13 billion years ago (Ga)

Beginning of the universe.

5 Ga Formation of our sun.
600 million years ago (Ma) Multicellular organisms.

360 Ma

Four limbed vertebrates.
At some later point, mammals branch into monotremes, marsupials and placentals. Tree-rodents separate into proto-flying lemurs and primates.

65 Ma

Dinosaur extinction (except birds).

30 Ma

Apes and monkeys part.
10 Ma Chimpanzees part from other apes.
7 Ma Other chimpanzees part with us.
4 Ma Walking upright.
2.5 Ma Use of stones as crude tools becomes common for East-African proto-humans.
1 Ma Omnivorous homo-erectus survives more robust-skulled proto-humans, expands from Africa into the east and europe. May control fire.
100,000BC Anatomically modern humans arise in Africa.
40,000BC Perhaps grammar? Tools become more complex. Localised cultural artifacts. Stone struck off larger stone for edges. Rope. Compound tools. Axes, needles, fish hooks, net-sinkers. Bows and arrows, darts, woomera, big game hunting begins. Neanderthals disappear. Australia colonised via Indonesia. Trade (nonlocal materials). Some begin to live to old age, becoming wealth of information (menopause?). Art.
9000BC North and South America colonised via Siberia and Alaska. (World human population of order ten million?)


Agriculture originates in near east, but takes over 2000 years to spread north-west. It permits larger population density, development of diseases, desertification.


Domesticated sheep, cows, pigs, horses and goats, in Western Eurasia.




Bronze age.

330 CE

As the Roman Empire splits, Constantinople made capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. Roman empire also becomes Christian.

~500 CE

Western fall of Roman Empire, beginning of the Middle ages (with power dominated by the Catholic church, the remaining outposts of education).


Muhammad conquers Mecca, after a series of battles. (Islam will dominate the Middle East, northern Africa, and Indonesia; a quarter of people are Muslim.)


Charlemagne crowned emperor, in lead-up to the Holy Roman Empire (932), universities, Catholic/Orthodox schism (1054) and the crusades to retake Jerusalem.


Persian Algoritmi fathers algebra, introduces Hindu-Arabic to west (spread around Mediterranean by Fibonacci of Pisa, 1202). Alhacen fathers scientific method, 1021.


Black death halves population of Europe. Beginning of Renaissance, in which humanists focus on beauty and individuals and studying the ancients.


Protestant reformation, rejecting papal authority (and leading to separation of church and state). Leonardo da Vinci in Florence, centre of capitalism.


Galileo’s controversy contributes to the enlightenment, which advocates reason (and science as distinct from the church) as the legitimate source of authority.