Main Timelines of Everything

Timelines of Everything

Explore an illustrated history of the world through more than 130 timelines for kids. From dinosaurs and Vikings to the history of cinema and espionage, discover incredible world history in this lavish collection of timelines.

Jam-packed with surprising facts and amazing details, such as the most bloodthirsty pirate of all time and the first crime to be solved by studying fingerprints,Timelines of Everythingwill take you on a whirlwind journey through an illustrated history of time, from the Big Bang to the modern world.

More than 130 timelines give you all the general knowledge you need - and even some surprising trivia you don't! Must-know topics and alternative history are showcased with beautiful, detailed illustrations and straightforward, easy-to-read text. Whether you want to know key breakthroughs that set the Industrial Revolution in motion or defining moments in the history of fashion, you'll find it all here. With timelines on a diverse range of subjects,Timelines of Everythingis the ultimate guide to history for kids.
Year: 2018
Edition: Hardcover
Language: english
ISBN 10: 0241302323
ISBN 13: 9780241302323
Series: Smithsonian
File: PDF, 123.21 MB

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TIMELINES OF  
EVERYTHING

US_001_Half_title.indd   1 06/06/2018   14:27



TIMELINES OF  
EVERYTHING

US_002-003_Title.indd   2 06/06/2018   14:46



TIMELINES OF  
EVERYTHING

s m i t h s o n i a n

US_002-003_Title.indd   3 06/06/2018   15:33



PREHISTOR
Y

Senior Art Editor  Smiljka Surla
Senior Editor  Sam Atkinson

Project Editors  Steven Carton, Ben Ffrancon Davies, Sarah Edwards, Sarah MacLeod,  
Ben Morgan, Sophie Parkes, Laura Sandford, Pauline Savage, Amanda Wyatt

US Editors  Kayla Dugger, Christy Lusiak
Project Designers  Sunita Gahir, Alex Lloyd, Gregory McCarthy,  

Stefan Podhorodecki, Michelle Staples, Jacqui Swan, Sadie Thomas 
Illustrators  Acute Graphics, Peter Bull, Edwood Burn, Sunita Gahir, Clare Joyce,  

KJA Artists, Arran Lewis, Alex Lloyd, Maltings Partnership, Gus Scott
DK Media Archive  Romaine Werblow

Picture Researchers  Sarah Hopper, Jo Walton
Managing Editor  Lisa Gillespie

Managing Art Editor  Owen Peyton Jones
Producers, Pre-Production  David Almond, Andy Hilliard

Senior Producers  Alex Bell, Mary Slater
Jacket Designers  Surabhi Wadhwa-Gandhi, Juhi Sheth, Smiljka Surla

Jackets Design Development Manager  Sophia MTT
Jackets Editor  Amelia Collins
Publisher  Andrew Macintyre

Art Director  Karen Self
Associate Publishing Director  Liz Wheeler

Design Director  Phil Ormerod
Publishing Director  Jonathan Metcalf

Consultant  Philip Parker
Contributors  Laura Buller, Peter Chrisp, Alexander Cox, Susan Kennedy,  

Andrea Mills, Sally Regan

DK Delhi
DTP Designers  Jaypal Singh Chauhan, Syed Mohammed Farhan

Senior DTP Designers  Neeraj Bhatia, Jagtar Singh 
Jackets Designer  Juhi Sheth

Jacket Senior DTP Designer  Harish Aggarwal
Jacket DTP Designer  Rakesh Kumar

Jackets Editorial Coordinator  Priyanka Sharma
Managing Jackets Editor  Saloni Singh

First American Edition, 2018 
Published in the United States by DK Publishing 
345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014

Copyright © 2018 Dorling Kindersley Limited 
DK, a Division of Penguin Random House LLC 

18  19  20  21  22   10  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1 
001–306015–Oct/2018

All rights reserved.
Without limiting the rights under the copyright reserved above, no part of this publication  

may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form,  
or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior  

written permission of the copyright owner.
Published in Great Britain by Dorling Kindersley Limited. 

A catalog record for this book is available from the Library of Congress. 
ISBN: 978-1-4654-7493-3

DK books are available at special discounts when purchased in bulk for sales promotions,  
premiums, fund-raising, or educational use. For details, contact: DK Publishing Special Markets,  

345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014
SpecialSales@dk.com

Printed and bound in the United Arab Emirates 

A WORLD OF IDEAS: 
SEE ALL THERE IS TO KNOW

www.dk.com

THE SMITHSONIAN
Established in 1846, the Smithsonian—the world’s largest museum and research complex—includes  

19 museums and galleries and the National Zoological Park. The total number of artifacts, works of art, and  
specimens in the Smithsonian’s collection is estimated at 154 million. The Smithsonian is a renowned research  

center, dedicated to public education, national service, and scholarship in the arts, sciences, and history.  

Traveling through time
The earliest events in this book took place a very long 
time ago. Some dates may be followed by bya, short for 
“billion years ago,” mya, short for “million years ago,” or 
ya, short for “years ago.” Other dates have bce and ce 
after them. These are short for “before the Common 
Era” and “Common Era.” The Common Era dates from 
when people think Jesus was born. Where the exact 
date of an event is not known, “c.” is used. This is short 
for the Latin word circa, meaning “around,” and 
indicates that the date is approximate.

US_004-007_Contents.indd   4 17/07/2018   16:38



TH
E A

NCIENT WORLD
3000 bce– 

500 ce
36
38
40
42
44
46
48
50
52
54
56
58
60
62
64
66
68
70
72
74
76
78
80
82
84

PREHISTOR
Y

BEFORE  
3000 bce

12
14
16
18

20
22
24
26
28
30

The story of the Universe
Life on Earth
The age of dinosaurs
End of the dinosaurs
Human ancestors
Agriculture
Working with metals
Towns and cities
The story of the wheel
The written word 

Mesopotamia
Fun and games
Ancient Egypt
Ancient monuments
The Great Sphinx
Sharing stories
Jewelry
The story of sports
Ancient Greece
Mathematics
The story of democracy
Rise of the Celts
The Persian Empire
The Battle of Issus 
The story of philosophy
The story of sculpture
Early Imperial China
Measuring time
The Roman Empire
Roman technology
Religion
The destruction of Pompeii
Fun and festivals
Ancient Indian empires
The transformation of the Roman Empire

US_004-007_Contents.indd   5 17/07/2018   16:38



TH
E A

GE
 OF EXPLORATION

TH

E MEDIEVAL W
OR

LD
90
92
94
96
98

100
102
104
106
108
110
112
114 
116
117
118

120
122
124
126

132
134
136
138
140
142
144 
146
148
150
152
154
156
158
160
162
164
166
168
170
172
174

1450–1750

500–1450

T
H

E AGE OF REVO
LU

TI
O

N

China’s Golden Ages
Early Islamic empires
Empires of the Americas
Germanic peoples
Medieval Europe
The Battle of Crécy
The Vikings
The Crusades
Kingdoms of Southeast Asia
Angkor Wat
Rise of the samurai
Castles
Early North America
Settling the Pacific 
The colonization of the Pacific
African kingdoms
The Mongol Empire
Maps and mapmaking
Plagues and epidemics
Weapons and armor

Technology of writing
Ships
Renaissance
Exploring the world
A route to India
The story of painting
The Reformation 
Spanish America
The fall of Tenochtitlán
The Ottoman Empire
Astronomy
Big battles
The Battle of Lepanto
Edo Japan
Colonial America
The Scientific Revolution
Slavery in the US
The Mughal Empire
Ming and Qing China
Chemistry
The story of dance
The Golden Age of Piracy

US_004-007_Contents.indd   6 17/07/2018   16:38



AFTER 1914

1750–1914

T
H

E AGE OF REVO
LU

TI
O

N
TH

E M
ODERN WORLD

180
182
184
186
188
190
192
194
196 
197
198

200
202
204
206
208
210
212
214 
215
216
218

220
222
224
226
228
230
232
234
236
238
240
242

248
250
251

252
254
256
258
260
262
264
266
268 
269
270
272
274
276 
277
278
280
282
284
286
288
290
292
294
296
298
300
302
304
306
308
310
312
314

The Enlightenment
The Great Lisbon Earthquake 
Natural disasters
The story of music
Imperial Russia
Birth of the US
Crossing the Delaware River
The Industrial Revolution
Aboriginal Australia 
The colonization of Australia
The Storming of the Bastille
The French Revolution
Medicine
The Napoleonic Wars
South American independence
Trains
Spreading the news
Engineering
The US frontier
Frontier wars
The 1848 Revolutions
Biology
The British Empire
The American Civil War
Colonialism in Africa
Telecommunications
Photography
Crime detection
Aircraft and aviation
Getting the vote
Physics
Cars
Great adventures
The voyage of R.M.S. Titanic 

World War I
The 1920s  
The 1930s
Archaeology
The Soviet Union
The story of skyscrapers
World War II in Europe
War at home
The Holocaust
The D-Day landings
The Pacific War
Indian independence 
African independence
The story of spying
Middle East conflicts
Household appliances
The Korean War 
The Vietnam War
The 1960s
Postcolonial Africa
The Cold War
Race to the Moon
Apollo launches
The Cuban Missile Crisis
The Civil Rights Movement
Fashion
Space exploration
Booming nations
Computing
Feminism
The internet
Youth culture
The story of robotics
US presidents
British rulers
Glossary
Index

US_004-007_Contents.indd   7 17/07/2018   16:38



8

PREHISTORY
Before 3000 BCE

US_008-009_Prehistory_opener.indd   8 04/06/2018   15:13



US_008-009_Prehistory_opener.indd   9 04/06/2018   15:13



10

Prehistory
The period before written records were invented around  
5,000 years ago is known as prehistory. Most of what we know 
about this time comes from remains left behind, such as tools, 
bones, and ruined buildings. Until recently, it was difficult to tell how 
old these objects were, but scientific advances have allowed us to 
put together a much clearer picture of not only human history, but 
also the origin of life on Earth, and even of the Universe itself.

13.5 billion years ago 
The first stars are born. 

4.3 billion years ago 
Life begins on Earth.

252 million years ago 
Dinosaurs become the 
dominant life form on Earth.

1 million years ago
The ancestors of humans 
begin to use fire.

66 million years ago 
The dinosaurs die out in 
a mass extinction event.

200,000 years ago 
Modern humans first 

appear in Africa.

4.6 billion years ago 
The Sun, planets, and other 
objects that make up our 
solar system are formed.

13.8 billion years ago 
The Universe comes 
into existence with  
the Big Bang.

7–6 million years ago 
Apes in Africa evolve the 
ability to walk upright.

The Big Bang 
The Universe started with the 

Big Bang (see pages 12–13). 
Over billions of years, stars, 

galaxies, and eventually our own 
solar system were formed.

Early life 
The first forms of life on Earth 

were simple organisms, but they 
evolved over time into the many 

varieties of plants and animals 
known today (see pages 14–15).

Dinosaurs 
Millions of years ago, dinosaurs 
walked, swam, or flew on Earth 

(see pages 16–17). Until they 
became extinct, they were the 

dominant animals on the planet.

Early humans 
The ancestors of humans,  

known as hominins, evolved from 
tree-dwelling apes (see pages 
20–21). Over time, they began  

to use tools and make fire. 

US_010-011_Prehistory_intro.indd   10 15/06/2018   15:09



11

c.9000 bce
Metalworking begins  
in Mesopotamia  
in West Asia.

9000–4000 bce
Early farmers establish 
the first villages. 

c.4000 bce
The first great cities 
arise in Mesopotamia.

c.3500 bce 
The first wheels used  
for transportation appear  
in Mesopotamia.

c.8000 bce
Communities begin to 

construct walls around 
their settlements.

c.11,000–9000 bce
The development of 
farming allows people to 
produce their own food.

c.3300 bce 
The Egyptians develop 
hieroglyphs, the first 
system of writing.

Settling down 
Early humans moved from place 

to place in search of food. With 
the development of farming (see 

pages 22–23), people built 
villages and worked the land.

Working with metal
As humans discovered the 

technology of creating items 
from copper, bronze, and iron 

(see pages 24–25), they crafted 
stronger tools and weapons.

The first cities 
Some villages continued to 
grow, becoming towns and 

eventually cities (see pages  
26–27). These population hubs 
were bustling centers of trade.

Writing 
With the invention of writing (see 

pages 30–31), people could 
leave records to be read by later 
generations. The period known 

as prehistory came to an end.

The wheel 
One of the most important technological 
developments of the prehistoric era was 
the wheel (see pages 28–29). Invented 
independently by different cultures around 
the world, the wheel revolutionized 
transportation. It was also crucial to later 
advancements in farming, construction, 
industry, and engineering.

US_010-011_Prehistory_intro.indd   11 15/06/2018   15:09



12

The story of  
the Universe

The Universe began 13.8 bill ion years ago in  
an event called the Big Bang. The Big Bang was 

not an explosion of matter in space, but the 
sudden appearance and expansion of space itself. 

The expansion has continued ever since, creating a 
cosmos of unimaginable vastness. Although light 

travels extremely quickly, it stil l  takes it bill ions of years to 
cross the Universe. This means that peering into deep space 

allows us to look back in time and study the Universe’s early years.

Matter forms
Within a second, the incredible 

energy of the expanding Universe 
produces tiny particles of matter. 

Most of these collide, destroy 
each other, and vanish, but a  

tiny fraction remain. These 
leftovers build up to form  
larger particles called protons 
and neutrons—the building 
blocks of atoms.

First atoms
It takes 300,000 years for the 
Universe to cool sufficiently for 
protons and neutrons to form the  
first atoms: hydrogen and helium. 
These gases form a thin cloud 
that fills the Universe. Light can 
now travel freely, making space 
transparent. This ancient light 
can still be captured by 
astronomers today.

Stars and galaxies
Gravity pulls thicker areas 
of gas into clumps that get 
tighter and tighter. This 
heats their cores, 
triggering nuclear 
reactions, and so giving 
birth to stars. The 
newborn stars cluster  
by the billion in vast 
whirlpools—galaxies.

13.7997 billion 
years ago

12

The Big Bang
The Universe materializes  

out of nothing. It is smaller 
than an atom but has all 

the energy and mass it 
will ever have. In the first 

trillionth of a trillionth of 
a trillionth of a second, it 

expands to the size of a 
football—a process 
known as inflation.

1 second later13.8 billion  years ago

12

13.5 billion 
years ago

US_012-013_Universe.indd   12 04/06/2018   15:13



13

The Solar System
Our local star, the Sun, forms  
from a cloud of gas and dust left 
by dying stars. Not all the material 
is absorbed by the new star 
though—a gigantic disk of dust 
and gas is left in orbit around it. 
Over time, the particles of matter 
in this disk stick together to form 
the planets, moons, asteroids, and 
comets of our Solar System.

Life begins
Farther from the Sun than scalding 
Venus but not as far as freezing 
Mars, planet Earth is just the right 
temperature for liquid water to 
settle on its surface. A random 
chemical reaction between 
carbon-based chemicals in the 
water produces a molecule that 
can make copies of itself, as DNA 
can today. It is the first form of life.

The Sun dies
About 5 billion years in the future, 
the Sun will turn into a red giant 
star as its supply of fuel begins  
to run out. It will swell in size, its 
outer layers engulfing the planets 
Mercury, Venus, and probably 
Earth. The heat will vaporize  
any water left on Earth, and 
possibly our planet’s crust,  
too, making life impossible.

The Big Freeze
The Universe may continue 
expanding forever. Matter 
and energy will become 
ever more thinly dispersed, 
preventing new stars from 
forming. After the last star 
burns out, the Universe will 
be permanently dark and 
freezing cold—an endless 
void with no activity.

4.6 billion 
years ago

13

YOU  
ARE 

HERE

13

4.3 billion 
years ago

5 billion years 
in the future

Over 100 trillion 
years in the future

US_012-013_Universe.indd   13 04/06/2018   15:13



14

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US_014-015_Life_on_Earth.indd   14 06/06/2018   14:27



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US_014-015_Life_on_Earth.indd   15 06/06/2018   14:27



16

The age of dinosaurs
Modern humans have existed for about 200,000 years, but 
dinosaurs dominated life on Earth for nearly 200 mill ion years. 
This vast span of time is called the Mesozoic Era and is divided 

into three distinct periods. The reign of the dinosaurs and 
other giant reptiles came to an abrupt end in a mass 

extinction 66 mill ion years ago, but not every  
kind of dinosaur was wiped out. 

240 million years ago 220 210 200 190 180 170 150160

Triassic Period

The first dinosaurs appear in the middle of the Triassic Period. 
They are small, nimble animals that scamper on powerful hind 
legs, using their stiff tails to balance and their small arms to 
handle food. This successful formula soon leads to variations. 
Some dinosaurs evolve into plant-eaters, growing longer necks 
that help them reach leaves or armored skin for protection. 
Others specialize in hunting. While dinosaurs rule the land,  
other prehistoric reptiles adapt to life in the ocean and air.

Jurassic Period

In the Jurassic Period, plant-eating dinosaurs reach 
gigantic sizes, making them the largest animals ever to 
walk on Earth. Exactly why this happens isn’t clear, but 
one theory is that predators target smaller animals, 
driving a process of natural selection that makes both 
prey and predator become larger and larger. Meanwhile, 
the smallest dinosaurs evade predators by taking 
flight—they evolve into the first birds.

16

Anchiornis

Stegosaurus

Nothosaurus

Mixosaurus

Eoraptor

Plateosaurus

Isanosaurus

Coelophysis

Scelidosaurus

Cryolophosaurus

Rhamphorhynchus

Liopleurodon

Eudimorphodon

US_016-017_Dinosaurs.indd   16 04/06/2018   15:13



17

150 130 120 110 100 90 80 70

Cretaceous Period

During the Cretaceous Period, Earth’s continents slowly drift 
toward their current configuration, moving about as fast as 
human toenails grow. There are now more kinds of dinosaurs 
than ever, including flightless, feathered giants and small but 
ferocious carnivores with hooklike foot claws that might be used 
to disembowel prey.  At the end of the Cretaceous, all types of 
giant prehistoric reptiles disappear in a mass extinction, perhaps 
victims of a catastrophic asteroid strike, but birds survive.

140

17

Therizinosaurus

Tyrannosaurus

Diplodocus

Sauropelta

Confuciusornis

Argentinosaurus

Quetzalcoatlus

Pteranodon

Velociraptor

Triceratops

Struthiomimus
Iguanodon

Allosaurus

Albertonectes

Mosasaurus

US_016-017_Dinosaurs.indd   17 04/06/2018   15:13



End of the dinosaurs 
Almost 66 million years ago, a 
catastrophic event occurred that wiped 
out more than half of life on Earth, 
including the dinosaurs. Most experts 
believe this mass extinction was caused 
by an enormous meteorite crashing  
into Earth. Such a huge impact would 
have created a worldwide cloud of dust 
and fumes, choking animals and 
blocking out the Sun’s light and warmth. 
The planet’s climate would have 
changed dramatically, making life 
impossible for many species.  

US_018-019_Extinction_of_dinosaurs_DPS.indd   18 17/07/2018   16:38



US_018-019_Extinction_of_dinosaurs_DPS.indd   19 04/06/2018   15:13



20

Human ancestors
Humans originated as African apes and are related  
to chimps and gorillas. Around 6 mill ion years ago, our 
closest ape ancestors, called hominins, began to walk 
on two legs. Over time, they developed bigger brains 
and learned to make tools and control fire. As hominins 
evolved, they left Africa to settle all over the world.

7–6 mya (million years ago) 

Upright walking 
In the African forests, apes  

evolve the ability to walk  
upright. This frees their hands  

for carrying and throwing.  
The first known ape which  

may have been bipedal  
(two-legged) is called 

Sahelanthropus tchadensis.

Australopithecines 
Several species of bipedal 

ape, Australopithecines, 
spread across the grasslands 

of East Africa. The most 
famous Australopithecus is 

Lucy, a female whose 3.2 
million-year-old bones were 

discovered in Ethiopia in 1974.

4 mya

Hand axe 
Homo erectus moves out  
of Africa and into Asia. It 

invents a new kind of stone 
tool  —a hand axe with a  

leaf-shaped cutting blade. 
This is the first tool made  

to a design.

1.8–1.75 mya

Making fire 
Homo erectus uses fire, 

allowing the species to cook, 
keep warm, and protect itself 

from wild animals. The 
earliest evidence of fire is  

a 1 million-year-old  
collection of charred animal 

bones found in a cave in 
South Africa. 

1 mya

Homo 
heidelbergensis
Homo heidelbergensis 
appears in Africa, later 
moving into West Asia  

and Europe. It is the first 
hominin species to build 
shelters and use spears  

to hunt animals.

700,000 ya (years ago)

Last Neanderthals
Neanderthals die out, 

perhaps unable to adapt 
 to the rapidly changing 

climate. Our own species 
(Homo sapiens sapiens) is 

now the last type of human 
on the planet. However, 
today, most of us carry 

some Neanderthal genes. 

39,000 ya

First art
Humans in Europe and Asia 

produce the first works of 
art: paintings and carvings 
of animals and people. The 
paintings, created in caves, 

probably serve a ritual 
purpose, such as contacting 
animal spirits to bring about 

a successful hunt.

35,000 ya

Warming climate
The climate warms, causing sea 
levels to rise. Big game animals, 

such as mammoths, die out. 
Humans adapt by eating new 

plant foods and catching more 
fish. The bow and arrow, a new 
invention, allows them to hunt 

small game such as deer. 

14,000–12,000 ya

US_020_021_Early_Humans.indd   20 06/06/2018   17:18



21

4 mya

Homo habilis 
Following the first use of stone 
tools by Australopithecines 3.3 
million years ago, Homo habilis 
(“handy man”) spreads across  

East and southern Africa. It  
makes simple chopping tools by 

smashing river pebbles. 

Homo erectus 
Homo erectus (“upright 

man”), the first hominin with 
the body size of modern 

humans, evolves in Africa. 
Like an ape, Homo erectus 

has a low, flat forehead and a 
projecting jaw with big teeth.

1.8–1.75 mya

Neanderthals
Our closest hominin 

relatives, the Neanderthals, 
appear in Asia and Europe. 
They are the first hominins 

to bury their dead  —they do 
so in caves with offerings.

400,000 ya

Homo sapiens sapiens
Modern humans (Homo  

sapiens sapiens) appear in Africa. 
Modern humans and Neanderthals 

have similarly large brains. Both  
learn to make clothes from animal 

skins, allowing them to move  
to cooler regions.

200,000 ya

Homo floresiensis 
Homo floresiensis, a tiny 

hominin just 3 ft 6 in (1 m) 
tall, lives on the island of 
Flores in Indonesia. It is 

thought to have died out 
around 50,000 years ago. 

100,000 ya

 Cro-Magnons
Modern humans called  

Cro-Magnons move into 
Europe, where they live 

alongside Neanderthals. 
They are the first humans to 

sew, using bone needles, 
and make jewelry from 

shells and bones.

45,000 ya39,000 ya

2.5 mya

Human migrations
Modern humans left Africa 
120,000 years ago, beginning 
a journey that would take them 
to every inhabitable place on 
Earth. Sea levels were much 
lower than they are now. A 
bridge of land linked Asia and 
America, and the distance  
by sea to Australia was far 
shorter than it is today. 

1.9 mya

AFRICA

AUSTRALIA

NO
RT

H A
ME

RI
CA

S
O

U
T

H
 A

M
E

R
IC

A

EUROPE

ANTARCTICA

ASIA

US_020_021_Early_Humans.indd   21 06/06/2018   17:18



22

Agriculture
The history of agriculture is essentially the history of 
producing food as opposed to finding it. It includes 
farming, rearing animals for food, and learning how to 
improve techniques. Before agriculture took off, people 
relied on hunting and gathering—activities that involve 
a lot of chance. By contrast, farmers can influence food  
production by sowing seeds and raising animals. 

FieldworkCrops are grown in open fields in 
western Europe. Farmers rotate 
crops between three plots: one 

for human food, one for livestock 
feeding, and one left fallow to 

recover nutrients that farming 
takes from the soil.  

First farmers
After the last Ice Age ends, farming 

develops in Syria and Iran. By about 

9000 bce, farmers are growing 

wheat and barley in the Fertile 

Crescent (western Asia, the Nile 

Delta, and the Nile Valley). 

Sheep and goats
Sheep and goats are raised for 

milk and food. Their caretakers 

move around with these flocks, 
looking for grass for the 

animals to nibble. People will 
begin weaving sheep wool into 

fabric around 4000 bce.

A farmer’s  best friendDogs become farmer’s 
friends—from cheery 

companions to  
fearsome guardians. 

There is evidence to 
suggest that the first 

dogs are tamed wolves. 

Rice bowlRice, which may have originated in 
India, is farmed throughout much of 

Asia. It grows in paddies, or fields 
submerged in water. Eventually, 

half of the world’s population will 
eat rice as a staple food.

c.1000 ce

c.11,000–9000 bce

c.7000 bce

c.10,000 bce

c.5000 bce

“Agriculture not only  
gives riches to a nation, 
but the only riches she  

can call her own.”
Samuel Johnson, English authorCows and pigs

Cows and pigs are tamed. They 

provide a variety of materials aside 

from their meat and milk. When 

slaughtered, leather is made from 

their skins Their droppings enrich the 

soil. Pigs eat scraps to recycle them. 

c.8500 bce

IrrigationIn Mesopotamia (modern-day 
Iraq), farmers build levees to hold 

back floods from their fields and 

channel floodwater into the 

crops they grow. Managing water 

in this way is called irrigation.  

c.5500 bce

Iron plowBreaking soil up in preparation for 
sowing seeds is a tough job. Ancient 
people use sharp objects attached 

to sticks until the Han Dynasty 
Chinese people invent a durable 

iron plow that is easy to use.

c.200 bce

1400s– 1500s

Cotton gin

US-born inventor Eli Whitney 

invents a machine that makes 

removing seeds from cotton 

much easier and faster. By the 

middle of the 19th century,  

the material will become  

America’s biggest export.

US_022-023_Agriculture.indd   22 06/06/2018   14:27



23

Scythe
The scythe is an agricultural tool used 
to mow grass and reap crops. It is 
swung along the ground, and the sharp 
blade slices the grass or crop at the 
base. The first scythes may have been 
developed around 500 bce. 

Crop swap

As Europeans explore more of the 

world, crops are exchanged across 

the globe. Coffee, tea, sugar, and 

citrus fruits come from Asia; wheat, 

barley, and rye come from Europe; 

while tomatoes, corn, beans, 

potatoes, and chile peppers move 

from the Americas. Animals are 

exchanged, too.

1400s– 1500s

Reaping rewards

Harvesting is slow and back-

breaking work, done by hand 

with a scythe. Cyrus McCormick 

patents the reaper, a machine 

that aids in crop harvesting. His 

reaper cuts, threshes, and bundles 

grain as horses pull it along.

1831

Selective breeding

Czech friar and scientist  

Gregor Mendel conducts 

experiments with flowers and 

pea plants. Mendel describes 

how certain traits, such as color 

or size, are passed on through 

the generations. This knowledge 

is used by farmers to selectively 

breed crops. 

1866

Tractor

Steam-powered threshers 

that separate grain from 

cereal crops are expensive 

and hard to move. American 

inventor John Froelich invents 

a rudimentary tractor that can 

pull the thresher with ease. 
1890s

GM crops
Genetically modified (GM) 

crops become common. They 

can increase yield, boost 

nutrition, and resist pests, but 

potential food safety risks 

from “tampering” with the 

natural ecosystem are a 

worry for many.   

1990s

Cotton gin

US-born inventor Eli Whitney 

invents a machine that makes 

removing seeds from cotton 

much easier and faster. By the 

middle of the 19th century,  

the material will become  

America’s biggest export.

1794

Steel plow

Blacksmith John Deere invents  

a steel plow to keep the sticky 

soil of the American prairie from 

clogging up cast-iron plows. His 

invention is wildly successful.

1837

Combine harvester 

Australian Hugh Victor McKay 

produces the first commercially 

successful combine harvester, a 

machine that cuts, threshes, and 

cleans crops with one pass of its 

mighty rotating blades. 

1885

Green Revolution

Farmers in Mexico lead a 

movement to update farming 

practices and produce more 

nourishing food. The 

technologies spread  

across the globe.  

1940s

US_022-023_Agriculture.indd   23 06/06/2018   14:27



24

P
ou

ri
ng

 
b

ro
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of
 

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t 
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t w
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b
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19

72
.

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on

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n 

is
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rs
t m

ad
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by
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e 
H

itt
ite

s 
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f w
es

te
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si

a,
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ho
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m
ak

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ea
p

o
ns

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lth

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on

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om

m
on

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re

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ea
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 fo

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d 

in
 ro

ck
s.

c.9000 bce c.4500 bce c.4500 bce c.3100 bce c.2200 bce

US_024-025_Metalworking.indd   24 04/06/2018   15:13



25

Ir
on

Iro
n 

is
 fi

rs
t m

ad
e 

by
 th

e 
H

itt
ite

s 
 o

f w
es

te
rn

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si

a,
 w

ho
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se
 it

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m
ak

e 
w

ea
p

o
ns

. A
lth

ou
gh

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on

 is
 

th
e 

m
os

t c
om

m
on

 m
et

al
, i

t r
eq

ui
re

s 
gr

ea
t h

ea
t t

o
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xt
ra

ct
 fr

o
m

 ro
ck

. 
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st
ea

d
 o

f b
ei

ng
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ou
re

d
 in

to
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o
ld

s,
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is

 s
of

te
ne

d
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nd
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ea
te

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in

to
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ha
p

e.

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ur

op
ea

n  
b

la
st

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rn

ac
es

T
he

 fi
rs

t E
ur

op
ea

n 
b

la
st

 
fu

rn
ac

es
 b

eg
in

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p

er
at

in
g 

in
 

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er

m
an

y,
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w

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ec
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re
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ui
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by
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d

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st
ee

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d
ia

n 
m

et
al

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ke
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ak

e 
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e 
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gh
es

t q
ua

lit
y 

st
ee

l i
n 

th
e 

an
ci

en
t w

or
ld

. I
t i

s 
la

te
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xp
or

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to
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hi
na

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nd

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e 

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t, 
w

he
re

 it
 is

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al

le
d 

“w
oo

tz
.” 

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is

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se

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ak

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ex

ce
pt

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lly
 

sh
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s.

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he

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on

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ge

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se

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f i

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n 

sp
re

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s 

fr
om

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si

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to

 
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ur
op

e,
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nd
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d
ia

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on
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ge
 ta

ke
s 

of
f a

t a
ro

un
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th
e 

sa
m

e 
tim

e.
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o
n’

s 
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rd
ne

ss
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ak
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id
ea

l f
or

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ol

s,
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oo
ki

ng
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ot
s,

 a
nd

 
na

ils
, a

s 
w

el
l a

s 
w

ea
p

on
s.

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fr

ic
an

 ir
on

 
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he
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o
n 

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ge

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ac

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s 

su
b

-
S

ah
ar

an
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fr
ic

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re

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e 

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ok

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eo

p
le

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f N

ig
er

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se
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on
 

to
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ak
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sp
ea

rh
ea

d
s,

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ni

ve
s,

 
an

d
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ra
ce

le
ts

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he

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se

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f i

ro
n 

to
ol

s 
he

lp
s 

fa
rm

in
g 

sp
re

ad
 

ac
ro

ss
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fr
ic

a.

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as

t i
ro

n
In

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hi

na
, p

eo
p

le
 d

is
co

ve
r  

ho
w

 to
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ak
e 

iro
n 

in
 a

 b
la

st
 

fu
rn

ac
e—

a 
fu

rn
ac

e 
p

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er

ed
 b

y 
a 

b
la

st
 o

f h
ot

 a
ir.

 T
he

 re
su

lti
ng

 
iro

n 
ca

n 
b

e 
re

m
el

te
d

 a
nd

 p
ou

re
d 

in
to

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ol

d
s 

to
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ak
e 

ca
st

 ir
on

. B
la

st
 

fu
rn

ac
es

 w
ill

 n
ot

 b
e 

in
ve

nt
ed

 in
 th

e 
W

es
t f

or
 a

lm
os

t 2
,0

0
0

 y
ea

rs
.

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er

u 
an

d
 B

ol
iv

ia
In

 P
er

u 
an

d
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ol
iv

ia
, p

eo
p

le
 

b
eg

in
 la

rg
e-

sc
al

e 
sm

el
tin

g 
of

 
co

p
p

er
. T

he
y 

us
e 

go
ld

, s
ilv

er
, 

an
d

 tu
m

ba
ga

 (g
ol

d
 m

ix
ed

 
w

ith
 c

op
p

er
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r s
ilv

er
) t

o 
m

ak
e 

b
ea

ut
ifu

l w
or

ks
 o

f a
rt

 
in

 v
ar

io
us

 c
ol

or
s.

C
hi

ne
se

 s
ta

tu
es

T
he

 S
an

xi
ng

d
ui

 p
eo

p
le

 o
f C

hi
na

 m
ak

e 
 

la
rg

e 
b

ro
nz

e 
st

at
ue

s 
w

ith
 m

as
kl

ik
e 

fa
ce

s.
 T

he
ir 

b
ro

nz
e 

in
cl

ud
es

 le
ad

, a
s 

w
el

l a
s 

tin
 a

nd
 c

op
p

er
, 

m
ak

in
g 

a 
st

ro
ng

er
, h

ea
vi

er
 m

et
al

. T
he

 b
ig

ge
st

 
st

at
ue

, o
f a

 tr
ee

, s
ta

nd
s 

al
m

os
t 1

3 
ft

 (4
 m

) h
ig

h.

Ir
on

-A
ge

 E
ur

op
e

Iro
n 

w
or

ki
ng

 s
p

re
ad

s 
th

ro
ug

ho
ut

 
E

ur
op

e,
 w

he
re

 re
ad

ily
 a

va
ila

b
le

 
iro

n 
w

ea
p

on
s 

le
ad

 to
 a

n 
in

cr
ea

se
 in

 
w

ar
fa

re
. T

hi
s 

6
th

-c
en

tu
ry

- b
c

e
 G

re
ek

 
va

se
 s

ho
w

s 
b

la
ck

sm
ith

s 
us

in
g 

a 
fo

rg
e 

(a
 p

ow
er

fu
l f

ire
) t

o 
so

ft
en

 ir
on

 b
ef

or
e 

sh
ap

in
g 

it 
w

ith
 a

 h
am

m
er

.

c.1200 bce 1200–1101 bce 800–300 bce c.700 bce c.600 bce 6th century 
bce

5th century 
bce 13th century ce

US_024-025_Metalworking.indd   25 04/06/2018   15:13



Prehistoric communities 
Early farmers establish villages  
with basic buildings and shared 

structures. The first of these  
are found in Mesopotamia in  

West Asia. Gradually, they expand  
to become small towns with 

organized communities. 

Walled settlements 
Communities begin to surround their settlements 

with protective walls. In the town of Jericho in 
Palestine, a huge stone wall is constructed for 

defense, surveillance, and flood protection,  
keeping the 3,000 inhabitants safe.

Towns and cities
The first settlements started in prehistoric times. 
Basic buildings provided shelter and safety as 
these communities grew into towns and villages. 
With more opportunities for trade and work,  
the populations of many increased, eventually 
resulting in the growth of major cities. The birth 
of new technologies enabled many of these 
towns and cities to develop even faster into  
the modern metropolises we know today. 

500–700  ce
Replacement walls

King Philip II of France orders a new wall to 
be built around Paris, stretching beyond the 
outskirts of the city. It is 8 ft (2 m) wide with 

around 70 towers. Many other medieval 
European cities also rebuild their original 

walls to contain their growing centers. 

Byzantine bazaars
In the Byzantine Empire, 

around the Mediterranean, 
public areas and main roads in 
cities start to become closed 

off by shops. These eventually 
evolve into bazaars  —covered 
markets where locals barter to 

get the best price for goods.

Factory towns
During the Industrial Revolution, 

people move to work in factories. 
New towns grow rapidly around the  

factories to house workers. 

1807

Street lights
The first public street lighting that  

uses gas is demonstrated in London. 
This becomes the norm across towns 

and cities, solving the problem of 
limited light at night. 

 8000 bce

9000–4000 bce

119
0

1750–1800

US_026-027_Towns_Cities.indd   26 04/06/2018   15:13



27

Early cities 
The first great cities develop in 
Mesopotamia. These are each 

ruled by a king. Grand stone 
structures called ziggurats are 

built, containing shrines, 
staircases, and towers.

 4000–3000 bce

Trading hubs
Mesopotamia’s cities become  

important trading centers, 
using rivers to transport  

goods. Long-distance trade 
takes place between cities  
in Mesopotamia and in the 

Indus Valley in Pakistan. Luxury  
items such as spices, textiles, 
metals, and precious stones  

are exchanged.

 2900–2300 bce

Sewer systems
The first sewer systems are  

constructed by the Indus Valley  
civilization. Underground tunnels  
carry water from place to place,  
allowing most homes to have a  

bath, toilet, and water supply.

2600 bce

City-states
In ancient Greece, cities 
establish themselves as 
independent states with 

their own political systems. 
Athens, Sparta, and 

Thebes are some of the 
most important city-states.  

1 ce

Record-breaking Rome
Rome becomes the first city to reach a 

population of 1 million people. Most Romans 
live in blocks of flats called insulae that are  

6 or 7 stories high, maximizing space  
in the city.

1807 1863 1885

Skyscrapers
The first high-rise building, 

nicknamed a “skyscraper,” is 
built in Chicago, IL. Building 
upward saves space in the 

packed city center and is 
possible due to the 

invention of the elevator and 
sturdy steel.

2008

City slickers
Half of the world’s population 

now lives in cities. Megacities, 
which have populations of 
more than 10 million, have 

become more common. Tokyo, 
Japan, is the biggest city in the 

world, with around 13 million 
people living there.

“What is the city  
but the people?”

William Shakespeare, Coriolanus, c. 1608 ce

800 bce

Underground railway
The world’s first underground railway 

system opens in London. Moving 
transportation underground saves 

space and provides a quicker way to 
get around the bustling city. 

US_026-027_Towns_Cities.indd   27 04/06/2018   15:13



28

Inventing the wheel
Wheels can be seen in so many objects 

around us that it is tricky to imagine a 
time when they didn’t exist. Nobody 

knows exactly how the wheel evolved  
to form the wheel we see today, but 

archaeologists think it all began 
thousands of years ago with simple  

log rollers and sleds.

The story  
of the wheel
Early humans realized that heavy 
objects could be moved more 
easily if they were rolled instead 
of dragged. It took thousands of 
years to develop the wheel. Many 
inventions developed over the 
past 3,500 years would not have 
been possible without it.

G
ea

rs
G

ea
rs

 a
re

 to
ot

he
d 

w
he

el
s 

th
at

 w
or

k 

to
ge

th
er

 to
 in

cr
ea

se
 th

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gy

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ts

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ea
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ter 

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tran
sfor

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d by

 the
 inv

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of t
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 yea

rs, i
n 60

0 ce
.

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. 

 
“The greatest inventors 

are unknown to us. 
Someone invented the 

wheel—but who?”
Isaac Asimov, 

science-fiction writer, 1988

T
he

 fi
rs

t w
he

el
T

he
 fi

rs
t w

he
el

s 
ar

e 
p

ot
te

rs
’ 

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s.

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y 
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in

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ea
r 

in
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er

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t c

ul
tu

re
s 

ac
ro

ss
 th

e 
gl

ob
e 

in
 a

ro
un

d
 3

50
0

 b
c

e
. 

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ad

e 
of

 h
ar

d
en

ed
 c

la
y,

 th
e 

w
he

el
 a

llo
w

s 
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le
 to

 c
re

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e 

b
et

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r b

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ls

 a
nd

 ja
rs

.

c.
3

5
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 b

c
e

c .
3

5
0

0
 b

c
e

c.
2

0
0

0
 b

c
e

b
c

e

Rolling along
The ancient Sumerians realized that they 

could move bulky objects more easily if 
they rolled them over round log rollers.

Simple sled
Rollers proved awkward to move around, 
so the Sumerians developed a sled with a 

curved front that could be pulled along 
more easily.

Teaming up
The Sumerians decided to combine  

the sled and roller, finding that the sled 
glided over the rollers more smoothly 

than over the ground.

Making grooves
Over time, the movement of the  

sled over the roller wore grooves  
in the log roller, which helped keep the 

sled in place.

Early wheels
To improve the design, the Sumerians 
chipped away at the log to create two 

wheels and an axle. Pegs fixed on the sled 
hooked it onto the axle.

The first cart
The Sumerians later fixed individual 

wheels onto an axle and attached the 
sled to it securely by drilling holes  

in its frame.

c.1
00

 bce
100 bcec.500 ce

bc
e

3r
d 

ce
nt

ur
y

4
th

 c
en

tu
ry

US_028-029_Wheel.indd   28 06/06/2018   14:27



29

Mechanical clock

The invention of a  

mechanism that can control  

a gear’s rotation leads to  

the development of the 

mechanical clock, where it is 

used to make the hands of the 

clock tick at regular intervals.

AstrolabeThis astronomical calculator uses wheels to find the position of objects that can be seen in the night sky, helping navigators  and astronomers identify stars and planets and use them to  find their way.

FlywheelOne of the most  
significant technological 

developments of the wheel, 

the flywheel is used in cars 

and spacecraft to store 

energy. This heavy wheel 

spins so it can increase a 

machine’s momentum and 

store rotational energy.

Propeller

Leonardo da Vinci designs a 

helicopter that cleverly 

adapts the principles of the 

Archim
edes screw to create 

an upward force called lift. 

Da Vinci’s idea is developed 

into a propeller with blades 

that are now used to drive 

ships and planes forward.

The Industrial 

Revolution

W
ith the creation of m

any new
 

technologies during the 

Industrial Revolution, the w
heel 

becom
es crucial to the 

developm
ent of m

echanism
s 

and inventions such as pow
er 

loom
s, spinning m

achines, and 

steam
 engines.

Tanks
The earliest tanks are built for 

W
orld W

ar I as arm
ored, m

obile 

w
eapons. The tank uses a 

continuous band of treads 

w
rapped around tw

o or m
ore 

w
heels on each side. This 

spreads its w
eight over a larger 

area, w
hich helps it m

ove over 

soft, uneven ground.

P
neum

atic tires
U

ntil p
neum

atic tires w
ere 

invented
, travelers had

 to 

p
ut up

 w
ith uncom

fortab
ly 

b
um

py journeys on vehicles 

w
ith w

ood
en or hard

ened 

rub
b

er w
heels. P

neum
atic 

tires are filled
 w

ith air, 

m
aking for a m

uch m
ore 

com
fortab

le rid
e.

E
lectric m

otor

T
he first usable electric 

m
otor, created by 

M
oritz Jacobi, converts 

electrical energy into 

m
echanical energy. It 

paves the w
ay for the 

m
otors w

e use in m
any 

m
achines today.

c.1
00

 bce
100 bcec.500 ce

100 bce
c.1100

100 bce
c.1300

100 bce
1493

100 bc
e

1760
10

0
 b

c
e

1834
10

0
 b

c
e

18
8

8
10

0
 b

c
e

1915

The Penny Farthing
The enormous front wheel enabled high 
speeds, but the Penny Farthing was 
dangerous. It lost popularity in the 1880s 
with the introduction of “safety bicycles.”

bc
e

3r
d 

ce
nt

ur
y

US_028-029_Wheel.indd   29 17/07/2018   16:38



30

Runes 
In Scandinavia and modern-day Germany, 

people begin to use runes, with 24 signs. 
The system is inspired by contact with the 

Roman alphabet, but uses straight lines, so 
it can be easily carved onto wood or stone. 

The written word
Spoken language has existed since prehistoric times. 
The need to keep records of trade led civil izations 
around the world to invent ways of writing language 
down. This allowed knowledge to be collected  
and passed on from person to person both reliably 
and over great distances. It’s thanks to the written 
word that we know the thoughts and ideas of  
people who lived thousands of years ago. 

Greek alphabet 
The Greeks adapt the Phoenician alphabet, 

adding letters for vowels. It has 24 letters, 
and is usually written from left to right. 

Roman alphabet 
In Italy, the Romans adapt the Greek 

alphabet to write their own language, Latin. 
The Roman alphabet goes on to become 

the world’s most widely used script. 

Mayan writing 
In Central America, the Mayan people 

develop a writing system with signs 
standing for syllables as well as ideas. They 

carve monumental inscriptions, paint text 
on vases, and write on fig tree bark.

Arabic script
Arabs create an alphabet with 28 letters, 
written from right to left. With the spread 

of Islam, the Arabic script is later adopted 
across North Africa and much of Asia. 

Brahmi script 
This script is developed in India, using 

signs for consonants with additional 
markings for vowels. Brahmi is the 

ancestor of around 200 later Asian scripts.

World’s first writing 
The Egyptians invent hieroglyphs,  

a system of around 700–800 picture 
signs, which stand for words,  

sounds, and ideas. 

c.3300 bce

c.650 bce

c.300 bce c.150 bce 3rd century ce

c.800 bce c.800 bce

US_030-031_The_written_word.indd   30 04/06/2018   15:13



31

Cuneiform 
The Sumerians of Mesopotamia 

(see pages 36–37) invent cuneiform, 
a writing system of shapes pressed 

into clay with a reed stylus. 

Indus script
The Indus people of India invent a 
script that remains undeciphered 

to this day. Evidence suggests  
it was written from right to left. 

Chinese writing
The earliest surviving Chinese writing uses 

picture signs called “ideograms.” Each picture 
stands for an idea or an object. The signs later 

develop into the script used in China today. 

First alphabet
To the east of Egypt, the first alphabet,  

Proto-Sinaitic (or Canaanite), is created. 
Based on Egyptian hieroglyphs, people only 

need to learn 30 signs to be able to write.

Phoenician alphabet
Phoenicians (from the eastern Mediterranean 

coast) simplify the Proto-Sinaitic alphabet. 
They use 22 signs, all standing for consonants. 

The script later inspires the Hebrew, Arabic, 
and Greek writing systems.

Japanese scripts
Japanese people adapt Chinese writing to 
create a script called kanji. They also invent 

two other scripts, hiragana and katakana, 
with signs standing for syllables. As a result, 

Japan has three writing systems. 

Slavic scripts 
Bulgarian churchmen adapt the Greek 

alphabet to create the Glagolitic and Cyrillic 
alphabets, which they use to translate the 

Bible into Slavic languages from Central  
and Eastern Europe. Cyrillic later evolves  

into the modern Russian alphabet.

The Rosetta Stone 
The Rosetta Stone is an inscribed basalt block, 
discovered by French soldiers in Egypt in 1799. 
Carved in 196 bce, the same text is written on it  
in Ancient Greek, hieroglyphs, and demotic (an 
everyday Egyptian script). In 1822, French linguist 
Jean-François Champollion used the inscriptions 
on the stone to work out how to read hieroglyphs, 
which until then had been impossible to decipher. 

5th century c.860–880

c.1200 bce c.1850–1650 bce

c.3200 bce c.2600 bce c.2500 bce

US_030-031_The_written_word.indd   31 05/09/2018   17:30



THE 
ANCIENT 
WORLD
3000 BCE–500 CE

US_032-033_Ancient_world_opener.indd   32 04/06/2018   15:13



US_032-033_Ancient_world_opener.indd   33 04/06/2018   15:13



34

The Ancient World
The earliest civil izations established their cultures around  
huge rivers that could support farming, such as the Tigris and 
Euphrates in West Asia, and the Nile in Egypt. As technology 
developed and trade expanded after 3000 bce,  great empires  
also sprang up across Europe and East Asia. As these new 
societies took shape, many of them came into conflict with  
one another in competition for land and resources.

c.2500 bce 
The first recorded war takes place, 
between the cities of Umma and 
Lagash in Mesopotamia.

c.950–612 bce 
The Assyrians of Mesopotamia 
create an empire stretching 
from Egypt across West Asia.

550 bce 
Cyrus the Great founds 
the First Persian Empire, 
based in West Asia. 

490–479 bce 
The Persians make two 
unsuccessful attempts to 
conquer the cities of Greece.

336–323 bce 
Alexander of Macedon unites Greece 
and conquers the Persian Empire. Greek 
cities are founded as far east as India.

c.509 bce 
The people of Rome in Italy 

overthrow their king, and begin 
to expand the city’s influence.

321–185 bce 
Chandragupta Maurya of South 

India invades the north and 
establishes the Maurya Empire.

c.1900 bce 
The Amorites conquer most 
of Mesopotamia, which they 
rule from the city of Babylon.

2589–2566 bce 
The Egyptians 
construct the Great 
Pyramid at Giza.

508 bce 
The Athenians of 
Greece establish  
the first democracy.

c.450–50 bce 
The Celtic La Tène  
culture develops in  
modern-day Switzerland. 

Mesopotamia 
The earliest cities were built in  

West Asia, in a historical region 
known as Mesopotamia (see pages 

36–37). The cultures of this area 
invented farming and the wheel.

Land of the Pharaohs 
Ruled by kings known as 

pharaohs, the ancient Egyptians 
(see pages 40–41) built large 
monuments called pyramids  

to house their royal dead.

Ancient Greece 
In Athens, one of the warring 
city-states of ancient Greece 

(see pages 52–53), great 
thinkers developed early 

philosophy and democracy.

The Celts 
Spread across Central and 

Western Europe, the Celts (see 
pages 58–59) were warriors who 

shared a single culture. They 
were experts at crafting metal.

US_034-035_Ancient_world_intro.indd   34 15/06/2018   15:09



35

221 bce 
The king of Qin unites the kingdoms 
of China under his rule, becoming 
Shi Huangdi (“First Emperor”). 

27 bce 
After a civil war, Octavian 
becomes Rome’s first emperor, 
taking a new name, Augustus.

c.320 ce 
Chandra Gupta I conquers the 
Ganges Valley in northern India, 
founding the Gupta Empire. 

202 bce–220 ce
The emperors of the  
Han Dynasty rule China  
for more than 400 years.

476 ce 
Rome falls to Germanic invaders, 
but its empire survives in the 
east as the Byzantine Empire.

30 bce 
Egypt is conquered by the 
Romans, bringing an end 
to the rule of the pharaohs.

79 ce 
Mount Vesuvius in Italy 
erupts, destroying the towns 
of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

The Persian Empire 
Centered in West Asia, the 
Persian Empire (see pages  

60–61) was split into provinces, 
each one ruled by a regional 
governor known as a satrap.

Imperial China 
Emperor Qin Shi Huang created 

the first of a series of imperial 
dynasties that would go on to 
rule China (see pages 68–69) 

for the next 2,000 years.

Rome 
Beginning as a small hilltop town 
in Italy, Rome (see pages 72–73) 
became the capital of an empire 

that spanned much of Europe, 
North Africa, and West Asia.

Ancient India 
Greatly influenced by the 
religions of Hinduism and 

Buddhism, a series of empires 
sprang up across the Indian 

subcontinent (see pages 82–83).

Pottery 
The process of creating pottery was  
first discovered in prehistoric times, but  
in the ancient world, many cultures—
particularly the Greeks—perfected 
pottery design as an art form. Objects 
such as this Greek amphora ( jug) give 
historians many visual clues about  
the fashions, stories, and societies  
of the ancient world.

US_034-035_Ancient_world_intro.indd   35 15/06/2018   15:09



36

Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia means “the land between the two rivers,” 
referring to the Tigris and the Euphrates in western Asia. 
It was here, more than 5,000 years ago, that the world’s 
first cities were built. The Mesopotamians invented 
organized religion, royalty, armies, law, and many other 
fundamental features of civilization as we know it.

Early beginnings 
Farming people in northern Mesopotamia 
develop systems to supply their fields with 

water. Fine Mesopotamian painted pottery is 
exported across southwest Asia.

Akkadians 
King Sargon of Akkad (a region in 

northern Mesopotamia) conquers all of 
Sumer, creating the world’s first empire. 

The Akkadian language gradually 
replaces Sumerian in Mesopotamia. 

Ziggurat
The first ziggurats (stepped temples) 
are built in Ur, Eridu, Nippur, and Uruk. 

These huge stone structures were 
built as places of religious worship.

Babylonians
The Amorites, a people from the western 
deserts, conquer most of Mesopotamia, 
which they rule from Babylon. They are 

known as the Babylonians, and their new 
empire is called Babylonia. 

Hammurabi’s law code 
King Hammurabi reigns over Babylon. 
He is famous for his law code, which, 
although based on earlier codes, he 

claims to have received in person 
from Shamash, the god of justice.

Hittites and Kassites 
The Hittites and Kassites invade 

Babylonia using iron weapons and 
fast chariots pulled by horses. The 

Kassites conquer Babylonia, which 
they rule for 500 years.

Assyrians 
The Assyrians of northern Mesopotamia 

create an empire stretching from Egypt 
to western Persia. They speak Aramaic, 
which becomes the standard language 

used across southwest Asia.

c.6000–4000 bce

c.2350 bcec.2100 bcec.1900 bce

1792–1750 bce c.1595–1530 bce c.950–612 bce

US_036-037_Mesopotamia.indd   36 04/06/2018   15:13



37

Sumer 
Northern Mesopotamians move into 

the flat southern plains, later called 
Sumer. They establish large villages, 
build the first temples, and invent the 

potter’s wheel. 

First city 
Villages at Uruk join together to form the 

world’s first city. It has walls, 
monumental architecture, and a society 
split into specialized classes, including 

priests, merchants and craftworkers.

Kings and writing 
Around a dozen city-states emerge. Each 

is ruled by an ensi (king), who lives in a 
palace and claims to govern on behalf of 

the local god. Cuneiform writing (see 
page 31) is invented.

Bronze 
Sumerians learn how to make 

bronze by mixing copper and tin. 
At first they use it to make tools 

and weapons, eventually creating 
sculptures with it. 

Royals tombs of Ur 
Kings and queens of Ur are buried in 
tombs with treasures made of gold, 

silver, lapis lazuli, and carnelian.  
The tombs also contain the bodies of 

servants who have been sacrificed.

Fall of Assyria 
There are widespread rebellions against 

Assyrian rule, led by the Babylonians 
and the Medes. The Assyrian cities are 

burned, and Babylonia takes control  
of the Assyrian Empire.

Cyrus the Great 
King Cyrus the Great of Persia 

conquers the Babylonian Empire.  
He claims to rule on behalf of Marduk, 

the chief god of the city of Babylon.

Warfare 
The first recorded war in history takes 

place, between the cities of Lagash and 
Umma. A carving shows King Eannatum  

of Lagash leading his army to victory, 
marching over fallen enemies. 

c.5000 bce c.4500 bce c.3300–3100 bce

c.3000 bcec.2750–2400 bce

614–612 bce 539 bce

c.2500 bce

The Standard of Ur 
This box was found in a royal tomb in the city of Ur.  It was made 
around 2500 bce and its mosaic decoration shows what life was 
like in early Mesopotamia. This side depicts warfare, while the 
other side shows life during peacetime.

US_036-037_Mesopotamia.indd   37 17/07/2018   16:38



38

Fun and games
People have been sitting down to play games 
together for many thousands of years. Board 
games were popular in ancient Egypt, while  
card games were created in imperial China.  
Today, old favorites are enjoyed alongside  
new fantastical storytelling adventures. Games 
provide hours of entertainment and competition  
at every roll of the dice or choice of a card. 

Senet
Board games are popular in 

ancient Egypt, with some royalty 
deciding to be buried with their 

games. A favorite game is senet, 
which is played on a board 

marked with 30 squares. 

c.3500 bce 

The royal game of Ur 
This game is played on a  

board of 20 squares with four-
sided dice and two sets  

of seven pieces. The aim is for 
a player to get their pieces  
from one end of the board  

to the other. 

c.2600 bce

Tic-tac-toe 
People all across the Roman 

Empire play a version of tic-tac-
toe (also known today as 

noughts and crosses).  
The Roman version is called 

terni lapilli (meaning “three 
pebbles at a time”). 

1st century bce

4th century ce

Chess 
This skill and strategy game 

is first played in either 
Northern India or Central 

Asia. As trade routes from 
India and Persia in West 
Asia expand, chess will 

reach Europe by 1000 ce.

c.600Dice 
People have been rolling 
objects as part of games  

for thousands of years, but 
the oldest known dice come 

from Shahr-e Sūkhté, a 
Bronze Age city in  

modern-day Iran. Dice  
soon become common.

c.2800 bce

Go 
Invented in China, go is played on a 

grid board, with players taking turns 
to place white and black stones at 

the grid intersections. It is one of the 
oldest board games that is still 

played today. 

c.500 bce

Pachisi 
The Indian game of pachisi is 

played on a cross-shaped 
board. Six or seven cowrie 
shells are thrown to decide 
how many places a player 

moves their pieces. Emperor 
Akbar (1542–1605) has a  

gigantic board built, on which 
humans are moved around  

as game pieces.

US_038-039_Games.indd   38 06/06/2018   14:27



39

9th century

Snakes and 
ladders 

Originally called 
mokshapat, this board 
game is invented by an 

Indian saint named 
Gyandev. It is meant to help 

children understand the 
difference between good 
and evil, with the ladders 

representing good and the 
snakes representing evil.

c.13th century

Monopoly 
American Elizabeth Magie 

invents “The Landlord’s Game”  
to warn children against pitfalls  

of capitalism. Magie’s original 
board uses made-up street 

names, but later versions of the 
game (now called Monopoly) 

each use real place names from  
a city around the world. 

1904

R
ol

e 
p

la
y 

Fa
nt

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.

19
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 ti
tle

s 
on

 th
e 

m
ar

ke
t t

o 
ch

oo
se

 fr
om

. 

2
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t c
en

tu
ry

Playing cards 
The Chinese invent the 
earliest playing cards.  

When cards reach Europe, 
the suit markings are cups, 

gold coins, swords, and 
polo sticks. In about 1480, 

the French suits familiar 
today (hearts, diamonds, 

spades, and clubs)  
become standard.

Mahjong 
This tile-laying game is first 

developed in China and becomes 
popular across Asia. The game of 
skill and strategy is usually played 

with a set of 144 tiles featuring 
Chinese symbols.

Scrabble 
An American architect named 
Alfred Butts invents the word 

game Scrabble to mix spelling 
skills with a scoring system. 

During the 1950s, it becomes 
such a big hit that stores ration 

supplies per customer.

1870

1933 Clue 
This classic crime mystery board 

game is invented by British 
musician Anthony E. Pratt. 

Players are suspects who must 
follow clues to decide which of 

them is the murderer, where the 
crime was committed, and what  

weapon was used. 

1944

Dominoes
In the 12th century, the Chinese created 

two-sided tiles with dots to represent 
numbers on each side. They were given  
the name “dominoes” in Italy and can be 

used to play a variety of games. 

US_038-039_Games.indd   39 06/06/2018   14:27



2055–1710 bce

Middle Kingdom
Egypt is reunited by Pharaoh 
Mentuhotep II, the founder of 

what historians would later 
call the Middle Kingdom.  

This period is remembered for 
its great achievements in art 

and literature, which leave 
behind clues about the daily 

lives of ancient Egyptians.

Mentuhotep II

2181–2055 bce

Dark period
The fall of the Old Kingdom 

after a period of political 
strife and widespread 

drought is followed by a time 
of disunity, called the First 

Intermediate Period. There 
are few monumental building 

projects during this time,  
as the power of royal 

authority was in decline. 

2589–2566 bce

Great Pyramid
At Giza, Pharaoh Khufu builds the Great Pyramid,  

which remains to this day the world’s biggest stone 
building. The whole nation takes part in the project, either 

hauling stone or growing food for the workforce.

1650 bce  

The Hyksos
A people from western 
Asia, the Hyksos, move 
into northern Egypt and 

destroy the Middle 
Kingdom. They bring with 
them the new technology 

of fighting from horse-
drawn chariots. While the 

Hyksos rule the north, 
Egyptian pharaohs 
continue to govern  

in the south.

1279-1213 bce

Ramesses  
the Great

Ramesses II rules for an 
astonishing 66 years and 

fathers around 100 
children. He has many 

colossal statues built of 
himself, as well as a temple 
at Abu Simbel, where he is 

worshipped as a god. 

664–332 bce

Foreign rulers
During the Late Period, 

Egypt is conquered by a 
series of foreign powers. 
The first invaders are the 

Nubians, followed by  
the Assyrians and the 

Persians. Finally, in  
332 bce, King Alexander 
the Great of Macedon, 
ruler of an empire that 
extends from Greece, 

takes control.

332–30 bce

Ptolemaic Dynasty
Egypt is ruled by 15 Macedonian 

pharaohs, all called Ptolemy.  
The  capital of Egypt during this 

period is Alexandria, founded by 
Alexander the Great on the 
Mediterranean coast. The last ruler 

is Queen Cleopatra (ruled 51–30 
bce). Egypt is then conquered by 

the Romans, bringing an end 
to the rule of ancient Egypt.

Ancient Egypt
Around 3000 bce,  the people of Egypt created the 
world’s first united state. It was governed by a king 
known as a pharaoh, who was believed to be the 
representative of the gods on Earth. For 3,000 years, 
Egyptians wore similar white linen clothing, spoke the 
same language, and followed a regular cycle of work, 
governed by the annual flooding of the River Nile. 

“Hail to you O Nile! …  
Come, O Nile, come  

and prosper!”
Hymn to the Nile, 

c.2100 bce

Coins showing Cleopatra

US_040-041_Egypt.indd   40 06/06/2018   14:27



41

c.4500 bce

First settlements
Farming people settle in 
villages by the Nile. They 

grow wheat and barley, 
keep cattle and sheep, 
and make polished red 
pottery with blackened 

tops. This early culture is 
later called Badarian, 

after the site of El Badari, 
the remains of which 

were excavated in 1923. 

c.3300 bce  

Early writing
Egyptians invent the world’s first writing 

system: hieroglyphics.  
It uses hundreds of picture  

signs, standing for ideas,  
words, and sounds. These  

are carved on stone or painted 
on sheets of papyrus, a writing 
material made from the reeds 

along the Nile.

Early hieroglyphs on  
wooden labels

c.3100 bce 

A kingdom united
Egypt, previously two kingdoms, 
is united under one king. The first 
king we know of is called Narmer. 

He is shown in art as a warrior 
defeating enemies while wearing 

the crowns of Upper (southern) 
and Lower (northern) Egypt. 

Narmer wears the white 
crown of Upper Egypt.

Narmer wears the red 
crown of Lower Egypt.

Thutmose I

2667–2648 bce 

Stepped pyramid
Pharaoh Djoser, the first ruler of 
a period that historians call the 

Old Kingdom, builds the first 
pyramid. This is a royal tomb 

where the king’s body, 
preserved as a mummy, is 

thought to live on after death. 
Djoser’s pyramid has stepped 

rather than smooth sides and 
is Egypt’s first monument  

to be built out of stone. 

1550–1525 bce 

New Kingdom
Ahmose, ruler of Thebes, drives out 

the Hyksos and reunites Egypt, 
founding what would become known 

as the New Kingdom. Pharaohs are 
no longer buried in pyramids, but in 

hidden tombs in the Valley of the 
Kings, in the desert to the west of 

Thebes. The Theban god Amon-Re 
becomes chief Egyptian god.

Depiction of Amon-Re

1504–1425 bce 

Egyptian Empire
Thutmose I aggressively expands 
Egyptian rule into Nubia, a country 

that lies to the south of Egypt, as 
well as into areas of western Asia. 
The Egyptian Empire continues to 

grow under his successors, 
Thutmose II (1492–1479 bce) and 

Thutmose III (1479–1425 bce).

1352–1336 bce

Sun worship
Pharaoh Akhenaten makes sweeping 

changes to Egypt’s religion, closing 
down the temples to the gods and 

introducing worship of the Aten,  
a disk that represents the Sun.  
He builds a new capital called 

Akhetaten (modern-day  
El Amarna), with open-air temples  

for the worship of the Sun. 

1336–1327 bce

Tutankhamun
Under the rule of  

Pharaoh Tutankhamun, the 
old religion is restored. After 

his death at the age of 
around 18, Tutankhamun is 
buried in a tomb filled with 
treasures.  Discovered in 

1922, the tomb of 
Tutankhamun is the only 
unrobbed Egyptian royal 

tomb ever found.

US_040-041_Egypt.indd   41 17/07/2018   16:38



42

Ancient monuments
For most of prehistory, people lived as nomadic hunter-
gatherers and left behind little trace of their existence. It 
was only after people became settled farmers that they 
began to build monuments, such as tombs and temples. 
Most were simple structures, but some were built on an 
enormous scale that required hundreds of laborers—a 
sign they were built for powerful leaders.

First temple
People in Göbekli Tepe in Turkey 
build the world’s oldest religious 

structure, with more than 200 
pillars arranged in 20 circles. 

Unusually, it seems to have been 
built by hunter-gatherers in the 
process of becoming farmers.

10,000–9000 bce

Standing stones
In Brittany in France, farming 

people set up more than 3,000 
standing stones in long lines. 

Their purpose is a mystery, but  
it is possible that each one  

was placed in honor of a 
 dead person.

Dolmens
In western Europe, people begin 
to build dolmens—tombs using 

three or more huge standing 
stones supporting a flat table-
stone. These are covered with 

earth or rocks to form a mound 
called a barrow.

Abu Simbel 
At Abu Simbel in southern 

Egypt, Pharaoh Rameses II 
has a great temple carved out 
of solid rock. It is dedicated to 
three gods. Colossal statues 

of the pharaoh sit outside and 
line the temple’s entrance hall.

126
4–1

244
 bce

Korean dolmens
In Korea, people begin to 

build dolmen tombs. 
Some stand above 

ground, but others have 
an underground burial 

chamber. About 45,000 
are built, giving Korea the 
world’s largest collection 

of dolmens.

70
0 b

ce

Great Pyramid of Cholula
The people of Cholula in Mexico build a pyramid 

temple to worship the god Quetzalcoatl. Over the next 
thousand years, it is rebuilt on a progressively bigger 

scale, until it is the largest pyramid in the world.

c.2
00

 bce
Sanchi Stupa

At Sanchi in India, Emperor 
Ashoka builds a great stupa— 

a domed monument holding 
relics of the Buddha. Stupas 
are places of pilgrimage for 

Buddhists, who walk around 
them praying and meditating.

c.250 bce

c.45
00

–20
00

 bce

c.4000 bce

US_042-043_Ancient_Monuments.indd   42 04/06/2018   15:13



43

Newgrange
In Ireland, people use 200,000 

tons of rock to build an 
enormous, mound-shaped tomb 
with a long passage leading to a 

central burial chamber. The 
passage is aligned with the 

midwinter sunrise, which lights up 
the burial chamber for 17 minutes.

c.3
200

 bce

Stonehenge
In Wiltshire, England, people arrange standing 

stones in circles. Some of the stones are 
hauled hundreds of miles from Wales. Their 
purpose is unclear, but certain stones align 

with the midwinter Sun, so Stonehenge may 
be used to establish calendar dates.

First pyramid
The Egyptian pharaoh Djoser 
builds the first pyramid as his 
tomb. It has stepped sides in 

six levels and is made of stone. 
The steps may have been 
seen as a stairway to the 
heavens for the pharoah.

2630–2611 bce

Pyramids in Peru
People at Caral in Peru build 

the first pyramids in South 
America. They have stepped 

sides like Djoser’s, but they 
serve as temples rather than 

tombs. They are arranged 
around a plaza in the middle 

of a great urban center.

Pyramids and Sphinx
At Giza, the largest of Egypt’s pyramids 
are built by the pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, 

and Menkaure. Khafre’s is guarded by 
the Great Sphinx, a colossal statue  
of a lion with the head of a pharaoh.

258
9–2

504
 bceZiggurats

In Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq), 
rulers build stepped temples, called 
ziggurats. Each is seen as the home 

of the local god, whose statue is kept 
in a shrine at the very top.

Monk’s Mound
At the meeting of the Mississippi, 
Missouri, and Illinois rivers, North 

Americans build Monk’s Mound, an 
immense, pyramid-shaped mound of 

soil and clay. Its base is as large as 
that of Egypt’s Great Pyramid.

900–1200 ce

1113
–115

0 ce
 

Angkor Wat
In Cambodia, King Suryavarman 

II constructs Angkor Wat, a Hindu 
temple containing his tomb. It 

takes around 30 years to build 
and today remains the world’s 

largest religious structure.

Easter Island statues
On Easter Island in the Pacific 

Ocean, islanders carve 887 statues 
of their chieftains and ancestors. 

These have eyes of white coral with 
black obsidian pupils, and caps 

made of red stone.

1300–1500 ce

c.26
00

 bc
e

c.2100 bce

c.4000 bce

c.29
50–2500 bce

US_042-043_Ancient_Monuments.indd   43 17/07/2018   16:38



The Great Sphinx 
The ancient Egyptians built sphinx 
statues to guard important areas such 
as tombs and temples. The most famous 
sphinx is the Great Sphinx of Giza, 
situated on the west bank of the River 
Nile. It was carved out of a huge outcrop 
of limestone that sticks up above the 
desert floor to guard the pyramid of 
Khafre in Giza. It was built 4,500 years 
ago, and is one of the largest and oldest 
statues in the world. The Sphinx has a 
human head, probably that of Pharaoh 
Khafre, and the body of a lion.

US_044-045_Egyptian_architecture_DPS.indd   44 04/06/2018   15:13



US_044-045_Egyptian_architecture_DPS.indd   45 04/06/2018   15:13



46

Sharing stories
Many of the earliest stories were composed as 
poems, as the rhythm and repetition of poetry 
made it easier for storytellers to learn them. With 
the invention of writing around 6,000 years ago, 
these stories began to be written down. Drama 
and, much later, the novel developed as new  
forms of storytelling. Today, books are stil l  a 
popular format for reading stories, but they are  
also available digitally as e-books or online.

13th century 16th century13th–15th century

18871884

1623

1914–19181864

Elementary,  
my dear Watson 

Scottish writer Sir Arthur Conan 
Doyle creates the world’s  

best-known fictional detective, 
Sherlock Holmes, as well as his 

sidekick, Dr. Watson, in his novel  
A Study in Scarlet. 

Scandinavian sagas
Most Icelandic sagas are tales of 

historic voyages, battles, and kings 
of northern Europe. Some sagas 

tell of a legendary past full of 
dwarves and giants. As well as 

sagas, the Icelanders write down 
stories of Thor and Loki from 

Norse mythology.

Monkey magic
Journey to the West (also known  

as Monkey) is a Chinese novel 
based on the true story of a monk’s 

journey to bring Buddhist scrolls 
from India to China. The novel  
adds characters from Chinese 

mythology, such as the  
Monkey King. 

Medieval romances
Tales of chivalrous knights going 

on quests and having heroic 
adventures are known in medieval 
Europe as romances. Old French 

and British legends of King Arthur 
and his Knights of the Round Table 

are written down as romances in 
the late Middle Ages.

War poets 
A number of British and French 

soldiers fighting on the front lines 
in World War I write about their 

horrific experiences in  
haunting poetry. Sadly, many  

of them never come home  
from the war.

Great American Novel
US novelist Mark Twain’s 

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 
vividly portrays the American 
South and the language of its 

people. It is considered one of the 
“Great American Novels”—works 
that capture the spirit of America. 

First Folio 
Shakespeare adds many words to 

the English language and has a 
huge impact on the development 

of literature around the world. After 
his death, 36 of his plays are 

collected together for the first  
time in the First Folio. 

Science fiction
Science and fantasy meet in 
French writer Jules Verne’s 

Journey to the Center of the Earth 
and, later, 20,000 Leagues Under 
the Sea (1870). These stories are 

early masterpieces of what we 
now call science fiction.

“Those who  
tell stories  

rule the world.”
Hopi American Indian proverb

In the story, the 
Monkey King had 
a magic staff that 
could shrink or 
grow in size.

US_046-047_Literature.indd   46 06/06/2018   17:18



47

After 2100 bce

1812–1822

1997–2007

8th–15th century ce

186518th–19th century

1920s

5th century bce

1960s

c.1000–1012

1818

1950s

Ancient epics
Societies of the ancient  

world produce long poems called 
epics. Performed by storytellers 
rather than written down, these 

epics celebrate a civilization’s 
culture through stories  

of great heroes.

Once upon a time
Brothers Jacob and Wilhelm 

Grimm collect traditional German 
folk tales such as Snow White and 

Hansel and Gretel, in Children’s and 
Household Tales. The cruelty and 
violence of the original stories is 

toned down in future editions.

Harry Potter 
British novelist J.K. Rowling’s seven 

books about Harry Potter and the 
wizard school of Hogwarts become a 
worldwide phenomenon. The novels 

have since been translated into 
around 80 languages and have sold 

more than 450 million copies.

1001 stories 
One Thousand and One Nights  

is a collection of popular stories 
from Arabia. Although they appear 

in Arabic folk tales, many of its 
well-known characters—Sinbad, 

Aladdin, and Ali Baba—will be 
added much later.

Stream of 
consciousness 

A new style of writing, called 
“stream of consciousness” 

attempts to show fragments 
of thoughts and feelings as 

they pass through a 
character’s mind. 

Wonderland 
English clergyman Lewis Carroll’s 

Alice in Wonderland is full of 
nonsense speech and fantastical 

characters. It brings about a 
“Golden Age” in which children’s 

books focus on entertainment 
rather than education.

Rise of the novel 
The novel becomes an extremely 

popular form of literature. Many 
European and American writers 

produce their novels in serial form. 
They are published in sections as 
monthly parts to make them more 

affordable to the public.

Greek drama 
Early Greek plays involve only a 

single actor and a chorus (a group 
of performers who comment on 

the action). Playwrights add a 
second and then a third actor to 
the stage, laying the foundations 

for Western drama.

Black voices
African-Americans inspired by 

the Civil Rights Movement 
(see pages 290–291) write 

about the experiences of  
their people. The decade  

also sees the rise of female 
African-American poets.

First novel
The Tale of Genji by the Japanese 

lady-in-waiting Murasaki Shikibu is 
maybe the world’s first novel. 

Written on sheets of paper pasted 
and folded together, it tells the 

story of “Shining Genji,” the son of 
an ancient Japanese emperor.

Postcolonial writing 
As European powers lose hold of 

their international empires, 
writers from former colonies in 

Africa, South America, and  
Asia—particularly India—begin 

to write about the experience  
of being colonized.

Gothic horror  
Mary Shelley writes Frankenstein, 

one of the greatest works of Gothic 
horror—a type of story that deals 
with the supernatural, ghosts, and 

haunted houses. One of the last 
examples of Gothic horror is 

Dracula (1897) by Bram Stoker. 

“Those who  
tell stories  

rule the world.”
Hopi American Indian proverb

The tale of 
Gilgamesh from 
Mesopotamia in 
modern-day Iraq 
is the oldest 
surviving epic.

Ancient Greek 
actors wore 

masks to identify 
the character 

they played.

The story of Aladdin and the genie 
was added by the French writer 
Antoine Galland in the 18th century.

US_046-047_Literature.indd   47 06/06/2018   17:18



48

“I adore wearing gems, 
but not because they 

are mine. You can’t 
possess radiance, you 

can only admire it.”
Elizabeth Taylor 

Actress and jewelry collector

She
ll b

ead
s 

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ewelry

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co, Azte

c noble
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ar 

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f 

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so 

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her typ

es of je
welry 

decora
ted with

 jade, 

turquoi
se, she

lls,  

and fea
thers. 

1325–
1521

Jewelry 
Humans have always worn jewelry, 
whether it is made from simple  
items such as shells and feathers, or 
expensive metals like gold and silver. 
Modern manufactured materials such 
as plastics have expanded the range 
even further. Throughout history, there 
have been many reasons for people to 
wear jewelry. Some societies and 
cultures have used jewelry to protect 
against evil, some to display wealth or 
rank, and some simply for decoration.

US_048-049_Jewellery.indd   48 06/06/2018   14:27



49

Inca gold 
The Incas of Peru value gold, 

which they describe as  
“the sweat of the Sun.” Only 

the emperor and nobles, who 
are believed to be closest to 

the gods, are allowed to wear 
gold items such as this 

ceremonial mask. 

c.1400

Elizabethan pearls

Portraits of Elizabeth I of 

England show her wearing 

long strings of white pearls, 

with individual pearls also 

sewn into her dresses. In 

many cultures, pearls 

symbolize purity and loyalty.

1558–1603

Royal diam
ond 

During the French 

Revolution, the jewels  

of Q
ueen M

arie Antoinette 

of France are stolen.  

They include the rare blue 

Hope Diam
ond, now 

displayed in the 

Sm
ithsonian Institution. 

1792

V
ictorian  

love token 

T
he V

ictorians often use 

jew
elry to send a secret 

m
essage to a loved one. 

T
he initial letters of the 

gem
stones in this ring spell 

out the w
ord “adore” 

(am
ethyst, diam

ond, opal, 

ruby, em
erald).

c.1880

A
rt N

ouveau 
Jew

elry in the A
rt N

ouveau 
(“N

ew
 A

rt”) style is very 
p

op
ular in E

urop
e and

 the 
U

S
. It takes its insp

iration 
from

 elem
ents in nature, 

w
ith long sw

irling lines 
suggesting curling ivy or 

d
ragonfly w

ings. 

c.19
0

0

A
rt D

eco 
G

eom
etric designs are 

typical of the A
rt D

eco 

period, w
ith sim

ple, clean 

lines that reflect m
odern 

industrial design. 

G
em

stones, particularly 

diam
onds, are placed tightly 

together in platinum
 and 

w
hite gold settings.

1920
s– 

1930
s

Star jewelry  

The jewelry collection of 

actress Elizabeth Taylor is sold 

for $116 million (£75 million). It 

includes the La Peregrina 

pearl, once owned by Mary I 

of England, and other items 

such as this emerald and 

diamond necklace.

2011

Costum
e jew

elry

C
olorful item

s such as 

bracelets and brooches are 

m
ade from

 glass, plastic, 

and hard acrylic, rather than 

precious stones. This is 

called “costum
e jew

elry,” 

and it becom
es very 

popular because  

it is inexpensive.

1930s– 
1950s

Scarab Pectoral
This decorative breastplate 
was found in the tomb of 
Tutankhamun, an Egyptian 
pharaoh. It is made of gold, 
inlaid with blue lapis lazuli,  
red carnelian, and turquoise.

US_048-049_Jewellery.indd   49 06/06/2018   14:27



50

The story of sports
The story of sports began thousands of years  
ago, when ancient people first started playing  
ball games. As time passed, new sports  
emerged, along with competitions and  
international events at which to play them.  
In modern times, sports are a major source  
of exercise, entertainment for spectators,  
and a way for mill ions of professional athletes 
worldwide to test their skills.

Bowling 
beginnings

Discoveries of ancient  
balls and pins in an Egyptian 

grave date bowling back 
5,000 years. Modern  

tenpin bowling will begin  
in 1841 in the US.

3200 bce

Ancient ball game
The Mayans play a speedy 

ball game called pitz. The 
objective is to pass a rubber 

ball through a stone hoop 
without using hands or feet. 

The Aztecs, Incas, and 
Olmecs play similar games.

c.2000 bce

Soccer league
The world’s first soccer 

league competition gets 
underway in England. 

Twelve teams take part, 
with Preston North End 

crowned champions at the 
end of the season.

1888

Table tennis
During winters in Victorian 

England, houseguests make 
their own entertainment by 

turning their dining tables into 
mini tennis courts to play the 

first games of ping pong  
(also known as table tennis). 

Champagne corks  
are used as balls.

1880s

Modern Olympics
French aristocrat Pierre de 

Coubertin arranges a revival of 
the ancient Olympic Games. The 

competition is held in Athens, 
Greece with about 300 athletes 

from 14 countries. Events include 
swimming, cycling, weightlifting, 

wrestling, athletics, and the  
first marathon.

1896

World Series
The two US baseball 

leagues—the American 
League and the National 

League—compete for the 
end-of-year championship 

for the first time in what  
is today known as the  

World Series.

1903

Tour de France
The first Tour de France is held, 

lasting 19 days and covering  
1,508 miles (2,428 km) along French 

roads. Although 60 competitors 
start the race, only 21 finish.  

The race was born to help boost the 
flagging sales of the cycling 

newspaper L’Auto.

Football leagues
The National Football League 

begins with a meeting in Canton, 
Ohio. A second football league, 
named the American Football 

League, gets underway 40 years 
later. In 1967, the champions  

of the two leagues face  
each other in the first  

annual Super Bowl.

Beach volleyball
This game is first played on 
the beach in Santa Monica, 
California. Today, the sport 
is played on beaches and 

artificial sand courts  
all around the world.

1903 19201920s

US_050-051_Sports.indd   50 06/06/2018   14:28



51

Ancient Olympics
At Olympia, a religious site in 

southwest Greece, the first 
recorded Olympic Games are 

held. They honor the protector  
of the people, Zeus. The Games 

are held every four years, with 
competitors often traveling long 

distances to participate.

776 bce

Marathon message
When a messenger named 

Pheidippides runs from the Battle 
of Marathon to Athens, Greece 

with news of a victory, the 
distance of 25 miles (40 km) 

becomes the measurement for  
a marathon. In 1921, the distance  

will be standardized as  
26.2 miles (42.195 km).

490 bce

Hand tennis
European monks play the earliest 
version of tennis using their hands 

to hit the ball. By the 1870s, a 
similar game named Sphairistike  
is played in the UK with wooden 

rackets. Renamed tennis, the 
game’s first championship will be 

played at Wimbledon in 1877.

1100s ce

Bicycle design
Italian artist and inventor 

Leonardo da Vinci sketches  
the first bicycle design, complete 
with pedals and a chain. Bicycles 

and competitive cycling  
sports do not develop  

until centuries later.

1490

Cricket
The Marylebone Cricket Club in 
London introduces rules to turn  

a 16th-century game into the  
sport we now call cricket. 

1788

Boxing gloves
Wearing padded boxing gloves becomes 

compulsory for competitive fighters. 
However, similar attire had already been 
seen in ancient Greece, where fighters 

covered their hands in animal hide, and in 
ancient Rome, where gladiators used 

metal to really pack a punch!

1867

World Cup
The biggest soccer competition gets 
underway in Uruguay. Thirteen teams 

contest it, with the host nation 
emerging as the champions. The 

tournament has been held every four 
years since, except when World War II 

twice caused its postponement.

Paralympics
The first Paralympic Games takes 

place in Rome, Italy. More than  
400 athletes take part in events 

including archery, swimming,  
table tennis, and basketball.

Women’s World Cup
The first competition of the FIFA 

Women’s World Cup is held in 
China, with the US beating 
Norway 2-1 in the final. The 
tournament has been held  

every four years since.

1930 1960 1991

US_050-051_Sports.indd   51 06/06/2018   14:28



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US_052-053_Ancient_Greece.indd   52 06/06/2018   16:48



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