History Timeline: Events of Modern History

Modern era can be summed into the Historiographical timeline as a collection of events of Technical Revolution, Discoveries and Arts with occurrence after the middle ages.

Historians mark the Early Modern Era transition by pinning with the European Renaissance, the cultural moment in Europe. Some others credit the modern era to Discoveries of Telescope and Microscope, as well as Industrial Revolution.

Complete modern history cannot be summed up in a single book, least given this piece, and the events are selected based on impact and completeness. If you are bummed of something not being covered, drop a comment. There were countless conflicts, invasions and mutinies during the time, so only significant of these are mentioned.

Modern History Image


Pacific Ocean sighted by Europeans

  • September 26, 1513

Roughly 20 years after the accidental discovery of American continent, Spain’s conquistador Vasco Nunez de Balboa was the first to lay eyes on the blue pacific. The journey went through dense forests, erratic rivers and tribal communities. Later in time, a westward route to the east will be discovered. Soon after in 1519, Magellan-Elcano expedition would sail from Spain, making it through Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans to successfully circumnavigate the earth.


Death of Leonardo da Vinci

  • May 2, 1519

One of the geniuses of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci was known for his inquiring mind, art and critical thinking. He received his training in painting, sculpture, architecture and design from Florentine artist Andrea del Verrocchio. He was also credited for his contributions in military, with models and schematics detailing crossbows, canons and flying machines.


Nicolaus Copernicus publishes De Revolutionibus Orbium

  • May 24, 1543

To many of you it might come as a shock that Nicolaus Copernicus wasn’t the first one to propose a heliocentric theory. Aristarchus of Samos ( 310 BC – 230 BC ) proposed that sun was the center, and that the stars were in fact sun-like heavenly bodies that are just very far away. Though his theory which in part was astonishingly correct, the conclusions were not backed by proof. It wasn’t until another 1500 years, when Copernicus published his text with detailed observations signaling the heliocentric nature. The theory shook off most cultures, as the earth-centric theory was both popular as well as backed by religious practices. Copernican heliocentrism is considered as the starting point of Scientific Revolution and Modern Astronomy.

Calendar Reset

  • October 4, 1582

Julius Caesar in 46 B.C.E. had correctly calculated the length of solar year to be 365.25 days. Or had he?
While the calculation by Julius Caesar was quite accurate by his time, the length of solar year was (is) in fact 365.2422 days. This meant that over long periods of time, in-spite of adding in leap year, calendar days would drift from solar days.
Pope Gregory XIII institutionalized the Gregorian calendar (which is still in place) by making small change, that no century year should be a leap year unless divisible by 400. What this did was omitted the extra leap year day every century. This was vital as in 1500s, the spring equinox was falling on March 11 instead of the supposed March 21. Also at the time, people who fell to sleep on October 4 (1582) woke up on October 15 as immediate offset was put in place to make the calendar align with solar days.

Globe Theatre Opens in London

  • 1599

Globe Theatre was the famous theatre in London well known for running plays written by William Shakespeare. Plays of William Shakespeare were performed here after 1599 AD.

During that time, there were only a few licensed theatres, and among them, fewer licensed to play within the city. The Globe stood by river Thames and played a vital role in cultivation of drama and art. Shakespeare was chief shareholder in the company owning the Globe. Globe was stood at southern end of river Thames, close to the London Bridge.

Martyr for Science, Giordano Bruno

  • 1599

Giordano Bruno, born in Italy, was a radical thinker and philosopher who but forward modern cosmological ideas unnerving to people of his time. His beliefs were that the distant stars were in fact many numerous suns like that of ours, with their own planets harboring life. Bruno also hence believed in many worlds and universes hypothesis. He was not a discoverer. His views were the extensions of discoveries of Nicolas Copernicus’s heliocentric theory (which says that planets revolve around the sun and not that everything revolves around earth.). Although being mere extensions, his views were radical and profound.

The implications of his teachings were rejected and frowned upon by the church. Many world’s interpretation was unacceptable to the church. Giordano Bruno was given death punishment for heresy, and also was rejected the customary mercy of death by hanging or strangulation. He was burnt alive in public.

Astronomical Breakthrough by Galileo

  • January 7, 1610

Galileo Galilei, Italian astronomer, makes the discovery of Jupiter’s moons. Galileo is often wrongly attributed with the invention of Telescope. Telescope was made by few others before him, but Galileo upgraded the telescope design and lenses to offer higher magnification.

He was also a believer in heliocentric Copernican Theory, and that earth is not the center of universe. His discovery of 4 celestial bodies revolving around Jupiter made it clear than every body in the universe does not revolve around Earth. The 4 biggest moons of Jupiter which he discovered are called Galilean moons. NASA also named the first satellite to travel to Jupiter after Galileo.

First Thanksgiving

  • 1621

William Harvey details Heart and Circulatory System

  • 1628

The Great Fire of London

  • September 2, 1666

First modern bank, Sweden

  • 1668

Isaac Newton publishes Principia Mathematica

  • July 5, 1687

John Kay invents The Flying Shuttle

  • 1733

First Balloon Flight

  • June 4, 1783

Constitution of the USA signed

  • September 17, 1787

Napoleon loses his final battle at Waterloo

  • June 18, 1815

First commercial railway

  • September 27, 1825

The First Photograph

  • June, 1827

Michael Faraday’s electromagnetic discovery, Dynamo

  • August 24, 1831

Darwin’s discoveries on the voyage of the Beagle

  • December 27, 1831
[ Further Topics will be elaborated soon. ]

Telegraphic code demonstrated by Samuel Morse

  • January 6, 1838

Arrival of modern postal system with adhesive postage stamp

  • May 1, 1840

Domestic Sewing Machine launched

  • 1850

Slavery abolished in the USA

  • December 6, 1865

Mendeleev publishes periodic table of elements

  • March 6, 1869

Inauguration of the Suez Canal

  • November 17, 1869

Alexander Graham Bell patents Telephone

  • March 7, 1876

Electric light bulb invented

  • October 21, 1879

The Ashes Created

  • September 2, 1882

Volcanic eruption on Krakatoa

  • August 26, 1883

First human flight by the Wright brothers

  • December 17, 1903

Einstein publishes Special theory of Relativity

  • June 30, 1905

Germany initiates World War 1

  • August 4, 1914

Foundation of Saudi Arabia after Mecca Seized

  • October 20, 1924

Edwin Hubble discovers other galaxies, reveals the Universe is expanding

  • January 1, 1925

First Demonstration of Television

  • January 26, 1926

First liquid fuel rocket makes space travel a possibility

  • March 16, 1926

Steamboat Willie featuring Mickey Mouse released

  • November 18, 1928

Hitler’s appointment as chancellor

  • January 30, 1933

Nuclear Fission found

  • December 17, 1938

Launch of Hitlers V-2 supersonic missile

  • October 3, 1942

Hitler commits suicide

  • April 30, 1945

WW II ends, United Nations created

  • 1945

Marshall Aid is launched

  • June 5, 1947

Gandhi, Father of non-violent civil disobedience dies

  • January 30, 1948

DNA structure presented to world

  • April 25, 1953

Hillary and Tensing scale Mount Everest

  • May 29, 1953

Elvis is number one

  • 1950’s

Soviets lead the space race

  • 1957

Construction of the Berlin Wall

  • August 13, 1961

Christiaan Barnard does first successful heart transplant

  • December 3, 1967

Giant leap for mankind

  • July 21, 1969

Microsoft and Apple founded

  • 1975 – 1976

Bhopal gas tragedy

  • December 3, 1984

Chernobyl Explosion

  • April 26, 1986


  • September 11, 2001

Indian Ocean Tsunami

  • December 26, 2004

Osama bin Laden killed

  • May 2, 2011


One Response

  1. yashdeep vitthalani July 2, 2017

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