World history

AP World History Timeline

  • Period: 476 to 1450

    Feudalism in Europe

    After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, Europe was decentralized, so kingdoms came up on their own. Feudalism was the basis for each kingdom to have order. The serfs provide food and labor and pay taxes, the knights protect the lords, and the lords pay taxes to the king. The king gives land to the lords, the lords give pieces of land to the knights, and the knights protect the serfs. It was a simple government where one gives something to get something.
  • Period: 618 to 1125

    Tang and Song Dynasties

    After the decline of the Sui Dynasty due to the assassination of its leader; the Tang Dynasty was established. The Tang dynasty expanded conquering many Central Asian nomadic societies and establishing a tribute system which was a common practice for China even after the Tang dynasty was replaced with the Song dynasty in 960 AD. The dynasties re-established Confucianism as the main practice and made many academic achievements such as creating the world's first printing press.
  • Period: 750 to 1250

    Abbasid Caliphate

    Baghdad was a very wealthy trade city, so it was made the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate during the Golden Age of Islam. Here they built the House of Wisdom as a university for all people based on Greco-Roman concepts. They made many medical advancements as well as advancements in math, science, and literature. The Abbasid Caliphate built some famous buildings such as the Dome of the Rock. They declined due to Turkish invasion which replaced caliphs with sultans in 1250 CE.
  • Period: 1200 to 1368

    Mongol Empire

    The now unified nomads of the Eurasian Steppes successfully conquered the Silk Road and controlled and stabilized the trade route. Though the conquest was ruthless and bloody, the new China entered a time of Pax Mongolica. The Mongols were strict with their laws which attracted more merchants due to their guaranteed safety along the road. With more merchants came more tribute to the king. The empire was united until Genghis Khan died (1227) and the empire split into 4 khanates.
  • Period: 1210 to 1526

    Delhi Sultanate

    The Turks took over the caliphates and replaced them with sultanates one of which located in Northern India. The Delhi Sultanate was ruled under Sharia Law and continued academic, cultural, and artistic traditions set by the Abbasid Caliphate. They did not force the previously Hindu population to convert to Islam, but those who did not convert had to pay a jizya (tax). Cultural blending was common between the Islam and Hindu cultures of the area.
  • Period: 1214 to 1255

    Mali Empire

    After the fall of the kingdom of Ghana, Mali was established in its place by the Lion King. Taking control of the Trans-Saharan Trade Network, and gold and salt of west Africa, Mali became very wealthy by taxing the merchants that had to pass through. The king, Mansa Musa, had a lot of gold and built many mosques on his travels due to Islam becoming very popular in Mali. The Great Mosque was built at Djenne and because of the Islam love of knowledge Timbuktu became a learning center.
  • Period: 1271 to 1378

    Yuan Dynasty

    The mongol khanate in China was ruled by Kublai Khan. They finished their conquest of China in 1235 and adopted Buddhism.They limited the power of the Chinese through separation laws/taxes and expelled the Civil Service exam. Foreign trade was encouraged and increased dramatically as Pax Mongolica was still in practice and merchants were safe on the Silk Road. Their ambition soon got the best of them as after the 2nd failure in invading Japan the dynasty was overthrown by peasants.
  • Period: 1299 to

    Ottoman Empire

    The Ottomans overtook Constantinople and established a vast empire with control over many wealthy nations. Their access to composite bows and gunpowder as well as their strong military allowed them to keep their control. They made advancements in science and medicine. They also stood between Europe and the Silk Road which allowed them to raise taxes on goods and gain wealth. They soon lost their grip on their land as those around them advanced while they stood traditional.
  • Period: 1300 to 1533

    Aztec and Incan Empires

    Aztecs resided in central Mexico with its own tribute system and advanced system of living. Local rulers of the three city states were allowed to govern if they sent tribute to the central king. The Incas (west South America) were advanced in building. They made bridges, Machu Picchu, and roads that can still be found today. Due to Spanish colonization, these empires were eradicated through war, slavery, and disease.
  • Period: 1300 to

    European Renaissance

    After the plague, people began to express renewed interests in art and knowledge. This sparked the Renaissance. The standard of living was increased and people could afford better clothes and artworks. People also began expressing more interests in science, literature, math, and philosophy. Humanism was the idea that humans could improve society rather than waiting for God to do it. Education and literacy rates increased and the world transitioned to a more modern state.
  • Period: 1342 to 1353

    Bubonic Plague

    The plague began in China and spread to the rest of Eurasia along the Silk Road. Many died and families were broken. Priests began charging people for sacraments which increased the wealth of churches, but made many people turn away from them. The standard of living increased for serfs because they could charge more for their services and lords were desperate enough to pay due to the high deaths of their laborers. Serfs got higher wages, so inflation occured and feudalism declined.
  • Period: 1370 to

    Ming Dynasty

    The Ming Dynasty overthrew the Yuan Dynasty not long after the Bubonic Plague. They purged any remnants of the Mongols from China, made laws supporting Confucianism, re-established the Civil Service exam, expanded agriculture, and limited foreign trade. Yongle was the third emperor of the dynasty. He moved the capital to Beijing and constructed a large walled palace called the Forbidden City.
  • Period: 1400 to

    Atlantic Slave Trade

    With the new colonies of the New World, slaves were needed to work on plantations for cheap labor. Many of the slaves were killed on route to the new world in the middle passage, but those that made it brought pieces of their culture with them. For the Americas, new crops (bananas, sugar cane) were brought from Africa along with culture (languages, dishes, voodoo). Africa was depopulated, but also gained new crops from Europe in the Columbian Exchange.
  • Period: 1400 to

    Age of Exploration

    Goods from Asia had to travel through the Middle East before arriving in Europe, so the merchants of the Middle East would put high taxes on the goods. This forced Europe to have to look for new ways to get to Asia and with the invention of the lateen sail and the caravels they were able to set sail. Through this age the Americas were discovered for Europe and the Portuguese set up their trading post empire. Silver became a major commodity and cultural blending took place worldwide.
  • Period: 1500 to 1540

    Portuguese Trading Post Empire

    New technologies diffused throughout the known world through the Silk Road. The taxes on incoming technology into Europe were high due to the countries in the Middle East, so Portugal had to find a route directly to Asia. As they traveled along the southern tip of Africa they established trading posts and forced merchants to pay to trade through them. They had over 50 trading posts and dominated the Indian Ocean trade by selling safe conduct passes to foreign ships or destroying them.
  • Period: 1517 to

    The Reformation

    The Catholic church became corrupted and Martin Luther spoke out about it with the 95 theses becoming popular with the printing press. Protestantism was created and Catholics were not happy. The Council of Trent was created to promote Catholicism and demote Protestantism. The 30 Years War between the Protestants and the Catholics ended with religious freedom in England, local government determining religion in Augsburg, and religious autonomy in German provinces.
  • Period: 1520 to 1540

    Spanish Colonial Empire

    Spain took a part in the Age of Exploration by taking over the Americas; mainly South America. They overthrew the pre-existing peoples (Incas and Aztecs) and used the natives as slaves. They established the encomienda system and encomenderos were like plantation owners while the natives died due to excessive labor and disease. Silver mines were discovered and took the world by storm, but while silver helped other economies it devastated Spain's.
  • Period: 1526 to

    Mughal Empire

    The empire was said to be founded by a descendant of Genghis Khan by the name of Babur. Ruling most of India and Pakistan, the empire was one of the three gunpowder empires that stood between Europe and Asia along with the Ottomans and the Safavids. They attempted to spread Islam to the largely Hindu population. They brought a stability to the area through protection and were also able to raise taxes on goods from the Silk Road.
  • Period: to

    Tokugawa Shogunate

    Japan was once a very separated state that was always at war with itself, but then Nebunaga and Hideyoshi came along to unite Japan under one shogunate. Tokugawa usurped Hideyoshi's heir and established his own bloodline as the new shogunate. He would take relatives of the dainyo hostage to ensure loyalty and due to the peace the samurai had no place. Instead the samurai became educated artists and scholars, but peasants suffered. Art flourished with poetry, drama, and lounge singers.
  • Period: to

    Qing Dynasty

    After the Manchu people invaded regions of China, the Ming Dynasty ( the last native ruled dynasty) fell and the Qing Dynasty replaced it. China was expanded to Central Asia and isolationism was put into place, but it was eventually softened to allow foreign governments to enter the country. During this time, art and peace flourished, Confucianism and Buddhism were common, Manchu culture blended with Chinese, and corn and potatoes were newly planted. This was the last dynasty of China.
  • Period: to

    The Enlightenment

    Absolutism became Europe's main type of monarchy due to the fall of feudalism, the church's loosened grip, and rise of the gentry; however, during the Enlightenment people began to speak out about their rights. People like John Locke, Thomas Paine, and Montesqieu (etc) came up with the foundations for separation of powers, natural rights, and equal living. These ideas would go on to influence many people for many years and help set the foundations for the US government.
  • Period: to

    Industrial Revolution

    New inventions sparked the first Industrial Revolution as societies began turning their backs on being mainly agricultural to more urban and industry based. Inventions such as the cotton gin and steam engine made work on farms easier to manage with fewer farmhands, so people began moving to cities and finding work in factories. Railroads made travel and shipping goods easier and electricity would forever change the way the world ran.
  • Period: to

    American Revolution

    The colonists were angered due to the increased taxation Great Britain put on them to pay for the French and Indian War. They had no representation in England to speak for them and people such as Thomas Paine encouraged the colonists to revolt against the unjust government. The war ended with the creation of the United States of America that was built upon Enlightenment ideals. The constitution provided separation of powers, and the Bill of Rights gave people their natural rights.
  • Period: to

    French Revolution

    The French Revolution was in part motivated by the Enlightenment, but the people were very angry because the former king had plunged the country into debt. The already poor population could not afford to pay the outrageous taxes placed on them as the result of the debt, so they decided to overthrow the monarchy and establish a government modeled after Enlightenment ideals. This new government did not last long and soon the country was in the hands of Napoleon.
  • Period: to

    Haitian Revolution

    The French revolution sparked the Haitian revolution by empowering the mulattoes and free blacks to fight for their rights . As the French embraced the idea of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in their own country the Haitians felt it needed to be embraced in theirs, too. The slaves revolted and carried out the biggest and most successful revolution by slaves in the western Hemisphere ultimately stopping slavery in Haiti.
  • Period: to

    Tanzimat Reforms

    The Ottoman Empire was crumbling and was known as the "Sick Man of Europe". The change in trade patterns took a toll on the empire, so they had to come up with the reforms to modernize themselves in order to preserve what they had left. They attempted to increase agriculture, improve military, and decrease corruption. They embraced western concepts and Enlightenment ideals by remodeling their government to be secularized. They ended up losing many of their Ottoman values.
  • Period: to

    Opium Wars

    Britain's control over India is what initiated the overselling and overuse of Opium. China had traditionally used the opium for medicine, but Britain supplied them with enough to use liberally. China had declared war upon finding out the British began smuggling opium into China. The first war ended with China opening treaty ports, so foreign countries could trade legally. The second war began at these ports when opium was no longer welcomed in China, but it was soon after legalized.
  • Period: to

    Taiping Rebellion

    After the Qing Dynasty began persecuting the Christian population, thye Taiping people rose to eradicate China of the Manchu people. Their goal was to restore China to her past greatness, but the rebellion failed. The Qing were able to end the rebellion with the help of the British and French. The rebellion is said to be the deadliest in history claiming between 20 million and 70 million lives. Though it failed, the rebellion was able to weaken China.
  • Period: to

    Sepoy Mutiny

    The British Empire had control over India and used their resources in a favorable balance of trade. They used the Indians as cheap labor to make things out of silk and cotton, but soon the Indians had had enough. The mutiny drove a wedge between the Muslim and Hindu soldiers. It was memorable as India's first attempt at independence from the unjust ways of the British, but it ultimately failed. In the end Britain's grasp on India was tightened.
  • Period: to

    Meiji Revolution

    As Japan's isolationism begins to fall, a civil war begins between the Tokugawa Shogunate and samurai who believe modernization is the right path. By 1869 the shogunate is abolished and an emperor takes its place to begin the westernization reforms. They remodeled much of their military, government, and industries to look more western and by 1900 they became the most industrialized nation in Asia.
  • Period: to

    Scramble for Africa

    Imperialism was becoming a trend in this new age as many countries began fighting for territory in Africa. They convinced themselves they were "saving the savages" by giving them structure and education, but they were splitting up people and inflicting much harm. Their goals were mainly economically and politically based, and in the end ethnicities and religions in Africa were partitioned unjustly.
  • Period: to

    Berlin Conference

    The Scramble for Africa was in full swing, but Germany had no claim to any of the land. They held the conference to split up the land with Britain and France gaining most of the claim. Powers had to notify each other before claiming any African colonies. Much of the Democratic Republic of the Congo was put into the hands of King Leopold the second to help Germany. Countries split up former African countries to establish new ones which would lead to conflict amongst the natives.