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Junior Taamas
, Nigeria.
Mapping the most important events in history
is a daunting task. With all that has happened
over the course of 5,000 years of human
history, how, you might be asking, can we
dwindle it down to 25 things? Obviously,
there were plenty of other events that
occurred which had wide-ranging
consequences. Out of all the kings, rulers,
leaders, assassinations, wars, and innovations
changing the progress of mankind, what were
some of the most consequential that
reverberated throughout the world? That’s
what we’re here to discover. So, ready to hop
into a time machine and travel back in time?
Here are 25 Most Important Events In

25. Greco-Persian Wars

It might not seem like it, but the Greco-
Persian Wars were a huge turning point in
human history. If the Greeks had fallen and
lost against the Persian Empire, like everyone
else in the known world, the Western World
would likely not have the democratic politics,
art, literature, and science it does today. The
Greeks not only won against the Persians, but
they thrived thereafter all the way up to
Alexander the Great.

24. Alexander the Great

Speaking of Alexander the Great, when the
Greek city-states were growing in their power,
he rose up as a Macedonian Ruler that would
use his charm, cunning, and ruthlessness to
conquer Persia, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and
some parts of India. Not only did he build a
massive empire, but his influence on culture
ushered in the Hellenistic Period, a heavy
mixture of Greek and Asian culture that would
dominate the world for centuries.

23. Pax Romana

Pax Romana, which means “Roman Peace,”
was a period of peace and stability over the
Roman Empire. It started at the reign of
Caesar Augustus when Rome had ruled Europe,
North Africa, and Palestine and lasted for two
hundred years afterward. This stability
allowed for further advances in art, culture,
and technology and established much of what
would become modern-day Germany, France,
and England.

22. The Life of Jesus

The life of Jesus was a major historical event
which came about during the reign of Caesar
Augustus and Pax Romana. Regardless if you
believe Jesus’s teachings, few deny how big an
impact he left on human history and the
massive religion that would soon follow.
Christianity has impacted many elements
throughout Western culture, shaping it for
thousands of years to the modern day. With
millions around the world worshiping Jesus as
God, his influence has lasted far longer than most.

21. The Life of Muhammad

Born in 570 CE, Muhammad was born in
Mecca, and at the age of 40, he claimed to
receive a vision from the angel Gabriel. He
continued to receive these revelations, which
became the Quran. His teachings and message
drew crowds but also swift opposition. He
took his followers out of Mecca to Medina but
eventually would gather so many followers,
he’d return to conquer Mecca. As we know
today, his impact on Middle Eastern culture
and the world grew with the religion of Islam,
becoming the second most popular religion in
the world.

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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
100Level, Nigeria.
20. Genghis Khan's Mongol Empire

Let’s hop over to Asia now and look at
Genghis Khan , the ruler of one of the largest
empires in human history. Few would actually
point to Khan as someone who radically
changed history, but his Mongol Empire had
sweeping effects in their time and beyond.
First, the Mongolian army was a terror,
conquering, slaughtering, and pillaging
wherever they went. But they were also good
at being pragmatic and including and adopting
all cultures to please the masses and maintain
control. By almost uniting Eurasia, they were
able to spread technologies like paper,
gunpowder, the compass, and even trousers.

19. The Black Death

The Black Death, also known as the Bubonic
Plague, earned its name by spreading across
Europe and leaving thousands of dead bodies
in its wake. By the end, 75 million people are
estimated to have died. Afterward, with a
human shortage in Europe, serfs could now
have their pick of who to work for, resulting
in better conditions for them and their
families. People were much more bitter
towards the Catholic Church, and anti-
Semitism grew with many claiming the Jews
started it in the first place.

18. The Fall of Constantinople

Built by the Roman Emperor Constantine in
330 CE, Constantinople served as the
Byzantine Empire’s capital for centuries.
Famous for its impervious walls, few thought
it could actually be conquered. However, with
the rise and spread of Islam, the capital
eventually fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453.
With the Ottoman Turks now having a
foothold in Europe, the balance of power
suddenly changed. Many Greeks converted to
Islam or fled west. The conquest symbolized a
victory for Islam as they saw Constantinople
as an affront to them.

17. The Renaissance

During the time of the Middle Ages and the
Black Death, education and knowledge were
relatively stagnant. But starting in the 15th
century, there was a rebirth of knowledge, art,
and culture that started in Italy and spread
across Europe. This Renaissance (rebirth)
brought with it new technologies and
advancements, which created more prosperity
and wealth.

16. The Gutenberg Printing Press

One of the greatest inventions of the
Renaissance was The Gutenberg Printing Press.
Gutenberg took the idea of printing from Asia
but made it much easier and more efficient
with his press. The first books he printed were
Bibles, and they were all sold before he even
finished them. The printing press fanned the
flames of reading, education, and knowledge
with the new capability of mass printing
books that would have previously been copied
by hand.

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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
100Level, Nigeria.
15. Protestant Reformation

Something else that came out of the
Renaissance, with the help of the printing
press, was the Protestant Reformation.
Starting with Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, which
argued against the Pope’s use of indulgences,
the Reformation grew with others like John
Calvin and Henry VIII questioning the Pope’s
and the Catholic Church’s authority. These
grievances caused the church to split into
various denominations such as the Lutheran
Church and the Anglican Church. Both
positives and negatives grew from this split,
including bloody persecutions on the one
hand and strengthened universities, art, and
education on the other.

14. European Colonialism

Roughly from the 1500’s to 1960’s, Europe
expanded all across the globe. From the New
World to Africa, India, and Asia, Europe
created colonies on almost every continent on
the Earth. With colonialism came greater
trade…which meant greater wealth for the
Europeans and mostly slavery and
impoverishment for everyone else. As time
went on, many of the colonies sought
independence, and after World War II, a
devastated Europe began to lose control.

13. American Revolution

The American Revolution of the 13 British
Colonies was a major shift in the status quo.
Originally fought over taxation without
representation, the revolution expanded into
Enlightenment ideals and giving rights to all
people. With the colonies beating back the
English and winning the war, the Americans
not only won a war for themselves but for the
entire world, inspiring many other countries
to fight against the ruling classes.

12. French Revolution

Inspired out of the American Revolution, the
French Revolution changed France and Europe
forever. What began as a protest against the
French monarchy and the elite turned into a
discourse of republicanism, human rights, and
citizenship. Unfortunately, it became bloody
and violent and rather than leading to the
latter ideals became entrenched in nationalism
and dictatorship. While the revolution was
messy, out of it came Enlightenment-based
philosophy which also reverberated around
the world.

11. The American Civil War

Many believe The American Civil War was a
mere family matter which only impacted the
United States, but in reality, it had wide-
ranging effects across the globe. For many in
Europe, the American Civil War was evidence
of Republicanism crumbling. America was a
shining example of the experiment, and if it
couldn’t withstand and stay united, what hope
was left? Thankfully, the North succeeded and
reunited with the South, surprising many but
also proving Republican institutions can
remain intact after a hard and bloody war.
Also, with America making slavery illegal, the
slave trade virtually collapsed with other
countries in the Americas, like Cuba and
Brazil, also abolishing it. It’s quite possible
that if the North had not won, legalized
slavery would have continued on into the
modern day.

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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
100Level, Nigeria.
10. Industrial Revolution

From the 18th and the 19th centuries,
something amazing came out of Britain.
Before, manufacturing mostly came out of
people’s homes or at shops but suddenly all
that shifted to major factories with machines
helping mass-produce all kinds of textiles. It’s
called the Industrial Revolution, and it
changed Britain, Europe, and America from
mostly agrarian societies to urban and
industrial. Out of it came major innovations
like trains and automobiles. Even though it
provided serious challenges for the poorer
classes, it improved the lives of the middle

9. The Medical Revolution

Before the early parts of the 19th century,
medicine was pretty much still in the dark
ages. Some strides had been made, but it
wasn’t until the Medical Revolution that things
began to change. It came out of the Industrial
Revolution and the discovery that disease was
caused by microorganisms. With the ability to
mass produce new medicines in pill form and
create anesthetics, health care took on a new
form and would lead to some of the greatest
discoveries in human history, like vaccinations
and antibiotics.

8. Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand II

The Industrial Revolution changed a lot of
things, but one major ramification was the
growing sense of identity and nationalism. By
1914, with new technological innovations like
tanks, machine guns, and deadly gases, Europe
had become a powderkeg of factions just
waiting to go to war. So, on June 28th, 1914,
Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the
Austro-Hungarian Empire, toured Sarajevo to
inspect the armed forces in Bosnia, something
Serbian Nationalists weren’t happy about.
Ferdinand and his wife were shot by Gavrilo
Princip, a Serbian Nationalist. The Serbian
government was blamed for the attack which
sparked World War I.

7. October Revolution

While many of Europe’s revolutions saw
changes toward Republicanism, Russia’s
October Revolution (aka the Bolshevik
Revolution) saw their politics moving in a
totally different direction towards
Communism. Led by Vladamir Lenin and the
Bolsheviks against the Tsar and his ruling
class, the October Revolution was complete in
1917. Tsar Nicholas II was overthrown and
executed, ushering in the Soviet era.

6. Great Depression

With World War I over, the 1920’s brought
about rapid economic growth in the United
States, but it all came to a screeching halt
with the crash in 1929. Millions of investors’
dollars were lost, banks had collapsed, and 15
million Americans were unemployed. This
created a ripple effect across the globe with
almost every country seeing largescale
unemployment and deflation. It lasted a
decade and resulted in major changes in
financial institutions, economic policy, and
theory. While the United States and other
countries began to see signs of a recovery by
1939, World War II gave it a final push.

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Rufai Oladimeji
Lagos State University
100Level, Nigeria.
5. World War II

While many thought World War I was over,
deep roots of resentment and anger still
existed in certain parts of Europe. With the
rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany, the war
started with the invasion of Poland in 1939
and continued as they began to advance on
France and Belgium. The war included all
parts of the world, such as the Soviet Union,
China, and Japan. By the end of the war,
millions of lives had been lost, Europe was a
devastated wasteland, and new superpowers
such as the Soviet Union and the United
States rose up to create a new order and new

4. Cold War

With the end of World War II came a new
type of war, the Cold War. The Soviet Union
advanced on Eastern Europe, trying to spread
Communism, while the West held onto
Democracy, creating the Iron Curtain. With
the threat of nuclear weapons wiping out
millions in a matter of seconds, the Cold War
was born and would continue for decades,
using a war of undercover intelligence, words,
and diplomacy. The Cold War ended in 1991
with the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe
and Russia.

3. Sputnik

During the Cold War, new tensions rose with
the Soviet Union launching Sputnik, the first
satellite into space. It shocked the United
States and sparked a space race between the
two countries. The technological achievements
created out of the Space Race included
advanced weaponry, the ability for man to
land on the Moon, artificial limbs, water
purifiers, and satellite TV.

2. JFK Assassination

President John F. Kennedy championed many
efforts during his time as United States
president, including softening tensions during
the Cold War, advancing the space program,
and fighting for Civil Rights. But with his
assassination, much of his efforts were
suddenly thrown into limbo. Luckily, his
successor President Lyndon Johnson helped
push forward his vision, and Johnson used
JFK’s legacy as a way to push Congress to pass
the Civil Rights Act as well as fund NASA.
Consequently, however, the biggest impact of
the JFK assassination could arguably be the
continuation of the Vietnam War. With his
reluctance to put boots on the ground, many
historians don’t believe JFK would have heated
up the war like LBJ. Without a Vietnam War,
the world would have looked much different.

1. Digital Revolution

With the advancement of computers and the
internet, the Digital Revolution has and
continues to change the economic and
information landscape. In many parts of the
world, new businesses and jobs have grown
out of the creation of the Internet, but it also
has provided challenges. With hackers stealing
millions of dollars and identities, the mass
spying from the NSA, and the use of false
information to disrupt democracies, we
certainly live in a brave new world.


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