A Brief Timeline of European History

Europe could well be the world's richest continent in terms of science and social studies. Much of the world's treasures in history and culture developed and are still prospering in this continent. Here is a brief timeline of European history.


Europe started out like the rest of the world: by fostering the development of man as a being.

1.8 million years ago - The first human-like beings in Europe arrived from Africa. Soon, Homo sapiens developed cultures in Central and Southwest Europe.

27th century BC - The Minoan civilization began flourishing in the Crete as a literate society. The Minoans had a system of administration and built elaborate palaces for it.

16,000 BCE - The Mycenaean civilization followed the Minoans. They built cities and had a system of warrior aristocracy.

Classical Antiquity

Man had already advanced to form educated societies, with arts, science, and social studies.

Roughly 7th century BC - Ancient Greece dawned. This civilization brought forth great minds, like Socrates and Plato. King Philip II united the Greek states, and his son, Alexander the Great, extended the great culture to other states.

1st century BC - The Empire of Rome had risen. It then suffered civil wars, until, in year 313, Emperor Constantine officially embraced the Christian Church.

800 (year) - The great Roman Empire had been weakened by various conflicts. Charlemagne, a Frank ruler, became the Roman Emperor.

Middle Ages

The Middle Ages were filled with even more conflicts and dark times.

500 - Although most of Europe had accepted Christianity, Rome had continually weakened. This initiated the Dark Ages, a period of deteriorated culture and economy.

1054 - The East-West Schism occurred, splitting Christian leaders and ending in a divided Church. Other forces, such as the Roman Catholic Inquisition, took place.

1300 - Many of the conflicts had ended, and Europe showed signs of recovery. But catastrophes struck, in the form of the Great Famine and the Black Death. Still, the people struggled to get well, through alliances and trades with other states.

Early Modern Europe

After the darkest night comes the bright morning. This was the rise of a modern continent.

14th century - An awakening began - the Renaissance. It was a period of flourishing philosophy, arts, science, and social studies. Great men came from this era - Michelangelo, Da Vinci, and Machiavelli, to name some. The Renaissance spread to many countries and lasted until the 17th century.

15th century - European nations began exploring the world, leading to the discovery of America and other countries. Trade and mercantilism greatly prospered.

Revolutions, Wars, and Europe Today

With a fully-developed Europe, revolutions and modern conflicts seemed inevitable.

18th century - The Industrial Revolution commenced. It brought significant changes in manufacturing and other processes. This revolution spread across the globe until the 19th century.

1914 - With European nations rising simultaneously, the First World War erupted. The Russian forces were defeated, and the Soviet Union was formed.

1939 - Adolf Hitler initiated World War II. It entailed the Holocaust for the Jews in Poland. Hitler's Germany was defeated after it was invaded by the Soviet Union and the Allied Forces.

1946 - An international tension began, and this was the Cold War. It was not brutal like the previous wars; instead, it involved political conflict and 'silent' battles.

1993 - After the wars ended, Europe strove for a more united group of nations, establishing the European Union. This cooperation continues to grow, with more European countries enlisting as members.

A brief timeline is only a window to Europe's long and colorful history. With such extent and weight, its legacy can be carried on only by time.

Websites For Learning All About European History Time Lines and Time Period

  1. A Guide to Medieval and Renaissance Instruments
  2. DP Camps in Europe
  3. Elizabethan Costumes
  4. EuroDocs: Western European Primary Historical Documents
  5. Evidence: Europe Reflected in Archives
  6. Middle Ages
  7. Periodical Historical Atlas of Europe