World History Timeline

Background Information

Major World Regions

The inhabited world can be divided into twelve major regions.

Major Regions of the Inhabited World

The regions of North Africa, Southwest Asia, and Central Asia are known collectively as the Middle East. The Eurasian Steppe (aka "the Steppe"), a vast strip of grassland from Ukraine to Mongolia, straddles several major regions.

The Steppe

Main Article

Colour Key

Colour Key to the World History Timeline
Middle East
South Asia
East Asia
Europe (and colonial offshoots)
Sub-Saharan Africa
pre-colonial Americas
the Steppe

For discussion of Essential Humanities' approach to achieving a well-rounded survey of world history, see Global Civilizations.

The Ancient World

ca. 3500 BC-500 AD
Timeline of the Ancient World
3500-3000 BC 3000-2000 BC 2000-1000 BC 1000 BC-0 0-500
Mesopotamian civilization
ca. 3500-550 BC
Per1 inter-Persian Per2
Egyptian civilization
ca. 3000-550 BC
Ptolemaic Roman/Byz
Indus civilization
ca. 2500-1500 BC
Vedic age
ca. 1500-500 BC
Indian kingdom age
ca. 500 BC-1200 AD
ancient China (Xia > Shang > Western Zhou > Han)
ca. 2000 BC-500 AD
Aegean civilization
ca. 2000-1200 BC
Greek age
ca. 1200 BC-0
Roman Republic
ca. 500 BC-0
Roman Empire
ca. 0-500
early Nubian civilization
ca. 2000-1000 BC
ca. 1000 BC-300 AD
formative age of Mesoamerica
ca. 1500 BC-100 AD
classic age
ca. 100-900
ancient Andean region (Chavin > Moche/Nazca)
ca. 1000 BC-500 AD
ancient Steppe empires
ca. 1000 BC-500 AD
Per1 First Persian Empire ca. 550-330 BC
inter-Persian inter-Persian period ca. 330 BC-200 AD
Per2 Second Persian Empire ca. 200-650
Ptolemaic Ptolemaic Egypt ca. 330 BC-0
Roman/Byz Roman > Byzantine Egypt ca. 0-650
Ak peak of Aksum ca. 300-650

The Medieval World

ca. 500-1500
Timeline of the Medieval World
500-1000 1000-1500
Per2 age of united Caliphate
ca. 650-900
fractured Islamic world
ca. 900-present
Indian kingdom age
ca. 500 BC-1200 AD
early Islamic period
ca. 1200-1500
medieval China (Tang > Song > Yuan)
ca. 500-1500
formative Japan (age of Yamato rule)
ca. 500-800
Heian age
ca. 800-1200
ca. 1200-1870
medieval Europe
ca. 500-1500
peak of Aksum
ca. 300-650
age of pre-colonial civilization (Christian, Islamic, and traditional kingdoms)
ca. 650-1880
classic age of Mesoamerica
ca. 100-900
postclassic age of Mesoamerica
ca. 900-1520
medieval Andean region (Chimu > Tiwanaku/Wari > Inca)
ca. 500-1530
age of Turkic empires
ca. 500-1200
Per2 Second Persian Empire ca. 200-650
Roman/Byz Roman > Byzantine Egypt ca. 0-650
Mongol Mongol Empire ca. 1200-1300
the primary power of medieval Eastern Europe was the Byzantine Empire
the primary powers of medieval Western Europe were France, England, and the Holy Roman Empire

The Modern World

ca. 1500-present
Timeline of the Modern World
fractured Islamic world
ca. 900-present
Mughal Empire
ca. 1500-1800
British India
ca. 1800-WWII
modern India
ca. WWII-
early modern China (Ming > Qing)
ca. 1500-WWI
ca. 1200-1870
imperial Japan
ca. 1870-WWII
modern Japan
ca. WWII-
early modern Europe
ca. 1500-1800
modern Europe
ca. 1800-present
age of pre-colonial civilization
ca. 650-1880
colonial Africa
ca. 1880-1980
colonial United States
ca. 1500-1776
formative US
ca. 1776-1865
great power US
ca. 1865-WWII
superpower US
ca. WWII-
RC Republic of China ca. interwar period
PRC People's Republic of China ca. WWII-present
MA modern Africa ca. 1980-present
the primary powers of Reformation Europe (ca. 1500-1650) were Spain, France, and Austria
the primary powers of Europe from the Enlightenment to WWI (ca. 1650-WWI)
were France, Britain, Austria, Prussia (later Germany), and Russia
the primary powers of Europe since WWI (ca. WWI-present) have been France, Britain, Germany, and Russia
the two superpowers of the Cold War (ca. 1945-91) were the United States and USSR
since the Cold War, the United States has reigned as the world's only superpower;
the "second tier" of world powers consists of China, Japan, and the primary European powers