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.
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The first civilizations in world history, those of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, are emergingclick to view Middle East 3500BC
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.
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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.
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The first literate civilizations in European history flourish - the Minoan on Crete and the Mycenaean in Greececlick to view Greece and the Balkans 1500BC
The Hittite empire in Asia Minor is one of the leading powers of the ageclick to view Turkey 1500BC
The powerful Bronze Age empires of Egypt, the Mitanni, the Hittites and Babylonia dominate the Middle Eastclick to view Middle East 1500BC
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.
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The Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations have vanished, and Greece is now home to illiterate tribal societiesclick to view Greece and the Balkans 1000BC
The Hittite empire has suffered catastrophe at the hands of barbarian invadersclick to view Turkey 1000BC
Invasions have devastated the old centres of civilization, but important new developments, such as the use of iron, the appearance of the alphabet and the rise of Israel, with its monotheistic religion, have taken placeclick to view Middle East 1000BC
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.
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The area of modern France is inhabited by warlike Celtic tribesclick to view France 500BC
Phoenician and Greek colonies cling to the Spanish coastclick to view Spain and Portugal 500BC
The peoples of Italy, including the Romans, have come under the influence of Greek and Etruscan civilizationclick to view Italy 500BC
A great civilization has emerged in Greece, based on hundreds of small city-statesclick to view Greece and the Balkans 500BC
The great trading city of Carthage is located in North Africaclick to view North Africa 500BC
For centuries a leading centre of civilization, Asia Minor is now part of the Persian empireclick to view Turkey 500BC
A succession of great empires - the Assyrian, the Babylonian, and now the Persian - have dominated the Middle East for the past few centuriesclick to view Middle East 500BC
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.
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The Greek city-states are buffeted by the great powers of the regionclick to view Greece and the Balkans 200BC
The cities and tribes of central and southern Italy have come under the firm leadership of Romeclick to view Italy 200BC
The area of modern France is now dominated by the Celtic La Tene cultureclick to view France 200BC
Carthaginian and Roman armies have contested much of Spainclick to view Spain and Portugal 200BC
The city of Carthage has had its power weakened by Romeclick to view North Africa 200BC
The city of Rome has extended her power throughout the Mediterraneanclick to view The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire 200BC
click to view The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire 200BC
The city of Rome has, through tough fighting and wise diplomacy, become the leading power in the western Mediterraneanclick to view The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire 200BC
In the wake of Alexander the Great's conquests, Asia Minor is now divided between several Hellenistic kingdomsclick to view Turkey 200BC
The conquests of Alexander the Great have reshaped the map of the Middle East, and Greek-speaking kingdoms, founded by Alexander's generals, now cover the regionclick to view Middle East 200BC
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 war and conquests, 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 soon (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.
The Greek city-states and kingdoms have fallen under the power of Romeclick to view Greece and the Balkans 30BC
The free inhabitants of Italy all now enjoy full Roman citizenship, and provide Rome with the bulk of its soldiers and officialsclick to view Italy 30BC
The whole of the area of modern France has been conquered by the Romansclick to view France 30BC
Roman armies have slowly conquered most of Spainclick to view Spain and Portugal 30BC
The peoples of the British Isles have made their first appearance in written history with Julius Caesars' invasions of 55 and 54 BCclick to view Britain 30BC
Major population movements are occuring in this region
North Africa has now largely fallen under the power of Romeclick to view North Africa 30BC
With Octavian's victory over Antony and Cleopatra at the battle of Actium, the Roman Empire knows peace at lastclick to view The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire 30BC
The city of Rome has, through tough fighting and wise diplomacy, become the leading power in the western Mediterraneanclick to view The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire 30BC
Asia Minor has fallen under the power of Rome.click to view Turkey 30BC
The Middle East is now divided between the Roman and Parthian empiresclick to view Middle East 30BC
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.
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The Greek cities are in decline, though their glorious past is still reveredclick to view Greece and the Balkans 200AD
Italy holds a privileged position within the Roman empireclick to view Italy 200AD
Roman civilization has become deeply entrenched throughout the area of modern Franceclick to view France 200AD
Spain and Portugal have become thoroughly Romanized after centuries of Roman ruleclick to view Spain and Portugal 200AD
A Roman province now covers the southern half of the British Islesclick to view Britain 200AD
Central Europe is dominated by German and Sarmatian tribesclick to view Central Europe 200AD
North Africa is one of the most prosperous and Romanized parts of the Roman empireclick to view North Africa 200AD
The Roman empire has given two centuries of peace to the Mediterranean worldclick to view The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire 200AD
The city of Rome has, through tough fighting and wise diplomacy, become the leading power in the western Mediterraneanclick to view The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire 200AD
The Roman Empire is divided into a Western and an Eastern halfclick to view The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire 200AD
The cities of Asia Minor have prospered under the peace which Roman rule has broughtclick to view Turkey 200AD
One small part of the region, Judaea, has given birth to the new religion of Christianity, but has also seen the dispersal of the Jewish people from their homelandclick to view Middle East 200AD
The past three centuries have seen the Roman empire experience a long decline. During this, the empire experiences major transformations, none more momentous than the adoption of Christianity as it official religion.
Since the start of the 5th century the empire's western provinces have been overrun by German tribes, who have established a number of kingdoms here: the Visigoths, Burgundians, Suebi and Franks divide Gaul and the Iberian Peninsula between them, North Africa has been occupied by the Vandals, and southern Britain is being settled by north German peoples, the Angles and Saxons. Even Italy, the heartand of the old Roman empire, is now under barbarian rule. In these regions the literate, urban civilization of the Classical world has taken a major hit, and society is experiencing huge changes. The city-based way of life enjoyed by the Romans is severely diminished, long-distance trade has been gravely disrupted, and society has become simpler, more rural, and more local in its horizons. The major continuity from Roman times is that Christianity is the dominant religion in all these kingdoms.
The Roman empire itself has become restricted to its eastern provinces, centred on its capital, Constantinople. In this empire urban civilization remains very much alive, and the economy is enjoying something of a revival. Here too Christianity is the official religion, with the pagan culture of the Graeco-Roman world in steep decline.
In Italy, Roman admininstration and society remains largely intact under the rule of the Ostrogothsclick to view Italy 500AD
Gaul is now divided amongst German-ruled kingdoms, but much of the old Roman civilization enduresclick to view France 500AD
Spain and Portugal have experienced much destruction, but the old Roman civilization endures under Visigothic ruleclick to view Spain and Portugal 500AD
The Roman province is no more, as is the Roman civilization which it nourishedclick to view Britain 500AD
The rise and fall of the Huns has had a huge impact on this regionclick to view Central Europe 500AD
click to view North Africa 500AD
The Roman empire has lost its western provinces to barbarian invaders, but the eastern half remains intactclick to view The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire 500AD
The Balkans have been lost to Byzantine rule, and Slavs and Bulgars have settled the region.click to view Greece and the Balkans 500AD
The city of Rome itself was sacked in 410, sending a shockwave around the empireclick to view The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire 500AD
The cities of Asia Minor remain prosperous centres of classical civilizationclick to view Turkey 500AD
The Middle East is divided between the Eastern Roman empire and the Persian empireclick to view Middle East 500AD
The past two and a half centuries have seen the continued decline of literacy and urban life in western Europe, with the further dislocation of long-distance trade. Society is based firmly on self-sufficient country estates supporting an illiterate warrior aristocracy. The shrunken towns are dominated by bishops and their clergy (the only literate group in society).
The Franks, one of the original German invaders of Roman territory, have conquered other Germanic kingdoms and tribes 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 (based in Rome).
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: both Anglo-Saxons and Celts have converted to Christianity. Most of Spain has been conquered by the vast Muslim Caliphate.
The Roman empire (or Byzantine empire, as we should now call it) has also been battered by Muslim armies, who have taken its wealthiest provinces, Egypt and Syria, from it. Other enemies, pagan Slav tribes from central Europe, have occupied most of the Balkans. In both the Balkans and Asia Minor urban life has been badly affected, with many famous cities reduced to mere villages. In the core of the Byzantine empire itself, the capital, Constantinople, and a handful of other cities remain sizeable urban settlements. They house a civilization that is sophisticated and vigorous, but no longer recognizable as Classical in the Graeco-Roman tradition: Christian from top to toe, it is far removed from the old pagan culture of Greece and Rome.
The Balkans have been lost to Byzantine rule, and Slavs and Bulgars have settled the region.click to view Greece and the Balkans 750AD
A collection of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms now covers most of present-day England, and the rest of the British Isles is home to numerous Celtic tribes and kingdomsclick to view Britain 750AD
click to view North Africa 750AD
The Kingdom of the Franks now covers all of the old Roman region of Gaul.click to view France 750AD
Muslim forces from North Africa have conquered most of present-day Spain and Portugal.click to view Spain and Portugal 750AD
In Italy, long wars have caused massive destruction, and the peninsula is now divided between the Lombards and Byzantinesclick to view Italy 750AD
Scandinavian society was experiencing change as regional kingdoms were beginning to replace the local chiefdoms.click to view Scandinavia 750AD
Another steppe people, the Avars, have dominated this region, and the Slavs have spread into lands previously inhabited by German tribes.click to view Central Europe 750AD
The Khazars dominate the Ukrainian steppesclick to view Russia 750AD
Much of Asia Minor has been devastated by continuous warfareclick to view Turkey 750AD
The Middle East has been conquered by Arab armies in the name of a major new religion, Islam; these have created a vast empire called the "Caliphate"click to view Middle East 750AD
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 the West Franks (France) and the Holy Roman Empire have emerged as successor states. Endemic civil war and destructive raids by Vikings from Scandinavia, Magyars from central Europe and Arabs from the south, however, have brought about the sacking of many towns in western Europe and the plundering of their churches and monasteries. In the widespread disorder a new, "feudal", society is taking shape in which the weakened kings devolve much of their authority to local magnates in return for their allegiance.
The Byzantine empire, meanwhile, has begun to take back territory from the enemies that surround, though now it is bounded to its north by a powerful Bulgarian state. Byzantine missionary activity is creating a wide cultural area of "Orthodox" Christianity in central and eastern Europe (where the Rus state will shortly convert to Christianity), which looks to the Byzantine capital, Constantinople, for spiritual and cultural leadership.
To the west, the Christian kingdoms of northern Spain have been able to chip away at Muslim power.
click to view North Africa 979AD
Viking attacks have affected all the peoples of the British Isles, but in England they have been overcome by the Anglo-Saxons under the kings of Wessexclick to view Britain 979AD
Central Europe has experienced great upheavals with the coming of the Magyarsclick to view East Central Europe 979AD
Internal disorder and Viking raids have brought chaos to the land of the west Franks, as royal authority declines and the power of local lords risesclick to view France 979AD
The Byzantines and the Bulgarians now compete for control of the Balkansclick to view Greece and the Balkans 979AD
Italy has become fragmented amongst several different statesclick to view Italy 979AD
Scandinavian raiders and traders voyage far and wide in the great age of the Vikingsclick to view Scandinavia 979AD
The huge new state of Rus has been formed by the descendants of Viking tradersclick to view Russia 979AD
Muslim Spain is the most prosperous region of Western Europeclick to view Spain and Portugal 979AD
The German tribes have come under the rule of the newly-founded Holy Roman Empireclick to view Germany 979AD
The Low Countries are divided amongst a number of semi-independent countiesclick to view The Low Countries 979AD
Asia Minor is the main recruiting ground for the army of the Byzantine empireclick to view Turkey 979AD
The Islamic Caliphate has begun to break up, but the religion of Islam continues to expand, both in the Middle East and beyondclick to view Middle East 979AD
The previous centuries have seen the rise of the "feudal" system in western Europe, in which a hierarchy of monarchs, nobles and knights form a military aristocracy which, based on its castles and fortified manor houses, has brought a measure of order to society. This has enabled populations to grow, trade to expand, and new land to be brought under the plough. New towns and villages dot the landscape.
In the same period the Catholic Church has gained more power under the leadership of the popes in Rome. Few kingdoms in western Europe have escaped its impact. In some places (for example, France) the Church's influence has strengthened royal authority; in others (Germany and Italy) it has gravely weakened it, leading to the rise of powerful magnates and self-governing cities. In yet others (England) the clash between royal and church power has been dramatic but indecisive. The Church's wealth leaves its mark in the many great cathedrals, churches and monasteries that are now present in the towns and cities of the region.
The combination of an aggressive military aristocracy and an assertive Church has led to the launching of several great military expeditions called "Crusades" against the Muslim states in the Middle East. These initially carved out several Christian states in Syria and Palestine, but these have now been reduced to a narrow strip of territory along the east Mediterranean coast. One of their main results has been to weaken the Byzantine empire, and indeed this empire has temporarily been occupied by Crusader forces from the west.
There have been other outcomes of the crusades, however. The maritime trade of the eastern Mediterranean has passed largely from Muslim to Christian hands, with the Italian city-states of Venice, Genoa and Pisa to the fore. Even more important, close contacts between the European and Islamic worlds have resulted in Muslim knowledge - and with it much Greek and Roman learning long since lost in the west - passing to Europe.
The unity of the Holy Roman Empire has been undermined by civil warsclick to view Germany 1215AD
click to view North Africa 1215AD
The British isles at the time of Magna Carta, when a line of French-speaking kings and their followers have established themselves as a ruling class in England, and are encroaching into Wales, Ireland and Scotland.click to view Britain 1215AD
Several able kings have gradually expanded royal authority within France, at the expense of the regional lordsclick to view France 1215AD
The Scandinavians have become Christians and are colonizing the Baltic coasts.click to view Scandinavia 1215AD
Powerful nations are emerging in Central Europeclick to view East Central Europe 1215AD
The rivalry between the Byzantine empire and the Bulgars has continued, only ending with the sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade 1204.click to view Greece and the Balkans 1215AD
In Italy, the northern cities, above all Venice, are growing in wealth and power, while in the south Norman adventurers have created one of the most amazing kingdoms of the Middle Agesclick to view Italy 1215AD
The Russian state fragments into separate principalities.click to view Russia 1215AD
The Christian kingdoms advance as Muslim Spain fragments into many small emiratesclick to view Spain and Portugal 1215AD
The beginnings of a centuries-long land reclamation effort is going on in the Low Countriesclick to view The Low Countries 1215AD
The Turkish sultanate of Rum now rules in Asia Minorclick to view Turkey 1215AD
The Islamic states of the Middle East are successfully fighting off the attacks of the European crusadersclick to view Middle East 1215AD
The previous two centuries have been a difficult time for Europe. The Mongol conquest of Russia in the mid-13th century, plus a very destrcutive raid into central Europe; the continuous warfare involving England, France and the Low Countries; continued political fragmentation in Germany and Italy as magnates became princes and self-governing cities became fully-fledged republics; the terrible Black Death; widespread religious unrest, especially in central Europe; and in this year, 1453, the fall of the historic city of Constantinople to the Muslim Turks whose power is now reaching far up into the Balkans, and the effective end to the Byzantine empire, have all sapped Europeans' 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 great revival of learning known as the Italian Renaissance (which is largely based on knowledge which came from the Islamic world in the 12th and 13th centuries) is now under way; and the first European printing presses (probably based on innovations originating in China) will soon be spreading new information and ideas across the continent.
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The Holy Roman Empire has now become a collection of hundreds of virtually independent statesclick to view Germany 1453AD
click to view North Africa 1453AD
The Christian kingdoms advance as Muslim Spain fragments into many small emiratesclick to view Spain and Portugal 1453AD
The kingdoms of Denmark, Norway and Sweden are all ruled by one monarch
click to view Scandinavia 1453AD
The Russian states have come under the control of the Golden Hordeclick to view Russia 1453AD
The kingdom of France has emerged victorious from the 100 Years Warclick to view France 1453AD
click to view Britain 1453AD
The union of Poles and Lithuanians under one crown creates a huge dual kingdomclick to view East Central Europe 1453AD
The Balkans are falling under the rule of the Ottoman Turksclick to view Greece and the Balkans 1453AD
In Italy, the Italian Renaissance is in full swingclick to view Italy 1453AD
The dukes of Burgundy now rule the Low Countriesclick to view The Low Countries 1453AD
The Ottoman empire captures the great city of Constantinopleclick to view Turkey 1453AD
The Middle East has been ruled by a succession of conquerors from central Asia, most famously the Mongolsclick to view Middle East 1453AD
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.
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click to view North Africa 1648AD
Spain is a united country with a vast overseas empireclick to view Spain and Portugal 1648AD
The kingdom of France is now ruled by a highly centralized monarchyclick to view France 1648AD
Incessant conflict between the Italian states has led to the Peninsula coming under Spanish dominationclick to view Italy 1648AD
The Balkans are now ruled by the Ottoman empireclick to view Greece and the Balkans 1648AD
Much of Central Europe is threatened by the Ottoman Turksclick to view East Central Europe 1648AD
The Russians have freed themselves from the Golden Horde and have expanded far into Siberiaclick to view Russia 1648AD
Sweden has become a leading European power
click to view Scandinavia 1648AD
click to view Britain 1648AD
Germany has experienced the terrible 30 Years Warclick to view Germany 1648AD
The prosperous new nation of the Netherlands has appeared on the map of Europeclick to view The Low Countries 1648AD
Asia Minor is the centre of the Ottoman empire, one of the great empires of world historyclick to view Turkey 1648AD
The Ottoman empire now dominates most of the Middle eastclick to view Middle East 1648AD
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.
click to view North Africa 1789AD
The British empire has started to expand around the worldclick to view Britain 1789AD
Much of Central Europe is now divided between Austria and Prussiaclick to view East Central Europe 1789AD
France is on the verge of Revolution!click to view France 1789AD
The Balkans remain under the rule of the Ottoman Turksclick to view Greece and the Balkans 1789AD
Italy has become a magnet for European aristocrats visiting it on the "Grand Tour"click to view Italy 1789AD
Rulers such as Peter the Great and Catherine the Great have been modernizing Russiaclick to view Russia 1789AD
Sweden has experienced decline as a European power
click to view Scandinavia 1789AD
Spain has become virtually a satellite of France.click to view Spain and Portugal 1789AD
Prussia has emerged to challenge Austria as the leading state in Germanyclick to view Germany 1789AD
The Netherlands have become a centre of world-wide commerceclick to view The Low Countries 1789AD
The Ottoman government has been weakened, both internally and externallyclick to view Turkey 1789AD
The Middle East experiences political weakness in both the Ottoman empire and Iranclick to view Middle East 1789AD
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.
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.
click to view North Africa 1837AD
The British empire has expanded as a result of the Napoleaonic Warsclick to view Britain 1837AD
The French Revolution has changed France for goodclick to view France 1837AD
In the Balkans, national agitation against Ottoman rule is growingclick to view Greece and the Balkans 1837AD
The movement for Italian independence and unity is growingclick to view Italy 1837AD
Russia emerged from the Napoleonic Wars as one of the great powers of Europeclick to view Russia 1837AD
Norway is now under the control of Sweden
click to view Scandinavia 1837AD
Both Spain and Portugal have lost their overseas empires in South Americaclick to view Spain and Portugal 1837AD
The Holy Roman Empire is no moreclick to view Germany 1837AD
The small country of Belgium has appeared on the map of Europeclick to view The Low Countries 1837AD
All of Central Europe is now divided between Russia, Austria and Prussiaclick to view East Central Europe 1837AD
The Ottoman government has embarked on a remarkable programme of modernizationclick to view Turkey 1837AD
Some Middle Eastern governments are taking steps to modernize their countriesclick to view Middle East 1837AD
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.
click to view North Africa 1871AD
The British empire has expanded vastly under Queen Victoriaclick to view Britain 1871AD
Central Europe is divided between the Russian, Austro-Hungarian and German empiresclick to view East Central Europe 1871AD
France has been defeated in a war with Prussiaclick to view France 1871AD
Greece has won its independence from the Ottoman empireclick to view Greece and the Balkans 1871AD
After many difficulties Italy has become a united countryclick to view Italy 1871AD
Revolutionary ideas are spreading fast in Russiaclick to view Russia 1871AD
Denmark has experienced traumatic defeat at the hands of Prussia
click to view Scandinavia 1871AD
Both Spain and Potugal have experienced political instabilityclick to view Spain and Portugal 1871AD
Prussia has united the other German states within the new German Empireclick to view Germany 1871AD
Both Holland and Belgium are constitutional monarchiesclick to view The Low Countries 1871AD
The Ottoman empire is continuing to modernize itselfclick to view Turkey 1871AD
The Ottoman empire has tightened its grip on much of the Middle Eastclick to view Middle East 1871AD
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.
click to view North Africa 1914AD
The British empire is at the height of its power, but it is just about the enter the terrible World War 1click to view Britain 1914AD
Central Europe remains divided between the Russian, Austro-Hungarian and German empiresclick to view East Central Europe 1914AD
France has a huge overseas empireclick to view France 1914AD
The German Empire is the most powerful state within Europeclick to view Germany 1914AD
The Ottoman empire has been driven from most of Europeclick to view Greece and the Balkans 1914AD
Despite weak government, Italy has an expanding industrial economyclick to view Italy 1914AD
Defeat at the hands of tiny Japan have highlighted the need for change in Russiaclick to view Russia 1914AD
Norway is now an independent nation
click to view Scandinavia 1914AD
Portugal is now a republicclick to view Spain and Portugal 1914AD
Belgium and Holland maintain their neutrality in the power-politics of Europeclick to view The Low Countries 1914AD
The Ottoman sultans have maintained the modernizing policies of their predecessorsclick to view Turkey 1914AD
The British and French are increasingly active in the Middle Eastclick to view Middle East 1914AD
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.
click to view North Africa 1960AD
Britain has by now lost most of its empireclick to view Britain 1960AD
Eastern-central Europe is divided amongst several countries, most now under Soviet controlclick to view East Central Europe 1960AD
France has experienced the full brunt of two world warsclick to view France 1960AD
After defeat in two world wars Germany is now divided into a communist East and a democratic Westclick to view Germany 1960AD
Most of the Balkans is under communist ruleclick to view Greece and the Balkans 1960AD
After the defeat of Mussolini in World War 2, Italy has become a leading member of the European Communityclick to view Italy 1960AD
Russia is now under the control of the communist partyclick to view Russia 1960AD
Finland has had to fight hard against Russia for its independence
click to view Scandinavia 1960AD
Spain and Portugal are ruled by dictatorshipsclick to view Spain and Portugal 1960AD
Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg have all experienced invasion and occupation by Germany during World War 2click to view The Low Countries 1960AD
The Republic of Turkey was founded by Kemal Ataturkclick to view Turkey 1960AD
The Cold War has had a major impact on the Middle Eastclick to view Middle East 1960AD
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).
click to view North Africa 2005AD
click to view Britain 2005AD
All countries of East-central Europe are members of the EUclick to view East Central Europe 2005AD
France is a leading member of the EUclick to view France 2005AD
Germany has become a united country again, its economy the most powerful in Europeclick to view Germany 2005AD
The Balkans have experienced bitter fighting between different ethnic groupsclick to view Greece and the Balkans 2005AD
Despite a series of weak governments Italy has had a thriving economyclick to view Italy 2005AD
The Societ Union has now been replaced by a group of newly-independent countriesclick to view Russia 2005AD
The Scandinavian countries are amongst the most prosperous nations in the world
click to view Scandinavia 2005AD
Spain and Portugal have become democracies and members of the EUclick to view Spain and Portugal 2005AD
Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg are amongst the most prosperous countries in the worldclick to view The Low Countries 2005AD
Turkey is a stable and prosperous democratic republicclick to view Turkey 2005AD
Arab-Israeli hostility has dominated Middle Eastern politicsclick to view Middle East 2005AD
Hover MAP for summary and tap to zoom. MAP < and > buttons change date. TIMELINE icons jump to date. See below for historical summary.