(See also the History of political thought timeline)
The ancient world
- 431 BCE The Peloponnesian War (431-404) between Athens and Sparta
- 529 CE Corpus Juris Civilis (Justinian's code of Roman Law)
The middle ages
- 1215 Magna Carta - statement of civil rights and fundamental document of the English constitution.
- 1332-1406 Ibn Khaldun Muslim historian and philosopher
- 1394 Ibn Khaldun's Muqaddimah
- 1453 The fall of Constantinople
- 1642 English Civil War  (1642-6) Armed conflict between supporters of the parliament and the monarchy, followed by the execution of King Charles I.
- 1648 Treaty of Westphalia.
- 1688 Glorious Revolution The largely bloodless events in England which led to the deposition of King James II.
- 1689 The Bill of Rights English legislation that restricted the powers of the monarchy and established the rights of a free Parliament.
- 1774 American Revolution The armed struggle that gave the United States independence from Britain.
- 1776 Declaration of Independence by the United States of America
- 1789 Storming of the Bastille and start of the French Revolution
- 1791 The United States Bill of Rights. The first ten amendments to the constitution, the first of which guarantees, against the federal government but not individual states, freedom of religion, speech, press, and peaceable assembly.
The 19th and 20th centuries
- 1914 World War 1 Massive international conflict involving the Allies and Central Powers between 1914-1918
- 1917 Russian Revolution
- 1919 League of Nations Covenant - a collective security agreement and an endorsement of the principle of self-determination.
- 1922 The Permanent Court of International Justice (1922-1946) Provided arbitration of disputes between member countries of the League of Nations
- 1922 'March on Rome The coup that brought Mussolini to power.
- 1929-33 Great Depression the severe downturn in economic activity that started in 1929 in Germany and the United States and affected many other countries.
- 1933 Adolf Hitler becomes Chancellor of Germany.
- 1939 World War 2 War between the Allies (most notably the UK, US and Soviet Union) and the Axis (principally Germany and Japan) 1939–1945
- 1941 Pearl Harbor an attack upon the United States by Japan, followed by a German declaration of war on the United States.
- 1945 San Francisco Conference - adopted the United Nations Charter - which sought to establish "collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace", and to "develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination".
- 1946 The International Court of Justice is set up to resolve legal disputes between member country and advise on legal questions referred to it.
- 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares a universal obligation to respect a specified set of human rights.
- 1950-53 Korean War Modern conflict (1950-1953) fought on the Korean peninsula between the US-led UN forces, and the Communist coalition of North Korea and China
- 1955-75 Vietnam War A post-colonial independence/Cold War conflict between communist North Vietnam against South Vietnam, assisted by the United States (1955-1975), to unify Vietnam; won by North Vietnam in 1975.
The 21st century
- 2001 9-11 Attack Terrorist attack on the United States, on September 11, 2001, using hijacked airliners as suicide weapons against major buildings.
- 2003-10 Iraq War Invasion of Iraq by a coalition of countries, led by the United States, in 2003, and subsequent occupation
- 2008- Great Recession The disruption of economic activity that began with a downturn in 2007 and generated international repercussions that continued through 2011.
- 2010- Arab Spring Protest movements in the Arab world that seek the removal of oppressive governments