The Timeline of Humankind

It is part of human nature to differentiate between "us" and "them", and it is through this differentiation that humans define the groups that they belong to, including cultural, ethnic and language groups. This is how we form aspects of our identity. 

But if we take a moment to search beyond the differences between us and look into the past, we can see that we all have common origins. The timeline below is a brief summary of some key moments since the evolution of humans that have defined how we have developed as a species. 

Timeline of Human History

This timeline is definitely not to scale, but rather an approximate representation of the history of humans. The left side of the timeline starts about 200 000 BCE when homo sapiens evolved, and as we progress towards the right, the scale becomes smaller and smaller, meaning that the distance between two events in human history are closer together in time.


What is BCE and CE? 
BCE = Before Common Era
CE = Common Era

BCE and CE are alternative ways of referring to what is known in western society as BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini), i.e. before Year 0 and after Year 0. BC and AD are part of a Christian worldview, whereas BCE and CE are another way of talking about the history of humanity that is not specific to a certain culture. Considering the enormous range of cultures around the world, BCE and CE are more appropriate ways of thinking about our collective history.

Looking at this timeline, you might notice that the earliest events are huge milestones for the development of humankind, whereas some of the recent events may be less crucial in the grand scheme of things. This may be a form of 'recency bias', where a person remembers more recent events better than those that are further in the past. Although this is probably true, reaching the South Pole and the World Wars are important events that shaped our history in the 20th century. A person creating a timeline of human history in a thousand years may not view them as particularly important, but this project is being initiated in 2019, a time when these events are still a key part of our history.

What do you think is missing in the Our History timeline, or what shouldn't be included? What do you think about recency bias when looking at the history of humans? Comment below!


For a more detailed timeline of human history, visit this link



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