World History Timeline

World History Timeline
A high-resolution version of this graphic

“It is impossible to show everything that has happened in world history on a small poster. The main part of this Chart shows the rise and fall of the great empires and nations through history. It is arranged according to continents, and where possible continents that are next to each other on the globe are next to each other on the chart. It shows how people moved out of their homeland to conquer new territories, sometimes far from home. Each continent is shown in a limited color range, for example, Europe if red-orange-yellow. You can easily see when a European state took control of a country outside Europe because its color remains ‘European’ even though it is outside Europe. The length of the color shows the length of time the empire lasted and the width shows how extensive was the territory they controlled.

Aggressive states were not present everywhere at all times. In many parts of the world, people lived in small groups without the need to make big conquests. While the conquering nations are shown with bold colors, the peaceful people are shown in Lighter colors. You will see that some of them existed for many hundreds of years.

The further we go back in time, the less we know about what happened. That is partly because until writing was invented between 5000 and 4000 years ago (or much later in some areas), nobody was able to record events. This is the period we call ‘prehistory’, where archaeology (digging up actual remains) is the mam source of our knowledge. There were probably just as many interesting events and people then, but the chart has more empty spaces because information about them is lost.

For this reason, the space allowed for each century gets smaller as we go back in time. Also, the space allowed for each continent is not proportional to its actual size – more space is given where most of the recorded history took place. Can you imagine what the Chart would look like if we allowed exactly the same space for each century and allowed space for each continent according to its actual area?

Below the main chart is a Timeline of important events and personalities in the past. These people and events have all had some influence on our world today – even though many of them are far distant in time. They include kings and queens, politicians, religious and cultural leaden and inventors.

Here you on also find some of the different ‘Ages’ that you learn about in history. The colours show which continent the event or person belongs to, as used on the main chart. The dots indicate that something happened at a single point in time, and the bars show the active lifetime of a person or the time span of an event. You can find out more about these people and events by looking in an encyclopaedia or on the Internet.”

World History Timeline

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