top of page

This printable World History Timeline covers all of the specified civilisations on the 2014 National Curriculum. Measuring around 1.5m wide by nearly 60cm high, it provides a great visual stimulus to show children how different periods existed at the same time in different parts of the world.

Please read the NOTES section underneath for the reasoning behind the start and end dates of each period's timeline. These dates do not represent entire civilisation dates from beginning to end for all. Children should be told that some civilsations may have existed before or after these periods.

To Print full size
Open the PDF in Adobe Reader as you normally would, press Print, then select the 'Poster' option. It should preview the timeline as separate A4 sheets with 'cut' marks. Trim each sheet and stick it onto a sturdy background. Shiresealing this works well.

Editable Version
You can add in or remove the aspects of the timeline that you want depending on the topics that you teach and the year groups that you teach them in. Perfect for creating a timeline that over includes topics covered so far for timeline activities or displays.

ENORMOUS version
This version measures around 2m by 80cm which is perfect for displaying in classrooms and corridors.

Civilisations and periods such as Ancient Sumer and the Stone Age existed WAY before the timeline shows. This is due to scaling as the Stone Age lasted for around two million years. Trying to show this PLUS the smaller British periods of history that lasted only around (or less than) 100 years would be impossible unless the display was three times the size which would not be suitable for most classrooms. The shorter British periods would end up as mere dots. Whilst this would be good for showing duration and scale, it would be of limited use for display.

Stone/Bronze/Iron Age dates - These vary between locations in Britain and Europe as different civilisations reached these milestones at different points. There is great conjecture about when each age started in Britain. These dates have been chosen as a culmination of dates found from a variety of sources.

Ancient Sumer - Evidence suggests that people were living in Sumer from around 5000BC and potentially before this too. This timeline starts at 4500BC as this is when the city of Uruk was established, which is thought to be one of the very first cities in the world. This was then an important element in developing Sumerian culture and innovations. This timeline ends around 2000BC as this is when the Elamites and Amorites began to overtake Sumerian populations.

Ancient Egypt - Although people lived in Egypt before 3100BC, it was around here when upper and lower Egypt were unified, signalling the true start of Egypt's history. This timeline ends in 332BC when Alexander the Great invaded, bringing his Greek and Hellensitic influences. People continued to live in Egypt after this point. Other sources may end this timeline with the Roman invasion around 30BC for similar reasons.

Indus Valley - Life in the Indus Valley is usually cited from 3300BC in the Early Harappan Phase, but this timeline starts at 2600BC which is known as the Mature Harappan Phase where there was a lot more urban growth, establishing cities with effective and efficient planning and a focus on hygiene. It is overwhelmingly ended at 1300BC across multiple sources for a variety of reasons, the most likely being the invasion of nomadic tribes.

Maya - Although the National Curriculum focuses on the period around AD 900, this timeline starts at 1800BC as this is when some of the major settlements and Maya cultures started to develop. Some sources place this between 1800 and 2600BC. This has been included to show just how long the Maya lasted and to show that they existed at similar times to other major civilisations around the world to provide comparison. This timeline ends at AD 1500 as this was roughly when Spanish explorers arrived and the Maya culture had declined significantly.

Shang Dynasty - This timeline starts at 1600BC with the formation of the Shang Dynasty, but some sources place it at around 1766BC. More recent archaeolgocial evidence places it as starting around 1600BC. This timeline ends at 1046BC when it was replaced by the Zhou Dynasty.

Ancient Greece - The Greeks started much earlier than on this timeline as Stone and Bronze Age civilisations. The two main groups who were considered 'Greeks' today were the Mycenae and the Minoans. This timeline starts with the fall of the Mycenae and what was considered the Greek 'Dark Ages' which lasted until around 800BC. This is when things started to change and become more enlightened. This was known as the Archaic Period until around 500BC when they entered the Classical period dominated by war. This timeline ends at 146BC when the Romans invaded, but the Greek timeline continues past this.

The Romans - This starts with the founding of Rome in 753BC. This initially started as the Roman Kingdom (753BC-509BC) before becoming the Roman Republic (509BC-27BC) and then becoming the Roman Empire in 27BC which split in AD 476. The Roman Empire continued for nearly a thousand years after but as two different empires - the Eastern Empire and the Western Empire.

Roman Britain - The timeline starts at AD 43 as this was when Britain was successfully invaded by the Romans. Numerous previous attempts had been made but had not resulted in a sustained settlement. This timeline ends in 410AD when most traces of Roman personnel had left Britain.

Anglo-Saxon and Viking Britain - These have been stacked on top of each other to show that they existed together, but not just as one or the other. Britain did not just become Viking Britain when the Vikings invaded. The conflicts between the two groups mean that they co-existed in Britain at the same time, ending together in AD 1066 with the invasion of William the Conqueror. Anglo-Saxon Britain starts at AD 450 on this timeline as this is when significant Anglo-Saxon migration began. Some sources place this at AD 449. The Viking timeline starts at AD 793 as this was when more significant attacks on Britain began, this being the attack on Lindisfrane. Another off the coast of Wessex in AD 789 should also be noted. Children should also be told that each group of people existed for thousands of years in their own countries, but this timeline represents them here in Britain.

Early Islam - This timeline starts at AD 570 with the birth of Mohammad and the rise of Islamic culture. They then experienced the Golden Age of Islam from just before AD 800 until AD 1258 when Baghdad was invaded by the Mongol army, sacking the city and destroying much of it's culture and legacy, which is where this timeline ends.

Kingdom of Benin - This timeline starts at AD 900 as this was around the time that the Edo people started cutting down trees and developing small settlements. By AD 1100 there were power struggles. The timeline ends at AD 1897 as this is when British forces invaded and made it part of the British Empire.

British Periods from the Normans onwards - These generally begin and end with the passing of monarchies and rulers. Post-Victorian Britain has been classed as '20th Century Britain' on the timeline as the Edwardian period (1901-1910), WWI (1914-1918), Inter-War Years (1918-1939) and WWII (1939-1945) would have been too small to have scaled down and have been of use for display purposes. Post-WWII is generally classed as either Modern Britain, the Modern Age or the Technological Age.

bottom of page