History by period
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Whether one can precisely define a time window as 'High Middle Ages' or 'Early Middle Ages' the title evokes an image and expectations in the reader of certain sets of characteristics—the essential essence of such labeling—a communications tool from one mind to another.
Nonetheless, periods have a generally accepted meaning within all disciplines even though a given community of scholarship applies different criteria to their meaning of the same general term used in other disciplines; consequently squabbles about exact date ranges are mostly shrugged aside as counter-productive — in large part this is an extension of the recognition that one region develops at a different pace and under different influences and so at a different rate. A city or town will generally adopt a new practice as it hears about things first simply because it is in greater more frequent contact with a larger farther section of the world. Sometime later the idea or practice or characteristic spreads to the whole region, people, or continent.
Ancient history (3600 BCE – 500 CE)
Ancient history refers to the time period beginning with the first records in writing, approximately 3600 BCE. It ends with the fall of several significant empires, such as the Western Roman Empire in the Mediterranean, the Han Dynasty in China, and the Gupta Empire in India, collectively around 500 CE.
The Bronze Age is the time period in which humans around the world began to use bronze as a major metal in tools. It is generally accepted as starting around 3600 BCE and ending with the advent of iron in 1000 BCE.
The Iron Age is often called Antiquity or the Classical Era, but these periods more commonly refer to only one region. It begins around 1000 BCE with the widespread use of iron in tools. It is often accepted to end at approximately 500 CE, with the fall of the aforementioned major civilizations.
Note that BC and BCE refer to the same time period. BCE is an abbreviation for Before Common Era, and BC for Before Christ. AD is Anno Domini, and CE is Common Era. This is done in order to standardize time periods across the world (ISO 8601).
- History of Mesopotamia 6000 BC - 1100 BC
- Indus Valley Civilization 3300 BC - 1300 BC
- Old Kingdom (Egypt, 3000 BC - 2000 BC)
- Middle Kingdom (Egypt, 2000 BC - 1300 BC)
- Vedic period India, (1750 - 500 BC)
- New Kingdom (Egypt, 1300 BC - 700 BC)
- Shang Dynasty (China 1800 BC - 1200 BC)
- Mediterranean Antiquity
- Zhou Dynasty (China, 1200 BCE–500 BCE)
- Ancient Greece, (circa 1000 BCE–323 BCE) (see Timeline of Ancient Greece)
- Mahajanapadas, (India 600 - 300 BC)
- Ancient Rome 509 BC - 476)
- Classical India (230 BC - 500 AD)
- Six Dynasties (China, 220 CE–581 CE)
- Three Kingdoms (China, 220–280)
- Dark Age/Late Antiquity (Europe, 4th century - 900)
Postclassical Era (500 – 1500)
The Postclassical Era, also referred to as the Medieval period or, for Europe, the Middle Ages, begins around 500 CE after the fall of major civilizations, covering the advent of Islam. The period ends around 1450–1500, with events like the rise of moveable-type printing in Europe, the voyages of Christopher Columbus, and the Ottoman Empire's conquest of Constantinople.
- Middle Ages (Europe, 5th century - 15th century)
- Islamic period (Middle East, 7th century - 13th century)
- Islamic Golden Age (Middle East, 750 – 1300)
- Viking Age (Scandinavia, Europe, 793 - 1066)
- Nara period (Japan, 709 - 795)
- Period of Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (China, 907 - 960)
- Sengoku period (Japan, 1478–1605)
- Middle kingdoms of India, (500 - 1206)
Modern history (1500 – present)
The Modern Period covers human history from the creation of a more global network (i.e. the discovery of the Americas by Europeans) to present day.
Early Modern Period (1500 – 1750)
The Early Modern Period is the first third of the Modern Period and is often used with the parent categorization. It starts with the invention of the printing press, covering the voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492 and, more generally, the establishment of a more global network. It ends in 1750 with the beginning of British industrialization.
- The Renaissance (Europe, 14th century - 16th century)
- Age of Discovery (or Exploration) (Europe, 15th century - 17th century)
- Age of Sail, referring to commercial and military impact of technology. Usually dated as: 1571—1863.
- Elizabethan period (England, 1558–1603)
- The Protestant Reformation (Europe, 16th century)
- The Age of Enlightenment (Europe, 18th century)
- Tokugawa shogunate (Japan, 1603–1868)
Mid Modern Period (1750 – 1914)
The Age of Revolution is a less commonly used period, but appropriately covers the time between the early modern and contemporary. It begins around 1750 with European industrialization and is marked by several political revolutions. It ends around 1914, with the relative advancement of industrialization in Europe, the USA, Japan, and Russia, and the beginning of World War I.
- Industrial Revolution (Europe, United States, elsewhere 18th and 19th centuries)
- Napoleonic Era, 1799–1815
- Victorian era (United Kingdom, 1837–1901)
- Machine Age (Europe, United States, elsewhere 19th and 20th centuries)
- Edwardian period (United Kingdom, 1901–1910)
- Meiji era (Japan, 1868–1912)
Contemporary Period (1914 – present)
The Contemporary Period generally covers history still in living memory, approximately 80 years behind the current year. However, for all intents and purposes, the period will be used here as spanning from the first world war in 1914 to present day, as it is considered separate from the past eras and the newest stage of world history.
- World War I (Much of Earth, 1914–1918)
- Interwar period (Earth, 1918 - 1939)
- World War II (Earth, 1939–1945)
- Cold War (Soviet Union and United States, as well their allied states, 1945–1989)
- Space Age (after 1957)
- Information Age (1971–present)
- Post-communist period (Russia and other former Soviet states, after 1991)
- List of time periods – including paleoecological, paleogeological, archaeological, physical and cosmological groups, etcetera.
- For histories of places see Category:History by region, Category:History by country, and Category:History by city.
- For histories of other topics, see Category:History by topic
- Works Cited