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Approximate Dates for a Perspective on History

Ever wondered what what the dates for some of the major inventions in human history are? Here's a big list of the approximate dates. Also included are dates of famous people, events, and periods of histoy, so that you can see how everything fits together.

Stone Age: before 3300bc

DistaffDeep Antiquity
Hominids Make Stone Tools2,400,000 BC
Paleolith Axe(Man Made Tool)700,000BC
Non-Supportive Footwear48,000 BC
Representational art (caves)35,000 BC
Sandals28,000 BC
Ceramic (Vestonice Venus)26,000 BC
First Boomerang in Poland25,000 BC
Dogs tamed (for hunting)13,000 BC
Pleistocene ice age ended12,000 BC
Agriculture (neolithic era)11,000 BC
Cats tamed (against mice)7,500 BC
Warp-Weighted Loom7,000 BC
Woven Cloth7,000 BC
Oxen tamed (for plowing, etc.)7,000 BC
String Skirt6,000 BC
Earth-fired Pottery (fragment)5,000 BC
Eyeliner4,000 BC
Cities (Erbil, Mesopotamia)4,000 BC
Copper4,000 BC
Wheels (Mesopotamia)4,000 BC
Writing (Mesopotamia)3,500 BC

Bronze Age: 3300bc-1200bc

Note the tremendous progress from 4,000 to 3,000 BC! This was where the Tigris & Euphrates deltas, and the uphill slope toward Iran, caused wide variety of plants & animals that could be domesticated, according to "Guns, Germs, and Steel," by Jared Diamond, Norton, N.Y., 1999.

Bronze (copper, plus 10%tin)3,300 BC
Sumerian Bull Lyre3,200 BC
Cuneiform Cylinder Seal3,000 BC
Sumerian Harp2,500 BC
Coiled ceramics2,500 BC
Soldered sheets of gold2,500 BC
Horses tamed2,500 BC
Potter's Wheel2,400 BC
Antikythera Calculator2,200 BC
Trepanation Kit2,000 BC
Folding Stool2,000 BC
Olive Oil Soap2,000 BC
Aryans invaded India2,000 BC
Sanskrit2,000 BC
Glass2,000 BC
Hindu "Veda" written1,800 BC
Hammurabi Laws (Babylon)1,700 BC
Abraham1,300 BC

Iron Age: 1200bc-476

Iron (Hittites, 4% carbon)1,200 BC
Phonetic writing (Phoenicia)1,200 BC
Steel (Cyprus, 1% carbon)1,100 BC
Toys1,100 BC
Aztec Calendar Wheels1,000 BC
Candles1,000 BC
Tumbler Lock1,000 BC
Moses, Exodus, Joshua1,000 BC
Confucius500 BC
Gautama Buddha500 BC
Arches500 BC
Voting (among wealthy Greeks)500 BC
Decoding Device5th century BC
Crossbow400 BC
Catapult400 BC
Chelys-Lyra400 BC
Aristotle (logic)350 BC
Alexander325 BC
Chaldean Sundial320 BC
Euclid (geometry & logic)300 BC
Lighthouse300 BC
Ramayana written300 BC
Archimedes Lever260 BC
Archimedes' Screw250 BC
Battery250 BC
Sarculum (hoe)250 BC
Compass220 BC
Ship Shaker214 BC
Pompeian House200 BC
Carthage (all killed, bldgs. flattened)146 BC
Caesar50 BC
Blown Glass50 BC
Chinese belt drive15 BC
JesusZero AD
Roman-Style Fresco50 AD
Hero builds a steam powered toy60 AD
Roman Forceps79 AD
Holy Water Dispenser100 AD
Thunder-Making Machine100 AD
Steam Engine100 AD
Self-Moving Stand100 AD
Constantine (Rome Christianized)300 AD
Byzantine Empire400 AD
Frame Harp400 AD

Medieval Period: 476-1500

Stained GlassMedieval
Mohammed500 AD
Siege Ladder537 AD
"China"porcelain (Tang dynasty)600 AD
Uighurs invaded Turkey700 AD
Magyars invaded Hungary900 AD
Chalemagne (Saxons Christianized)800 AD
Alfred Of England (Vikings were Christianized and stopped raiding)900 AD
Beowulf1000 AD
Renaissance (old knowledge & trade)1100 AD
Genghis Khan Empire1210 AD
Guns1300 AD
Plague (Black Death)1350 AD
Chaucer1350 AD
Keel BreakerEarly 15th century AD
TrebuchetEarly 15th century AD

Post-Medieval Period: 1500-1800

Leonard da Vinci sketches mechanical calculator1500 AD
Martin Luther (Protestant Reformation)1500 AD
Bodhran Drum1500 AD
Ottoman Empire1500 AD
Galileo (experimentalism)1600 AD
Slide rule1621 AD
Newton (mathematical physics)1700 AD
Earthen Oven (Mumu)1700 AD
European porcelain1710 AD
Watt (industrial revolution)1750 AD
Benjamin Franklin's kite experiment1752 AD
Eraser1770 AD
U.S.A. (broad-based democracy)1776 AD
Electric motor1821 AD
Sound reproduced1821 AD
Microphone1827 AD
Electric telegraph1837 AD
Paper bag1850 AD
Gyroscope1852 AD
Vacuum pump1855 AD
Cathode ray tube (CRT)1859 AD
Pasteur (germs, vaccines)1870 AD
Mimeograph1875 AD
Telephone1876 AD
Incandescent light bulb1878 AD

Industrial/Modern Age: after 1800

Edison (practical electricity)1880 AD
Public telephone invented1888 AD
Automatic telephone switchboard1892 AD
Wireless telegraphy1894 AD
Vacuum cleaner1901 AD
Telephone answering machine1904 AD
Einstein (counter-intuitive physics)1905 AD
Electrical toaster1909 AD1909 AD
Artificial plastic {Bakelite}
Electric washing machines1910 AD
George Claude introduces neon lamps.1910 AD
Dr Sidney Russell invents the electric blanket.1912 AD
Traffic lights are used for the first time (in Cleveland, Ohio)1914 AD
Clarence Birdseye preserves food by means of freezing.1917 AD
Short-wave radio is invented.1919 AD
Canadian-n John Augustus Larson invents the polygraph (lie detector).1921 AD
USSR (20 million killed)1922 to 1991 AD
First photoelectric cell is introduced.1923 AD
Philo Farnsworth assembles a complete electronic TV system.1927 AD
First quartz crystal clock is introduced.1928 AD
John Logie Baird invents a videodisc to record television programs.1928 AD
Joseph Schick invents the electric razor.1929 AD
Magnetic sound recording on plastic tape.1929 AD
The first car radio is installed.1929 AD
Sliced bread is introduced.1930 AD
First electronic speech synthesis (Vodar).1936 AD
Fluorescent lighting is introduced.1936 AD
Hungarian-born Lazro Biro invents and patterns the first ballpoint pen.1938 AD
Radio drama War of the Worlds causes wide spread panic.1938 AD
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are patented by Messrs Bay and Szigeti.1939 AD
First touch-tone phone system (too expensive for general use).1941 AD
Percy L Spencer invents the Microwave Oven (the first units go on sale in 1947).1945 AD
First atomic clock is constructed.1948 AD
Transistor (electronics revolution)1948 AD
First TV dinner is marketed by the Swanson Company.1953 AD
Velcro is patented.1955 AD
The USSR launches the Sputnik 1 satellite.1957 AD
Theodore Maimen creates the first Laser.1960 AD
Cordless and cell phones are developed.1980 AD
First mouse pointing device is created.1981 AD
Communist China (30 million killed)1949 AD
Double-Blind Audio Test (by DJS)1974 AD
"Meme" (Richard Dawkins)1976 AD
Hamah, Syria(25K killed, bldgs.flattened)1982 AD

Some Important European Migrations

600 BC - Celts (speaking Gaelic) occupied arc from northern Turkey, up through France (Gaul), over to Ireland. Temporarily conquered by Rome, then split up.

400 AD - Goths, from Sweden (Gothenberg) and northern Germany, went south in various temporary streams, into Italy and Spain, and even into northern Africa.

800 AD - Vikings, from Norway and Denmark in various streams, temporarily went into England and elsewhere, becoming the royalty and nobles of Normandy and Russia.

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Works consisting entirely of information that is common property and containing no original authorship (for example: standard calendars, height and weight charts, tape measures and rulers, and lists or tables taken from public documents or other common sources). Please feel free to make and distribute copies of the text of this list. For more information on what can't be copyrighted see the Copyright Basics (Circular 1), courtesy of the U.S. Copyright Office.

Non-list portions of this page are Copyright © 1998-2006 Phillip Riley

Last Updated Sat Aug 11, 2007