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Before Common Era

Era Inventions Otherwise
3,000,000 First precursor to humans appears (according to fossil remains); upright-walking, with opposable thumbs: "Australopithecine" ape-man
1,000,000 Patterned tools first used by anthropoids
400,000 -
Man begins to use fire
50,000 Neanderthal man appears in Western Europe
40,000 First tent site (discovered in Molodova, Russia) developed
38,000 Homo sapiens develops from Neanderthal man, using fishhooks and tools made from bone
25,000 European fishermen develop baited toggles, which wedge at an angle
7700 Humans settle in the "Fertile Crescent," the area between and near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers
7500 Earliest canoe paddle dated (Yorkshire, UK)
6500 The wheel is invented in the Tigris-Euphrates Basin by Sumerians
6300 Earliest dug-out canoe dated
6000 Earliest known bricks appear in the Iranian Plateau
4500 An early inventor in the Sumerian city of Ur develops the first stringed harp
4400 First loom, Egypt.
  • First man-made bridge built
  • First cosmetics, Egypt
  • First drums used, in Upper Nile & Bohemia
3800 Oldest known map appears in Mesopotamia
3600 Southwestern Asians begin using bronze, which unlike smelted copper, can hold an edge
3500 Sumerian civilization has many technological innovations:
  • animal-drawn wheel vehicles
  • bronze is used for objects as well as tools
  • cuneiform alphabet of idegram pictures is created
  • animals are used for other agricultural purposes
The dawn of Sumerian civilization in the Fertile Crescent
3400 First dynasty in Egypt, the Thinite, after the union of north and south kingdoms in Egypt
3200 Egyptians invent the first black ink
  • Sumerians, boiling alkalis together, create soap
  • Glass originates in Western Asia
  • Earliest button dated (discovered in Indus Valley)
  • Egyptians and Mesopotamians begin using reed boats
  • "Gilgamesh" is written in cuneiform
  • The Sahara desert is changing from a green, fertile area to an arid desert from over- use and abuse
2980 Imhotep, counselor to Zoser (a leader of the third Egyptian dynasty) erects a pyramid at Sakkara
2900 Great Pyramid of Cheops built at Giza, Egypt
2850 Great Sphinx at Giza carved
2800 Sickle invented by the Sumerians for harvesting grain Chinese emperor Fu Hsi originates "yin-yang" theory
2500 The iron age begins in the Middle East, where artisans use new metal at high temperatures Sumerians develop cuneiform script alphabet
2500 -
The dome is first used in architecture, in Crete's Mesara Plain
2350 Akkadian empire dominates Mesopotamia
2205 Xia dynasty comes to power in China
2000 The Minoans of Crete develop the first flush toilet
1950 Hammurabi's code of laws created after he becomes king of Mesopotamia, laws such as "eye for an eye"
1900 -
Stonehenge is erected in the UK somewhere around this period by Britons still in the Stone Age
1800 Earliest corset invented (as dated by a Cretian statue)
1700 Babylonians create the first windmills, which pump water for irrigation Judaism founded by Abraham
1600 Minoan civilization begins on isle of Crete
  • * Chinese begin weaving with silk
  • * Sandals first worn in Egypt
1470 A volcanic eruption on Thera deposits ashes on Crete that destroy Minoan civilization
1450 Egyptians are the first to use the sundial
1417 Amenhotep III is last great ruler of Egyptian New Kingdom
1400 Egyptians begin using brush tools
1380 First canal built merging the Nile and the Red Sea
1374 Monotheism recognized in Egypt
1349 King Tut is buried at Thebes
1300 The Sumerian alphabet script is further refined
1193 Troy falls to the Greeks in the Trojan War
1005 David of Hebron becomes King of Judea, after defeating the Philistines
1000 The umbrella and kite are both invented in China
961 * King Solomon succeeds David as King of Judea * Great Temple of Jerusalem built
926 Palestine invaded by Pharoah Sheshonk
900 Italian towns established by Etruscans
850 Iliad and Odyssey said to have been written
814 Carthage founded in North Africa
776 Olympics first recorded
721 Ten tribes of Israel lost after Sargon II invades
  • * Earliest known musical notation appears in India
  • * Gunpowder first used in Chinese rockets
  • * Etruscans are the first to use false teeth
658 City of Byzantium founded
609 Over 120,000 will die trying to build a new canal from the Nile to the Red Sea for Pharoah Necho
597 Height of Babylonian society; the hanging gardens are one of 7 wonders in the world
592 Anarcharis of Scythia invents the first ship anchor
586 Jerusalem's Great Temple is destroyed
565 Taoism is founded by Lao Zi, China
528 Buddhism is founded by Siddhartha, former prince
509 Rome becomes a republic
500 First highways built by Persians
495 Confucius, former prime minister of China, begins spreading his tenets
pre-440 Archery is used in ancient Crete Celts dominate UK
The Acropolis built to even greater glory, Greece
432 Peloponnesian wars begin in Greece
400 Ice cream is invented by Persians Settlement begins in modern-day London
399 Socrates drinks hemlock as punishment for his subversive views
347 Plato's Republic written
334 Alexander the Great invades Asia in the first of many victories
300 -
Pharos of Alexandria, in ancient Greece, is one of the first permanent light- houses built
246 Qin dynasty takes hold in China, uniting many states. The Great Wall is built around this time.
210 The emperor Shihuang dies and is buried in his tomb with 8,000 life-size terra cotta soldiers
204 -
Carthage is besieged and surrenders to Romans
184 First precursor of modern day books
165 Ctesibius of Alexandria builds a "hydraulus," a hydraulic organ. Maccabees retake the Great Temple from the Syrians; this event will later be celebrated as Hannukah
150 The astrolabe is invented by Hipparchus, and used by Ptomely in ancient Greece
149 -
Carthage is invaded and laid siege to. In 146 it falls after a long blockade; the temple of Aesculapius is torched; 50,000 sold into slavery. Corinth is sacked in 146.
  • * Astronomical calculator (Antikythera device), Greece
  • * Paper first used in China
73 Spartacus leads slaves in revolt
71 Spartacus is defeated by Crassus
63 Invention of shorthand by Marcus Tullius Tiro, Roman Empire
60 New triumvirate of Crassus, Gaius Pompey, & Julius Caser rules Rome
45 Julian calendar intro'd
44 Caesar declared dictator for life. March 15 he is assasinated.
41 Marc Antony and Cleopatra meet.
30 Antony suicides, Cleopatra dies later
27 Roman Empire founded by Octavian (now Augustus) Caesar
7 Christ is born

Common Era

33 Death of Jesus of Nazareth
51 Precursor to bagpipes invented in Greece, the "aulos"
64 Persecution of Christians in Rome
  • * Mt. Vesuvius erupts, burying Hercaulenum and Pompeii
  • * The Colosseum is dedicated in Rome
100 First pontoon bridge developed (when Caesar crosses the Rhine river)
118 Forum built in Rome
130 Temple of Olympian Zeus is built
190 Abacus (precursor of the calculator), China
309 Plague decimates the Roman Empire
313 Constantine and Licinius accept Christ
330 Constantinople is dedicated
360 Huns invade Europe
395 Roman Empire is joined East and West
429 North Africa is invaded by the Vandals
433 Atilla becomes leader of the Huns (until 453)
455 Rome is sacked by the Vandals Chichen Itza founded by Mayans
  • * Egyptians develop the first leather book bindings
  • * Assyrians & Babylonians begin using the arch in their architecture
  • * Chess is invented in India
513 Mt. Vesuvius covers Pompeii with volcanic ash-again
541 Bubonic plague spreads from Egypt throughout the Roman-Byzantine world
610 Mohammed begins secretly to preach at Mecca
613 Mohammed begins to teach openly; his followers are persecuted.
629 Mohammed returns to Mecca with the Koran. Sharia legal system becomes recognized.
669 Theodore of Tarsus, the Archbishop of Cantebury, introduces a new strict parochical system as a model for the secular state.
700 Block printing is developed in Japan Beowulf is written around this time. Tea drinking takes hold in China
711 Moors invade the Iberian Peninsula
771 Charlemagne becomes king of all Franks
795 Danes invade Ireland
818 Charlemagne dies
850 Coffee's stimulant properties is discovered in Abyssinia and soon is developed into a drink
900 -
The "oliphant," an ivory horn that is precursor to the trumpet, is developed in Byzantium, Greece Greenland is discovered by the Vikings
982 Erik the Red establishes the first colony in Greenland
983 Chiao Wei-Yo develops the first canal lock, which uses 2 flashlocks to create an equalizing chamber to hold boats in dock. This technology is not developed in the West until 1396.
988 -
Vikings and Danes attack Britain
1000 Scandinavia converts to Christianity
1054 Final separation between the East and West Roman Churches
1066 William of Normandy defeats Harold II at the Battle of Hastings, becoming the first king of England
1095 The Crusades begin
1100 The "shawm," the precursor to the oboe, is invented in Sicily
1162 Thomas a Becket is named Archibishop of Cantebury and murdered by Henry II
1211 -
Genghis Khan invades China & then Persia & Russia
1215 Signing of the Magna Carta by King John of England
1231 Gunpowder's composition is first published by Roger Bacon in his Secrets of Art and Nature
1271 Marco Polo journeys to China
1335 First public clock built in Milan. (There are controversies as to when the first clock was built.) Beginning of the Renaissance in Italy
1337 -
The Hundred Years' War between France and England
1347 -
Black Death, bubonic plague, returns to Europe, killing millions
1368 Ming Dynasty begins in China
1387 Chaucer publishes the Cantebury Tales
1400 Movable type is developed in Korea
1415 Climatic battle of Henry V at Agincourt.
1418 Prince Henry the Navigator begins exploring Africa
1428 Joan of Arc begins her crusade against the British
1431 Joan of Arc is burned at the stake
1446 Earliest dated engraving (an engraving onto metal for paper imprint) is Christ Crowned With Thorns
  • The War of the Roses begins in England
  • First Gutenberg Bible
1475 First muzzle-loaded rifles developed in Italy and Germany
1485 da Vinci designs the first parachute, Italy
1492 -
Columbus discovers Carribean islands and later sails to Dominica, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Orinoco, Honduras, and Panama
1495 The first bomb is invented, or in 1522.
1497 Vasco da Gama sails around Africa, discovering a sea route to India
1500 Wooden tramways, the precursor to railroads, are built in Transylvania
1503 Leonardo da Vinci paints the Mona Lisa
  • * Henry VIII becomes King of England
  • * Michaelangelo paints the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
1513 First known etching made by Urs Graf
1514 First instance of stone bullets
1517 Martin Luther posts his 95 theses in Wittenberg
1535 Reformation begins when Henry VIII makes himself head of the Anglican Church so he can get a divorce
1536 Henry VIII executes his second wife, Anne Boleyn
1543 Nicolaus Copernicus' "On The Revolution of Heavenly Bodies," explaining theory of earth revolving around the sun
1547 Ivan IV becomes Czar of Russia
1550 Ambrose Pare, a Frenchman, begins building false limbs
1553 Roman Catholicism is reestablished as the English state religion by Queen Mary
1558 Queen Elizabeth becomes monarch of England, reestablishes Anglicanism
1561 Massacre of French Protestants (Huguenots) at Vassy.
1568 Concrete, which had been used in ancient times, is resuscitated by Philibert de l'Orme, who publicizes its composition
1570 Japanese allow ships to enter their harbour
1587 Mary Queen of Scots executed by Queen Elizabeth
1588 Defeat of Spanish Armada by British fleet
1590 Compound microscope is invented by Zacharias Janssen, the Netherlands
1593 Galileo Galilei develops the first thermometer, Italy
1600 English traders establish the East India Co.
1605 Hans Lippershey of the Netherlands develops the telescope
1607 Jamestown, Virginia established as first American colony
1609 Galileo Galilei creates the astronomical telescope, Italy
1614 John Napier discovers logarithms
1618 -
Thirty Years War pits Protestants against Catholics
1620 Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts
1621 First blast furnace, a coal-fired iron smelting furnace, is built by Dud Dudley, UK
1633 Inquisition forces Galileo to recant his belief in Copernician theory
1641 The first bayonet is created in Bayonne, France
1642 Digital calculator, Blaise Pascal, France English Civil War begins when Cromwell and the Roundheads take over; King Charles I is beheaded in 1649; Cromwell is thrown out and beheaded in 1658
1643 Evangelista Torricelli invents the barometer in Italy
1644 Ming Dynasty ends in China and Manchus come to power
1650 First air pump is developed by Otto von Guericke
1653 Britisher Peter Borel develops the first formula of invisible ink
1656 Pendulum clock, Christian Huygens, Netherlands
1660 Parliament restores the British monarchy
Louis XIV becomes absolute monarch of France; begins work on palace at Versailles.
1665 Great Plague of London kills thousands
1666 Great Fire of London
1676 Robert Hooke builds the first universal joint
1677 A gentleman named Lully improves on the transverse flute
1687 -
"Glorious Revolution" after James II takes the British throne; William of Orange invited to take over and does. James flees for France; William III and Mary take throne.
1689 Peter the Great becomes Czar of Russia, attempting to westernize Russia
1690 Precursor of the bicycle, the "celerifere", invented by de Sivrac, France Battle of the Boyne finds King James defeated by William II in (modern-day) Northern Ireland
  • * Steam boilers begin to be developed
  • * J.C. Denner develops the first clarinet in Germany
  • * First idea published of hot air balloon, Jesuit priest Francesco de Lama
  • * Precursor to the piano, the Hammerklavier, invented by Bartolommeo Cristofori, Italy
1718 Machine gun invented by James Puckle, UK
1755 Samuel Johnson's first "Dictionary" published, UK.
  • * French and Indian War lasts in States until 1761; Britain vanquishes the French, who must give up their territories in North America
  • * British POWs die in infamous Black Hole of Calcutta incident
1762 Catherine the Great ascends the Russian throne
1760 Benjamin Franklin invents the bifocal lens.
1765 Steam engine invented by James Watt
1769 M. Garsault develops the first paper patterns of clothing
1770 Boston Massacre turns public opinion in 13 Colonies against the British
1771 First system of factory farming, developed by farmer named Moody in Nottinghamshire, UK
1773 Boston Tea Party is staged protest against unfair taxes on tea and other imports
  • * Declaration of Independence signed, Philadelphia
  • * Captain Cook "discovers" islands of Hawaii
1781 General Cornwallis surrenders the British troops at Yorktown, Virginia
1785 First design for airship by JBM Meusnier
1788 Parlement in France gives Louis XVI their grievances
  • * George Washington becomes President
  • * Storming of the Bastille in France
1790 First dental drill is built by John Greenwood The mutiny of the HMS Bounty
1791 A Benedictine monk named Luzuel makes the first organ without bellows Bill of Rights ratified in the U.S.
  • * Hot air balloon, Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier, France (see also 1709)
  • * Louis S. Lenormand uses the first working parachute, France (see also 1485)
1794 Radial ball-bearings are first made by Phillip Vaughn in Wales
1795 N.J. Conte introduces graphite pencils Reign of Terror in France; Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette executed
1796 Edward Jenner, an Englishman, develops first system of innoculation/vaccination Napoleon Bonaparte defeats Austria in the first of a string of military victories in Europe
1798 First lithograph is made by Aloys Senefelder
1799 -
Napoleon Bonaparte becomes First Consul of France
1800 First suspension bridge, James Finley, USA
  • * First electric arc lamp, Sir Humprehey Davy, UK
  • * Anton Weidinger develops the first keyed trumpet
1803 US negotiates Louisiana Purchase from French
1804 Richard Trevithick works on the first steam-powered locomotive, UK
1805 Lord Nelson defeats French and Spanish forces at the Battle of Trafalgar
1816 Frenchman Joseph Nicephore Niepce begins his work on the first paper negative and the first photograph, until 1827
1819 Rene Laennec develops the first stethoscope
  • * Buschmann of Berlin develops the first mouth-organ
  • * Either Buschmann or Damian of Vienna invent the first accordion in 1822 (or 1829 for the latter)
1824 Fundamental theory of the internal combustion engine, established by Sadi Carnot, France
  • * Braille invented, Louis Braille, France
  • * Scotch tape is invented by Richard Drew, 1929
1830 Lawn mower invented by Edwin Budding and John Farrabee, UK
  • * Work starts on the first "analytical engine," precursor to the computer, by Charles Babbage, UK
  • * Samuel Colt invents the revolver pistol, US
1837 The telegraph is invented by Samuel F. B. Morse, US
  • * Louis Daguerre creates the first direct positive image on silver plate in France, a process that will take his name - "daguerrotype"
  • * The vulcanization process that creates rubber is discovered by Charles Goodyear, US
1840 First postage stamp created, UK
  • * First pneumatic tire is designed by Robert Thomson
  • * Adolphe Sax develops the saxhorn
  • * Adolpe Sax develops the saxophone
  • * Ascanio Soberero discovers how to make nitroglycerin, Italy
  • * Sewing machine is created by Elias Howe, US
  • * First transverse flute with modern key system designed by Theodore Boehm
  • * Michael Nairn develops linoleum in Fife, Scotland
  • * Alexander Twining, from the US, and James Harrison, from Australia, both work on precursors to the modern refrigerator
  • * Crayons are first made with aniline dyes
  • * Passenger elevators now viable, after Elisha G. Otis invents a safety device for carrying passengers
  • * Gyroscope invented by Leon Foucault, France
1856 Aniline dye, William H. Perkin
1857 First slot machine developed, Denham UK
1859 Edwin L. Drake is the first to make oil wells, US John Brown captures Harper's Ferry, VA. Later hanged.
  • * Modern cigarette is developed by William and Henry Charlesworth and TH Dumbar, UK
  • * Pasteurization technique is explored throughout this decade by Louis Pasteur, who initially begins work to save France's wine and beer supply from spoilage
1861 -
American Civil War between North and South regions
1865 U.S. President Lincoln assassinated
  • * Dynamite created by Alfred Nobel, Sweden
  • * Christopher Sholes and Carlos Glider develop the first typewriter, US
Austria-Hungry monarchy is established
1868 First traffic signal is built by JP Knight, UK
  • * Ives W. McGaffey develops the vacuum cleaner
  • * Hippolyte Mege-Mouriez develops margarine
First transcontinental train route in U.S.
1870 -
Franco-Prussian War
  • Kaiser Wilhelm I declares a German Empire
  • Great Chicago Fire
1873 Pianoforte with pedals developed by John Broadwood, UK
1875 Building on principles first imagined by da Vinci and others, as early as the 1100s, John P. Holland, an American, begins work on submarines until 1881
1876 Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone, US
1877 Thomas A. Edison develops the gramophone and phonograph
1880 The French begin using the first pesticide ("Bordeaux mixture" - copper sulphate and lime,) in this decade
1881 President Garfield is assasinated
  • * Electric fan invented by Schuyler Wheeler, USA
  • * Electric flat iron invented by Henry W. Seely, USA
1883 First man-made fiber invented by Sir Joseph Swann, UK
  • * Edward Butler creates the motorcycle, UK
  • * Lewis E. Waterman creates the fountain pen, US
  • * La France, the first practical airship, is built by Charles Renard and Arthur Krebs
  • * Automobile with internal combustion engine, 250 rpm, is developed by Karl Benz, Germany
  • * Electric transformer developed by William Stanley, US
1887 Golden Jubilee to celebrate Queen Victoria's reign
1888 George Eastman is father of the modern camera Jack the Ripper murders prostitutes in London, England
1891 W. L. Judson develops the zipper, US
1893 Thomas Edison is the first to take advantage of current techniques of showing "moving pictures" to create the modern "movie"
1894 -
Sino-Japanese war; China loses
  • * X-rays developed by Wilhelm Roentgen, Germany
  • * First lie-detector test developed by Cesare Lombroso, using pulse and blood pressure to measure the suspect's honesty
1896 Electric stove invented by Hadaway, USA Plessy vs. Ferguson declares doctrine of "separate but equal"
1899 Valdermar Poulsen of Denmark develops the first tape recorder
  • * Boer War begins in South Africa.
  • * Britain will lose to the Boer settlers.
  • * Benjamin Holt develops the first tractor, US
  • * Artificial flints for cigarette lighters are introduced
  • * Paper clip is patented
Boxers' uprising in China against Westerners
1901 King Gillette markets the first safety razor, US Queen Victoria dies
1903 Airplane invented by Orville and Wilbur Wright, USA
1904 Radar is developed by Christian Hulsmeyer
  • * Russo-Japanese war
  • * New York City subway is opened
1905 Hydrofoil is developed by Enrico Forlanini, expanding on the past ideas of French priest Ramus and French Count de Lambert
  • * First workers' soviet is established in St. Petersburg, Russia, after a general strike takes place across the country.
  • * Sailors mutiny on the Potemkin; civilians are slaughtered in Odessa
1906 San Francisco earthquake kills hundreds
1908 Henry Ford develops the "conveyor belt" system in his factories Hundreds of thousands die in s. Italy & Sicily after an earthquake
1912 First patented tank, by Australian inventor de la Mole
1914 First patent (and modern widespread use) of bra by Mary Phelps Jacob, US World War I begins after the assasination of Archduke Ferdinand; "august madness" (war fever) ensues all over Europe; Britain, Austria-Hungary, the Balkan States, France, Germany and Russia are some of the participants
  • * British, ANZAC and French forces begin a disastrous military operation at the Gallipoli peninsula, Dardanelles
  • * Birth of a Nation is released in the United States, creating controversy
  • * Albert Einstein theorizes on relativity
1916 First successful use of sonar, Paul Langevin and M Chilowski, US Battle of the Somme and Battle of the Somme inflict ghastly losses
  • * United States joins in World War I; doughboys land in Europe
  • * Russian Revolution finds the Bolsheviks in power, after the Czar and his family are first removed from office and later murdered
  • * Bolshevik government declares a truce with Germany and removes itself from the fighting in Europe
1918 Armistice in Europe
1920 The first red scare and witchhunt begins in the United States
1921 Treaty of Versailles levies huge reparations against Germany and its allies
  • * Benito Mussolini plans "march" on Rome, takes control of the Italian government in a so-called coup; Italy is the first country to go fascist
  • * Irish Free State is proclaimed
1923 The Marconi company develops the Otophone, one of the first viable hearing aids Adolf Hitler's Munich beer hall putsch fails; in jail he writes Mein Kampf
  • * Clarence Birdeye invents method of "frozen food", US
  • * Robert Goddard builds the first liquid-fueled rocket, US
1925 "Monkey Trial" of John T. Scopes in Tennessee after he teaches evolution in his classroom
1926 Warner Brothers Pictures is the first to develop and use sound synch- ronization in their movies
  • * First "differential analyzing computer," mechanically operated, invented by Vannevar Bush, US
  • * First video recordings made by John Logie Baird
1929 -
Great Depression, in the United States and world-wide
1929 St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago, Illinois
  • * This decade will see the first development of jukeboxes in the United States
  • * Georg and Ladislao Biro introduce the ballpoint pen in the US during this decade
  • * Al Capone goes to prison for tax evasion
  • * Japanese invade Manchuria
  • * Vladimir Zworykin begins to develop the electron microscope, until 1939.
  • * Carl C. Magee invents the first parking meter
Lindbergh baby kidnapped
  • * Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany
  • * The Reichstag (German Parliament) burns
  • * Jews in Germany find themselves subject to increasing harassment and boycotts
  • * Nuremberg Laws are passed in Germany, increasing persecution against German Jews
  • * Ethiopia is invaded by Italy
  • * Heinrich Focke invents the helicopter in Germany
  • * Important work on the jet propulsion engine by Sir Frank Whittle, UK and Hans von Ohain, Germany
  • * Rhineland is occupied by Germany
  • * China and Japan are again at war
1937 Chester F. Carlson first patents his ideas for xerography
  • * Axis pact between Germany, Italy and Japan
  • * The first concentration camp opens in Buchewald
  • * Amelia Earhart disappears in the Pacific
1938 Polytetrafluorethylene, commonly known as Teflon, developed by Dr. Roy Plunkett at DuPont
    * Krystallnacht (Crystal Night) - referring to smashed glass - in Germany. Many Jews are detained, injured or murdered in the ensuing riots.
  • * Czechslovakia is lost to the Nazis in a gesture of "appeasement" by the British and French
1939 First really viable form of "cloud-seeding" developed by Bergeron
  • * Russia invades Finland
  • * Germany invades Poland
  • * Britain and France declare war on Germany, signalling beginning of World War II.
  • * New York World's Fair
1940 The first copy machine is developed from Carlson's patent Evacuation of British troops at Dunkerque
1941 Aerosol spray cans are developed in the United States by Lyle David Goodloe and W.N. Sullivan Pearl Harbor attacked. U.S. enters World War II
  • * Seeds of the first nuclear reactor developed in experiments by Enrico Fermi et al in the US
  • * Napalm developed at Harvard University, US
Bataan Death march of American POWs
1943 Warsaw Ghetto uprising by persecuted Jews
1944 The Mark I, the first information-processing digital computer, invented by Howard Aiken, US
  • D-Day - the day of beach landings by allied troops on France's Normandy coast
  • The first Nazi death camp is liberated by the Soviet army
  • Atomic bomb developed in Los Alamos US by J. Robert Oppenheimer et al
  • Vannevar Bush proposes hypertext
  • * Berlin falls
  • * Atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • * World War II ends
  • * Nuremberg trials
  • * Holograph is invented by Dennis Gabor, UK
  • * Microwave oven created by Percy Spencer, US
  • * Polaroid camera is invented by Edwin Land, US
  • * Mohammed Gandhi is assasinated
  • * Alger Hiss is put on trial for alleged treason
1949 Mao Zedong declares the Communist People's Republic of China
1950 -
Korean War
  • * Oral contraceptive pill, Gregory Pincus, Min Church Chang, John Rock, Carl Djerassi, US
  • * Hydrogen bomb developed in the United States
1952 Elizabeth II ascends the British throne
1953 First musical synthesizer is developed by RCA Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed in the United States for selling secrets to the Soviet Union
  • * French forces fall to the Vietnamese at Dien Bien Phu, signalling the end of French involvement and the beginning of American involvement (as "military advisors" begin to go to Vietnam)
  • * Brown vs. Board of Education makes segregation in U.S. schools illegal
1955 Fiber optics invented by Narinder Kapamy, UK
1957 Clarence Lillehie and Earl Bahk create the first internal pacemaker
1958 Fundamental theoretical work on the laser by US scientists Charles H. Townes and Arthur L. Schwalow, and Soviet scientists N. Basov and A. Prokhorov
1960 First laser, Theo Maiman, US
1963 Ngo Dinh Diem, leader of South Vietnam, is assasinated
1964 Gulf of Tonkin Resolution signals the beginning of America's unofficial war with North Vietnam and Viet Cong rebels in South Vietnam
1965 Ted Nelson develops Xanadu hypertext system
1968 The Tet Offensive is a military failure and public relations coup for Viet Cong rebels in South Vietnam; U.S. Marines battle snipers and rebels for weeks in Hue; Beginning of Paris Peace Talks between two sides in Vietnam war
1969 Ho Chi Minh, "Uncle Ho", leader of North Vietnam, dies in Hanoi
  • * Computer-scanned binary signal code first used (aka "bar codes"), Plessey Telecommunications, UK
  • * Liquid crystal display (or LCD) invented by Hoffmann-LaRoche, Switzerland
  • * Compact disc, RCA, US
  • * Video disk developed by Philips Company, Netherlands
1975 Development of Beta VCR system by Sony, Japan; and the VHS system by Matsushita, Japan.
1977 Apple II, the first home computer, by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak
1979 ViziCalc, first spreadsheet program, Apple II.