Timeline of History

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Years Before the Present

13.82 billion, The Big Bang

  • Birth of the Universe
  • Matter and energy appear; Beginning of physics.
  • Atoms and molecules appear; Beginning of chemistry.

13.7 billion, First stars

  • Metal-poor, Population III stars form

13.4 billion, GN-Z11

  • Oldest known galaxy

12.9 billion, ULAS J1120+0641

  • Oldest known quasar

12.7 billion, PSR B1620-28 B

  • “Methuselah”, the oldest known planet.

7.8 billion, Dark Energy Era

  • The Universe begins to accelerate its expansion

4.56 billion, Formation of the Solar System

  • Jupiter’s ‘Grand Attack’ scrambles orbits of outer planets, ejects proto-super-Earths from inner Solar System, paving way for the Earth’s formation.
  • Possible extrasolar world, Planet 9, captured from neighbouring star?

4.55 billion, Big Splat

  • Earth-Moon system forms from the collision with proto-planet Theia.

3.88 billion, Origin of Life

  • Simple chemical aggregates, with primitive replicative and metabolic functions, evolve.
  • Beginning of biology.

3.4 billion, Photosynthesis

  • First autotrophs evolve.

2.7 billion, Eukaryotes Evolve

  • Complex cellular organisms evolve from the symbiosis of Archaea and Eubacteria.

2.3 billion, Great Oxygenation Event

  • Earth’s atmospheric oxygen content increases.

1.8 billion, Sudbury Basin

  • Meteorite impact creates 250 km crater

1.4 billion, Blackhole Mergers

  • Blackhole collisions occur which produce gravitational waves that are registered by the Laser Interferometry Gravitational-Wave Observatory, LIGO.

1 billion, Sexual Healing

  • Sexual reproduction appears in eukaryotic organisms.

720 million, Cryogenian Period

  • “Snowball Earth” glaciation begins, in which planet is almost completely frozen

600 million, Ediacaran Fauna

  • First metazoans appear

542 million, Cambrian Explosion

  • Modern animal phyla evolve

400 million, Land Plants

  • Terrestrial flora well established

375 million, Tiktaalik

  • First land tetrapods evolve

310 million, High Oxygen Levels

  • Atmospheric oxygen spiked at 35%, leading to the evolution of huge invertebrates.

250 million, Permian-Triassic Extinction

  • 90% of marine, 70% of terrestrial organisms disappear.

231 million, Dinosaurs Appear

  • They dominate throughout the Mesozoic Era.

100 million, Flowering Plants

  • They replace conifers to become dominant plant form by this time.

70 million, Tyrannosaurus Rex

  • Nature’s most efficient hunting machine, the large carnivorous theropod.

66 million, K-T extinction Event

  • Dinosaurs and many other Mesozoic animals become extinct; likely caused by meteor impacts.

50 million, Whales Evolve

  • Begins with amphibious predators.

23 million, Antarctic Glaciation

  • Opening of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current puts the continent on ice.

7 million, Earliest Hominin?

  • Last common grandmother of humans and chimpanzees, Sahelanthropus tchadensis.

3.2 million, Lucy

  • Australopithecus afarensis.

2.6 million

  • Evolution of the genus Homo in Africa.
  • First stone tools, Oldowan tools

2.3 million, Out of Africa 1?

  • Humans spread from Africa to Eurasia.
  • Evolution of different human species.

1.9 million, Homo erectus

  • Modern human body plan evolves.
  • Last major eruption of Mount Kilimanjaro

1 million, Use of Fire?

  • Possible date of first human use of fire.


  • Neanderthals evolve in Europe and the Middle East.


  • Daily usage of fire.


  • Homo sapiens evolves in East Africa.

74,000, Toba Eruption

  • Humankind’s biggest volcanic eruption with a Volcanic Explosivity Index of 8; triggers global cooling.

70,000, Cognitive Revolution.

  • Emergence of fictive language.
  • Beginning of history.
  • Sapiens spread out of Africa.

45,000, Sapiens settle Australia.

  • Extinction of Australian megafauna.

32,000, Chauvet Cave Paintings

  • Earliest known figurative cave paintings


  • Extinction of Neanderthals.

16,000, Sapiens settle America.

  • Extinction of American megafauna.

13,000, Extinction of Homo floresiensis.

  • Homo sapiens is the only surviving human species.

12,000, Agricultural Revolution.

  • Domestication of plants and animals.
  • Permanent settlements.

5,200, Earliest Writing

  • The cuneiform script of the Sumerian civilization.

5,000, First Kingdoms

  • Emergence of money.
  • Polytheistic religions.

4,600, Egyptian Pyramids

  • The Great Pyramid is constructed by the Pharaoh Khufu

4,250, First Empire

  • The Akkadian Empire of Sargon.


  • Invention of coinage – a universal money.
  • The Persian Empire – a universal political order ‘for the benefit of all humans’.
  • Buddhism in India – a universal truth ‘to liberate all beings from suffering’.

1,800, Roman Empire at its height

  • Roman Civilisation reaches its noontide under the “Five Good Emperors”


  • Han Empire in China.
  • Roman Empire in the Mediterranean.
  • Christianity.


  • Islam.

965, Crab Nebula

  • Chinese observe progenitor supernova SN 1054

700, Mali Empire

  • Mansa Musa helms the gold-producing Mali Empire, becoming the richest person who was, is, and ever will be.
  • The world’s first university is built in Timbuktu.

583-611 Zheng He

  • Ming admiral conducts seven exploratory voyages in the Indian Ocean, once docking in Malindi, Kenya.

500, Scientific Revolution

  • Humankind admits its ignorance and begins to acquire unprecedented power.
  • Europeans begin to conquer America and the oceans; The entire planet becomes a single historical arena.
  • The rise of capitalism.

410, Galileo Galilei

  • Uses telescope to make astronomical observations

200, Industrial Revolution

  • Family and community are replaced by state and market.
  • Massive extinction of plants and animals.

160, Theory of Evolution

  • Charles Darwin introduces the concept of evolution through natural selection, creating an irreconcilable rift between science and religions.

80, Batman

  • Fiction’s greatest character, The Batman, is created.

74, Trinity Test

  • Detonation of the first atomic bomb.
  • Nuclear weapons threaten the survival of, not only humans, but all higher life forms on Earth.

62, Sputnik

  • Launch of the first artificial satellite.

59, Yuri Gagarin

  • Human beings transcend the boundaries of planet Earth with Yuri as the first person in space.

50, Moon Landing

  • Human beings walk on another world.

29, Hubble Space Telescope

Launched with the primary objectives to:

  • investigate the constitution, physical characteristics, and dynamics of celestial bodies
  • determine the nature of processes occurring in stellar and galactic objects
  • study the history and evolution of the universe
  • confirm universality of physical laws
  • provide a long-term space research facility for optical astronomy

24, Internet

  • Widespread use of the World Wide Web begins.

8, D-Wave One

  • Considered the world’s first commercially-available quantum computer.

6, Higgs Boson

  • Discovered by European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.

The Present

The Future

  • Does intelligent design become the basic principle of life?
  • Homo sapiens is replaced by superhumans?

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