Detailed Timeline of European History

 Detailed Timeline of
European History


Classical Europe (900-290 BC)

Ancient Europe (Before 900 BC)

Origins of European Nations and Ethno-Groups

Go to European
History Interactive Map

Ancient Europe

Humans Migrate Into Europe
(~ 50,000
Years Ago)
The first humans enter Europe about 50,000 years ago
from Africa, by way of the Middle East. They cover most of the continent
by about 10,000 BC. At this point, all European peoples are homogenous,
living as an extensive network of various tribes, but not yet divided
into “nations”. Only their lighter skin separates them from their Asian
and African relatives, due to a skin pigmentation genetic alteration
caused by the colder climate.

Article: Out of Africa Hypothesis and the Concept of Race

Farming Revolution
(~ 7000 – 2000
Farming spread from the Fertile Crescent (Middle East) to
Greece around 7000 BC, then to the rest of Europe by 2000 BC. Resulted
in population explosion, commercial trade, and concept of land

(Timeline Continued Below)

Proto-Indo-European Culture
~ 5000 BC)
Proto-Indo-Europeans surface around 5000 BC in Caucus
region of SW Russia. Nearly all European languages are a sub-branch.
PIE’s were first Europeans to domesticate the horse, probably enabling
them to spread their language and culture throughout continent. Evidence
shows it was largely a peaceful process, likely achieved by trade and
cultural diffusion.

Inception of Basque People
5000 BC):
Genetic & linguistic studies show that the Basque are not
a sub-branch from Proto-Indo-European culture & language. Therefore, the
Basque have been a distinct people since before 5000 BC.

Inception of Iberian Peoples
5000 BC)
Other original inhabitants of Iberia were referred to as
the Iberians. Unlike the Basque, they would not remain a distinct
ethnogroup throughout history. Instead, they would be absorbed by Celts
around 400 BC. Iberian culture & language would disappear, although
their genetic imprint remains with modern Spanish & Portuguese.

Settling of British IslesOriginal Settlers of British Isles
(Before 5000 BC):
Genetic & archaeological evidence shows that the
British Isles were originally settled before the Proto-Indo-European
revolution, by settlers from northern Iberia (Spain), including the
Basque & other nearby/related peoples. Celt culture & language would
arrive later to the British Isles from the mainland, around 800-400 BC.
Although Celt culture & language would dominate the islands, there was
very little change in the population from a genetics standpoint. The
original “Iberian” genetic composition is therefore preserved in modern
Irish & Scots, & English to a lesser extent, as the English would be
more exposed to Scandinavian & Germanic invaders in post-Roman times.

Article: Proto-Indo-European – The Root of Nearly All European Cultures
& Languages

Article: How Original European Peoples Splintered into Distinct
Ethnogroups (i.e. Nations)

Proto-Uralic People
(Before 4000
Proto-Uralic peoples inhabit area around Ural Mountain Range in
modern Russia. Their culture would spread west, serving as a predecessor
to Finnish and Estonian cultures. P-U peoples would migrate south to
form the Magyar nation (future Hungarians). Proto-Uralic language may
not be a sub-branch of Proto-Indo-European, but possibly the head of its
own language family.

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Origin of Finnic Peoples
(~ 4000
Finnic peoples break off from the Proto-Uralic group, becoming
primary inhabitants of the heart of modern Russia (the highly populated
NW region surrounding Moscow).

Finnic migrationsDivision of Finnic Peoples
(~ 3000
Finnic culture spreads to the Gulf of Finland. As Finnic
peoples splinter to the NW and SW, they become permanently divided into
separate “nations”, such as Slavs and Baltic peoples, settling the east
shores of the Gulf of Finland, while original Finnic peoples are pushed
into modern Finland.

Proto-Baltic-Slav Peoples
(~ 3000
Proto-Baltic-Slavs become a distinct ethnogroup (shared culture
& language), a sub-branch of Proto-Indo-European language & culture.
Centered around modern Lithuania, became ancestors to both Baltic
(modern Lithuanians and Latvians) and Slav nations. – The World’s Largest Maps Store!

Distribution of Germanic People
(~ 3000 – 750 BC):
Distribution of Germanic peoples by 750 BC
Proto-German language branches off from
Proto-Indo-European around 3000 BC in modern Scandinavia, giving birth
to the Germanic “nation” (ethnogroup). Germans became the ancestors to
all Scandinavians (except Finnish), as well as Germans. Germanic peoples
would later migrate to the mainland (modern Germany), becoming a
separate ethnogroup from their Scandinavian relatives to the north.

Minoan Culture (2700 – 1450 BC):
A highly advanced society on island of Crete (shaded, left). Engaged in
manufacturing & trade. Upheld equal distribution of wealth & equal
rights for women. Minoans of unknown origin. Conquered by Greeks ~ 1450

Origins of Finnish and Estonians
(~ 2000 BC):
A group of Finnic people splinter toward the NW,
becoming ancestors to modern Finnish. The Finnic peoples that continue
westward, south of the Gulf of Finland, become ancestors to modern

Thracians (~ 1500 BC): Thracian
culture & language splinter from Proto-Indo-European, resulting in
Thracian ethnogroup. Ancient Thrace, covering SE Balkan peninsula
(shaded) rivals Greek city-states for superiority. Along with Slavs, a
primary ancestor of the modern Romanians.

Greeks (~ 1500 BC): Ancient Greek
culture and language branch off from Proto-Indo-European on southern
Balkan peninsula, forming the Greek ethnogroup (Greeks).

Note: Why Greece Becomes Europe’s Most
Sophisticated Civilization.
Due to proximity to advanced
civilizations to the east, such as Hittites in modern Turkey,
Phoenicians in modern Syria & the Egyptians. Geography & fertile lands
around Med. Sea’s eastern shores brought large & diverse cultures into
contact, where they interacted through trade, learning from one another
& pushing each other toward greater progression.

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Greeks Conquer Minoans
(~ 1450 BC):

Greeks conquer island of Crete, ending Minoan Civilization. Conquer
island of Cyprus in 1125 BC. Both islands permanently assimilated into
Greek culture & genetic lines.

Greek Dark Ages
(1100 – 750 BC):

The advanced Greek civilizations collapsed due to war/invasion &
possibly famine. Greeks reverted from sophisticated city-states to small
villages. Art, government, academics, trade, farming, etc. all regress

Celts (~ 1300 – 1000 BC):
Inhabitants in central Europe become banded together under a fairly
unified culture/language known as “Celtic”, a branch of
Proto-Indo-European language/culture. Celt speakers would form the Celt
“nation”, which would grow to cover much of Europe by 400 BC. Celt
peoples would become a major genetic contributor to many modern

Illyrians (~1300 BC): Illyrian
language becomes distinct sub-branch of Proto-Indo-European,
distinguishing Illyrians as new ethnogroup. Ancestors to modern

Scythians (~ 1000 BC):
Scythians, originating in modern Iran, spread to southern Russian and
Ukraine. They are a sub-branch of Indo-Iranian peoples, which are the
sub-branch of Proto-Indo-Europeans which migrated east of the Ural
Mountains (Asian side) in modern Russia.

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Slavs (~ 1000 BC): The
Proto-Baltic-Slav culture & language spreads south into modern Ukraine,
evolving into a new culture/language known as Slavic, giving birth to
the Slav peoples, the forefathers of most Eastern Europeans. Slavs are
the primary ancestors to Russians, Belarusians, Ukrainians, Poles,
former Yugoslavians, and partial ancestors to Bulgarians, Romanians and

Magyars (~ 1000 BC): Magyar
tribe splinters from Proto-Uralic group in Ural Mountains (modern
Russia), migrating south of Ural Mountain range, north of the Caspian
Sea. Will eventually migrate to modern Hungary, becoming the modern

Etruscans Settle Italy
(Before 800
A group of people from outside of Europe (likely Anatolia –
modern Turkey) become primary inhabitants of Italian peninsula,
concentrated in central region (modern Rome). They become known as
Etruscans. After 800 BC, they intermix with Celts from the north & Greek
settlers from the south to form the Italians of the Roman Empire. After
the collapse of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, other invaders will
intermix with Italians to form the modern Italian “nation” or ethnogroup.

Classical Europe (900 – 290 BC)

Go to European
History Interactive Map

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