Often, while thinking about history or historical fantasy, it can be difficult to maintain a sense of scale and proportion. We might know about European cave painting, Saharan rock art, the founding of ancient cities, and the advance of domestication. We might have a vague sense of seas rising as Ice Age glaciers melted, fluctuating climate, natural disasters, and the march of extinctions. And, we might have a sense that the various ethnic groups and ideas familiar today were not always around, but when did they begin? When did the ancient people live whose descendants became today’s Jews and Arabs, Irish and Greeks and Indians, Zulus and Swahilis, Maori and Hawaiians, Chippewa and Cheyenne, Iroquois and Cherokee?
This handy chart should help put a lot of these important historical trends, events, and persons into perspective. Of course, dates and figures in the distant past are always up for debate based on interpretation of the scientific evidence, and I have tried to include only those with the greatest support.