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Great Dates in World History

Great Dates in World History


Egypt and Mesopotamian region : the first known writing, a small limestone tablet, comes from Kish in present Irak and is dated to c. 3500 BCE.


Chinese region, documented in ancient writings, dates back some 3,300 years.


Hindu region, written history starts around 3000 BCE.


Blowing up of the volcano on the small Greek island of Santorini (Thera) which triggered earthquakes and a tsunami that devastated large areas of land not only on mainland Greece but across the Mediterranean in Egypt and Palestine. This catastrophe brought down the fine Minoan civilization, centered on the island of Crete. From ”In Search of the Cradle of Civilization”, George Feuerstein…


Moses  (Judaism 1500-1350 ?)



The main religions of the world

were founded in the so-called Axial Period from about 600 to 300 BCE

Ethical monotheism in the Middle East was developed especially by ZARATHUSTRA or Zoroaster in eastern Persia, probably about 600 B.C.E. but possibly earlier; Zoroastrianism (also called Mazdeism) spread in the Persian Empire starting in the 6th century B.C.E.

Ethical monotheism also arose among the HEBREW PROPHETS in Palestine, starting in the 8th century B.C.E. and spreading as Jewish people migrated in later classical empires. 

Hinduism and Hindu traditions of belief and social organization developed in the emerging Aryan society of India, with the early sacred hymns or Vedas and the Brahman priesthood providing the foundations by 700–500 B.C.E. The composition in the 8th to the 4th centuries B.C.E. of the Upanishads provided systematic interpretation of the Vedas and are the foundation for much of later Indian philosophical thought. 

JAINISM, founded by Mahavira 599-527, died in Pavapuri, Bihar, India

BUDDHISM developed in India in these same centuries, beginning with the teaching career of GAUTAMA SIDDHARTHA, the BUDDHA (c. 542–483 B.C.E.), as a rejection of Brahman dominance and the caste system. The development of Hinduism and Buddhism created the distinctive world-views of Indian civilization by the end of the Axial era. 

CONFUCIUS (551-479) lived during the 6th century BCE in China. His teachings provided a philosophical base for social loyalty and obedience.

DAOISM (or Taoism), which is usually traced to the legendary teacher Laozi (or Lao Tse) 580, the egalitarian teachings of Mo-Zi (c. 471–391 B.C.E.), and the authoritarian LEGALISM, most fully articulated by the later Han Fei (d. 233 B.C.E.). 

GREEK PHILOSOPHY represents the intellectual culmination of the transformations in the eastern Mediterranean societies of the Mycenaeans and Dorians. Socrates (469–399 B.C.E.), Plato (427–327 B.C.E.), and Aristotles (384–322 B.C.E.) provided the basis for the main traditions of Greek philosophy emerging from the Axial age.


Homerus writes Ilias and Odysseus


Capture of Israël by the Assyrians


Achemenides dynasty starts in Persia, recognizing sovereignty of the Medes


Babylon Empire: destruction of main Assyrian cities, Assur (614), Ninive (612), Charan (608) 


Capture of Juda by the Babylonians. Many Jews driven to Babylon in captivity.


Occupation (598) and destruction(587)of Jeruzalem by Nebukadnezar II of Babylon


Cyrus II (559-529) conquers the Median kingdom, Iran, Palestina and Babylon. Return of the Jews to Israel..


Darius I  (521-486)


Xerxes I(486-465)(other name: Assuerus) first Indo-European world empire. Capital: Susa, which is mentioned in the Ketuvim of the Hebrew Bible, mainly in Esther but also once each in Nehemiah and Daniel. Both Daniel and Nehemiah lived in Susa during the Babylonian captivity of Judah of the 6th century BCE. Esther became queen there, and saved the Jews from genocide.


Death of Buddha, and First Great Buddhist Council in 477 according to Max Muller and Cunningham, but more probably in 487 according to Dr. Smith. Birthday feast : May 26


Socrates  469-399


Herodotus writes his history of the world 480-420 ?       Euripides 480-406


Attila(+453)passes the Donau river, invades Germany and Gallia in 451 but is defeated, and retreats to Italy but can not conquer Rome (Pope Leo the Great)


Plato 427(?)-347


Aristoteles 384-322


Second Buddhist Council, in Vesali. Also finish of compiling of the Dhammapada (Path of Virtue) canonical book (Pitaka’s)


From the East, the Wisigoths cross the Danube, frontier of the Empire, defeat the Romans at the battle of Adrianople and settle in Thrace and Illyria.

Huns invade Europe, attacking and subduing the Ostrogoths and the Wisigoths


Birth of Alexander the Great in Macedonia. He conquers Egypt and Syria in 332. Victory over Darius III in 331, Babylon in 331. In 327-325 campaign through Mesopotamia, Syria, and central Asia to India. Destruction of Persepolis in 330. Dies in 323


Greek scientists:

Aristarchus of Samos (310 - 230BCE) was a mathematician and astronomer who is celebrated as the exponent of a Sun-centred universe and for his pioneering attempt to determine the sizes and distances of the Sun and Moon.

Archimedes (Greek Αρχιμήδης)(c.287–212BCE) was an ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, astronomer, born in the seaport colony of Syracuse, Sicily. He is considered by some historians of mathematics to be one of the greatest mathematicians in antiquity; Carl Friedrich Gauss considered him one of the two greatest ever.

Eratosthenes of Cyrene (276-194BCE) was a Greek mathematician who is famous for his work on prime numbers and for measuring the diameter of the earth. Ptolemy, (Claudius Ptolemaeus)astronomer of 2nd century Alexandria, mapped the world and placed on it the nations of the "oikomene," the inhabited civilized world, and Barbarian tribes known in his day. Eratosthenes,  astronomer and geographer of the 2nd century BC, considered the inhabitable area as a strip 1,500 miles wide. He thought that north of this strip it would be too cold to live and that south of it would be too hot. He and others at the Alexandrian library described the area and tribes north of the Black Sea. "But because they have a richer share of moisture [those who live in the northern parallels] which is most nourishing, and is not exhausted by heat, they are white in complexion, straight-haired, tall and well nourished and somewhat cold by nature, these too are savage in their habits because their dwelling places are continually cold... We call these men too by a general name, Scythian. 

Eumenes of Cardia (c.362-316 BCE), Greek: Ευμένης) was a Greek general and scholar. He participated in the wars of the Diadochi as a supporter of the Macedonian Argead royal house.

Parchment is a material for the pages of a book or codex made from fine calf skin, sheep skin or goat skin. According to the Roman historian Varro, Pliny’s Natural History records (xiii.21), it was invented under the patronage of Eumenes of Pergamum, (ruled 263–241 BCE) as a substitute for papyrus, which was temporarily not being exported from Alexandria, its only source.

Euclid (Euclides) of Alexandria, ca. 325-265, a Greek mahhematician, lived in the library of Alexandria, Egypt, almost certainly during the reign of Ptolemy I Soter (323 - 283), is often considered to be the "father of geometry". His most popular work, Elements,


Gupta Dynasty in India  325-300  capital Pataliputra


Maurya Reign in India  300-185


Asoka, emperor of India (272-231), capital Pataliputra. The Greek ambassador Megasthenes describes this wonderful city as having a circumference of 40km.


Third Great Buddhist Council, in Pataliputra


Ch’in Dynasty (221-206)in China


Chang Ch'ien (d. 114 BC) or Zhang Qian, famous Chinese traveler started his first trip through central Asia, till 126


Huns subdued by the Chinese Han emperor




Christianity, Jesus 01-33


Shintô (Japan)


First paper construction in China


Mani 216-277  Manicheïsm


Roman Emperor Constantine (272-337) proclaimes religious tolerance by the Edict of Milan in 313.


India: Maurya/Gupta reign, capital Pataliputra (Patna). (320-535)


Rome no longer Rome: Emperor Constantine moves the Roman Empire Capital to Byzantium which becomes Constantinople. Converted to Christianity and baptized in 337.


On Febr. 27, 380, Catholic Christianity declared as state religion by Emperor Theodosius I (347-395).


Second Ecumenic Council of Constatinople, confirming the Nicea faithprofession,

Attended by Hieronymus (345-420), Ambrosius (340-397) and Augustinus (354-430).


Nestorius 382-451  Aartsbishop of Constantinople. After being condemned in 431, fled to Psersia


Attila the Hun (c. 406 - 453) In 434 East Roman Emperor Theodosius II offered Attila 660 pounds of gold annually with hopes of securing an everlasting peace with the Huns. In 441 however Attila's Huns attacked the Eastern Roman Empire. The success of this invasion emboldened Attila to continue his westward expansion. Passing unhindered through Austria and Germany, Attila plundered and devastated all in his path. In 451, having suffered a setback on the Plains of Chalons, by the allied Romans and Visigoths, Attila turned his attention to Italy. After having laid waste to Aquileia and many Lombard cities in 452, the Scourge of God met Pope Leo I who dissuaded him from sacking Rome.


Nestorianism: Nestorius preached the first of his famous sermons against the word Theotokos, and detailed his Antiochian doctrine of the Incarnation. First Nestorian church in the Chinese capital of Ch’ang-an in 638.


Avars entering Europe


Fa-Hsien, China’s greatest traveler. "Record of Buddhist Countries" today known as the "Travels of Fa-Hsien". Passed Khotan in the Taklmakan desert in 399.


Odovacar, proclaimed king of Italy deposed Romulus Augusutlud, the last Western Roman Emperor. The Ostrogoths occupied Italy under the leadership of Theodoric the Great.


Founding of the monastery at Monte Cassino (near Rome) by Benedict of Nursia. Monastic Rule of Sint Benedict.


Mohammed  580-632    Islam


Conversion of the Wisigoths on the Iberian peninsula


Buddhism declared state religion of Japan by Prins Shōtoku Taishi


Seventeen Article Constitution of Japan by Prince Shotoku (572-622)  WA ()Spirit !


Harsha, Gupta Emperor reigned from 605 to 646


The population of Tibet became converted to Buddhism under the reign of King Sron-btsan-Sgam-po (620-649) in the 7th century.


First Nestorian church in the Chinese capital Ch’ang-an


India: Buddhism gradually displaced by Hinduism and Islam in 7th & 8th Century, by the Muslim-Arabic invasion.


Pope Stephen II places Rome under the protection of the Franks: Pippin, king of the Franks, takes Ravenna from the Lombards and gives the town to the Pope. With Rome and Ravenna were thus created the Papal States which were to last till 1870.


Population of China under the T’ang dynasty (618-907): 52 million, 2 million in Ch’ang-an (Shian), capital, with 25 cities of more than 500.000 inhabitants. 


Coronation of Charlemagne as Emperor of the Western Empire, by Pope Leo III in Rome on Christmas Day.


Compostela: discovery of the tomb of St.James at Compostela in Galicia.


First Russian Empire under the Swedish Viking Varegue Ruric who founds the Kingdom of Novgorod, with Kiev as capital


Avicenna  (Abu Ali ibn-Sina) 980-1037


The Great Schism between Rome and Byzantium, the Patriarch of Constantinople refusing papal sovereignty


First Crusade to the Holy Land. Occupation of Jerusalem by the Christian crusaders on 15 July 1099 with bloody murdering of almost all inhabitants, muslims as well as christians.


Council of Lateran II, proclaimed celibacy as absolute condition for the priesthood


Second Crusade in 1147-49,


Ghengis Khan(1167-1227) (Timujin)


Franciscus of Assisi (1182-1226)


Jerusalem retaken by Sultan Saladin in 1187, after 88 years of Christian occupation, without any bloodshed, on October 2, 1187.


Third Crusade in 1189-92, Richard Leeuwenhart and Philip Augustus, King of France. Akko wordt terug ingenomen met uitmoording van 2700 muslim gevangenen


Fourth Crusade 1202-04


Jalaluddin Rumi (1207-1273), the greatest Sufi poet of Islam, born in Balck, Afghanistan. Mausoleum and Shrine in Konya, Turkey where he died. Theocentric anthropocosmic worldview


Khubilai(1215-1294), (Kublai Khan), grandson of Ghengis, reigned from 1264 till 1294, with Karakoram as capital


Foundation of the Order of St. Dominicus


Jan van Ruusbroec. 25 years as curate of the St. Goedele Cathedral in Brussels, after which he retired to a recluse in the Zoniën forest, south of Brussels. Many books on mystique practices. 1293-1381


Final re-occupation of Jerusalem by the Muslims


John of Plan Carpin  (Giovanni dal Plano del Carpini), sent by Pope Innocentius IV, starts his journey to Karakorum and China. Returns in 1251.


Buddhist Council in Karakorum, attended by Emperor Mongke and Wilhelm Ruisbrouck ofm., as envoy of Louis IX. Wilhelm leaves for his return trip on Aug. 18, 1254, returning in July 1255.


Bagdad devastated by the Mongols with 90.000 dead.

Expansion of Christianity: Nestorians, Syrish Yacobites and Armenians.


Journey of the brothers Maffeo and Nicolo Polo, meeting Khubilai in Peking 1262-1263


Maffeo, Nicolo and Marco (son of Nicolo) Polo, second journey, reaching Changtou (summer residence of Khubilai) in May 1275, with letter of Pope Gregorius X. Returning to Venice in 1295.


Between 1282 and 1288, Arghoun, brother of Abaque, tried, in his wars with the Mameluks, to arrange an alliance with the Christian leaders of Europe and sent different ambassadors to them, but to no avail.


Ottoman Empire  1300-1699 and then gradual fall down till 1900


Reign of Toughlong Amir Temur (Tamerlane) 1336-1405, from Caspian Sea to the Indus and in the east up to Zaissan lake and Irtych river, with Samarkand as capital. By his savage conquering some 17 million people have allegedly been killed.


Mongol Dynasty in China 1368-1643.


Zheng He, China’s most famous navigator, 1371-1435, traveled with his great ships to Sumatra, Malacca, Java, Ceylon, India, Persia, the Persian Gulf, Arabia, the Red Sea, as far north as Egypt, and Africa as far south as the Mozambique Channel. He did Taiwan seven times.

According to Chinese sources, Zheng He comanded 7 fleets comprised of 30,000 men and over 300 ships at its height. The 1405 expedition consisted of 27,800 men and 317 ships, composed of:

Treasure Ships, used by the commander of the fleet and his deputies (nine-masted, about 120 meters (400 ft) long and 50 m (160 ft) wide). (Colombus ship was only 26m long)

Horse ships, carrying tribute goods and repair material for the fleet (eight-masted, about 103 m (339 ft) long and 42 m (138 ft) wide)

Supply ships, containing food-staple for the crew (seven-masted, about 78 m (257 ft) long and 35 m (115 ft) wide).

Troop transports, six-masted, about 67 m (220 ft) long and 25 m (83 ft) wide).

Warships, five-masted, about 50 m (165 ft) long).

Patrol boats, eight-oared, about 37 m (120 feet) long).

Water tankers, with 1 month supply of fresh water.


Filips de Goede of Burgundy (1428-1482) acquires through heritage Holland, Zeeland, Henegouwen, Vlaanderen, Artois, Brabant en Limburg.


Occupation and fall of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in spite of help by Genoa and Venice. The silk route to India and China was hereby cut off, which brought about the “great discoveries” to the West.


Karel de Stoute (1467-1477)


Sikhism, Guru Nanak 1469-1538


Fall of Granada to the Catholic Kings of Spain and discovery of the New World by Christopher Colombus (born in Genoa but acting for the kingdom of Castile).


Portugese enter Sri Lanka and stay till 1658


Martin Luther publishes his “95 Theses” in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517.


Suleyman the Magnificent, Ruler of the Ottoman Empire, born in 1493, reigned 1520-1566


Mughal (Moghul) Empire  1526-1707/1857


Foundation of the Jesuit order in Spain under the inspiration of Ignatius of Loyola


Concilium of Trente


Jesuit Father Matteo Ricci’s arrival in Beijing (1601-2001).


End of the reign of the Manchus, replaced by the Ming Dynasty which lasted till 1912.


First swing watch made by Christiaan Huygens. Preceded by the sun watch and then the sand glass in the 14th century.


Dutch take over Sri Lanka from the Portugese and stay till 1796


Vienna taken from the Turks by the victory of Charles of Lorraine and Jan Sobieski of Poland, conceding Hungary and Croatia to Austria.


India becomes British colony till 1948


Benjamin Franklin, president of America 1706-1790. President from 1780(?) till 1790


America: Declaration of Independence 4 July 1776 (Georges Washington 1732-1799, president from 1789-97)


Constitution of the United States 17 Sept. 1787


French Revolution


Sri Lanka becomes British colony till 1948.


Napoleon, master of Europe.


Napoleon defeated at Waterloo


Last king of Sri Lanka, Sri Vikrama Raja Singa banished by the British occupation to South India.


Birth of Baha’ullah  (Mirza Husayn-Ali) 1817-1892  Baha’i Faith


America: the population increases between 1820 and 1860 from 9.6 million in 23 states to 31.3 million in 33 states.


Ramakrishna Paramahamsa  Born Febr. 13, 1836, died August 15, 1886. Chief disciple: Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902).


Baha’i religion: Bab 1819-1850, Baha’ullah 1817-1892, Abdu’l-Baha 1892-1921, Shoghi Effendi 1921-1957


In June 1838, the deciphering of the rock-cut edicts of Emperor Asoka by the archeologist James Princeps, the up to that time obscure history of India and of Buddhism became clearer. In 1844 the “first rational, scientific and comprehensive account of Buddhist religion “ was published by Eugene Burnouf, after the Pali Ceylon History was translated by Turnour



The black steamships with Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry in Tokyo Bay, July 8 till 17


Charles Eugene De Foucald born in Strasbourg, France, on September 11, 1858. Died, killed in Tamarasset, Algiers Dec. 1, 1916. Founder of the Little Brothers of Jesus in 1933 and the Little Sisters of Jesus in 1936.


North America’s Civil War 1861-April 1865  (Lincoln 1809-1865 murdered soon after). North had a population of 22 million, South 9 million and 3.5 million slaves.


Lincoln declares all slaves free


Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)


Rerum Novarum, encyclic by Pope Leo XIII in May 1891


Establishing of the Buddha Gaya Maha Bodhi Society in Colombo, Sri Lanka on May 31


Mao Tse Tung  21.12.1893 – 09.09.1976


Madras branch of the Maha Bodhi Society was founded on Sept. 28, 1899


Republic of Turkey created


Opening of the tomb of Tutanchamon on February 12, 1924


Quadragesimo Anno, encyclic by Paul VI


A first ordination in India of a Buddhist monk took place at Sarnath near Varanasi (Benares) on January 16, 1933: Ven. Sri Devamitta Dhammapala (1864-1933). His ashes are buried at the Maligakande Temple in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Founder of the Maha Bodhi Society, was ordained as a Buddhist monk by eleven Buddhist priests and four Bhikkhus having come over from Sri Lanka for that purpose. The restauration of the Buddha Gaya Temple at Bodhgaya was one of his projects. The temple was transferred to the Maha Bodhi Society on May 28, 1953.







Dalai Lama, born as Lhamo Dhondrub, Jylu 6, 1935, At the age of two became the 14th Dalai Lama, under the name of Tenzin Gyatso (Ocean of Wisdom) Flight of Dalai Lama from Lhasa, Mardh 17, 1959, over the Che-la pass, via Chenye and the Changai Riudechen monastery, last night at Mangman at the Indian border, arriving in Assam on Indian border on Mar. 31,1959


Discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran in Palestine


Assasination of Ghandi, January 30, 1948


Independence of India, Aug. 15, 1948


Proclamation of the People’s Republic of China by Mao Tse-Tung on Oct. 1, 1949


Death of Sri Aurobindo (Calcutta 1872-1950) Cosmic Consciousness  (Teilhard de Chardin), The Mother (Mira Richard, from France). In 1910 to Pondicherry, where his ashram was established.


Chinese occupation of Tibet


Security Treaty between Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America [ANZUS], in Francisco, 1 September 1951) Entry into force generally: 29 April 1952


Peace Treaty with Japan  Signed at San Francisco, 8 September 1951


Japanese prince Akihito marries a commoner Shōda Michiko on April 10. He is the current emperor of of Japan since 1989. 


The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, or Vatican II, was the twentieth century Ecumenical Council of the Roman Catholic Church. It opened under Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and closed under Pope Paul VI on 8 December 1965. At least four future pontiffs took part in the council's opening session: Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini, who on succeeding Pope John XXIII took the name of Paul VI; Bishop Albino Luciani, the future Pope John Paul I ; Bishop Karol Wojtyła, who became Pope John Paul II; and 35-year-old Father Joseph Ratzinger, present as a theological consultant, who more than forty years later became Pope Benedict XVI.


The Sha leaves Iran on January 16, 1979


Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of Iran on February 1, 1979


USSR invasion of Afghanistan : 25 December 1979 – February. 14, 1988


Jacques Delors, president of the EU Commission from 1985 till 1994


Gorbachev Michail (1931-   ) (Reign: 1985-1991): in 1985, Gorbachev was appointed general secretary of the party despite being the youngest member of the politburo. He embarked on a comprehensive program of political, economic, and social liberalization under the slogans of glasnost (“openness”) and perestroica. For his contributions to reducing East-West tensions, he was awarded the 1990 Nobel Peace Prize. During 1990 and 1991, however, the reform drive stalled, and Gorbachev appeared to be mollifying remaining hardliners, who were disgruntled over the deterioration of the Soviet empire and increasing marginalization of the Communist party.

An unsuccessful anti-Gorbachev coup by hardliners in Aug., 1991, shifted greater authority to the Russian Republic's president, Boris Yeltsin, and greatly accelerated change. Gorbachev dissolved the Communist party, granted the Baltic states independence, and proposed a much looser, chiefly economic federation among the remaining republics. With the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) on Dec. 8, 1991, the federal government of the Soviet Union became superfluous, and on Dec. 25, Gorbachev resigned as president. Since 1992, Gorbachev has headed international organizations; written several books, including On My Country and the World (tr. 1999), and run unsuccessfully (1996) for the Russian presidency.


Fall of the Wall of Berlin, November 9, 1989


Unification of West and East Germany, Oct. 3, 1990


Taliban 1994-2002, great Islam Shura Congress of March 20, 1996 (Mullah Omar as prophet)


Afghanistan invasion: at approximately 16:30 UTC (12:30 EDT, 17:00 local time) on Sunday,

October 7, 2001, US and British forces began an aerial bombing campaign targeting Taliban forces and Al-Quaida.


Irak invasion on 19 March 2003


On May 1, expansion of the European Union, extending the Union by 10 member-states:
Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Malta and


Death of Pope John Paul II on April 2, 2005


Election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedictus XVI on April 19, 2005 




Parliament of the World’s Religions, 3-9 December 2009, at Melbourne, Australia.


Compiled by


Lucien F. Cosijns, Binnensteenweg 240/A26, 2530 Boechout, Belgium

Tel.: +32 3 455.6880          lfc.cosijns@gmail.com


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