Europe 1914 AD

European nations now rule much of the world, but their rivalries are now leading them into the First World War.

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Stone Age farming villages dot the landscape of Europe.

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Europe is still inhabited by Stone Age farming peoples. Tribes speaking Indo-European languages are migrating into the continent from the east.

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Bronze Age farming cultures now cover most of Europe, and in the south-east, the first European civilizations now flourish in Crete and Greece.

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Major population movements in Europe have caused widespread upheaval, and the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations have vanished.

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The Iron Age Celts and their relatives dominate much of Europe, whilst in the Mediterranean land a number of brilliant city-state civilizations, most notably the Greeks, now flourish.

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The Celts still dominate much of Europe, but a new power, Rome, is on the rise and is now the leading power in the western Mediterranean.

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The Roman empire now rules much of Europe.

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The Roman empire has given much of Europe two centuries of peace and prosperity.

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The western Roman empire has fallen to German invaders, but the eastern Roman empire remains intact.

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Medieval Europe is beginning to emerge from the wreckage of the Ancient World.

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Western Europe experiences internal wars and external attacks which bring widespread insecurity and lead to the rise of feudalism.

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European feudalism is at its height.

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The old feudal order and is beginning to give way to early modern Europe.

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Developments such as the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the expansion of trade and colonization throughout the world, have transformed Europe.

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The foundations for worldwide scientific and military dominance are being laid in the struggles between European nations.

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Europe continues to be transformed by intellectual change and industrial expansion.

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Nationalism and industrialization continue to transform Europe.

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Europe has experienced two devastating world wars, and is now divided between East and West.

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Most of Europe now belongs to the EU.

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What is happening in Europe in 1914AD

The industrialization of European nations over the past decades has given their armed forces unmatched capability, and they have indulged in a frenzy of competition for overseas territory. Most of the world has become carved up amongst their empires. Britain and France have taken the lion’s share, but Holland, Belgium, Germany and Italy also have substantial overseas possessions. The Russian empire has pushed out its borders in central Asia.

Expansion abroad has fuelled nationalist tensions at home. This has led to mutual fear building up between European powers, especially between Austria and Russia, both wanting to grab as much power and influence in the Balkans at the expense of a weakened Ottoman empire, and of each other. This year, 1914, sees these tensions spill over into full scale war.

Next map, Europe 1960

 

What is happening in Europe in 3500BC

For the past two thousand years or so, farming has slowly been spreading throughout Europe, and now covers most of the continent. People live in small village communities, mostly practicing a mixed economy of agriculture and hunting and gathering. To the north the hunting and gathering elements predominate.

Next map, Europe 2500 BC

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What is happening in Europe in 2500BC

The previous centuries has seen nomadic peoples from the central Asian steppes, speaking Indo-European languages, coming into eastern and central Europe. Their domestication of horses has given them a military edge, and they seem to have imposed themselves upon the earlier populations as a ruling class.

Material progress has continued for the past thousand years. Long-range trade networks are becoming established throughout the continent, and linking Europe to the Middle East. Copper is coming into use, starting in southern Europe and spreading into eastern and central areas of the continent.

Next map, Europe 1500 BC

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What is happening in Europe in 1500BC

Over the past thousand years Europe has become coverd by a network of Bronze Age farming cultures, ruled for the most part by powerful chiefs and warrior elites. Much of eastern and central Europe is home to Indo-European speakers, ancestors of the Celts, Germans, Italians and Illyrians.

In the south east corner of the continent, in Greece, an important development in world history has taken place. Civilization has arrived from the Middle East, with its already ancient cities and empires, by way of Crete and the Aegean.

Next map, Europe 1000 BC

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What is happening in Europe in 1000BC

Over the past few centuries the peoples of Europe have experienced widespread disruption as the peoples of the Tumulus cultures have expanded out from their central Europe homelands, just before 1200 BC. The train of migrations and invasions that this set in motion has had a huge impact on the wider world. It probably caused the fall of the first civilization on the European mainland, that of the Mycenaeans in Greece, and led to the violent eruption of the “Sea Peoples” from southern Europe into Middle Eastern history.

However, at around this time, civilizing influences from the Middle East begin again to be felt by the peoples of south-eastern Europe. Phoenician merchants are developing new trading networks across the Mediterranean Sea. They bring with them knowledge of the great civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt – and also an important new tool, alphabetic writing.

Within Europe itself, the peoples of the old Tumulus cultures are now distributed around western, central and southern parts of the continent. Over the next few centuries they will become Celts, Germans, Slavs and Italians.

Next map, Europe 500 BC

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What is happening in Europe in 500BC

Over the last few centuries the coming of the Iron Age to Europe has led to a large growth in populations throughout the continent, as well as great advances in culture. On the coasts and islands of the Mediterranean Sea – of Greece and the Aegean, southern Italy and Sicily, the southern coasts of France and Spain, and north Africa – hundreds of city-states now flourish.

The emergence of the Classical city-state in the Mediterranean world has allowed one of the most brilliant civilizations in all human history to develop, that of ancient Greece. Their small, fiercely competitive republics provide a fruitful environment for advances in many branches of endeavour: artistic, intellectual and political.

To the north, the Celts now cover western Europe from Spain in the west to Britain in the north. Peoples closely related to them, both ethnically and culturally, dominate central Europe.

Next map, Europe 200 BC

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What is happening in Europe in 200BC

In the Mediterranean world, the city-states of Greece, where immense cultural achievements have been registered over the past three centuries, are now overshadowed by powerful new kingdoms to the north and east, carved out of the conquests of Alexander the Great. These kingdoms are home to a new cosmopolitan civilization, which modern scholars label “Hellenistic”.

To the west, a new power has made its appearance in history, Rome. She has risen to control Italy and, having defeated Carthage, that ancient and wealthy city on the north coast of Africa, now dominates the western Mediterranean and eastern Spain.

In northern Europe,  Celtic tribes have continued to spread out from Gaul to cover much of the continent, and have thrown out offshoots into northern Italy, the Balkans and even Asia Minor.

Next map, Europe 30 BC

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What is happening in Europe in 30BC

The past two centuries have seen Rome come to dominate western Europe and the Mediterranean; its empire now covers Italy, Spain, Gaul, parts of North Africa, Greece and other parts of the Balkans, as well as large parts of the Middle East.

After a long period of civil wars and campaigns of conquest under such famous generals as Pompey the Great and Julius Caesar (who briefly invaded the island of Britain), peace now prevails across its empire.

Graeco-Roman civilization is rapidly spreading throughout the Roman world. Along its northern frontiers the legions confront hostile German tribes, who will, within a very few years (AD 6) inflict on them a crushing defeat. Nevertheless the Roman state is now amongst the most populous, prosperous and stable empires of ancient history.

Next map, Europe 200 AD

 

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What is happening in Europe in 200AD

The Roman empire has expanded considerably over the past couple of hundred years. As well as covering Italy, Spain and Portugal, Gaul, and Greece, it now takes in Britain, all the Balkans, all of North Africa, and reaches far into central Europe.

The empire has brought long-lasting peace to this vast region to its fifty-million or so inhabitants. With peace and commerce, cities have prospered.

Beyond the imperial frontiers, the German peoples have been experiencing a period of major upheaval, which affects the Romans through a much increased pressure on their frontiers. Roman emperors are having to spend more and more of their time on campaign. This trend will only continue, and shortly the empire – and with it the Graeco-Roman civilization it shelters – will enter its long period of decline.

New religious cults have been spreading throughout the Roman empire – Mithraism, Manichaeism and above all Christianity. The latter’s spread, beginning in the Jewish homeland of Judaea, has been helped by the presence of many Jewish communities in the cities of the empire, and indeed it starts life as a sect within Judaism. By this date, however, it is clearly a religion in its own right, winning converts right around the empire from Jews and non-Jews alike.

Next map, Europe 500 AD

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What is happening in Europe in 500AD

The past three centuries have seen the Roman empire experience a long decline, and by AD 500 it has shrunk to its eastern half. The western provinces have been overrun by German tribes, and a number of Germanic kingdoms have been established: the Visigoths, Burgundians and Franks divide Gaul between them, and the Visigoths and Seubi share the Iberian Peninsula. North Africa has been occupied by another German tribe, the Vandals, and southern Britain is being settled by north German peoples. Even Italy, the heartand of the old Roman empire, is now under barbarian rule.

Civilization has taken a major hit here, and society is experiencing huge changes. The city-based way of life enjoyed by the Romans is in steep decline in western Europe. However, both in what remains of the Roman empire, and in the Germanic kingdoms of the west, Christianity has become the official faith.

Next map, Europe 750 AD

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What is happening in Europe in 750AD

The past two and a half centuries have seen the Franks come to rule most of modern-day France and much of Germany. Their kings are active supporters of the Catholic church and its leaders, the Popes. The Franks will shortly intervene in Italy to safeguard a Pope against his enemies, the Lombards.

Pagan tribes still inhabit central, eastern and northern Europe. England is now divided amongst a group of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, with Celtic kingdoms to their north and west.

Most of Spain has been conquered by the vast Muslim Caliphate. To the East, the shrunken Roman empire (or Byzantine empire, as it should now be called) has also been battered by Muslim armies. Other enemies, pagan tribes from central Europe, have occupied most of the Balkans.

Next map, Europe 979

 

 

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What is happening in Europe in 979AD

The past two hundred years have seen the Frankish kingdom expand over much of Europe under its vigorous ruler, Charlemagne; but then, after his death, swiftly break up. The kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire have emerged from the wreckage.

Destructive invasions from outside – Vikings from the north, Magyars from the east and Arabs from the south – have hastened the disintegration of central power. In the widespread disorder a new, “feudal”, society is taking shape.

Despite these troubles, Christendom is continuing to expand into central and eastern Europe (where the Rus state will shortly convert to Christianity), and the Balkans.

The Christian kingdoms of northern Spain have been able to chip away at Muslim power, but the British Isles have experienced massive Viking attacks.

Next map, Europe 1215

 

What is happening in Europe in 1215AD

The previous centuries have seen the coming of the feudal age to Europe. It has also seen the church, headed by the Popes in Rome, reach the height of its power. Few kingdoms in western Europe have escaped its impact. In some places (for example, France) the church’s influence has strengthened royal power; in other places (Germany and Italy) it has gravely weakened it. In yet others (England) the clash between royal and church power has been dramatic but indecisive.

Despite these tensions, Christendom has continued to expand in northern, central and eastern Europe. In Spain, too, the Christian kingdoms have won territory from the Muslims. But Christendom’s attempt to expand in the Middle East with a succession of great Crusades has failed: their most enduring result has been to undermine the strength of the Byzantine empire, Christendom’s main bulwark against Muslim power in that quarter.

Next map, Europe 1453

What is happening in Europe in 1453AD

The previous two centuries have seen Europe on the defensive. The Mongol conquest of Russia in the mid-13th century; the continuous warfare involving England, France and the Low Countries; continued political fragmentation in Germany and Italy; the terrible Black Death; widespread religious unrest, especially in central Europe; and in this year, 1453, the fall of the historic Byzantine city of Constantinople to the Muslim Turks, whose power is now reaching far up into the Balkans, have all sapped European self-confidence.

On the other hand, the Christian kingdoms of Spain have all but completed their conquests of Muslim territory; Portuguese sailors have begun their voyages of discovery; the Italian Renaissance is now under way; and the first European printing presses will soon be spreading new knowledge and ideas across the continent.

Next map, Europe 1648

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What is happening in Europe in 1648AD

The past two centuries have seen the Ottoman empire conquer far up into Europe. At the same time, however, explorers have opened up South and North America. to European colonization, and Africa and Asia to European trade. Meanwhile the Renaissance spread around Europe, and the great religious movement known as the Reformation convulsed the continent. Fierce wars of religion have left Europeans divided into two hostile camps: Scandinavia, the Low Countries and Britain are Protestant, while Spain and Portugal, Italy and central Europe have remained Catholic. Germany and (to a lesser extent) France are split between the two.

Paralleling the Renaissance and the Reformation has been the rise of powerful, centralized nation-states in Europe. Despite the upheavals, this period has laid the foundations for astonishing economic expansion over the coming centuries, as well as for the rise of modern science.

Next map, Europe 1789

 

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What is happening in Europe in 1789AD

In the past century and a half, a movement known as the Enlightenment has gathered pace. The Enlightenment’s emphasis on reason has acted as a powerful stimulus to science, as well as to new thinking on politics and society. It has had a deep influence on events across the Atlantic, where the founders of the new USA have designed an entire political system around Enlightenment principles.

The countries of Europe have continued to wage major wars amongst themselves from time to time. France, Holland and Britain compete with each other for overseas empires, while those of Spain and Portugal are in decline. Prussia and Austria jostle for influence in Germany, and Russia‘s presence is increasingly being felt in central and northern Europe. Italy remains weak and divided, and the Balkans are still ruled by the Ottoman empire.

Europe’s expanding overseas trade has greatly increased the continent’s wealth. By this time, indeed, the Industrial Revolution has started in Britain. This year, though, another revolution breaks out, which will shake the politics of Europe to their very core. This is the French Revolution.

Next map, Europe 1837

 

What is happening in Europe in 1837AD

French Revolution and Napoleon

Following the French Revolution, Europe experienced more than twenty years of war. These saw the rise and fall of one of the great military commanders in world history, Napoleon Bonaparte. His attempts to impose his will on Europe only ended with his defeat in 1815, at the battle of Waterloo.

After the wars, the victorious powers cooperated in imposing order on Europe. Russia, Prussia and Austria divided central Europe between them; Prussia and Austria shared the leadership of Germany; and Austria dominated Italy. France, although vanquished in 1815, remained a major European nation.

Industrial Revolution

Great Britain is now the leading naval power in the world. Under her protection, European (especially British) commerce now dominates the oceans. The Industrial Revolution is now spreading from Britain to the rest of Europe.

Next map, Europe 1871

 

What is happening in Europe in 1871AD

The forces of nationalism have been at work in Europe over the past decades. They have created two major new countries, Germany and Italy. On the other hand they are threatening the stability of multi-national states, the Austrian (or Austro-Hungarian), Russian and Ottoman empires.

European society is being reshaped by the quickening pace of industrialization. By this date, Britain and Germany can properly be described as industrial nations, and other Europeans are not far behind. European domination of the rest of the world is entering a new phase, as a handful of powers, especially Britain, France and Holland – have started to use their industrialized military capacity to acquire extensive overseas territories in Africa, SE Asia and the Pacific.

Next map, Europe 1914

 

What is happening in Europe in 1960AD

The past decades have seen the continent torn apart – and its map radically redrawn – by World War 1 (1914-18), World War 2 (1939-45), and now the Cold War. An American-led Western Europe includes Britain, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Benelux countries, Norway, Denmark, Greece and Turkey; and a Communist-controlled East covers Russia (now the Soviet Union), the central European countries of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Romania; and the Balkan nations of Yugoslavia and Bulgaria. The front line runs through Germany, which is now divided into a West and East. Austria, Switzerland and Sweden remain neutral.

The USA has poured economic aid into western Europe, which has set the nations here on a path to recovery, and indeed to unparalleled prosperity. Overseas, the years since World War 2 have seen the withdrawal of European nations from most of their empires in Africa, India, SE Asia and the Pacific well underway. Within Europe, a group of countries – France, West Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries – have formed the Common Market.

Next map, Europe 2005

 

What is happening in Europe in 2005AD

The decades since 1960 have seen the collapse of communism in Europe (from 1989), the expansion of the Common Market – now called the European Union – and with it, the spread of democratic government to cover most European countries. Germany has been reunited, whilst the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia have fragmented amongst multiple nationalities. In the latter’s case, this process was accompanied by violent ethnic cleansing and a short, sharp war involving NATO (1999).

 

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