Everything seems plain and simple until something happens and it alters the life of everyone in this world in a major way.
For all these years that the human race has existed, we have had the opportunity to witness so many things that changed the course of history and humanity for better or for worse.
Some acts such as the American and French revolution might have been full of violence and destruction but at the end, it ended up bringing about some major positive reforms and changes to the countries involved and even to the world.
However, some other events like the World Wars or the Holocaust brought about nothing but death, destruction, and devastation all over the world with millions of lives lost and even more properties damaged.
Whatever the situation, when something major happens like social or political reformation, civil wars, or simply an act of revolution in just one part of the world, the whole world is affected by it.
So it is important to learn the history and know historical events that either happened a few years ago or even hundreds of years ago for our own good.
But the thing with history is that it is very long and honestly tiresome trying to know it all and figure it out. And so are the events that altered humanity in some kind of way.
That is why we have simplified the list for our readers and came up with 7 major events that changed the course of history and humanity.
The Renaissance as we know it is a period of time that marked the final transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern Era.
It was a golden period of history, especially European history between the 14th and 17th centuries that gave birth and way to arts, literature, philosophy, mathematics, science, astrology, and many more.
Great names like Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, and Galileo Galilei were a major part of the Renaissance and its development and expansion.
The Renaissance that traces back to modern-day Spain started during the 14th century spread around Europe until the 16th-17th century.
It contributed a lot in the development of things such as learning and literature (Latin and vernacular literature) as numerous books were published for the very first time and the common people were given the freedom to read those books and enlighten themselves.
Therefore, the Renaissance is also known as the Age of Enlightenment to modern history.
It also brought changes regarding politics and political situation by developing the conventions of diplomacy and customs.
It was a span of time that paved the way to questioning traditional beliefs, do inductive reasoning, and new discoveries and inventions.
But it was art and philosophy that saw a major transformation during the Renaissance.
The art that emerged from the Renaissance marked the rise of the modern era and the end of the middle ages.
The arts of this period introduced a new way of creating and viewing arts with the introduction and development of a highly realistic linear perspective which made the arts more realistic than ever before.
The Renaissance focused more on Greek and Islamic texts and its works of mathematics, natural science, and philosophy which helped broaden their visions and transition into the modern ages.
The Renaissance was a much needed cultural revolution that brought positive reformation in almost every field and made people self-aware of the changes that were happening around.
It gave rise to a more secular and anti-feudal humanistic character and worldview and was the beginning of the modern era.
We might live in a free world where almost all countries are technically free. Free of restrictions with their own governing body and their own population along with their rights and regulations.
But in previous times many countries were not free, rich, and powerful as they are today.
They might have been a separate country by name, but as a whole, they were a part of colonies, especially European Colonies.
European colonial period stretched from the 15th century up to the 20th century.
What started out as a form of business trades and mercantilism, turned into the forming of colonies and empires for the sake of their own benefits.
And by the 16th century, powerful empires rose and along with it came wars, destruction, violence, and some major reforms.
European powerhouses like Britain, Spain, France, and Russia all had their own empires and colonies worldwide.
Colonialism could be traced back as far as the Greek and Roman civilization. But European colonialism or the modern colonialism is what changed history forever.
It started out as the act of discovery. When Christopher Columbus discovered modern-day America, it marked the beginning of the global imperialism.
And they slowly started to spread across the whole country. And before you knew it, the Europeans had colonies all over the world including Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas.
Colonialism caused major changes in different parts of the world. From culture, politics, language, and society, to the living standard of people, modern colonialism altered everything imaginable.
It caused millions of death worldwide, in addition to the brutality of the natives, enslavement, exploitation, the spread of diseases, and inequality.
But on the positive note, it helped in the advancement of infrastructure, the creation of a new institution, technological progress, and development of culture and literature.
However, all the positive reforms could only be enjoyed by the rich Europeans.
World War I, II and the Holocaust.
We’ve read about and seen the horrors of the World Wars and Holocaust only in history books and films. But when you think about the millions of innocent lives that were lost during that period of time, we could imagine how terrible and terrifying it could’ve been.
World War I started in 1914 when the heir to the Austrian throne Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, a Yugoslavian nationalist.
As a result, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and thus began one of the greatest, devastating, and traumatizing events in the history, World War I.
World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War that was originally described as the “war to end all wars” turned out to be a devastating event that paved the way to another Great War, World War II.
With more than 70 million military personnel mobilized during the First World War, it was the first time that people saw modern lethal weapons like tanks and chemical weapons for warfare being used.
Huge empires like Germany, Ottomans, Austria, and Russia met its fall while more than 9 million militants and 7 million civilians lost their lives during World War I.
This made people believe that it was the worst thing to have ever happened to the world and people until came the Second World War.
If historian George Kennan is to be believed, then all roads of World War II leads to World War I.
Come to think of it, it is true in so many ways.
After the First World War ended, Germany faced a devastating loss and humiliation from the entire world.
While the Empire of Japan seeks to dominate almost all of Asia, the actual war started on September 1, 1939, when Hitler’s Nazi Germany decided to invade Poland.
And as a result, France and the United Kingdom declared war on Germany.
As the clash continued, all of the world’s most powerful countries got divided into two commanding or the leading military alliances, i.e. the Allied and the Axis.
The Axis was formed by Germany, Japan, and Italy while the Allies had United States, United Kingdom, Soviet Union, and China as the “Big Four,” with support from other major countries.
The Second World War was considered the most devastating global war and the deadliest human conflict recorded in the history, even worse than the First World War.
More than 100 million people were involved in the war and 50-85 million people lost their lives, who were mostly civilians.
World War II was where people saw the only nuclear atomic bomb in action when the United States dropped one each in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.
Apart from military combat, civilians were killed off mass-murders, starvation, massacres, strategic bombing, and the genocide of the Holocaust.
The Holocaust was one of the worst mass-murders ever witnessed in the history.
It was the time period from 1941 to 1945 that Adolf Hitler and his Nazi German soldiers along with his supporting nations murdered around 17 million Jews for a simple reason of being Jewish.
Along with the Jews, the innocent victims that lost their lives were gay men, Roma and “incurably sick” people, Soviet citizens, ethnic Poles and other Slavs, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Soviet prisoners of war, and political opponents.
As Hitler rose to power, there were over 42,000 camps and ghettos set up all around the country were Jews were deported.
And as the “Final Solution to the Jewish Question,” the Jews were killed in different ways such as mass shootings, sealed in freight trains to extermination camps, and if in any way any of them survived the journey, they were placed in gas chambers and killed.
Apart from that, people, especially children were a subject for numerous experiments where the doctors would put them in pressure chambers, freeze them, test different drugs on the subjects, would inject chemicals into their eyes in an attempt to change the eye colors, perform various surgeries, etc.
The holocaust finally ended as World War II came to an end in May 1945 but the horror of it all still remains.
Revolutions and Freedom Acts.
The act of revolution started with what we know today as the United States of America and its people.
The American Revolution of 1765-1783 was one of the greatest battles ever fought in order to gain freedom.
When Christopher Columbus landed on the American land, he invaded it by killing off the natives and enslaving people.
Eventually, the Americas was a part of the European colonies.
What started out as a fight over taxation without representation, revolted into a movement to gain freedom against a tyrannical rule of the monarchy.
The thirteen colonies in the Americas revolted against the Kingdom of Great Britain. It was not just a fight for freedom but also for equality and enlightenment.
The Boston Tea Party was the climax that triggered the American Revolution and on July 1776 a newly independent nation was formed with the name of the United States of America as the British were defeated and the Congress declared independence.
Inspired by the American Revolution the French also decided to revolt against absolute monarchy.
The Kingdom of France was a major supporter of the 13 colonies of the Americas when the American Revolution took place.
The French backed up America financially and as a result, the French treasury drained. This led to hunger and misery all over France and ultimately, the civilians out of anger decided to revolt against the monarchy.
The Tennis Court Oath was a pivotal event in the French Revolution which originally started as an internal affair.
But as the revolution spread, the war grew violent and bloody.
But the French Revolution holds a great significance not only in France and Europe but also the entire world.
It shaped the whole modern world as we know it. In addition, it marked the end of feudalism and paved way for capitalism. The shockwaves of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars led to a complete transformation of social structures in the entire planet.
Even though the fight for freedom and independence from other countries like India, Pakistan, Albania, South Africa, etc. occurred after hundreds of years since the American and the French Revolution, it still plays a major role in changing the course of history.
All these nations fought a long and bloody battle in order to gain freedom and as a result was declared independent sooner or later.
Industrial, Medical, and Technological Revolution.
While the wars and violence hold its own place in changing the world, it is the industrial, medical, and technological revolution plays a major role in making the world what it is today.
From the period of 1760 to 1820, the world took a major turn. It was the period of transition where machines big and small started replacing human beings.
It was the era that saw the rise in chemical manufacturing and iron production, machinery tools, and the use of steam power.
It was the time where hand production methods were switching into machines and there was a rapid growth in the factory system.
There was an increasing demand for cotton making cotton industry one of the biggest industries ever. And before you knew it, all cotton threads were produced in factories.
Labor productivity also increased and sooner machine technology started popping up in every factory. Eventually separating agriculture and industry apart.
Media and Newspapers also became a major industry after the introduction of the printing press.
Johannes Gutenberg of Germany invented the movable-type printing press that changed the way people read and wrote. And with newspapers and media houses, the world was never the same.
And with all the advancements modern cities and towns started growing and developing rapidly.
With the emergence of industries competition grew all over the world. And in order to become the best one, after another new and advanced technology started coming out.
People started inventing better machines to make work easier and effortless.
New ideas and inventions started coming out one after another based on science and logic.
Transportation became a luxury with better and more advanced vehicles, airplanes, trains, and ships. And so did communication with the invention of the telephone.
And with the introduction of the internet, the whole world became narrower.
With better machines and technology medical field also grew and became more advanced.
With better research facilities and better medicines, diseases, once known to be fatal like Tuberculosis, rabies, polio, smallpox, etc. became easily curable.
Sanitation became a basic right and duty for each and every one.
And even though the health sector has a long way to go, it sure has come a long way since the time when people used to believe that falling ill and suffering from any disease was a curse and black magic.
And this is how industrial, technological, and medical revolution brought a major change in the history
Why invade countries when you can invade space?
With the advancement of technology, rich and powerful nations started developing even more rapidly than before.
But with the Soviet Union launching the first-ever artificial satellite Sputnik 1, the whole game changed.
The launch of Sputnik 1 triggered the Space Race especially between Russia and the United States. And sooner or later, most countries were a part of it.
Along with technological advancement, the Space Race led to the growth and progress in many different things including the ability for man to land on the moon, satellite television, advanced weaponry, internet, and a better understanding of space and everything in it.
9/11 Attacks and Terrorism.
Now, let’s again move on to something violent and tragic that left the world speechless and mourning.
The world wars and cold wars were long over and well even though the world wasn’t really at peace per se, but there was still a mutual understanding among the nations.
But on September 9, 2001, everything changed. This day marked the emergence of terrorism in the whole world.
19 militants associated with al-Qaeda, an Islamic extremist group hijacked four American Airlines planes. Two of the planes were crashed into the World Trade Centre in New York City. One of them hit the Pentagon outside Washington D.C.
The fourth plane was initially aimed towards Washington D.C., but the plane crashed in Pennsylvania.
The 9/11 attacks were, in history the deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers.
The attacks killed almost 3000 people including 343 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers.
More than 6,000 people got injured and at least $10 billion worth of infrastructure and property damage was caused.
The mastermind behind these terrible attacks was Osama Bin Laden who was one of the world’s most wanted criminals.
And after a decade-long search, Bin Laden was finally captured and killed on May 2, 2011, in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Ever since 9/11 numerous terrorist attacks have taken place all over the world and the with ISIS being more active than ever, terrorist threats have become one of the most frightening and terrifying threats in today’s world.