The Western History Timeline

western history timeline

Western culture, often referred to as Western civilization, is a broad term that encompasses many social and cultural traditions including ethical values, religious beliefs and political systems. The term can also be used to refer to the cultural artifacts and technological achievements that developed out of Europe’s long history and extended beyond its borders. The term Western culture is generally used to distinguish these distinct traditions from those of other cultures in Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Historians divide the history of the world into periods, each defined by a particular set of characteristics and events. This is done in order to make the different parts of the story easier to understand. However, it is important to remember that these divisions are artificial and that there are some overlaps between the various historical narratives.

Ancient Greek Philosophy – Ancient Greece was home to one of the first applications of human reason to observations about nature and the universe around us. They produced a body of thought that has had a lasting influence on the development of Western science, mathematics, theater and philosophy.

Roman Empire – The Romans created a massive empire that extended across Europe and into the Middle East, North Africa and India. Their military, economic and administrative skills were unparalleled at the time and their control of the Mediterranean Sea helped to spread Roman culture throughout the Mediterranean world.

Medieval Europe – After the fall of the Roman Empire, European society entered a period of stagnation that lasted for over 1,000 years. This was the era of knights and damsels in distress, a system of law called feudalism and an emerging Christian religion.

Renaissance – The period that began in Florence around 1300 CE was characterized by a revival of artistic and intellectual activity. People of the Renaissance believed that they were moving away from the ignorance and darkness of the Middle Ages (which they called the “Dark Ages”) and returning to the greatness of ancient Greece and Rome.

Modern times – The 20th century saw a number of revolutionary developments in both technology and social life. Western economies grew to dominate the global scene. Politically, a series of dictators ruled over their subjects with brutal force. In addition, a new threat emerged that would have major consequences for the future of the planet: The AIDS virus.

The 21st century has begun with a rethinking of how to view the West’s history. Some historians have moved away from the traditional view of the West as a frontier, “a meeting point between civilization and savagery” and have shifted to a more inclusive perspective. This new understanding of the West includes not only European societies, but those of Africa, Asia and the Americas as well. It is a more expansive way to see the past and one that can help us prepare for the future. We must find ways to coexist peacefully with our neighbors and work together for the betterment of the world.

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