Rome.

  • Livy publishes the first books of his History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita Libri), written in Latin (Italy).

19 BCE

  • Agesander, Athenodoros & Polydorus of Rhodes create the marble sculpture Laocoön and His Sons (Greece).

    Laocoon and his Sons.

    Laocoon and his Sons.

  • Virgil completes the Aeneid, an epic Latin poem about the founding of Rome (Italy).
  • Death of Virgil (Italy).

13 BCE

  • The Ara Pacis Augustae, a gift of the Roman Senate to Augustus, is completed (Italy).

    The Ara Pacis Augustae (altar of Augustan peace) in Rome.

11 BCE

  • The frescoes in the Villa of Agrippa Postumus at Boscotrecase are painted (Italy).

    Detail of fresco from Villa of Agrippa Postumus.

10 BCE

  • Herod the Great of Judea builds the city of Caesaria on the Mediterranean coast, with the first artificial harbor built in the open sea (Israel).


  • Likely date for birth of Jesus of Nazareth (Israel; Palestine).

5 CE

  • Birth of Saul of Tarsus in Cilicia, Asia Minor (now Turkey).

8 CE

  • Metamorphoses, a Latin poem by Roman poet Ovid (Italy).

    The statue of Ovid in Constanţa, Romania was created in 1887 by Italian sculptor Ettore Ferrari.

9 CE

  • Germanic tribes led by Ariminius defeat three Roman legions under Quinctilius Varnus in the Battle of Teutoburg Forest. The defeat stops the Roman advance into Germany (Germany).

25 CE

  • The bronze Flying Horse of Gansu is created (China).

    The Flying Horse of Gansu is a bronze sculpture of a horse treading on a flying sparrow with one foot.

27 CE

  • A wooden amphitheater built by Atilius at Fidenae collapses, killing 20,000 spectators (Italy).
  • Satyricon, a work of fiction, is written in Latin by Petronius (Italy).

29 CE

  • Jesus of Nazareth is crucified by the Romans (Israel; Palestine).

41 CE

    • Assassination of Roman Emperor Caligula (Italy).

48 CE

  • Flooding of the Thames River causes the deaths of 10,000 people (UK: England).

50 CE

  • The population of the Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan is now 125,000, making it the sixth largest city on Earth (Mexico).

52 CE

  • Paul the Apostle (formerly Saul of Tarsus) writes the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, the oldest document in the Christian New Testament, in Greek (Greece).

    A portrait of Paul the Apostle by Bartolomeo Montagna, from 1482. It is now in the Museo Poldi Pezzoli in Milan.

54 CE

  • Roman Emperor Claudius is murdered by his wife Agrippina so that her son Nero can become emperor (Italy).

60 CE

  • Boudica (formerly known as Boadicea), queen of the Celtic Iceni tribe, leads a British rebellion against the Romans, destroying three cities and killing 80,000 before being defeated at the Battle of Watling (UK).

    The bronze sculpture Boadicea and Her Daughters, created in 1883 by Thoomas Thornycroft, is located at the western end of Westminster Bridge in London.

66 CE

  • The province of Judea rebels against Roman rule (Israel; Palestine).

67 CE

  • Death of Paul the Apostle in Rome, possibly by execution (Italy).

68 CE

  • The Year of the Four Emperors in the Roman Empire (Italy).
  • Assassination of Roman Emperor Nero (Italy).

70 CE

  • Roman armies under Titus crush the rebellion in Judea and destroy the Temple in Jerusalem (Israel; Palestine).

77 CE

  • First evidence of metal-backed glass mirrors (Lebanon).

79 CE

  • The Mt. Vesuvius volcano erupts, burying Pompeii and Herculaneum (Italy).

    The eruption of Mt. Vesuvius killed the population of Pompeii and then buried them in ash, preserving their bodies.

80 CE

  • The Flavian Amphitheater (also known as the Colosseum) is built in Rome (Italy).

    An aerial view of the Colosseum in Rome.

90 CE

  • Claudius Ptolemy is born in Alexandria, Egypt.

98 CE

  • Trajan becomes Roman Emperor (Italy).

100 CE

  • The Moche culture is thriving (Peru).

    The Moche culture produced numerous drinking vessels bearing the portraits of their leaders.

  • First glass windows (Egypt).
  • Sumo wrestling is invented (Japan).
  • The modern version of the epic Sanskrit poem the Ramayana appears (India).

110 CE

  • Tacitus publishes the Histories, a Latin history of Rome from 69-96 CE (Italy).

113 CE

  • Trajan’s Column is erected in Rome (Italy).

    Detail of Trajan’s Column, which tells the story, in relief sculpture, of Emperor Trajan’s conquest of the Dacians.

116 CE

  • Tacitus is writing the Annals, a Latin history of Rome from 14-68 CE (Italy).

117 CE

  • The Roman Empire reaches its greatest extent (Italy).

    A map of the Roman Empire under Emperor Trajan.

    A map of the Roman Empire under Emperor Trajan.

121 CE

  • Birth of Marcus Aurelius in Ucubi, Hispanica Baetica (now Spain).

122 CE

  • The Romans build Hadrian’s Wall in northern England as a defensive fortification; the gates become customs posts for control of trade (UK).

    An extant section of Hadrian’s Wall at Greenhead Lough in northern England.

125 CE

  • Plutarch’s historical biography, Parallel Lives of the Noble Greeks and Romans, is written in Attic Greek (Greece).

126 CE

  • The Pantheon is built in Rome (Italy).

    A temple for Roman gods, the Pantheon survived destruction because it was converted to a Christian church.

129 CE

  • Galen is born in Pergamon, Asia Minor, Roman Empire (now Turkey).

132 CE

  • A Jewish revolt, led by Simon bar Kokhba, begins in the Roman province of Judea and leads to the creation of a short-lived independent state of Israel (Israel; Palestine).

135 CE

  • Roman troops crush the Bar Kokhba revolt; as punishment, Emperor Hadrian bans the practice of Judaism, forbids Jews from entering Jerusalem and replaces Judea with Syria Palestine (Israel; Palestine).

150 CE

  • The Almagest, a mathematical and astronomical treatise written in Greek by Claudius Ptolemy (Egypt).

    A depiction of Claudius Ptolemy.

160 CE

  • The Antonine Plague begins in the Roman Empire. Over the next 15 years, it will kill five million people and devastate the Roman army (Iraq; Italy; France; Germany; Armenia).

161 CE

  • Marcus Aurelius becomes Roman Emperor (Italy).

168 CE

  • Claudius Ptolemy dies.

170 CE

  • On the Natural Faculties, a medical treatise written in Greek by Galen of Pergamon (Italy).

180 CE

  • Meditations, a philosophic memoir written in Greek by Marcus Aurelius (Serbia; Italy).
  • Death of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

    Bust of Marcus Aurelius from the Glyptothek in Munich, probably from the 2nd Century CE.

184 CE

  • Start of the Revolt of the Yellow Turbans, a peasant uprising led by Taoist Zhang Jiao (China).

200 CE

  • The Mayan city of Tikal becomes a regional power (Guatemala).

205 CE

  • By this date, troops of the Han Dynasty have successfully put down the Revolt of the Yellow Turbans (China).

206 CE

  • Porcelain ceramics are invented (China).
  • The magnetic compass is invented (China).

    The first Chinese compasses used a spoon on a flat board, as shown in this reproduction.

216 CE

  • Galen dies.

224 CE

  • Persian Shah Ardashir defeats Artabanus IV, the last king of the Parthian Empire, at the Battle of Hormizdagan and begins the Sassanid Empire (Iran).

250 CE

  • Roman Emperor Decius requires all subjects to sacrifice to the Roman gods, or face death, leading to the death of Pope Fabian and other Christians (Italy).
  • Beginning of the Classic Period of Mayan civilization, marked by increased urbanization and building projects (Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador).
  • The Ludovisi Sarcophagus is made (Italy).

    Relief sculptures on the Ludovisi Sarcophagus depict a battle between the Romans and the Goths.

  • The Buddhist Amaravati Stupa in Andhra Pradesh is completed (India).

    A relief sculpture from the Amaravati Stupa showing a stupa. So meta.

257 CE

  • Pope Sixtus II and other Christians are executed during persecution by Roman Emperor Valerian (Italy).

272 CE

  • Birth of Flavius Valerius Constantinus (Constantine the Great) in Dardania, Moesia (now Serbia).

285 CE

  • Roman Emperor Diocletian names Maximian co-emperor and divides the Roman Empire into western (based at Rome) and eastern (based at Nicomedia) empires (Italy; Turkey).

    A map of Diocletian's division of the Roman Empire.

    A map of Diocletian’s division of the Roman Empire.

  • Emperor Diocletian begins the systematic persecution of Christians (Italy).

287 CE

  • Aurelius Carausius rebels against Roman rule and establishes an independent kingdom in England (UK).

296 CE

  • Roman troops led by Constantius Chlorus defeat the British rebels and reassert sovereignty (UK).

300 CE

  • The Kingdom of Axum erects the 79-foot-tall Obelisk of Axum (Ethiopia).

    The Axum Stele.

304 CE

  • Beginning of the 12-year-long Wu Hu uprising, in which five nomadic tribes overthrow the Western Jin dynasty (China).

306 CE

  • Constantine becomes Emperor over part of the Western Roman Empire (Italy).

312 CE

  • Roman co-emperor Constantine defeats his rival emperor Maxentius at the Battle of Milvian Bridge. According to legend, before the battle, Constantine the Great dreams that he will conquer in the name of the new Christian religion (Italy).
  • Constantine becomes Emperor of the entire Western Roman Empire (Italy).

313 CE

  • Emperor Constantine issues the Edict of Milan, which recognizes Christianity and proclaims religious tolerance in the Western Roman Empire (Italy).

315 CE

  • The Arch of Constantine is built in Rome (Italy).

    The Arch of Constantine was made to commemorate Emperor Constantine’s 312 CE victory at the Battle of Milvian Bridge over Maxentius.

320 CE

  • Chandragupta I founds the Gupta Dynasty (India).

324 CE

  • After defeating Licinius at the Battle of Adrianople, Constantine becomes Emperor of both Eastern and Western Roman empires (Turkey).

    A bust of Constantine the Great from the 4th Century CE. It is now in the Museo Chiaramonti, Vatican City.

325 CE

  • Constantine convenes the First Council of Nicaea, which resolves questions about the Christian faith and rejects Arianism as a heresy+ (Turkey).

330 CE

  • Byzantium (to be renamed Constantinople) becomes the capital of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire (Turkey).

337 CE

  • The death of Constantine the Great leads to the redivision of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western empires (Italy; Turkey).

354 CE

  • Birth of Augustine of Hippo in Thagaste, Roman Africa (now Algeria).

357 CE

  • The Romans under Julian drive the Franks out of Gaul at the Battle of Argentoratum (France).

365 CE

  • An earthquake causes widespread destruction in Crete and North Africa.

376 CE

  • The Huns invade the Balkans; many Ostrogoths flee; the Huns subjugate those who remain (Serbia; Croatia; Bosnia & Herzegovina).

378 CE

  • A heavily-armed band of Visigoths rises up against the Romans, defeating them and killing Byzantine Emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople (Turkey).

    This map summarizes 400 years of outside tribes invading the Roman Empire.

    This map summarizes 400 years of outside tribes invading the Roman Empire.

393 CE

  • Roman Emperor Theodosius I bans public non-Christian religious customs (Italy).

395 CE

  • Birth of Attila the Hun.

400 CE

  • Confessions, a religious memoir in Latin by Roman Catholic Bishop Augustine of Hippo (Algeria).

    This portrait of St. Augustine by Peter Paul Rubens, from 1636-1638, is now in the National Gallery of Prague.

407 CE

  • The Romans withdraw from Britain (UK).

410 CE

  • The Visigoths under Alaric sack Rome (Italy).

426 CE

  • City of God, a book about Christianity by Augustine of Hippo (Algeria).

430 CE

  • Death of Augustine of Hippo (Algeria).

431 CE

  • Debate over the meaning of Jesus’s birth and the rejection of Nestorianism at the Council of Ephesus lead to the Roman Catholic Church’s first schism and the formation of the separate Persian Church (Turkey).

439 CE

  • The Vandals under Genseric capture Carthage from the Romans and make it their capital (Tunisia).

450 CE

  • The Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan, population 150,000, is at the height of its power and influence in the region (Mexico).

    The Avenue of the Dead and, on the left, the Pyramid of the Sun, in the ruins of Teotihuacan.

451 CE

  • At the Battle of the Catalaunian Plains, a combined army of Romans and Visigoths defeat Attila the Hun (France).
  • A debate over the relationship between the divine and human natures of Jesus at the Council of Chalcedon leads to the second schism in the Roman Catholic Church and the formation of the separate Oriental Orthodox Church in Egypt and Syria (Turkey).

452 CE

  • According to legend, Pope Leo I convinces Attila the Hun not to sack Rome (Italy).

    Pope Leo driving Attila from the Gates of Rome, a 1653 relief sculpture by Alessandro Algardi, is located in St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

453 CE

  • Death of Attila the Hun.

455 CE

  • The Vandals sack Rome (Italy).
  • The Saxons, led by brothers Hengst and Horsa, defeat the Britons at the Battle of Aylesford (UK: England).

465 CE

  • Buddha Preaching the Law, a sandstone sculpture, is made at Sarnath (India).

    Buddha Preaching the Law is located in the Archaeological Museum in Sarnath, India.

476 CE

  • Odoacer, chieftain of the Germanic Heruli tribe, forces Emperor Romulus Augustus to abdicate, marking the end of the Western Roman Empire (Italy).

486 CE

  • Clovis I, King of the Salian Franks, defeats the Roman occupiers of Gaul and establishes the Kingdom of the Franks (France).

488 CE

  • Ostrogothic King Theodoric the Great invades Italy and establishes a kingdom there.

500 CE

  • Svealand, the first Swedish state, is established.
  • The Wari civilization is established in the south-central Andes and the coast of what is now Peru.
  • The Vishnu Temple, one of the first stone Hindu temples, is built in Deogarh (India).

    A relief sculpture from the Vishnu temple, showing Vishnu reclining on the many-headed serpent Ananta.

507 CE

  • The Franks under Clovis defeat the Visigoths under Alaric II at the Battle of Vouille, forcing the Visigoths to retreat into Spain (France).

524 CE

  • The Consolation of Philosophy, a book of religious philosophy written in Latin by Boethius (Italy).

525 CE

  • The Barberini Ivory, a leaf from a Byzantine imperial diptych, is made in Constantinople (Turkey).

    The Barberini Ivory is now in the Louvre in Paris.

526 CE

  • An earthquake in Antioch measuring 8.0 kills 250,000-300,000 people (Turkey; Syria).

529 CE

  • Benedict of Nursia founds the first Benedictine monastery at Monte Cassino (Italy).

532 CE

  • Byzantine Emperor Justinian’s general Belisarius brutally suppresses the populist Nika Revolt in Constantinople (Turkey).

533 CE

  • Byzantine forces led by Belisarius retake North Africa from the Vandals (Tunisia).

534 CE

  • Byzantine Emperor Justinian I completes his Code of Civil Law (Turkey).

    A 6th Century CE mosaic depicting Emperor Justinian (center) at San Vitale Church in Ravenna, Italy.

537 CE

  • The original Byzantine Hagia Sophia basilica is built in Constantinople by Isidore of Miletus and Anthemius of Tralles (Turkey).

    The Hagia Sophia in Istanbul was originally a Christian church. It became a mosque after the Muslim conquest of 1453 and is now a museum.

541 CE

  • The Plague of Justinian rages through the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, killing up to 40% of the population (Turkey; Greece; Egypt; Syria).

547 CE

  • The Byzantine Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna is completed (Italy).

    The Basilica of San Vitale.

550 CE

  • The Greek language Rossano Gospels are illuminated in Syria or Italy.

    A page from the Rossano Gospels.

  • The Virgin and Child Between Saints Theodore and George, a Byzantine icon, is painted (Egypt).

    The icon also known as Virgin and Child with Saints and Angels is located in St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai Desert of Egypt.

551 CE

  • An earthquake devastates the coastal cities of the Levant, including Beirut, Tyre and Tripoli (Lebanon).

552 CE

  • The Byzantine army invades Italy and defeats the Ostrogoths at the Battle of Taginae (Italy).

565 CE

  • Death of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I the Great after a 38-year reign (Turkey).

567 CE

  • After three wars, peace is established between the Persians and the Byzantines (Turkey).

568 CE

  • The Lombards, a Germanic tribe, establish a kingdom in Italy.

570 CE

  • Birth of the Muslim prophet Muhammed in Mecca (Saudi Arabia).

577 CE

  • The Saxon conquest of England is nearly complete after the Saxons defeat the Welsh at the Battle of Deorham (UK: England).

    A map of the Anglo-Saxon invasions of Britain, showing the location of the Battle of Deorghal.

    A map of the Anglo-Saxon invasions of Britain, showing the location of the Battle of Deorham.

581 CE

  • The Sui Dynasty under Yang Jian unites China for the first time in nearly 400 years.

    A map of the Sui Dynasty in China.

    A map of the Sui Dynasty in China.

589 CE

  • Earliest reference to use of toilet paper (China).

590 CE

  • Gregorius Anicius becomes Pope Gregory I (Gregory the Great) (Italy).

600 CE

  • In Cambodia, the Northern Kingdom of Chenla occupies the Kingdom of Funan.
  • The Tiwanaku culture begins to expand into an empire (Bolivia).
  • The modern Hindu-Arabic numeral system is developed in India.

    This chart shows the changes in numerals from Hindu India, to the Islamic world, and then to Europe.

  • First use of paper money (China).
  • Pope Gregory I reorganizes the use of plainchant in Christian services, collecting chants from a variety of sources and establishing a more uniform standard for church music (Italy).

607 CE

  • The Horyu-ji Buddhist Temple is constructed in Ikarauga (Japan).

    The Golden Hall and Five-Storied Pagoda of Horyu-ji Buddhist temple.

609 CE

  • The Grand Canal between Beijing and Hangzhou, the longest in the world, is completed (China).

618 CE

  • Li Yuan establishes the Tang Dynasty, which will rule China for 286 years.

    A map of the Tang Dynasty in China.

    A map of the Tang Dynasty in China.

619 CE

  • The toothbrush is invented (China).

622 CE

  • Muhammad flees to Medina from Mecca in the hejira (Saudi Arabia).
  • Islamic calendar year 1 AH (anno Hegirae).

627 CE

  • The Byzantines, led by Emperor Heraclius, defeat the Persians under Khosrau II at the Battle of Nineveh (Iran).

630 CE

  • The Muslims, led by Muhammad, take control of Mecca (Saudi Arabia).

632 CE

  • Islam’s most sacred text, the Qur’an, is written in Arabic (Saudi Arabia).
  • Death of Muhammad.

636 CE

  • Muslim Arab forces led by Khalid ibn al-Walid defeat the Byzantines under Emperor Heraclius at the Battle of Yarmouk, leaving the Levant open to the advance of the Muslims. (Syria; Jordan; Israel; Palestine).

638 CE

  • A mostly Muslim Arab army under Omar conquers Jerusalem (Israel; Palestine).

641 CE

  • The Muslims under Omar complete their conquest of Persia by defeating the Persian army at the Battle of Nehawand (Iran).

642 CE

  • The Muslims conquer Egypt.

    A map showing Muslim conquests in the 7th and 8th centuries.

    A map showing Muslim conquests in the 7th and 8th centuries.

646 CE

  • After the fall of the Soga clan in 645 CE, the Nara period begins (Japan).

650 CE

  • The Slavs complete their occupation of the Balkans.
  • The Descent of the Ganges is carved in Mahabalipuram (India).

    The Descent of the Ganges.

  • Yan Liben paints the Thirteen Emperors scroll (China).

    A portion of the Thirteen Emperors scroll.

656 CE

  • Ali ibn Abi Talib defeats Umayyad rebels at the Battle of the Camels to become leader of the Muslims (Saudi Arabia).

657 CE

  • Jayavarman I begins his reign as king of Chenia (Cambodia).

661 CE

  • Following the assassination of Ali ibn Abi Talib, Mu’awiyah I becomes Muslim Caliph and establishes the Umayyad Dynasty at Damascus (Syria).

670 BCE

  • Building of the Great Mosque of Kairouan begins (Tunisia).

    A view of the Great Mosque of Kairouan.

676 CE

  • Under King Munmu, Silla defeats Goguryeo and Baekje to unite the Korean peninsula for the first time (Korea).

    A map of the united Silla kingdom on the Korean peninsula.

678 CE

  • When the Muslims fail to take Constantinople after a three-year siege, they sign a 30-year peace treaty with the Byzantines (Turkey).

681 CE

  • The Bulgars defeat the Byzantines and establish the First Bulgarian Empire (Bulgaria).

685 CE

  • Malik I becomes Muslim caliph (Syria).

691 CE

  • The Muslims build the Umayyad-style Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem (Israel; Palestine).

    The Dome of the Rock is built on the spot where, according to legend, Abraham nearly sacrificed his son Isaac, and Mohammed ascended into heaven.

698 CE

  • An Arab army defeats the Byzantines at Carthage, completing the Muslim takeover of North Africa (Tunisia).
  • The North South States Period begins in Korea.

700 CE

  • The Srivijaya Empire becomes the dominant power in Indonesia.
  • Building of major pyramids at the Mayan city of Tikal begins (Guatemala).

    A panoramic view of Tikal and its pyramids.

    A panoramic view of Tikal and its pyramids.

  • Eadfrith of Lindisfarne creates the illuminated Latin-language Lindisfarne Gospels (UK: England).

    A cross-carpet page from the Lindisfarne Gospels.

705 CE

  • Empress Wu Hou of the Tang Dynasty becomes first woman to lead China.

707 CE

  • The Muslims under Musa ibn-Nusayr capture Tangier from the Berbers (Morocco).

711 CE

  • A Muslim army of Arabs and Berbers under Tariq ibn Ziyad invades the Iberian Peninsula and defeats Roderick, last king of the Visigoths, at the Battle of Wadi Bekka (Spain).

715 CE

  • The Umayyad-style Great Mosque of Damascus is completed (Syria).

    The Great Mosque of Damascus.

718 CE

  • A Muslim-Arab siege of Constantinople fails after Bulgarian leader Khan Tervel comes to the aid of the Byzantines (Turkey).
  • Muslim armies on the Iberian Peninsula reach the Pyrenees (Spain).

722 CE

  • Mai Thúc Loan leads a revolt against the Chinese rulers of Vietnam, captures the capital and becomes Emperor of an independent region before the armies of Tang Dynasty Emperor Xuanzong put down the rebellion (Vietnam).

730 CE

  • The Khazars, led by Barjik, defeat the Muslims of the Umayyad Caliphate at the Battle of Ardabil (Iran).

731 CE

  • Bede completes the Ecclesiastical History of the English People, written in Latin (UK: England).

732 CE

  • At the Battle of Tours (also known as the Battle of Poitiers), the Franks, led by Charles Martel, stop theadvance of the Muslim army, led by Adb-el-Rahman, further into Europe (France).

    A map of the Muslim conquest of Spain in the 8th Century CE.

    A map of the Muslim conquest of Spain in the 8th Century CE.

740 CE

  • Beginning of the Great Berber Revolt against Umayyad Caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik, which results in the creation of several independent Berber states (Morocco; Algeria).

747 CE

  • Charles the Great (Charlemagne) is born in Germany or Belgium.

750 CE

  • The Abbasids, led by Abu Al-Abbas, overthrow the Umayyad Caliphate, whose leader, Marwan II, is defeated at the Battle of the Zab (Iraq).
  • The pit-treadle loom is in use in Syria, Iran and East Africa.
  • By this date, the Christian Church has adopted a uniform liturgical sequence of plainchants known as Gregorian chant (Italy).

751 CE

  • The Carolingian Dynasty begins with the reign of Pepin the Short, King of the Franks (France).

    An artist’s depiction of Pepin the Short.

753 CE

  • Dantidurga, king of the Rashtrakutas, defeats the Badami Chalukyas under Kirtivarman II and takes control of the northern regions of the Chalukya Empire (India).

755 CE

  • General An-Lushan rebels against the Tang Dynasty and establishes himself as Emperor of the Yan Dynasty in northern China.

760 CE

  • The Man’yōshū poetry anthology is published (Japan).

763 CE

  • Muslim Abbasid Caliph Mansur moves his capital to Baghdad (Iraq).
  • The Tang Dynasty puts down the An Lushan Rebellion (China).
  • Byzantine Emperor Constantine V defeats the Bulgarians at the Battle of Anchialus (Bulgaria).

780 CE

  • Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmi is born in Khwarezm (now Uzbekhistan).

787 CE

  • Byzantine Empress Irene calls the Second Council of Nicaea, which ends a 57-year period of iconoclasm in the Christian Church (Turkey).

    A mosaic portrait of Empress Irene from the Hagia Sophia, dating to 1122.

793 CE

  • The sack of Lindisfarne marks the beginning of Viking raids on Britain (UK: England).

794 CE

  • The new city of Heian-kyo (Kyoto) becomes the seat of Japan’s imperial court, marking the beginning of the Heian period (Japan).

800 CE

  • Pope Leo III crowns Charlemagne as the first Holy Roman Emperor (Germany).
  • First windmills are used to mill grain in Persia; they are horizontally-configured (Iran).
  • Gunpowder is invented (China).
  • The illuminated Latin-language Aachen Gospels is created (Germany).

    The Four Evangelists page from the Aachen Gospels.

  • The Book of Kells, a Latin-language gospel book, is created (Ireland; UK).

    An illuminated initial page from the Book of Kells.

802 CE

  • Jayavarman II unites Cambodia and establishes his capital at Angkor.

813 CE

  • Original construction of the Carolingian-Gothic Aachen Cathedral is completed (Germany).

    Aachen Cathedral, in Aachen, Germany was the site of many coronations.

814 CE

  • Death of Charlemagne.

815 CE

  • The Vikings bury two women and numerous objects in a burial ship under a mound of earth in Oseberg (Norway).

    A sculpted wooden animal head post found in the Viking Burial Ship in Oseberg, Norway.

816 CE

  • The illuminated, Latin-language Ebbo Gospels is made at the Benedictine abbey at Hautvillers, France.

    A portrait of St. Matthew from the Ebbo Gospels.

820 CE

  • Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī’s The Compendious Book on Calculation by Completion and Balancing, written in Arabic, establishes algebra as a separate discipline (Iraq).

823 CE

  • Byzantine Emperor Michael II the Amorian executes Thomas the Slav, a Byzantine military commander who led a massive, but ultimately unsuccessful revolt (Turkey).

825 CE

  • Borobudur, a Mahayana Buddhist Temple, is built on Java (Indonesia).

    Borobudor temple was built in the Gupta architectural style.

840 CE

  • Weakened by a famine and civil war, the Uyghur Khaganate is overrun by the Kirghiz people (Mongolia).

843 CE

  • The Treaty of Verdun divides the Kingdom of the Franks among Louis II, Lothair I and Charles the Bald (France).
  • The Council of Orthodoxy under Byzantine Empress Theodora ends the second period of iconoclasm in the Christian Church.

850 CE

  • Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmi dies.

851 CE

  • The Vikings sack London and Canterbury before being defeated by Ockley, King of the West Saxons (UK).
  • The Great Mosque of Samarra is completed (Iraq).

    The minaret (maliwah) is all that remains of the Great Mosque of Samarra.

863 CE

  • A Byzantine army led by Petronas defeats Arab forces under Umar al-Aqta at the Battle of Lalakaon in Paphlagonia (Turkey).

868 CE

  • Playing cards are invented (China).
  • A copy of the Diamond Sutra, a Buddhist text, made in this year with the block printing technique, is the oldest surviving complete printed book (China).

869 CE

  • Ali bin Muhammad, a  descendant of slaves, leads the 15-year-long Zanj revolt of enslaved Bantus (Zanj) against the Abbasid caliphate (Iraq).

871 CE

  • Alfred the Great becomes king of England (UK: England).

872 CE

  • Harold I unites Norway.

874 CE

  • Norsemen settle Iceland.

875 CE

  • Beginning of nine-year famine in China, which sparks a rebellion against the Tang Dynasty by Wang Xianzhi.
  • The High Cross of Muiredach is made at the Monasterboice monastery, in County Louth, Ireland.

    The west face of the High Cross of Muiredach, showing the Crucifixion.

878 CE

  • The Saxons under Alfred the Great defeat the Danes at the Battle of Edington (UK: England).

881 CE

  • Huang Chao, who split off from Wang Xianzhi’s rebellion, captures the Tang Dynasty capital Chang’an, deposes Emperor Xizong and proclaims himself emperor of the short-lived Qi Dynasty (China).

882 CE

  • The Kievan Rus’ is established (Russia).

883 CE

  • Abbasid caliphate armies finally suppress the Zanj Slave Revolt (Iraq).

889 CE

  • The first Muslim fortress is built on the site of the Alhambra in Granada (Spain).

890 CE

  • The Early Cyrillic script is developed in the First Bulgarian Empire (Bulgaria).

895 CE

  • Publication of the Latin-language treatise Musica enchiriadis, which contains the earliest known reference to the organum musical style.

900 CE

  • The Srivijaya Empire based in Palembang controls Java, Sumatra, the Malay Peninsula, the Straits of Malacca and much of the region (Indonesia; Malaysia).
  • After 100 years of decline, due in part to drought and famine, the southern portion of the Mayan empire collapses (Guatemala, Honduras, Belize).
  • The fire lance, precursor to modern firearms, is invented (China).

    This Chinese Buddhist illustration (from the 10th or 12th Century CE) depicts a demon using a fire lance (upper right).

907 CE

  • The period of the Five Dynasties begins in China.
  • In the Battle of Pressburg, Hungarian forces under Grand Prince Árpád defeat a Bavarian army led by Margrave Luitpold (Hungary).

911 CE

  • After signing the Treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte, Vikings led by Rollo settle in the newly-created Kingdom of Normandy (France).

919 CE

  • The Ottonian Dynasty begins with Henry the Fowler, Duke of Saxony (Germany).

922 CE

  • Abbasid Caliph Al-Muqtadir orders the execution of Mansur al-Hallaj, a Persian Sufi mystic, for heresy (Iraq).

929 CE

  • The caliphate of Córdoba is begun by Abd-ar-Rahman III (Spain).

936 CE

  • Wang Geon of the Koryo Dynasty unifies the Later Three Kingdoms (Korea).

    A map of the unified Three Kingdom under Wang Geon.

945 CE

  • Ahmad ibn Buwah enters Baghdad and declares himself caliph, beginning the Buwayhid Dynasty (Iraq).

951 CE

  • Kuya-Shonin, an advocate of the Jodo (New Land), form of Buddhism, founds the Rokuharamitsuji temple in Kyoto (Japan).

955 CE

  • Chola Dynasty artists develop the classic iconography of the Hindu god Shiva in the form of Shiva Nataraja, and create many statues, sometimes called Chola bronzes (India).

    Most Chola bronzes are small enough to carry by hand, but the Shiva Nataraja at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam (dating to 1100-1200) is five feet tall.

  • Otto the Great, king of East Francia (encompassing most of what is now Germany), defeats the invading Hungarians, led by Bulcsú, at the Battle of Lechfeld, halting the incursion of the Hungarians into Western Europe (Germany).

960 CE

  • Mieszko I, Duke of Polans, founds the Polish state (Poland).
  • Zhao Kuangyin becomes Emperor Taizu of Song, the first emperor of the Song Dynasty, and reunites most of China.

962 CE

  • Otto the Great is named Holy Roman Emperor by Pope John XII (Germany).

    A statue of Otto the Great in Magdeburg, Germany dating to 1245. Photo by Granger.

963 CE

  • The Byzantines, under Emperor Nikephoros II, recapture Crete from the Muslim Arabs.

965 CE

  • Byzantine armies under Niketas Chalkoutzes retake Cyprus from the Muslim Arabs.

    Battles between Byzantines and Muslims.

973 CE

  • Murasaki Shikibu is born in Heian-kyo (Japan).

975 CE

  • The earliest known manuscript of the Anglo-Saxon epic poem Beowulf, written in Old English (UK: England).

977 CE

  • Former slave Abu Mansur Subuktigin becomes leader of the Ghaznavid Empire (Afghanistan).

980 CE

  • Ibn Sina (Avicenna) is born in Afshona in the Samanid Empire (now Uzbekistan).

984 CE

  • Qiao Weiyou designs the first pound lock (China).

985 CE

  • After being exiled from Iceland, Eric the Red begins to colonize Greenland.

987 CE

  • Hugh Capet ascends to the French throne, beginning the reign of the House of Capet, which lasts until 1328.
  • The Moorish-style Great Mosque of Córdoba is completed (Spain).

    The Golden Niche inside the Great Mosque of Córdoba.

990 CE

  • The Kingdom of Ghana defeats the Lemtunas, a Saharan Berber tribe (Mauritania).


  • The people of Rapa Nui (Easter Island) begin carving giant Moai statues (Chile).

    Most of the Moai stood on platforms and faced inland.

  • The Taos Pueblo is established in New Mexico (US).
  • Song Dynasty artist Fan Kuan creates the hanging scroll Travellers among Mountains and Streams (China).

    Fan Kuan’s Travellers Among Mountains and Streams.

  • Persian calligrapher and illustrator Ibn al-Bawwab (Ali ibn Hilal) is making elaborately-decorated copies of the Qur’an (Iraq).

    Pages from a Qur’an illustrated by Ibn al-Bawwab about 1000 CE.


  • Norsemen, possibly including Leif Erikson, become the first Europeans to reach North America when they build a settlement in L’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland (Canada).
  • Mahmud of Ghazni begins raids into northern India.


  • Malay prince Suryavarman defeats Khmer Empire King Udayadityavarman I (Cambodia).
  • The Pillow Book, a diary written in Japanese by Sei Shonagon (Japan).


  • Following a successful military campaign by Emperor Shengzong of the Liao Empire against the Song Empire, Song Emperor Zhengzong signs the Chanyuan Treaty, establishing peace between the two dynasties (China).

    A map of China shortly after the Chanyuan Treaty.

    A map of China shortly after the Chanyuan Treaty.


  • The Book of Kings (Shahnameh), an epic historical poem written in Persian by Ferdowsi (Iran).


  • The Byzantines, led by Basil II, conquer the Bulgarians at the Battle of Kleidon (Bulgaria).


  • Canute II, a Dane, defeats Edmund II at the Battle of Ashington and becomes King of all England (UK: England).


  • Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) publishes the Book of Optics, a scientific treatise written in Arabic (Egypt).
  • The Tale of Genji, a novel written in Japanese by Shikabu Murasaki (Japan).
  • Su Song is born near Quanzhou, China.


  • Ibn Sina (Avicenna) publishes The Canon of Medicine, a medical encyclopedia written in Arabic (Iran).

    Ibn Sina, also known as Avicenna.

  • Murasaki Shikibu dies.


  • Mahmud of Ghazni destroys Somnath (India).


  • The Book of Healing, a scientific and philosophical treatise written in Arabic by Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (Iran).


  • Birth of William the Conqueror in Falaise, Normandy (France).


  • Tughril Beg founds the Seljuk Empire (Turkey; Iran).

    A map showing the growth of the Seljuk Empire.

    A map showing the growth of the Seljuk Empire.

  • Ibn Sina (Avicenna) dies.


  • Bi Sheng invents movable type printing using first wood, then ceramic characters (China).


  • Otho de Lagery (Pope Urban II) is born in Lagery, France.


  • Anawrahta becomes King of Pagan and begins conquests leading to the Empire of Pagan (Burma).


  • The Kandariya Mahadeva and most of the other Hindu and Jain temples at Khajuraho are completed (India).

    Kandariya Mahadeva Temple, one of the temples in the Khajuraho complex.

  • Shao Yong publishes Huangji Jingshi (Book of Supreme World Ordering Principles), a treatise on cosmogony, in Chinese (China).


  • The Great Schism between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches begins (Italy; Turkey).


  • The Seljuk Turks, under Tughril Beg, capture Baghdad and oust the Buwayhid Dynasty (Iraq).


  • Seljuk vizier Nizam al-Mulk establishes the Al-Nizamiyya of Baghdad, an institution of higher learning (Iraq).


  • Anawrath, King of Pagan, unifies Burma after conquering the Kingdom of Thaton.

    A map showing the growth of the Pagan Empire.

    A map showing the growth of the Pagan Empire.


  • The Normans, under William, Duke of Normandy (William the Conqueror), defeat Anglo-Saxon English King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings (UK: England).
  • William the Conqueror becomes the first Norman King of England (UK: England).


  • The Seljuk Turks defeat the Byzantines and capture Byzantine Emperor Romanos IV Diogenes at the Battle of Manzikert, a turning point in the Turkish takeover of formerly Byzantine-controlled Anatolia and Armenia (Turkey).


  • Followers of King Henry II murder Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, in Canterbury Cathedral (UK: England).
  • Northern Song Dynasty artist Guo Xi creates Early Spring (China).

    Guo Xi’s Early Spring.


  • The Bayeaux Tapestry, which tells the story of the Norman Conquest of England, is made (UK).

    A scene from the Bayeaux Tapestry.


  • According to Arab legend, the Berber Almoravid Dynasty conquers the Ghanaian Empire (Ghana; Mauritania).


  • Alfonso VI, Christian King of León and Castile, captures Toledo from the Muslim Almoravids (Spain).


  • William the Conqueror orders a survey of the land and other property in his kingdom, the results of which are cataloged in Latin in the Domesday Book (UK: England).

    A page of the Domesday Book for Warwickshire.


  • William the Conqueror dies in Normandy (France).


  • Otho de Lagery is elected Pope Urban II (Italy).
  • Construction begins on Su Song’s 40-foot-tall water-powered astronomical clock tower in Kaifeng (China).

    An illustration from a book by Su Song showing his 1088 clock tower.


  • The earlier, Norman Romanesque version of Westminster Abbey is completed in London (UK: England).


  • El Cid (Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar), a Castilian nobleman, drives the Almoravids out of Valencia and establishes a private fiefdom (Spain).
  • The Italo-Byzantine St. Mark’s Basilica is constructed in Venice (Italy).

    The facade of St. Mark’s Basilica, with St. Mark’s Piazza in the foreground.


  • Pope Urban II announces the First Crusade to capture the Holy Land and remove the Turks from the Byzantine Empire (Italy).
  • Al-Ghazali publishes the Arabic book The Incoherence of the Philosophers, an attack on the views of Ibn Sina and others (Iran).


  • Birth of Hildegard of Bingen in Bermersheim vor der Höhe, County Palatine of the Rhine, Holy Roman Empire (now Germany)


  • A severe winter storm causes extensive flooding along the coasts of England and the Netherlands, killing c. 100,000.
  • The Crusaders accomplish their primary goal of reclaiming Jerusalem for the Christians by defeating theMuslim defenders in the Siege of Jerusalem (Israel; Palestine).
  • Death of Pope Urban II.


  • The White Tower, the original Tower of London, is completed (UK: England).

    The White Tower later became the center of a complex of buildings known as the Tower of London..

  • The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, an epic poem written in Persian (Iran).


  • Su Song dies.


  • The kingdoms of Croatia and Hungary unite.


  • Founding of the University of Oxford (UK: England).


  • The Tale of Genji Scroll is painted, possibly by Fujiwara no Takayoshi or his workshop (Japan).

    A scene from the Tale of Genji scroll, which is based on the 11th Century CE novel by Lady Murasaki.


  • The Jurchen people, led by Aguda, overthrow the Liao Empire and establish the Jin Dynasty (Mongolia).


  • The Byzantine religious icon Our Lady of Vladimir is painted in Constantinople (Turkey).

    Our Lady of Vladimir has been in Russia since 1131 and is venerated by the Russian Orthodox Church as the protectoress of Russia.


  • Original construction of the Romanesque Durham Cathedral is completed (UK: England).

    A view of Durham Cathedral from the south.

  • Master Hugo creates the illuminated Latin-language Bury Bible at the Benedictine Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds (UK: England).

    Illuminations in the Bury Bible showing scenes from the life of Jesus.


  • An earthquake in Aleppo, Syria kills 230,000 people.
  • Birth of Saladin in Tikrit, Mesopotamia (Iraq).


  • Publication of the epic poem The Song of Roland, the oldest known work of literature written in French (France).


  • Under the Treaty of Zamora, Spain recognizes Portugal’s independence.
  • Afonso I Henriques becomes the first King of Portugal.

    A portrait of King Afonso I.


  • Spanish King Louis VII and German King Conrad III organize the Second Crusade.
  • The Almohads, a Muslim Berber Dynasty under Abd al-Mumin, conquer Morocco.


  • According to legend, Eric IX of Sweden leads the First Swedish Crusade against the Finns and forces them to convert to Christianity (Finland).
  • The Buddhist temple complex at Angkor Wat is completed (Cambodia).

    A view of the Angkor Wat temple complex.

  • Benedictine abbess Hildegard of Bingen founds the Rupertsberg monastery (Germany).
  • Léonin is composing music in the polyphonic organum style (France).


  • Benedictine Abbess Hildegard of Bingen writes the liturgical drama Ordo Virtutum, which contains her earliest known musical compositions (Germany).


  • Four Buddhas (two sitting, one standing and one reclining) are carved into a granite rock face at the Gal Vihara temple at Polonnauruwa (Sri Lanka).

    A view of the carved Buddhas at Gal Vihara.


  • The Hanseatic League, an alliance and treaty for mutual economic defense, forms in northern Europe.


  • Birth of Genghis Khan in Mongolia.


  • Construction of the Gothic-style Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris begins (France).


  • Stefan Nemanja defeats the Byzantines at the Battle of Pantina and overthrows his older brother to become the first leader of a united Serbia.


  • The Kurds build a fortress on the future site of the Krak des Chevaliers castle (Syria).
  • Beginning of the ars antiqua style in European music composition.


  • English King Henry II invades Ireland and claims it for England.
  • The Treaty of Windsor recognizes Henry II as King of England and Ireland.

    Ireland in 1171. Map courtesy of www.irelandstory.com.

    Ireland in 1171. Map courtesy of www.irelandstory.com.


  • After England defeats Scotland, Scottish king William I accepts English sovereignty.
  • Saladin becomes Sultan of Egypt and Syria and founds the Ayyubid Dynasty.


  • The Lombard League defeats Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I Barbarossa at the Battle of Legano (Italy)
  • Invention of the first clock using falling weights (France).


  • In the Mishneh Torah, written in Hebrew, Maimonides determines the date of the creation of the world and establishes the Jewish calendar according to the Anno Mundi (Egypt).


  • Death of Hildegard of Bingen.


  • Ibn Rushd (Averroes) writes The Incoherence of the Incoherence, a response to Al-Ghazali’s The Incoherence of the Philosophers, written in Arabic (Spain).


  • French goldsmith and enamellist Nicholas of Verdun creates the Verdun Altar (the Klosterneuberg Altarpiece) for the Klosterneuberg Monastery (Austria).

    Nicholas Verdun’s gold and enameled altarpiece contains dozens of individual Biblical scenes.


  • Minamoto Yoshitsune defeats the Taira at the Battle of Dan no Ura, marking the beginning of the Kamakura period (Japan).
  • Kamakura-period artist Kosho sculpts Kuya Preaching, which commemorates Kuya-Shonin and is located in the temple Kuya founded in Kyoto (Japan).

    Kuya Preaching.

  • The sandstone Bust of Jayavarman VII, Khmer emperor, is carved in the naturalistic Bayon style (Cambodia).

    A bust of Khmer emperor Jayavarman VII.


  • The Bulgarians successfully throw off Byzantine rule to form the Second Bulgarian Empire.


  • The army of Muslim Ayyubid sultan Salah ad-Din (Saladin) defeats the combined forces of the Crusader states (Jerusalem, Antioch, Tripoli and Edessa) at the Battle of Hattin.
  • The Muslims, led by Saladin, recapture Jerusalem from the Christians (Israel; Palestine).

    Saladin the Victorious, in a 19th Century engraving by Gustave Doré.


  • The Third Crusade, led by Richard the Lionhearted, occupies Acre but fails to take Jerusalem from the Muslims (Israel; Palestine).


  • Kamakura period sculptor Jokei creates statues of Ungyo and Agyo, a pair of fearsome guardians, or nio, to protect the entrance of the Kofuku-ji Temple in Nara (Japan).

    One of a pair of Jokei’s nio set in front of the Kofuku-ji Temple to protect the Buddha.

  • Song Dynasty artist Ma Yuan paints and draws Bare Willows and Distant Mountains on a silk fan (China).

    Ma Yuan’s Bare Willows and Distant Mountains.

  • Maimonides writes Guide for the Perplexed, a philosophical and religious work, in Judeo-Arabic (Egypt).


  • Earliest known vertical post mill windmill (UK: England).


  • Minamoto no Yoritomo becomes the first shogun of the Kamakura shogunate (Japan).
  • The Muslim Ghurids led by Mu’izz al-Din inflict a decisive defeat on a Chauhan Rajput army led by Prithviraj Chauhan in the Second Battle of Tarain (India).


  • Death of Saladin in Damascus, Syria.


  • The hand cannon, a simple firearm, is invented (China).

    A gunpowder-charged Chinese hand cannon from the 14th Century (Yuan Dynasty).

  • First evidence of buttons used to fasten clothing (Germany).
  • Soccer (known in most of the world as football) is being played in Europe.
  • Pérotin, a member of the Notre Dame school of polyphony, is writing organum in three and four parts at this time (France).


  • A 7.6 earthquake in the eastern Mediterranean causes destruction in Egypt and Syria. The resulting famine (from the failure of the Nile floods) and epidemics add to the death toll, which some estimate as more than 1,000,000.
  • Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade agree to sack the town of Zadar in Croatia so that Venice will transport them to Egypt, leading Pope Innocent to excommunicate the Crusaders.
  • Italian mathematician Fibonacci (Leonardo of Pisa) introduces Arabic numerals and the Fibonacci sequence to Western Europeans in his book Liber Abaci (Italy).


  • Soumaoro Kanté, king of the Sosso people, seizes Koumbi Saleh, the capital of the weakened Ghanaian Empire (Mauritania).


  • The Crusaders sack the Byzantine capital of Constantinople (Turkey).


  • Genghis Khan establishes the Mongol Empire with a capital at Karakorum (Mongolia).

    Genghis Khan, as depicted in a 14th Century album of Yuan emperors, which is now in the National Palace Museum of Taipei.


  • The epic Poem of the Cid (Cantar de Mio Cid) is written in Old Spanish (Spain).


  • Founding of the University of Cambridge (UK: England).
  • Founding of the Franciscan order of friars (Italy).
  • The Nibelungenlied, an epic poem, is written in Middle High German (Germany).


  • Christian forces defeat the Muslims in the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa, a key victory in the Reconquista of the Iberian peninsula (Spain).
  • Nicolas of Cologne leads Christians on a pilgrimage to Italy.
  • Stephan of Cloyes, age 12, leads a group of 30,000, many of them children, on a Children’s Crusade to the Holy Land, making it as far as Marseilles (France).


  • At the insistence of his nobles, King John signs the Magna Carta restricting his own powers (UK: England).

    One of the four existing copies of a 1297 version of the Magna Carta.


  • English victories at the battles of Lincoln and Sandwich stop a French invasion (UK: England).


  • A storm surge in the North Sea causes flooding that kills 100,000 in the Netherlands and Germany.


  • Roger Bacon is born in Somerset, England (now UK).


  • Fall of Chichen Itza, a Mayan city that had flourished from 600 CE (Mexico).

    The El Castillo pyramid at Chichen Itza was built between 800 and 1200 CE.


  • Ken Arok founds the Singhasari Kingdom in east Java (Indonesia).
  • Snorri Sturlusson writes down Iceland’s mythological stories in the Prose Edda, written in Icelandic (Iceland)


  • The Crusading Knights Hospitaller complete work on Krak des Chevaliers (Syria).

    Crusading knights renovated a Kurdish fort into Krak des Chevaliers.

  • Birth of Roman Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas in Roccasecca, Kingdom of Sicily (now Italy).


  • Death of Genghis Khan, probably in battle.


  • The Sixth Crusade, under Frederick II, obtains Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Nazareth through a treaty with Kurdish ruler Malik al-Kamil, the fourth Ayyubid sultan of Egypt (Israel; Palestine).


    • The four-year-long Kangi famine begins (Japan).
  • First known use of rockets as weapons (China).


  • Sundiata Keita founds the Mali Empire in West Africa.


  • Ferdinand III, King of Castile and León takes Córdoba from the Moors as part of the Reconquista (Spain).

    A map showing the advance of the Christian Reconquista and the shrinking Muslim kingdom of Al-Andalus.

    A map showing the advance of the Christian Reconquista and the shrinking Muslim kingdom of Al-Andalus.


  • Mohammed I ibn Nasr, founder of the Nasrid Dynasty, begins building a palace at the Alhambra in Granada (Spain).


  • The Russians under Alexander Nevsky defeat the invading Swedes at St. Petersburg (Russia).
  • The Mongols take Kiev, capital of the Kievan Rus, effectively completing their takeover (Russia).


  • The Mongols defeat an alliance of Polish and Christian troops, led by Henry II the Pious, Duke of Silesia, at the Battle of Legnica, resulting in fragmentation of the Polish state (Poland).


  • Genghis Khan’s son Batu leads his Golden Horde to southern Russia and establishes his capital at Sarai near the Volga River (Russia).


  • Work begins on the Gothic Cologne Cathedral (High Cathedral of St. Peter) (Germany).
  • The French Gothic cathedral of Sainte-Chapelle is built in Paris (France).

    A view of the interior of Sainte-Chapelle.


  • Castel del Monte, with its unusual octagonal design, is constructed in Apulia by Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II (Italy).

    An aerial view of Castel del Monte.

  • Gita Govinda, an epic poem written in Sanskrit by Jayadeva (India).


  • Birth of Marco Polo in the Republic of Venice (now Italy).


  • The University of Paris is founded (France).
  • Bustan (The Orchard), poems in Persian by Saadi Shirazi (Iran).


  • The Mongols under Hulagu Khan capture Baghdad, ending the Abbasid caliphate (Iraq).
  • The Mongols conquer Korea.


  • The Mamlūks of Egypt, under Baybars, defeat the Mongols, under Julegu Khan, at the Battle of Ain Jalut, halting the advance of the Mongols into Muslim territory (Israel; Palestine).
  • Major construction of the French Gothic Chartres Cathedral is completed (France).

    The exterior of Chartres Cathedral, showing the mismatched steeples.

  • Nicola Pisano completes the proto-Renaissance Pisa Baptistry Pulpit (Italy).

    Nicola Pisano’s pulpit in the Baptistery of Pisa Cathedral is one of the earliest examples of the rebirth of classical art that later blossomed into the Renaissance.


  • Nicaean emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos retakes Constantinople from Latin ruler Baldwin II (Turkey).


  • Norway under King Haakon IV annexes Iceland and Greenland.


  • Roger Bacon publishes Opus Majus, a treatise written in Latin on science, mathematics, philosophy, language and religion (UK: England).


  • Major construction on the French Gothic Amiens Cathedral (Cathedral Basilica of Our Lady of Amiens) is complete.

    Detail of the exterior of Amiens Cathedral.


  • Summa Contra Gentiles, a book about Christianity by Thomas Aquinas (Italy).


  • Rudolf I is named King of the Romans and King of Germany, marking the beginning of the Hapsburg Dynasty (Switzerland).
  • The Masnavi, poems in Persian by Jalalu’l-din Rumi (Iran).


  • Publication of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, a Latin compendium of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church (Italy).
  • Death of Thomas Aquinas.


  • Completion of the French Gothic Reims Cathedral (Notre-Dame de Reims) (France).

    Detail of relief sculptures decorating the exterior of Reims Cathedral showing the Coronation of Mary, Queen of Heaven.


  • The Mongols conquer China and their leader Kublai Khan establishes the Yuan Dynasty.


  • The Santa Trinita Maestà, a proto-Renaissance altarpiece painted by Cimabue for a Florence church (Italy).

    Cimabue’s Santa Trinita Maestà, altarpiece is now in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

  • English composer W. de Wycombe is active (UK).


  • Japan successfully repels a Mongolian invasion.


  • Sicilians rebel against the rule of French King Charles I, starting the War of Sicilian Vespers (Italy).


  • The Republic of Genoa defeats the city-state of Pisa (Italy).


  • Eyeglasses with convex lenses are invented (Italy).

    Detail of Tommaso de Moderna’s 1352 portrait of Hugh de Provence wearing eyeglasses.


  • Severe storms cause flooding that kills 50,000-80,000 people in coastal areas of northwestern Europe (Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark).


  • Expulsion of the Jews from England and Wales.


  • The League of the Three Forest Cantons is formed in Switzerland.


  • After King Kertanegara of Singhasari refuses to pay tribute to Mongol leader and Yuan Dynasty Emperor Kublai Khan, Khan invades Java and takes the city of Jayakatwang but is repulsed by a surprise attack by Raden Wijaya (Indonesia).
  • Raden Wijaya founds the Majapahit Empire on Java (Indonesia).


  • Roger Bacon dies.


  • The First War of Scottish Independence begins when Edward I of England invades Scotland.
  • Construction begins on the Gothic Duomo (Basilica of St. Mary of the Flower) in Florence (Italy).


  • Scottish armies under William Wallace defeat English troops.
  • The Dutch are playing a game that may be the precursor of golf; it involves hitting a leather ball with a stick into a distant hole using the least amount of strokes (The Netherlands).


  • England defeats the Scottish rebellion.
  • Rustichello da Pisa publishes The Travels of Marco Polo, written in Old French and based on conversations with Marco Polo (Italy).

    Portrait of Marco Polo, possibly from the 16th Century.


  • The Oghuz Turks under Osman Bey found the Ottoman Empire in northern Anatolia (Turkey).


  • Earliest existing version of One Thousand and One Nights, a set of linked stories written in Arabic (Syria).
  • The Montepellier Codex, containing 336 polyphonic works, is compiled in Paris (France).


  • Proto-Renaissance artist Giotto di Bondone paints the frescoes on the walls of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua (Italy).

    The Lamentation of Christ, one of the frescoes from the Life of Christ cycle in the Scrovegni (or Arena) Chapel.


  • Pope Clement V moves the Roman Catholic papacy from Rome to Avignon (France).


  • Start of the ars nova style in European music composition.


  • Duccio di Buoninsegna completes the painting of the Byzantine Maestà Altarpiece (Italy).

    The centerpiece of Duccio’s Maestà altarpiece, showing Mary and Jesus with saints and angels. The entire altarpiece is 7 ft. tall by 12.2 ft. wide.


  • The Scots under Robert the Bruce defeat the English under Edward II at the Battle of Bannockburn (UK: Scotland).


  • The Great Famine of 1315-1317 begins in Europe after bad weather in the spring of 1315 causes crops to fail.  Millions die from starvation and disease.


  • William of Ockham sets out the principle of Ockham’s Razor in his Commentaries on Peter Lombard’s Sentences, written in Latin (UK: England).
  • The satirical poem Roman de Fauvel, written in French by Gervais de Bus and Chaillou de Pesstain, is published in a deluxe version featuring 169 musical insertions in all styles (France).

    A page from the Roman de Fauvel, showing text, music and iillustrations.


  • The Divine Comedy, an epic poem, is written in Italian by Dante Alighieri (Italy).

    The portrait of Dante Aligheri by Andrea del Castagno from about 1450 is part of a mural that is now at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.


  • Death of Marco Polo.


  • The Aztecs found the city of Tenochtitlan (Mexico).
  • Ibn Battuta leaves his home in Morocco to spend the next 24 years traveling through the Muslim world and beyond.


  • The Osmali Turks, led by Osman Bey, take the Byzantine fortress of Bursa after a nine-year siege (Turkey).


  • The Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton establishes Scottish independence from England.
  • Ivan I Kalita, Prince of Moscow, obtains Grand Prince of Vladimir status from the Golden Horde and uses it to strengthen the Muscovite state (Russia).


  • Casimir III The Great ascends to the throne of Poland.
  • First phase of building at the Kremlin in Moscow is completed (Russia).
  • Original construction of Himeji Castle finished (Japan).

    A view of Himeji Castle, which is nicknamed White Heron Castle for its resemblance to a bird taking flight.


  • The International Gothic St. Ansanus Altarpiece is painted by Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi for a side altar of the Siena Cathedral (Italy).

    The St. Ansanus Altarpiece is a triptych, with the Annunciation in the center and St. Ansanus and St. Margaret on the side panels.


  • Harihara I and his brother Bukka Raya I of the Sangama Dynasty found the Vijayanagara Empire in the Deccan Plateau region of southern India.


  • England and France begin the Hundred Years’ War, which rages on and off for 116 years.
  • Proto-Renaissance artist Ambrogio Lorenzetti paints the Allegory of Good and Bad Government frescoes on the walls of the Council Room in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena (Italy).

    Detail from Lorenzetti’s fresco in Siena’s Palazzo Pubblico showing the Effects of Good Government. On the facing wall, he painted The Effects of Bad Government.


  • Birth of Geoffrey Chaucer in London, England (now UK).


  • Notre Dame de Paris, a French Gothic cathedral, is completed (France).

    A view of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris from across the Seine.


  • During the early years of the Hundred Years War, the English, led by Edward III, defeat the French under Philip VI at the Battle of Crécy.


  • The Black Death (bubonic plague) arrives in Europe. Between 1347 and 1353, the plague will kill an estimated 30-60% of the population.
  • The University of Prague is founded (Czech Republic).


  • Founding of the University of Kracow (Poland).
  • Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains, a landscape scroll by Song Dynasty artist and Yuan master Huang Gongwang (China).

    Detail from Dwelling in the Fuchun Mountains. The entire scroll is 22.7 ft. long. It is divided into two sections, which are located in separate museums.


  • Polish King Kasimir III defeats and annexes the Kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia.


  • The traditional date for the beginning of the Italian Renaissance in Florence (Italy).
  • The Decameron, linked stories in Italian written by Giovanni Boccaccio (Italy).


  • King Ramathibodi I establishes the Kingdom of Ayutthaya (Thailand).


  • The alliance known as the Old Swiss Confederacy now includes eight cantons: first Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden in 1291; then Berne (1323), Lucerne (1332) and Zürich (1351); and lastly, Glarus and Zug, taken from the Hapsburgs in 1352.

    A map of the old Swiss Confederacy.

    A map of the old Swiss Confederacy.


  • Ibn Battuta completes Rihla (The Journey), an Arabic-language account of his travels (Morocco).


  • The English and French sign the Treaty of Brétigny and Treaty of Calais, establishing a temporary truce in the 100 Years’ War (France).


  • The Öræfajökull volcano erupts, devastating northern Iceland.
  • Coastal flooding kills 100,000 in northwestern Europe (Netherlands, Germany, Denmark).


  • Guillaume de Machaut’s Messe de Notre-Dame is the first polyphonic setting of the Ordinary of the Christian Mass that is attributable to a single composer (France).


  • The Ming Dynasty is founded (China).

    A map showing the extent of the Ming Dynasty in China.

    A map showing the extent of the Ming Dynasty in China.


  • Timur (Tamerlane) defeats his former ally Husayn at the Siege of Balkh and becomes ruler of the western Chaghatai in Transoxiana (Uzbekistan).


  • The Ottomans under Lala Shahin Pasha defeat the Serbs under King Prilep Vukašin Mrnjavčević and his brother despot Uglješa (both of whom are killed) in the Battle of Maritsa near the village of Chernomen (Greece).


  • The belltower or campanile, of the Pisa Cathedral (Leaning Tower of Pisa) is completed (Italy).

    Due to differences in the stability of the underlying rock and soil, the Pisa Cathedral’s belltower began leaning even while it was being constructed.

  • Yuan master Ni Zan’s The Rongxi Studio handscroll (China).

    The Rongxi Studio is named after the home of one of its first owners.


  • The Roman Catholic Papacy returns to Rome from Avignon (Italy).
  • Ibn Khaldun publishes Muqaddimah, an Arabic-language overview of history, culture, science and religion (Tunisia).


  • The Western Schism begins with the election of three different Roman Catholic popes, all of whom claim to be Supreme Pontiff of the Church (Italy).
  • The Ayutthaya Kingdom defeats the Kingdom of Sukhothai (Thailand; Laos; Myanmar).


  • An alliance of Russian principalities led by Prince Dmitri of Moscow defeats an army of the Mongol Golden Horde under Mamai at the Battle of Kulikovo.


  • Venice defeats Genoa in the War of Chioggia (Italy).
  • The Peasant’s Revolt, led by Wat Tyler, is put down by King Richard (UK: England).


  • Jean Bondol (Hennequin of Bruges), Nicolas Bataille, & Robert Poinçon create the Apocalypse Tapestry for Louis I, Duke of Anjou (France).

    A scene from the Apocalypse Tapestry showing an angel blowing the second of the seven trumpets of the Apocalypse, which causes ships to wreck.


  • John the Great’s victory over Castile at the Battle of Ajubarrota ensures Portugal’s independence.


  • The First Battle of Kosovo pits an army of Serbs and Bosnians led by Serbian Prince Lazar Hrebeljanović against the invading army of the Ottoman Empire under the command of Sultan Murad I. Both leaders die in the battle, and there is no clear victor (Kosovo).


  • Lukeni lua Nimi conquers the Kingdom of the Mwene Kabunga in West Central Africa to found the Kingdom of Kongo Dya Ntotila (Angola; Congo).


  • Muhammad V, Nasrid ruler of the Emirate of Granada, builds the Palace of the Lions and the Mexuar in the Alhambra (Spain).

    A view of the Courtyard of the Palace of the Lions in the Alhambra.


  • Charles VI expels the Jews from France.


  • The Wilton Diptych is painted (UK).

    The Wilton Diptych depicts British King Richard II kneeling in prayer before Mary, Jesus and a host of angels.


  • The 12-year-long Durga Devi famine begins in the Deccan Plateau (India).


  • Queen Margaret I of Denmark establishes the Kalmar Union, uniting Denmark, Sweden and Norway.


  • Johannes Gutenberg is born in the Electorate of Mainz (now Germany).


  • Richard II abdicates the throne and Henry Bolingbroke becomes Henry IV (UK: England).


  • Paramesvara establishes the Kingdom of Malacca on the Malay peninsula (Malaysia).
  • The Mongols, under Timur, invade Syria.
  • The Canterbury Tales, linked stories written in Middle English by Geoffrey Chaucer (England).


  • Timur leads the Timurid Mongols to victory over the Ottomans at the Battle of Ankara (Turkey).

    The Timurid Empire in about 1405.

    The Timurid Empire in about 1405.

  • Parameswara, the last king of Singapura, flees to Malacca after a Majapahit invasion and establishes the Malacca Sultanate (Malaysia).


  • First of seven Chinese naval expeditions under Zheng He (China).


  • First of seven Chinese naval expeditions under Zheng He (China).


  • Poland, under King Władysław II Jagiełło, and Lithuania, under Grand Duke Vytautas, decisively defeat the German–Prussian Teutonic Knights, led by Grand Master Ulrich von Jungingen, at the Battle of Grunwald (Poland).


  • Birth of Joan of Arc in Domrémy, France.


  • The English, under King Henry V, defeat the French, led by Constable Charles d’Albret, at the Battle of Agincourt. The victory begins a period of English success in the Hundred Years War(France).
  • Prince Henry the Navigator conquers Ceuta, beginning the Portuguese Empire (Morocco).


  • The Limbourg Brothers create the International Gothic illuminated prayer book Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (France).

    The page for January in Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.


  • Building of the Forbidden City at Beijing is completed (China).

    The Forbidden City in Beijing consists of a complex of temples and other buildings.


  • Work on the Old Hall Manuscript, a collection of English sacred music, is complete (UK).


  • A French army led by a teenage Joan of Arc liberates Orleans from the English siege (France).


  • The Aztec city-states Tenochtitlan, Texcoco and Tlacopan form a triple alliance to defeat the Tepanec state of Azcapotzalco, the first step toward establishing the Aztec Empire (Mexico).

    A map showing the growth of the Aztec empire.

    A map showing the growth of the Aztec empire.


  • Early Renaissance artist Masaccio paints frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel and the Santa Maria Novella Church in Florence (Italy).

    The Tribute Money is one of Masaccio’s frescoes in the Brancacci Chapel of the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine.


  • Joan of Arc leads the French to victory over the English at the Siege of Orléans, a turning point in the Hundred Years War (France).


  • Joan of Arc is tried and convicted of heresy, then burned at the stake (France).
  • The Thais capture the Khmer capital of Angkor (Cambodia).


  • The Ghent Altarpiece is painted by Early Netherlandish artist Jan (and possibly Hubert) van Eyck for St. John the Baptist Church in Ghent (Belgium).

    A view of the Ghent Altarpiece, which is located in St. Bavo Cathedral in Ghent.


  • Cosimo de’ Medici returns from exile to become the de facto leader of Florence (Italy).
  • The Arnolfini Portrait, an oil painting by Early Netherlandish painter Jan van Eyck (Belgium).

    Most experts now believe that the subjects of The Arnolfini Portrait are not a married couple named Arnolfini.


  • The Madonna of Chancellor Rolin, a painting by Early Netherlandish artist Jan van Eyck (Belgium).
  • Rogier van der Weyden’s Early Netherlandish painting Descent from the Cross (Belgium).

    The Descent from the Cross.


  • Vlad II Dracula (Vlad the Impaler) becomes voivode of Wallachia for the first time (Romania).
  • Florentine artist and architect Filippo Brunelleschi’s dome completes the Gothic Florence Cathedral (Basilica of St. Mary of the Flower, also known as the Duomo) (Italy).

    Brunelleschi’s dome solved a complex architectural problem of capping the Florence Cathedral and is considered his greatest achievement.


  • Pachacutec founds the Inca Dynasty (Peru).


  • David, a bronze statue by Early Renaissance sculptor Donatello (Italy).

    Donatello’s David is the first freestanding bronze statue made in Italy since the Classical Era.


  • The Venetian Gothic-style Doge’s Palace is completed in Venice (Italy).

    The Doge’s Palace in Venice.


  • The Ottomans under Sultan Murad II defeat armies led by Władysław III of Poland and Hungary, John Hunyadi and Mircea II of Wallachia in the Battle of Varna (Bulgaria).


  • The Second Battle of Kosovo results in a decisive victory for the Ottomans under Sultan Murad II over the Kingdom of Hungary and Wallachia led by John Hunyadi (Kosovo).


  • Francesco Sforza becomes Duke of Milan (Italy).
  • The Incas build Machu Picchu (Peru).

    The ruins of the Incan settlement of Machu Picchu are nestled high in the Peruvian Andes.

  • Johannes Gutenberg independently invents movable type printing with metal type and the first modern printing press (Germany).
  • The first evidence of screwdrivers (France; Germany).
  • Nicholas of Cusa invents eyeglasses with concave lenses for myopia (Germany).


  • Birth of Isabella (Queen of Castile and León) in Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Ávila (now Spain).
  • Birth of Cristoforo Colombo (Christopher Columbus) in the Republic of Genoa (now Italy).


  • Leonardo da Vinci is born in Vinci, Republic of Florence (now Italy).


  • After a 53-day siege, the Byzantine capital of Constantinople falls to the Ottoman Turks under Sultan Mehmed II (Turkey).


  • Pope Nicholas V negotiates the Treaty of Lodi, which settles hostilities among the Kingdom of Naples, the Duchy of Milan and the Republic of Florence (Italy).


  • The War of the Roses between the houses of Lancaster and York begins with the Battle of St. Albans near London (UK: England).
  • Johannes Gutenberg prints the first copies of the Latin-language Gutenberg Bible, the first major book printed in the West using movable type (Germany).

    A copy of the 1455 Gutenberg Bible in the collection of the Library of Congress.


  • Vlad the Impaler becomes voivode of Wallachia for the second time (Romania).
  • Alvise da Cadamosto of Portugal discovers the Cape Verde Islands, which become part of the Portuguese Empire.


  • The game of golf is being played in Scotland (UK).


  • At the Congress of Mantua, Pope Pius II calls for a crusade against the Ottoman Empire (Italy).


  • Birth of Vasco da Gama in Alentejo, Portugal.


  • Probable date of the Requiem by Johannes Ockegham, the earliest surviving polyphonic setting of the Roman Catholic Mass for the Dead (France).


  • Vlad the Impaler wreaks havoc on the Ottomans in Bulgaria, causing Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II to invade Wallachia (Bulgaria; Romania).


  • Early Renaissance artist Piero della Francesca paints The Resurrection of Christ on the wall of the Comunale in Sansepolcro (Italy).

    The Resurrection of Christ, by Piero della Francesca.


  • Johannes Gutenberg dies.


  • Birth of Niccolò Machiavelli in the Republic of Florence (now Italy).


  • Work is halted on the unfinished Cologne Cathedral (Germany).
  • Nicolaus Copernicus is born in Toruń, Royal Prussia, Kingdom of Poland.


  • Early Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna completes the frescoes in the Camera degli Sposi of Castello San Giorgio in Mantua (Italy).

    Mantegna’s illusionistic oculus was painted on the ceiling of the Camera degli Sposi.


  • The Portinari Altarpiece, painted by Early Netherlandish artist Hugo van der Goes (Belgium).

    The center panel of the Portinari Altarpiece.

  • Birth of Michelangelo Buonarroti in Caprese, Republic of Florence (now Italy).


  • Vlad the Impaler returns to the Wallachian throne for the third and final time before dying shortly thereafter (Romania).


  • No one expects it when Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile set up the Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition (the Spanish Inquisition) (Spain).


  • The Ottomans and Venice conclude 15 years of war with the Treaty of Constantinople (Turkey).
  • Birth of Fernão de Magalhães (Ferdinand Magellan), probably in Sabrosa, Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro, Portugal.


  • La Primavera (Spring), a painting by Florentine Early Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli (Italy).

    La Primavera may have been a wedding present for a De’ Medici relative.

  • Martin Luther is born in Eisleben, Saxony, Holy Roman Empire (now Germany).


  • Le Morte d’Arthur, a work of fiction written in English by Thomas Malory (UK: England).
  • Birth of Hernando Cortés in Medellín, Kingdom of Castile (now Spain).


  • The Birth of Venus, a painting by Florentine Early Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli (Italy).

    The Birth of Venus is now in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.


  • Bartholemeu Dias of Portugal becomes the first European to round the Cape of Good Hope (South Africa).


  • Lady with an Ermine, a painting by High Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci (Italy).

    Leonardo Da Vinci’s Lady with an Ermine is reportedly a portrait of his patron’s teenage mistress.


  • After encounters with the Portuguese, Kongo King Nzinga a Nkuwu converts to Christianity and takes the name of João I in honor of Portugal’s king João II (Angola; Congo).
  • Birth of Henry Tudor (Henry VIII) in Greenwich, England (now UK).


  • Christopher Columbus crosses the Atlantic Ocean, lands in the West Indies and claims them for Spain (The Bahamas).

    The voyages of Columbus.

    The voyages of Columbus.

  • Muslim rule in Iberia ends and the Reconquista is complete when Emir Muhammad XIII surrenders the Emirate of Granada to Ferdinand and Isabella (Spain).
  • Ferdinand II and Isabella I issue the Alhambra Decree expelling the Jews from Castile and Aragon (Spain).


  • In the Treaty of Tordesillas, Spain and Portugal divide up the world outside Europe between them.
  • French King Charles VIII invades Italy, starting the Italian Wars.
  • After Piero II de’ Medici capitulates to the French, the Florentines exile him and establish a Florentine Republic under the influence of radical Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola (Italy).
  • Luca Pacioli codifies the system of double-entry bookkeeping (Italy).

    A 1496 portrait of Fra Luca Pacioli, attributed to Jacopo de Barbari.

  • Sebastian Brant publishes Ship of Fools, a German-language satire, with illustrations by Albrecht Dürer (Switzerland).
  • Birth of Suleiman the Magnificent in Trabzon, Ottoman Empire (now Turkey).


  • The Holy League organized by Pope Alexander VI defeats the French at the Battle of Fornovo and forces Charles VIII to leave Italy.
  • While in Rome, Josquin des Prez composes the Missa L’homme armé super voces musicales, a setting of the Mass for four voices (Italy).


  • John Cabot reaches Newfoundland and claims it for England (Canada).
  • Josquin des Prez composes the five-voice lament Nymphes des bois, set to a poem by Jean Molinet, on the occasion of the death of Johannes Ockeghem (Italy).


  • Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama becomes the first European to travel from Europe to India by sea.
  • Radical Dominican friar Girolamo Savonarola is executed in Florence (Italy).
  • Apocalypse, a series of engraved woodcut prints by Northern Renaissance artist Albrecht Dürer (Germany).

    The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse was the most popular of the 15 prints by Albrecht Dürer depicting scenes from the Book of Revelation.

  • The Last Supper, a painting by High Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci on the wall of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan (Italy).

    The Last Supper underwent a major restoration that was completed in 1999.


  • The Ottomans defeat the Venetians at the Battle of Zonchio (Greece).
  • The Battle of Zonchio marks the first use of cannons in a naval battle (Greece).
  • The Pietà, a sculpture by High Renaissance artist Michelangelo (Italy).

    Michelangelo’s Pietà is located in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

    To see the next part of the timeline, click on the link below:
    Timeline of Human History II: 1500-1799

9 thoughts on “Timeline of Human History I: Prehistory to 1499

  1. KeithGM Gmeinder

    I have spent a lot of time looking for the best world history timelines, covering culture and science as well as politics and wars, and this is by far the best I have found online. It is detailed, but not overly so, and the maps and illustrations add a lot. Thank you for the time you spent putting it together, and for making it available to the public!

    1. beckchris

      Keith: Thank you so much for the feedback – I’m thrilled that you have found the Timelines to be helpful! It’s a lot of work, but I really enjoy doing it and appreciation like yours makes the effort worth it.
      – John Becker

  2. Pingback: Most Important Events in Human History – LOVE-U-INDIA

  3. Jill Girdlestone

    Thank you for making this timeline in human history. I home educate and we are going to be starting our own topic of timeline through history and this will be so helpful. Is there a printed copy of this available?

    1. beckchris Post author

      Jill: Thanks so much for the feedback and best of luck in using the timeline! Unfortunately, I don’t have a printed version of the timeline. Also, I apologize that I’ve been procrastinating about doing the last couple of years on the timeline (2021, 2022) – I have it on my to-do list.

      John B.


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