A Look at the Western History Timeline

Western history, as it is often defined, encompasses Europe’s long history from the prehistoric era through the medieval world and into the modern era. The phrase is a misnomer, however, as western culture encompasses much more than just what is centered in Europe. It also extends to the cultures of places such as Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt.

The earliest of human civilizations, such as those of Sumer and Babylon, emerged around c. 3000 BCE, but it was not until the Neolithic Revolution that people began to farm and domesticate animals, allowing them to settle and establish towns and cities. This allowed them to develop systems of writing, organized religion and literature that had a profound effect on world history.

This era was marked by European wars between rival religions and the rise of nationalism, as European countries gained in size and wealth, laying the foundation for the modern country system we know today. It was also when a new philosophy, known as the Renaissance, began to gain influence and popularize, promoting the idea that knowledge could be obtained through books and reason rather than religious teachings.

This was also the time when European empires expanded outward, dividing and exploiting the world’s natural resources and people for their own benefit. This period of globalization also spawned a number of revolutionary social changes, including the spread of Christianity and the introduction of Western-style clothing, architecture, education, medicine and politics to the rest of the world.

The industrialization of the late 19th century saw military technology make rapid advancements, resulting in the development of machines such as barbed wire, dreadnought battleships and torpedoes that gave Western forces a tremendous advantage over other nations. In the political sphere, this era was also marked by the Civil War and the rise of ideologies such as fascism and Nazism that put the concept of racial superiority at the core of their worldviews.

In the 20th century, two world wars, the Cold War and the rise of terrorism threatened global stability. This was also the era that saw the first efforts to get women the right to vote in national elections in Western countries, and the start of ecological disasters like the Dust Bowl in 1934 and 1936.

In the 21st century, we have seen a struggle for peace and democracy in the Middle East and a worldwide movement to end nuclear weapons. We have also experienced the growth of global capitalism, with many developing countries embracing free market economies in a bid to reduce poverty and inequality. This is a period that has also witnessed the dismantling of colonialism, as the power of Western nations is shared with other countries throughout the world. However, the greatest challenge for the future may be the growing power of Islam and other extremist movements. This is a period that has seen the greatest threat to global security in decades, and one that requires careful thought.

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