By no ways a complete list, but here is a timeline of some highlights of world history.
Japan-related dates are written in red.
- 1281: Mongolia was conquering most of Asia. As the Mongolian Navy was heading to Japan to invade, a giant typhoon sunk their entire fleet. Thus saving Japan.
That typhoon was called 「神風」 (“Kamikaze“), which means “Divine Wind“, in Japan.The World War 2 Kamikaze pilots were named after this typhoon.
- 1346: The Black Plague started and eventually killed nearly half of Europe’s population.
- 1492: Christopher Columbus lands in America. But he believed he was in India and called the inhabitants “Indians“.
- 1603: 「江戸時代」 (The “Edo Period“) begins in Japan.
- 1680: The 将軍 (Shougun), Tsunayoshi, loved dogs and enacted a number of laws protecting dogs and making harming them a criminal offense.He is therefore often called “The Dog Shogun”.
- 1776: America declares it’s independence from England.
- 1789: French Revolution began.
- 1804: Napoleon became the Emperor of France.
- 1854: U.S. Naval Commodore Matthew Perry forced Japan to open to trade with the West.At first Japan resisted and the island of Odaiba was built in Tokyo Bay to defend Japan from the American forces. But Perry’s fleet of black ships were too intimidating and Japan enacted law to allow trade with the West in general and America in particular.The resulting influx of American goods and culture sparked Japan’s “Westernization”.
1859: Charles Darwin published his book “The Origin Of Species“.
1861: The U.S. Civil War began.
An Ukiyoe portrait of Cmdr. Perry. His name is written as 「ぺルリ」 ("Peruri") because that's what it sounded like to the Japanese when Perry said his name with his American accent.
1868: 「明治時代」 (The “Meiji Period“) started in Japan. This was a period of modernization.
1876: Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone.
1904: The Russia-Japan War began. Russia underestimated Japan and lost the war.
1905: Albert Einstein published his “Theory Of Relativity” (E=MC?)
1912: The “unsinkable” RMS Titanic sunk.
1914 – 1918: World War 1.
1937: The zeppelin Hindenberg exploded over the U.S. state of New Jersey.
1939 – 1945: World War 2.
1941 December 7: Japan attacked the U.S. Naval base in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
1945 August 6: America dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of 広島 (Hiroshima).
1945 August 9: America dropped a second atomic bomb on Japan. This time on the city of 長崎 (Nagasaki).
1961: Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin became the first man in space, starting the “Space Race” to the moon between America and Russia.
1964: Tokyo, Japan hosted the Summer Olympics. The first Olympic games hosted in an Asian city.
1969: U.S. Astronaut Neil Armstrong was the first (and so far, only) man to walk on the moon.
1972: Sapporo, Japan hosted the Winter Olympics.
1990 October 17: I (“Tokyo Five”) came to Japan.
1995 January 17: 「阪神淡路大震災」 (Hanshin-awajidai-shinsai), (“The Kobe Earthquake“) destroyed the city of 神戸 (Kobe, Japan).
1998: Nagano, Japan hosted the Winter Olympics.
2001 September 11: Both of the World Trade Center in New York City, USA and The Pentagon in Washington D.C. are attacked by commercial airplanes hijacked by terrorists. Both of the towers in NYC were destroyed completely.
A collapsed overpass after the Kobe Earthquake; 1995 January.
I know that I left out many important dates. Feel free to write any that you can think of in the comments section of this post.
And did you witness any historic events?