History Timeline 1-400 AD - World History Timeline
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History Timeline: 1-400 AD

Map
El Jem
Roman amphitheater (El Jem, Tunisia)

August 2016 - The great empires formed during the last years before Christ continued peacefully through much of this period. In India, the Mauryan Empire collapsed, and there was a period of smaller kingdoms, but by 319 AD northern India was reunited under the Guptan Empire. In China, the Han Dynasty lasted until 220 AD, but then fell apart into three kingdoms. The world's first smallpox epidemics may have weakened China. The novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms is about this time period.

The Maya and the Zapotec continued to rule Central America, joined by the Moche in South America. In North America, the Hopewell culture along the Mississippi River also lasted all through this period.

head of blind man
Moche carving of a head
of a blind man

Across the Atlantic, the Roman Empire and the Parthian Empire kept the peace throughout Europe, North Africa, and West Asia, though like China they were devastated by smallpox epidemics. In northern Europe, even the Ostrogoths and Visigoths began to organize into leagues. In Africa, the kingdoms of Kush and Aksum, south of Egypt in Sudan and Ethiopia, traded with Rome, India and the Parthian Empire. The Bantu continued to expand across East and South Africa, bringing iron with them.

brown paper with chinese characters on it
Early Chinese paper

The long peace made travel and trade easy, and many new inventions and ideas spread across Europe, Asia, and Africa. Paved roads helped people travel. Paper, invented in China, was soon in common use across East Asia. Blown glass, invented in Roman West Asia, spread both east and west. Building in concrete and bricks, mastered by the Romans, soon spread across Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. Dispersed by the Romans, the Jews spread all over Europe, North Africa and West Asia. Christianity spread from one end of the Roman Empire to the other, and to the Goths in northern Europe. Many people became Christians in East Africa, West Asia and Central Asia too, though most people stayed Zoroastrians. Nor was the religious flow all in one direction: many Romans also became interested in Mithra, a Zoroastrian god.

Learn by doing: making paper
Go on to 400-800 AD

Bibliography and further reading for a world history timeline:

400-800 AD
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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