World History since the 15th Century

  • Period: 1450 to


  • 1506

    Introduction of Catholicism into Africa

    Introduction of Catholicism into Africa
    In the 1480s, the Portuguese discovered the Kingdom of Kongo, located in what is now northern Angola. Kongo was the first kingdom in West Africa to make contact with the European colonists. Enamored by European culture, the king of this region, Mvemba a Nzinga, adopted the Catholic name Alfonso, and called upon the Portuguese missionaries to educate and convert his people to Christianity in the year 1506. Pictured above is King Alfonso of Kongo.
  • 1575

    Initial Portuguese Settlement in Angola

    Initial Portuguese Settlement in Angola
    Due to trade disputes with the neighbouring kingdom of Congo regarding the export of slaves, the Portuguese looked to extend their efforts elsewhere. Hoping to gain new allies and establish trade relations, the Portuguese began sending several missionaries to Angola between 1560 and 1579, in attempts to set up a Catholic Church in the kingdom. In 1575, the Portuguese successfully set up their first colony in Luanda, the capital city of Angola. Pictured above is a Portuguese trade post in Angola.
  • Francisco Manicongo is Brought to the Portuguese Inquisition

    Francisco Manicongo is Brought to the Portuguese Inquisition
    In 1591, a Christian by the name of Mathias Moireira brought forward the offenses of Francisco Manicongo to the Portuguese Inquisition. These accusations concerned Manicongo's feminine behaviour, as he refused to wear the men's clothes that his slaveholders provided him with, as well as engaging in sexual relationships with other men. Pictured above is a seventeenth century illustration of the quimbanda, "third-gender" males native to Angola, of which Francisco Manicongo was a part.
  • The First African Slaves Arrive in North America

    The First African Slaves Arrive in North America
    On August 20, 1619, 20 Angolan slaves, kidnapped by the Portuguese, arrived in Virginia. These slaves were taken from the kingdoms of Ndongo and Kongo, and were marched to Luanda where they were boarded onto a Portuguese ship and were exported to the Americas. Pictured above is an illustration of the Angolans arrival in the "New World"
  • Nzinga of Ndongo is Appointed as Queen

    Nzinga of Ndongo is Appointed as Queen
    Following the death of her brother, Nzinga succeeded the throne of Ndongo, the site of modern day Angola. The circumstances of her brother's death are widely debated by historians. Some propose that Nzinga poisoned her brother in order to take his place as ruler after witnessing his incompetence in dealing with the Portuguese imperialists. Nonetheless, Queen Nzinga remained in power for nearly four decades through her relentless defense of Ndongo against the Portuguese colonists.
  • Period: to

    The Americas

  • John Eliot's Introduction of Christianity

    John Eliot's Introduction of Christianity
    In 1663, Puritan missionary John Eliot learned and successfully translated the Christian Bible into the Algonkian language, in order to spread Christianity amongst the Indigenous population. Eliot's intention was to have certain Indigenous Christians act themselves as missionaries, to allow European Christianity to further infiltrate these communities. This led to the "Praying Indians", Indigenous people who converted to Christianity and went on to denounce their former Native spirituality.
  • The Hudson's Bay Company is Established

    The Hudson's Bay Company is Established
    On May 2, 1670, The Hudson’s Bay Company was established, forming a monopoly and increasing the volume of goods in the fur trade. The company's magnitude altered the economic and social structures that had previously existed within North America, leading many Indigenous communities to take recourse in the belief of witchcraft in order to cope with the cultural disorientation.
  • Tituba is Accused of Witchcraft

    Tituba is Accused of Witchcraft
    The first phenomenon of witchcraft observed in post-colonial North America is that of an enslaved Indigenous woman, Tituba. Tituba was accused of witchcraft after the daughters of Samuel Parris, whom she worked under, began to scream and writhe with no explanation. A local doctor assessed the situation and diagnosed the two girls with possession by the Devil. Tituba was immediately blamed for the bewitching, and sent to trial. This accusation spurred the frenzy of the Salem witch hunt onward.
  • The Salem Witch Trials Conclude

    The Salem Witch Trials Conclude
    In January 1697, the Massachusetts General Court declared a day of fasting for the tragedy of the Salem witch trials. The court later deemed the trials unlawful, and the leading justice Samuel Sewall publicly apologized for his role in the process. In 1711, Salem passed a bill restoring the rights and good names of those accused of witchcraft and granted £600 recompense to their heirs.
  • Smallpox Epidemic in the Hudson Bay Area

    Smallpox Epidemic in the Hudson Bay Area
    From 1780 to 1782, smallpox decimated many Indigenous communities, despite the disease being introduced to North America by the Europeans. The European colonists suffered minor consequences from the epidemic, with many of them having built immunity to the virus due to past exposure. However, Indigenous peoples lacked this resistance, and this particular epidemic is said to have caused a mortality rate of approximately 50% amongst Natives.
  • Period: to


  • The First Opium War Begins

    The First Opium War Begins
    After discovering the great market in southern China for smuggled opium, Great Britain flooded the country with opium, causing an addiction crisis. The Qing Dynasty banned the drug, partly because of the health problems associated with the drug, but also because the increasing opium trade meant China began importing more commodities than it was exporting. China's seizure of opium stocks resulted in military confrontation and the 3 year long Opium War. Pictured above are Chinese opium smokers.
  • Hong Kong becomes a British Colony

    Hong Kong becomes a British Colony
    In 1841, during the First Opium War, China relinquishes power over the island of Hong Kong to the British, an agreement made in order to end the Anglo-Chinese conflict that had been occurring since 1839. In 1839, Britain invaded China to crush opposition to its interference in the country’s economic and political affairs. One of Britain’s first acts of the war was to occupy Hong Kong, In 1841, China ceded the island to the British in the Treaty of Nanking, ending the First Opium War.
  • The Taiping Rebellion Begins

    The Taiping Rebellion Begins
    Beginning in 1850, self-proclaimed profit Hong Xiuquan led a nearly 15 year revolt against the governing Qing Dynasty, and is estimated to have taken at least 20 million lives in the process. Gathering followers first from the poor and outcast, Xiuquan and his recruits gradually built up an army and political organization that rampaged throughout China, calling their cult the "God Worshipping Society". The rebellion ended in 1864 after Xiuquan was poisoned. Pictured above is Hong Xiuquan.
  • The Second Opium War Begins

    The Second Opium War Begins
    Despite this conflict being seemingly resolved by the Treaty of Yanking, in the 1850s, Great Britain and their European allies grew increasingly dissatisfied with the terms of their treaties with China and the Qing Dynasty's failure to adhere to them. Britain and France demanded that China legalize opium, attacking Chinese forts and further advancing into Beijing, looting of the Qing Imperial Palace and burning the Summer Palace. China signed the Treaty at Tianjin in 1858, ending the conflict.
  • The Boxer Rebellion Begins

    The Boxer Rebellion Begins
    Following the Opium Wars and the Sino-Japanese War, China had undergone vast changes due to this foreign intervention. By the late 1890s, a secret Chinese group, "The Society of Righteous and Harmonious Fists", assembled, as they blamed their poor standard of living on foreigners who were colonizing their country. In 1900, the movement spread to the Beijing area and began a siege of Beijing’s foreign legation district, where foreign diplomats were located. This siege lasted three weeks.
  • Period: to


  • The Assassination of Franz Ferdinand

    The Assassination of Franz Ferdinand
    On June 28, 1914, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated via gunshot while visiting Sarajevo. The perpetrator was a young Bosnian nationalist, Gavrilo Princip. Princip, along with his co-conspirators, believed in the sovereignty of the Southern Slavic people and sought to unite them into a federal nation. This assassination sparked a chain of events, subsequently resulting in the beginnings of the first World War, though tensions had been previously building.
  • The Treaty of Versailles is Signed

    The Treaty of Versailles is Signed
    Exactly five years following the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, sparking the beginning of the first World War. The Treaty of Versailles identified Germany as the primary instigators of the war, and were therefore penalized as such. These terms included loss of territory, massive reparations payments and the demilitarization of Germany. The formation of the Treaty of Versailles, signed by representatives from the US, Great Britain, France and Italy, served as the end of World War I.
  • The Beginning of the Great Depression

    The Beginning of the Great Depression
    In October of 1929, the stock market reached the end of the rapid expansion it experienced throughout the 1920s, and crashed, subsequently destroying the economy and millions of jobs throughout Europe. This economic instability led Germany to further decline when coupled with the reparations outlined in the Treaty of Versailles, ultimately leading to Hitler's rise to power and the beginning of World War II, as he promised to bring economic revitalization to Germany
  • World War II Begins

    World War II Begins
    On September 1, 1939, German and Soviet troops, led by newly appointed supreme leader Adolf Hitler, invaded Poland. Prior to this invasion, Great Britain and France had guaranteed Poland their military support in the event of an attack from Germany. Thus, two days following the attack, France and Britain declared war on Germany, beginning World War II.
  • Adolf Hitler Commits Suicide

    Adolf Hitler Commits Suicide
    In June 1944, the Western Allied armies landed at Normandy, France, and began systematically pushing the German forces back toward Berlin. Seeing as imminent defeat for Germany was becoming increasingly clear, Hitler withdrew to a bunker located under his headquarters in Berlin. On April 30, 1945, Hitler commited suicide via gunshot and cyanide pill. Soon after, the German forces surrendered to the Western Allies.