Greatest Achievements of Mankind

A list of great achievements by mankind.

Declaration of Human Rights

After centuries of religious persecution, injustice and disregard for human rights, the acceptance of human rights enshrined in law is one of the great achievements of modern history. Some of the earliest declarations can be seen in the US constitution, drafted by Thomas Jefferson.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

US Declaration of Human Rights, July 4, 1776

French Declaration of the Rights of the Man and the Citizen (1793)

Declaration_of_the_Rights_of_Man_and_of_the_Citizen

Also important was the declaration of human rights in France – a fundamental document of the French Revolution. Article I states:

Men are born and remain free and equal in rights. Social distinctions can be founded only on the common good.”

It was introduced by General Lafayette, who received significant influence from Thomas Jefferson and the American Revolution.

United Nations, Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

In the Twentieth Century, the United Nations declaration of human rights cemented its importance for modern history. It was created in the aftermath of the Second World War, with over 50 member states participating in his drafting. It was adopted by the UN Security Council on 10 Dec 1948.

“Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.” (continue reading at UN)

 

Democracy

Democracy gives everyone the right to participate in how they are governed. One definition of democracy is ‘Government of the people, by the people and for the people.’ Democracy has removed absolute power from tyrants, oligarchs and dictators.

Akropolis_by_Leo_von_Klenze

Akropolis by Leo von Klenze

Churchill once remarked that democracy was the

‘ the least worst form of government invented’

Abraham Lincoln remarked

“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.”

—Democracy evolved over the centuries, from experiments in direct democracy in Ancient Greece, to universal suffrage of the Twentieth Century. See also: People who helped shape democracy

United Nations

Photo by http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Neptuul CC BY-SA 3.0

Photo by Neptuul CC BY-SA 3.0

The United Nations is a global body aiming to secure international friendship and co-operation in the pursuit of human rights, democracy and world peace. It’s predecessor, the League of Nations, was born out of the devastation of the First World War. The United Nations was founded in 1945 at the end of the Second World War. Outwardly, the UN may have many imperfections, but it still remains an globally important body for the promotion of the ideals of a oneness-world.

Cultural Masterpieces of mankind

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa

monalisa

A work of art that has captured the imagination of humanity. The mysterious smile, the penetrating eyes. The air of mystique surrounding the Mona Lisa cannot easily be explained but, it is more than just a supreme example of renaissance art, it encapsulates a unique spirit.

Michelangelo’s Pieta

pieta

It is a work of art which captures the beauty, poignancy, poise and emotion of the greatest human dramas – love divine and love human.

The Works of William Shakespeare

William_Shakespeare_First_Folio_1623Despite producing one of the earliest body of works in English, few have come close to matching William Shakespeare’s mastery of English in articulating the poetic range of human emotion and experience. Shakespeare’s , plays, poetry and use of the English language have had a profound cultural impact on the world.

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. “

– William Shakespeare

Ave Maria – Schubert / Bach

It is music which has the greatest capacity to lift humanity from the ordinary earth bound thoughts and emotions. The loftiest music can touch the psychic core of man and expand the consciousness of man. We could have chosen from the works of Beethoven, Mozart, or countless other musicians, but, Ave Maria remains one of the loftiest pieces in the pantheon of music.

Technological achievements

Ocean voyages

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[Ships in the harbor, Naples, Italy] (LOC) no known copyright restrictions

The early pioneers of ocean voyages took a step into the unknown in sailing to locations they had no prior knowledge of. It was at a time of relatively primitive technology – relying on skill, courage and determination. Ocean voyages was a crucial building block in the globalisation of the world – enabling global trade and the spread of knowledge.

Railways / Steam Trains

stean train

[Locomotive 1151, Texas & Pacific Railway Company]

It was the railways which ushered in the new Industrial age. Journeys which had previously taken days, could now be done in a few hours. Building railways forged nations, and brought people closer together. It also spread the genetic pool, by enabling much greater transport. Railways also enabled better living standards as a greater range of goods and food could be transported.

The First Flight

The Wright brothers finally achieved man’s historic quest to achieve a powered flight. The short flight in 1901 revolutionised air travel in the twentieth century and remains one of the great technical achievements.

The Development of Vaccines

polio vaccine clinic

Polio vaccine clinics, 1956, Mississippi

 

For many centuries, the life expectancy of man was very low. Life was hard, short and painful. The great advances of medical science in the nineteenth and twentieth century have allowed people in many developed countries to have a much greater life expectancy. Some of the most important discoveries included the first vaccines developed by Edward Jenner (small Pox) Louis Pasteur (Rabies). The creation of vaccines and widespread vaccination programmes have led to the decline (and in some cases) extinction of dangerous diseases, such as polio, TB, smallpox and others.

See also: Greatest modern inventions

Man on the Moon

armstrong-moon

It was a great scientific achievement to put man in space and then land on the thin atmosphere of the moon. It shows the horizons of man are not limited to this physical earth.

“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Neil Armstrong (21 July, 1969)

Sporting achievements:

The Olympics

olympic-motto

Torch-bearer arrives at opening ceremony, Olympic Games, London, 1948. (No known copyright restriction)

The Olympics is one of mankind’s greatest achievements. It brings people together from all over the world, and promotes a sense of international friendship and individual achievement. Although it has been marred by political protests in the past, recent Olympics have shown the capacity to unite the world. At the 2012 London Olympics, a woman represented every country for the first time. The Olympics has the capacity to fill newspapers with positive news. The Olympics has been an equalising force between different nations, for example, through running many African nations have gained increased national pride.

Four Minute Mile

Any great sporting achievement could have been used here. To run a marathon in close to 2 hours, is perhaps an even greater athletic achievement. Alternatively, we could have chosen the fastest 100 metre time of Usain bolts in under 9.6 seconds. Yet, no sporting record is more iconic than the first mile run under 4 minutes by British athlete Roger Bannister. For many decades doctors and learned people had suggested it was physically impossible for man to run a mile under 4 minutes. But, once Roger Bannister had broken the psychological barrier many others soon followed. It showed the spirit of self-transcendence intrinsic to man.

Climbing Mount Everest

mt-everest

On May 29th, 1953 Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tensing Norgay finally conquered the crown of the world reaching the top of Mount Everest. At 8,848 Metres, Mount Everest is the highest peak in the Himalayas, the Nepalese name it Sagarmatha – meaning Mother Goddess of the world.

The Great Pyramids

great-pyramids

Conventional wisdom suggests these were built with slaves, but, this view has become increasingly challenged. The truth is that there are many ancient structures such as Stonehenge which defy modern science even centuries later. The Great Pyramids remain a mystery but, they stand as a colossal and imposing figure in the sands of Egypt.

 

 

Greatest achievement of mankind in past few decades

1. Fall of the Berlin Wall (1989)

berlin-wall

The fall of the Berlin wall (1989) was symbolic of removing the barriers that existed between East and West. On a practical level, the fall of the Berlin Wall enabled Germany to be re-united and the free movement of people across the ‘Iron Curtain’. The fall of the Berlin wall also symbolised the end of Communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Eastern European countries have been able to pursue their own democratic futures, independently of the Soviet Communist party. Many people were involved in dismantling this barrier, but it was Mikhail Gorbachev who began the process of perestroika, which enabled the gradual process of political freedom in Eastern Europe.

Ending of Segregation and Apartheid

washington-march

In the 1960s, many black Americans still faced widespread discrimination – politically, socially and economically. The civil rights movement, led by Martin Luther King, helped to pass legislation outlawing various types of racial discrimination. A key moment in US history was the March for Jobs and Freedom on Washington, 1963, when Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream Speech

In South Africa, Nelson Mandela led the movement to end the system of apartheid in South Africa. Mandela is credited with enabling a smooth transition which focused on integrating black and white people in the post-apartheid South Africa.

Environmental movement

LOC

LOC

In the past century, there has been increased awareness that man needs to care for the planet and other living creatures. Rather than seeing the earth as something to be exploited, recent ideas see the earth as a holistic entity, in which we are interdependent with the environment and living creatures. Although man has been responsible for many species becoming extinct; in recent years, there have also been preservation efforts to save species, and in some cases this has been successful. – e.g. in case of Gray Whale, Southern White Rhinoceros, Black Rhinoceros, African Savannah Elephant, and Mountain Gorilla.

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “Greatest Achievements of Mankind”, Oxford, www.biographyonline.net, 4th April 2015

 

Related pages

communist-manifesto-100Books that changed the world. Important books which influenced and change society and the world. Including The Republic, The Iliad, The Communist Manifesto and The King James Bible.

un-logoQuotes that changed the world –  Inspiring quotes that changed the world from some of the world’s leading minds – including Einstein, Buddha, Darwin, and Galileo.

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Around the World in 80 Treasures: A Quest for Mankind’s Greatest Achievements

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2 Comments

  • Some of this does not seems like a great achievement at all, what about the recieving of the 10 commandments on mount Sinai and The Bible, are those achievements

    • Yes.. It is, as God revealing those commandments to Moses, achievement has guaranteed itself in the christiandom, but people hardly fathom and envisage on the impact of commandment into our daily life as an achievement ever recorded. Bible being mans greatest achievement to my view is that, I can’t fathom the grace bestowed upon the book of life, truth, grace, love(bible), because it is more than history itself and achievements..

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