Timeline of natural history
13.8 billion years BC – 3.3 million BC
Our timeline of the past begins at the very moment of the Big Bang. We follow the growth of the early Universe and the first stars and galaxies, the young Earth, and the emergence of life, the evolution of dinosaurs, and the rise of mammals leading to human beings.
Timeline of human prehistory
3.3 million years BC – 3500 BC
Early humans emerge in Africa, stone tools and the control of fire become the first technologies, animal husbandry and the domestication of plants leads to the Agricultural Revolution and the birth of civilisation.
Timeline of ancient history
3500 BC – 499 AD
The development of writing improves the transfer of knowledge, as new metal, stone and woodworking techniques combined with monetary and legal systems lead to increasingly complex societies. Religions bound people together and help to explain otherwise unexplainable phenomena. The world population expands significantly.
Timeline of the Middle Ages
500 – 1499 AD
The fall of the Roman Empire leads to invasions, mass migrations and the formation of new kingdoms. A prolonged period of cultural and economic stagnation is followed by the consolidation of monarchies, and progress in the arts and literature including the first universities, in turn followed by famine, plague, and increased religious conflicts.
Timeline of early modern history
1500 – 1799 AD
Improvements in mapping and ship design bring faster travel and increased colonialism, opening up the New World and other regions. Feudalism declines in Europe, as the Age of Enlightenment sees adoption of the scientific method and the advance of ideals such as liberty and progress. Mercantilism paves the way to capitalism and industrialisation.
Timeline of modern history
1800 – 2020
The Industrial Revolution transforms society, the British Empire rises and falls, World Wars culminate in atomic warfare, humans walk on the Moon, the collapse of communism marks the end of the Cold War, computer technology reshapes everyday life, Asia begins to catch up with the West, and environmental impacts threaten humanity's future.