Major periods in world history

This is a list of the major periods in world history. It includes broad global eras, such as the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age. It also includes modern eras, which have lasted only a few decades, such as the Gilded Age, Progressive Age and the Information Age.


stone-ageStone Age (50,000–3000 BCE) The Stone Age refers to the broad range of ‘pre-history’ which lasted from approx 30,000 BC to 6,000BC where the first metals started to be used. In the stone age, use of metals was scarce, and the most common building materials and weapons were wood and stone. Much of this history is undocumented, though some archaeological evidence persists.

bronze-ageBronze Age (3000–1300 BCE) The Bronze age refers to the broad period of history when cultures in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world made the first uses of bronze, from mining copper and tin. Bronze enabled more powerful tools and weapons. It was an age where the first writing systems became devised and used.

iron-ageIron Age (1200–230 BCE) The iron age was a period of economic development, where iron and steel enabled a greater use of metal tools which were stronger than previous Bronze Age items. The era led to developments in agricultural production, and we see the first evidence of written manuscripts, which includes great religious texts such as the Indian Vedas, (Sanskrit), and the Hebrew Bible.

egypt-pyramids-sphinxAncient Egypt (3000–300 BCE) Ancient Egypt was a civilisation which inhabited the banks of the Nile. Egypt was successful in using technology to increase agricultural production, giving spare labour for other pursuits, such as cultural, religious and military. Egypt was ruled by powerful Pharaohs, though there began a slow decline after being invaded by foreign powers. By 30 BC Egypt fell under the rule of the Roman Empire.

mahabharata-monumentAncient India (7000 BCE or earlier to c. 500CE) Ancient India refers to a long period of history which includes the Vedic ages and the development of Indus and Aryan; it. Ancient India includes the period from the earliest Vedic sages and Vedas, and the great Indian epics of the  Ramayana and Mahabharata are said to have occurred. See: Famous Indians

Akropolis by Leo_von_KlenzeAncient Greece (8th Century BCE–0 CE) Ancient Greece is considered the birthplace of modern democracy and representative government. Ancient Greece also produced some of the earliest Western philosophy, with great thinkers such as Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Ancient Greece also was an important source of early Western literature, with epic poets such as Homer. Other contributions of Ancient Greece include modern sports (Olympics) and scientific innovations. See: Famous Greeks

Roman_forumAncient Rome (8th Century BCE–476 CE) The Roman Empire was centred on the city of Rome and the Italian peninsula. Rome went through different phases, from classical Republic government to autocratic Emperors. At its peak, the power of Rome extended throughout the majority of Europe, laying many foundations of Western civilisations. Towards the end of the Roman Empire, it adopted Christianity as its official religion; this helped the religion to spread across Europe. See: Famous Italians

Bayeux_Tapestry-250Middle Ages (Europe, 4CE–1500CE) Also known as the post-classical era. The Middle Ages stretches from the end of the Roman Empire and classical period and the Renaissance of the 15th Century. It includes the rise of Islam in the Middle East. The Middle Ages is often considered a period of relative cultural ‘darkness’, with severe wars (e.g. 100-year war, crusades), plagues, religious persecution and a relative lack of learning.

sunset-mosque-250Islamic Golden Age (Middle East, 750CE–1300CE) This refers to a period in the Islamic World which saw a flourishing of science, mathematics, and preservation of classical writings, such as Aristotle. The Islamic Golden Age saw the creation of centres of learning, science, and culture, beginning with the House of Wisdom in Baghdad.

map-explorers-worldAge of Discovery (or Exploration) (Europe, 1400CE–1700CE) The Age of Discovery refers to a period in the late Middle Ages/Renaissance where foreign travel and discovery was an influential part of European societies. In the Age of Discovery, European powers discovered and settled in different continents, changing the fate of the Americas, Africa and Asia. It led to a global spread of Christianity and ideas of Western civilisation; it also marked the growth of the global slave trade. See: Famous explorers

protestant-reformationThe Protestant Reformation (Europe, 16th century) The Protestant Reformation was a Christian movement, which criticised the excesses of the Catholic Church and promoted a new branch of Protestant Christianity which emphasised the pre-eminence of the Bible over the priesthood and the church. The Protestant Reformation began with Martin Luther pinning 95 theses to the church door of Wittenburg, Saxony. The ideas of the Reformation were spread with the help of the newly developed printing press. See: People of the Protestant Reformation

renaissanceThe Renaissance (1350s–1650s) The Renaissance was a period in the late Middle Ages which saw a rebirth of culture, arts, science and learning. The Renaissance included artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo and scientists such as Galileo and Copernicus. See:  People of the Renaissance | Facts about the Renaissance

age-enlightenment-The Enlightenment (1650s–1780s) The Enlightenment is a period which saw the growth of intellectual reason, individualism and a challenge to existing religious and political structures. Enlightenment ideas influenced the American and French revolutions and also limited the power of religious authority. See:  Famous People of The Enlightenment

liberty-franceAge of Revolution (1750–1917) The Age of Revolution is a period in which the Western world underwent several major revolutions, changing society from autocratic monarchies to more democratic republics. Major revolutions of this era, include the American and French revolution, European-political revolts of 1848, nationalist revolutions of Italy, Greece and Latin America. It also includes the Haitian revolution against slavery. See: Famous Revolutionaries

romantic-eraThe Romantic Era (1790s–1850s) Romantic poets (Blake, Keats, Coleridge, Wordsworth and Shelley) and Romantic artists, composers and writers. The Romantic era was partly a reaction against faith in reason alone. It was also a reaction to the industrial revolution, emphasising a faith in nature and man’s spiritual needs.


Powerloom weaving

Industrial Revolution (1750s–1900) The industrial revolution is a phase of social development which saw the growth of mass industrial production and the shift from a largely agrarian economy to an industrial economy based on coal, steel, railways and specialisation of labour.

british-empireAge of Imperialism (c. 1700–1950s) The Age of Imperialism refers to the process of (mostly) European powers conquering and annexing other countries. Imperial powers ruled dominion countries directly. The most widely spread Empire was the British Empire, which at its peak covered 25% of the globe, in countries, such as India, the West Indies and parts of Australasia.

Troops-first-world-warThe First World War (1914–1918) The First World War was a devastating global war, mostly centred on Europe and the battlefields of France and Belgium. It featured troops from across the world and later involved the US. See: People of The First World War

Interwar+Period-Inter-war era (1918–1939) A period of peace in between the two world wars. It was characterised by economic boom and bust, and the growth of polarising ideologies, in particular, Fascism and Communism.

1920s-Jazzing_orchestra_1921Roaring Twenties (1919–1929) The roaring twenties refers to the period of rapid economic expansion and rise in US living standards. It also saw an emergence of new music and a decline in strict morality. The ‘Roaring Twenties’ was associated particularly with the East coast of the US and major European cities, such as Paris and London.

unemployed-great-depressionGreat Depression (1929–39) The 1930s were a period of global economic downturn. Major economies experienced mass unemployment and stark poverty. It also led to the rise of political extremism, e.g. Nazi Party in Germany.

Cold-war-flagThe Cold War (1948–1990) The Cold War refers to the period of ideological conflict between the Communist East, and Western democracies. The cold war saw a period of rising tension, especially over the proliferation of nuclear weapons. There was no direct war between the US and the Soviet Union, but both sides gave support to ideologically similar regimes in minor conflicts around the world. See: People of The Cold War

First_Web_Server-250Information Age (1971–present)
The Information age refers to the new modern technologies which have shaped the modern world. These technologies include computers, the Internet and mobile phones. Key figures include business entrepreneurs, such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.

Periods of American history

american-revolutionAmerican Revolution (1765–1783) The American Revolution was the period of political upheaval in which the American colonies declared their independence from British rule.

See: People who built America

american-civil-warAmerican Civil War (1861–1865) The American civil war was the intense fighting between the Federal army, led by President Abraham Lincoln and the Confederate armies of the South, who wished to break away from the union to defend slavery.

reconstruction-eraReconstruction Era (1865–1877) The period of rebuilding in the south after the civil war.

railwayThe Gilded Age (1870–1900)  The Gilded Age refers to the last part of the US industrial revolution. The Gilded Age included rapid economic growth, but also refers to the immorality behind the accumulation of great wealth by a few leading industrialists, such as J.D. Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie, who came to define the Gilded Age.

Votes-for-WomenProgressive Era (1890–1920) The progressive era was a period of political activism which included causes such as votes for women, labour and trade unions movements and civil rights. It also included movements to regulate aspects of Capitalism and big business.

Civil_RightsCivil rights movement (1950–1960) The civil rights movement is principally aimed at supporting rights of African Americans and ending segregation. The wider civil rights movement has spread over the whole of American history, but the 1950s and 60s saw some of the most intense activism. Further reading: Civil rights activists


Periods of British history

william-ShakespeareElizabethan period (England, 1558–1603) A period in English history marked by the rule of Queen Elizabeth I. It saw Britain emerge as a major world power. It also saw the English Renaissance, with figures, such as Shakespeare and William Byrd.

Queen_VictoriaVictorian age (1837–1901) The Victorian Age co-coincided with the latter part of the Industrial Revolution. In Britain, it also saw the growing strength and extent of the British Empire. The Victorian Age is associated with a stricter type of morality.

Edward_viiEdwardian Age  (1901–1914) A period of growth in science, technology and also rising tensions between the major European powers. Also saw the ‘heroic age’ of exploration.


Historical centuries

rene-descartesPeople of the Seventeenth Century (1601–1700) Famous people of the 17th century, which included the emerging European Enlightenment. Including; Shakespeare, Charles I, Louis XIV, Rene Descartes, Francis Bacon, John Locke and Galileo.

Peter-the-greatPeople of the Eighteenth Century (1701–1800) Famous leaders, statesmen, scientists, philosophers and authors. Including; Louis XIV, Peter the Great, Catherine the Great, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

giuseppe-garibaldiThe Nineteenth Century (1801–1900) The Nineteenth Century saw the economic boom of the industrial revolution and worldwide movements for political change, which included the suffrage movement for women, growing nationalist movements and also the emergence of workers movements in response to the inequality of the industrial revolution.

Winston_S_ChurchillPeople of the Twentieth Century (1901–2000) Famous people of the turbulent century. Including Lenin, Hitler, Churchill, Roosevelt and Thatcher.

Barack_ObamaPeople of the Twenty-First Century (2001–) Politicians, musicians, authors, scientists and sports figures.

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “Different Periods of World History” Oxford, UK., 29/02/2016. Updated 22nd September 2017.

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World History – From the Ancient World to the Information Age at Amazon

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gandhiPeople who made a difference. Men and women who made a positive contribution to the world – in the fields of politics, literature, music, activism and spirituality.

Facts about the American Revolution

  • The American Revolution was a struggle between 13 American colonies and Great Britain.
  • The American colonies wished to attain independence and create a new sovereign nation – the United States.
  • The American Revolutionary War lasted for eight years – between April 1775 to September 1783.
  • The American colonists supporting independence were named Patriots.
  • The American army was known as the Continental Army after the Continental Congress of 13 states.
  • The 13 colonies were Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts Bay, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island.
  • Colonists remaining loyal to the British crown were known as ‘loyalists’.
  • British soldiers were known as ‘redcoats’ or ‘devils.’
  • During the war, the majority of people living in the American colonies were ‘fence sitters’ not taking either side.
  • The American Commander in Chief was George Washington.
  • The British military commander at the start of Revolution was Sir William Howe, though he was later replaced due to failures in the British war effort.
  • King George III led British resistance to American independence. The British Prime Minister was Lord North (a Tory)
  • Not all British MPs supported military action against the American Patriots. The ‘Whig’ faction, e.g. Edmund Burke criticised military action to resolve the issue.
  • During the war, African-American slaves served on both sides of the war. The British offered freedom to slaves who escaped their masters and served with loyalist forces. After 1776, George Washington raised a small number of black only units.
  • During the chaos of war, many slaves were able to escape.  In South Carolina, 30% of slaves escaped, migrated or died during the conflict.
  • Approx 25,000 American Patriots died during military service – the biggest cause of death was disease – often in unsanitary prisoner of warships.
  • Compared to the ratio of the population, The War of Independence was the second-deadliest American conflict after the Civil War.
  • In 1776, the population of the 13 American colonies was estimated at 2.4 million. 85% of the white population was of British descent, with 9% of German origin and 4% Dutch.
  • Approx 42,000 British sailors deserted in the war. American colonies also had difficulties raising troops due to the economic need to stay on a farm. 90% of the American population worked on farms.
  • The British army was weakened by needing to also fight in the Caribbean.

Read On…

Facts about the Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was a period between the late 18th Century and early 20th Century, which saw rapid growth in mechanisation, industrial production and change in society.

Two stages of Industrial Revolution

  • The first stage of the Industrial Revolution (1770-1870) – Centred on steam, water, iron and shift from agriculture.
  • The second stage of Industrial Revolution (1870-1914) – New technologies of electricity, development of petrol engine, oil, and greater use of cheap steel.

Key features of the Industrial Revolution

  • Population shift – moving from rural agriculture to work in factories in cities.
  • Mass production of goods, increased efficiency, reduced average costs and enabled more to be produced.
  • The rise of steam power, e.g. steam trains, railways and steam-powered machines.
  • Industrial and scientific discoveries enabled a revolution in our understanding of the material world.
  • Rapid industrialisation had a cost in terms of pollution and poor working conditions for labour.

Reasons for the Industrial Revolution


Birmingham New Street station

  • New technologies dramatically improved speed of transporting people and goods. The first Intercity railway was built in 1830 between Liverpool and Manchester. The railways enabled more freight to be transported cheaply and quickly.
  • In 1700, it took four days to travel from London to Manchester, by 1870, it took four hours.
  • Application of steam engines. The development of the steam engine was critical for the Industrial Revolution. It enables steam trains, but also steam-powered pumps and machines, which increased the productivity of labour.
  • Agricultural revolution enabled higher food output from fewer farm workers, leading to surplus workers who could go and work in factories. This revolution in agriculture was due to new techniques like crop rotation, selective breeding, economies of scale from bigger farms and better transport.
  • Growth in global trade. Helped by Britain’s effective shipping capacity and Empire, which was a source of raw materials.

Read On…

Facts about the Renaissance

The Renaissance was a period in history between the 14th and 17th Centuries, associated with a wave of new artistic, scientific and cultural achievements.

  • The French word renaissance literally means ‘rebirth’, and was first seen in English in the 1830s.
  •  The first quote of Renaissance in English:
    “A style possessing many points of rude resemblance with the more elegant and refined character of the art of the Renaissance in Italy.” – W Dyce and C H Wilson’s Letter to Lord Meadowbank (1837)
  • The Renaissance is seen as a period of rebirth from the Dark Ages of Europe to the more enlightened and progressive ages of Europe.
  • The century before the Renaissance was particularly dark with the Hundred Years war (1337–1453) devastating much of Europe, the failed Crusades and also the Black Death (1346–1353) killing about 25 million people, 33% of the population at the time.
  • However, some academic scholars feel the term ‘Renaissance’ is too vague and the ‘Renaissance years’ were not particularly enlightened. Some scholars feel that the Renaissance was more accurately part of a ‘Longue Duree’ of European history.
  • The Renaissance period still saw real problems, such as religious wars, political corruption, inequality, witch-hunts and corrupt Borgia Popes. Most people who lived through the Renaissance did not view it as a ‘Golden Era’!
  • The Renaissance was a period of groundbreaking explorations, with the discovery of new lands outside Europe by famous explorers, such as Christopher Columbus and Vespucci.
  • The Renaissance was also a period of scientific discovery. Galileo Galilei and René Descartes (1596–1650) promoted a new view of astrology and mathematics, which challenged old Aristotelian ideas.
  • N.Copernicus began the process of changing the whole view of the world. He argued the Sun was the centre of the galaxy rather than the Earth. This heliocentric view of the world was controversial because it challenged the existing teaching of the church. But, during the Renaissance, this heliocentric view gradually came to be accepted.
  • The Renaissance was most strongly associated with Italy and Florence in particular. But most other European countries had their own Renaissance.
  • For example, The Netherlands developed its own Renaissance revival of painting, including Jan van Eyck. The artistic style of the Netherlands later had an influence on Italy.
  • The English Renaissance began later, in the late 15th Century, and was focused more on literature and music – less on art.
  • Key figures of the English Renaissance included William Shakespeare, John Milton, William Byrd (music) and William Tyndale (translating Bible into English)

Art of the Renaissance


Leonardo’s famous portrait of the perfect man was based on Vitruvius’ De Architectura (1st century BCE) – mostly a treatise on architecture, but also the human body.


The ceiling of Sistine Chapel was commissioned by Pope Julius II, and painted by Michelangelo.

“Without having seen the Sistine Chapel one can form no appreciable idea of what one man is capable of achieving.”

— Johann Wolfgang Goethe, 23 August 1787


‘David’ by Michelangelo is one of the great masterpieces of the Renaissance. It symbolises the defence of the civil liberties of Florence, with the eyes of David turned towards Rome.


The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is perhaps the world’s most famous painting. Da Vinci worked on the painting continuously for over 20 years – striving to attain perfection.

  • Sfumare‘ was a new painting technique of the Renaissance; it means to evaporate or to fade out. It was developed by da Vinci and enabled greater depth and realism to be given to a painting.
  • The term chiaroscuro refers to the fine art painting modelling effect of using a strong contrast between light and dark.

Reasons for the Renaissance


Sandro Botticelli portrays the family of Piero de’ Medici in Madonna del Magnificat.

  1. The Black Death decimated the population of Europe in the 14th Century but left survivors with relatively more wealth and ability to climb social/political structures. It led to a decline of feudalism.
  2. New political structures – with new men in positions of power, patronage of the arts was a way to secure greater status and prestige.
  3. This new political order led to the patronage of the powerful and wealthy Medici family in Florence, who could afford to give commissions to artists.
  4. Migration of Greek scholars and texts from Constantinople to Europe after the conquest by the Ottoman Turks (1453).
  5. Creation of the printing press by J.Gutenberg c.1440 allowed greater printing of books and the spread of knowledge to a wider range of the population. This was particularly important for printing of Bibles, including for the first time Bibles in English and not Latin.
  6. New secular/humanist ideas. Thinkers like Plutarch (1304–1374) and Erasmus (1466–1536) helped make classical texts and humanistic ideas more relevant and popular to a Christian society.
  7. Artistic genius of people such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael.
  8. Greater openness of the Church. In response to a decline in the temporal power of the Catholic Church, the Vatican sponsored more arts and reforms as part of the Counter-Reformation in response to the criticism of Luther. Pope Nicholas V and Leo X  sponsored many Renaissance art projects as a way to bolster the church.
  9. Greater trade between Italy and the rest of Europe. Also, ironically, the wars between Italy and France helped spread Renaissance ideas.
  10. The Crusades led to the exposure of many European scholars to Eastern ideas; it also facilitated the growth of trade and commerce.

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan “Facts of the Renaissance”, Oxford, UK., 12th February 2016. Updated 26 June 2017.

Famous Men of the Renaissance & Reformation

Book CoverFamous Men Of The Renaissance & Reformation at Amazon

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leonardo-da-vinciPeople of the Renaissance (1350s to 1650s) The Renaissance covers the flowering of art and culture in Europe. Primarily in art, but also in science. Includes Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael.



voltairePeople of the Enlightenment (1650s to 1780s) The Enlightenment is a period which saw the growth in intellectual reason, individualism and a challenge to existing religious and political structures.

John_KeatsPeople of the Romantic Era (1790s to 1850s) Romantic poets (Blake, Keats, Coleridge, Wordsworth and Shelley) and Romantic artists, composers and writers.

Famous Swedish People

Despite a population of less than 10 million, Sweden has produced many famous people. Of particular note, despite a small population, Sweden is in the top 10 list of countries regarding the total number of Olympic medals (including Summer and Winter Games) – This makes Sweden have one of the highest (4th) ‘medal to population ratios’ in the world.

Gustavus_Adolphus,_King_of_Sweden_1611-1632_Gustav II Adolf (1594 – 1632) King of Sweden who helped establish Sweden as major European power during the Thirty Years War. Gustav was a pioneering military leader and also a skilled administrator. He reformed Swedish society, creating a strong system of government and administration. His success helped strengthen the influence of Protestantism in Europe. He died in battle in 1632.

Emanuel_SwedenborgEmanuel Swedenborg (1688 – 1772) Born Stockholm, Swedenborg was a noted mining engineer, innovator, scientist, philosopher and Christian mystic. He wrote an influential volume on the afterlife, Heaven and Hell (1758). He advocated a version of Christianity where works count as much as faith.

Alfred_NobelAlfred Nobel (1833 – 1896) Swedish chemist, engineer, innovator, and armaments manufacturer. Nobel invented dynamite and held 350 other patents. He left a legacy to fund prizes for key sciences, and most notably the Nobel Peace Prize – which is one of the most prestigious awards in the world.

Tage_ErlanderTage Erlander (1901 – 1985) Sweden’s longest serving Prime Minister from (1946 – 69). Erlander was a moderate who expanded social welfare and maintained Sweden’s strict neutrality and remaining nuclear-free.

Dag_HammarskjoldDag Hammarskjöld (1905–1961), Second Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1953-61. Hammarskjold played a key role in the development of the embryonic United Nations in the difficult Cold War years of the 1950s.

Raoul_WallenbergRaoul Wallenberg (1912 – 1945) Swedish architect, businessman and diplomat. While serving as special envoy to Hungary during Second World War, Wallenberg saved tens of thousands of Jews from persecution by offering them Swedish nationality and protection in Swedish buildings. He was taken by Soviet agents in Jan 1945 and died in Soviet custody.

Ingvar_KampradIngvar Kamprad (1926 – ) Business entrepreneur, Kamprad is the founder of the furniture chain IKEA. It has made him one of the richest self-made businessmen in the world. Based on a philosophy of simplicity, frugality and enthusiasm for the product.

Olof_PalmeOlof Palme (1927 – 1986) Two-term Prime Minister for the Social Democrat party – from 1969-76 and 1982-86. Palme was a pivotal figure in Swedish politics. He also committed Sweden to a policy of non-alignment with the major blocs (US / Soviet). He also supported Third World Liberation movements. Assassinated on the street in 1986.


Film / Music

Greta_GarboGreta Garbo (1905–1990) actress. One of the greatest female actresses. Garbo was a star of both silent film and early talkies. She was awarded an honorary Academy Award in 1954.

Ingrid Bergmaningrid-bergman (1915 –  1982) Swedish actress who was highly regarded for her roles in influential films, such as Casablanca (1942), For Whom the Bell Tolls (1943) and Anastasia (1956). She is the second most decorated Hollywood actress, with three Oscars.

directorIngmar Bergman (1918 – 2007) Swedish film director who was highly influential in shaping a new strand of films addressing issues of faith, death and sex. Famous films include; The Virgin Spring (1960), Through a Glass Darkly (1961), Fanny and Alexander (1983) and The Magician (Ansiktet) (1960).

abbaAbba (1972 -82) Hugely successful pop group from Stockholm. Comprising Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad they sold 300 million-plus records worldwide.


Famous Sports Persons

tennisBjorn Borg (1956 – ) (Sweden, tennis) During a relatively short career, he won 11 Grand Slam titles. Borg won 89% of Grand Slam games he participated in – a record today.

Ingemar_StenmarkJan Ingemar Stenmark (1956 – ) Widely considered the greatest Slalom skier of all time. Stenmark won a record 86 Slalom World Cups over a career of 16 seasons. Double Olympic medallist and three World Championships.

Jan-Ove_WaldnerJan-Ove Waldner (1965 – ) (Sweden, table tennis). Waldner has been at the pinnacle of table tennis for over two decades.  He won a medal at every World Championship from 1983 to 2001. Olympic gold medallist in 1992.

Magda_Forsberg_AntholzMagdalena “Magda” Forsberg (1967 – ) Forsberg was the dominant biathlete during her career of 1997 to 2002. She was World Champion six consecutive times and

Annika_SorenstamAnnika Sörenstam (1970 – ) (Sweden, golf) Most successful female golfer. Sorenstam has won 72 official LPGA titles.

zlatan-IbrahimovicZlatan Ibrahimović (1971- ) Swedish striker who has played for Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, A.C. Milan Paris St Germain and Sweden national team. For Sweden, he scored 51 goals from 100 games. He is also known for his acerbic charismatic personality.

Anja_ParsonAnja Sofia Tess Pärson (1981 – ) Olympic gold medallist and seven times World Champion. The versatile Alpine Skier has won 42 World Cup meetings, including Giant Slalom, Downhill, Slalom and Super G.


Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “Famous Swedish people”, Oxford, UK 9th February 2015. Updated 28th February 2017.

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Famous Europeans – A list of famous and influential European. In particular, a focus on the European who helped set up the EEC/ European Union, such as Jean Monnet, Charles de Gaulle and Willy Brandt.


Sir_Winston_S_ChurchillPeople who changed the world – Famous people who changed the course of history including Socrates, Newton, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Queen Victoria, Catherine the Great, Einstein and Gandhi.

gorbachevFamous Russians – A list of famous Russians from Tsarist Emperors to composers and authors. Includes; Catherine the Great, Lenin, Stalin, Putin and Gorbachev.


Gilded Age definition

The Gilded Age is a period in American society (1870-1900) with rapid economic growth but also characterised by corruption, materialism, monopoly businesses and growing inequality.

The Gilded Age was a time of unbridled capitalism, with some business leaders becoming very wealthy through the consolidation of key industries into powerful monopolies.


Cartoon by Joseph Keppler entitled ‘The Bosses of the Senate’ – suggestion US Congress effectively owned by wealthy industrial bosses.

The term ‘Gilded Age’ implies outer wealth was a mask for the inner corruption and inner poverty. ‘Gilded Age’ is a satire on the rich monopolists, who were accused of gaining wealth through monopoly practices, mistreatment of workers and corruption of the political process.

One of the defining elements of the Gilded Age was the railroad industry. Americans developed a love/hate relationship with the railroads. They transformed society enabling greater travel and economic growth, but they were also run by business magnates who wielded enormous power and could set high prices to farmers, suppliers and travellers. While the owners grew very wealthy, the industrial work was also very dangerous, with numerous accidents and relatively low pay. Read On…

Quotes on Human Rights


Some of the most famous and influential statements/quotes on human rights throughout modern history.

“In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it.” –
Magna Carta, (38), 15th June 1215

Read On…

Famous mathematicians

A list of the greatest and most influential mathematicians.


ThalesThales (c. 624 – c.547 BC) Greek philosopher who is considered one of the first mathematicians. Thales made pioneering use of geometry to calculate height and distance. He also used deductive reasoning in creating ‘Thales’ theorem. Thales was an important figure in the ‘Scientific Revolution of Ancient Greece, which rejected the use of mythology and developed science and reason.

Pythagoras (c. 570 BC – c 495 BC) Greek philosopher, spiritual leader and mathematician. Pythagoras is believed to be one of the first Western men to describe himself as a philosopher – ‘lover of wisdom’ His philosophy was based on the mystic traditions of Egypt and Greece. He is also credited with ‘Pythagoras theorem’ – about the relation of triangles in geometry.

writerEuclid (c. 325 – 265 BC) Greek mathematician. Euclid is often referred to as the ‘father of modern geometry.’ His book ‘Elements‘ provided the basis of mathematics into the Twentieth Century.

historicalArchimedes (287 B.C – 212) Mathematician, scientist and inventor. Archimedes made many contributions to mathematics, such as a calculation of pi, geometrical theorems and developing a concept of exponentiation for very large numbers.

PtolemyPtolemy (c. 90 – c. 168 AD) Greek / Roman mathematician, astronomer, poet and geographer. Ptolemy wrote one of the few surviving ancient works on astronomy – the Almagest.

aryabhataAryabhata (c. 476 – c. 550) Indian mathematician and astronomer. Aryabhata was influential in the development of trigonometry. In astronomy, he made accurate explanations of lunar eclipses’ and the circumference of the earth. His great works include: Āryabhaṭīya and the Arya-Siddhanta

Omar_KhayyamOmar Khayyám (1048-1131) Persian poet, philosopher, astronomer and mathematician. Khayyam wrote an influential work on algebra – Treatise on Demonstration of Problems of Algebra (1070)

FibonacciLeonardo Pisano Bigollo (1170-1250) Italian mathematician. Bigollo helped standardise the Hindu–Arabic numeral system – through his Liber Abaci (Book of Calculation) (1202). Bigollo is considered the greatest mathematician of the medieval ages.

writerRene Descartes (1596 – 1650) French philosopher and mathematician. Descartes made important discoveries in analytical geometry (bridging algebra and geometry), calculus and other fields of mathematics.

Pierre_de_FermatPierre de Fermat (1601-1665) French lawyer and amateur mathematician. Fermat helped develop infinitesimal calculus. Best known for his ‘Fermat’s Last Theorem, which he described in a margin of a copy of Diophantus’ Arithmetica.

Blaise_PascalBlaise Pascal (1623-1662) French mathematician, philosopher and inventor. Pascal worked on projective geometry and corresponded with Pierre de Fermat on probability theory. Pascal’s Triangle is a term given to his presentation on binomial coefficients, (“Treatise on the Arithmetical Triangle”) of 1653.

newtonSir Isaac Newton (1642-1726) English scientist. Newton made studies in mathematics, optics, physics, and astronomy. In his Principia Mathematica, published in 1687, he laid the foundations for classical mechanics, explaining the law of gravity and the Laws of Motion. In mathematics, he also studied power series, binomial theorem, and developed a method for approximating the roots of a function.

Gottfried_von_LeibnizGottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716) German mathematician, innovator and philosopher. Leibniz developed mechanical calculators and worked on theories of calculus. In philosophy, he was a leading rationalist philosopher – also noted for his optimism about the universe.

Leonhard_EulerLeonhard Euler (1707-1783) Swiss mathematician and physicist. Euler made important discoveries in infinitesimal calculus, graph theory mechanics, fluid dynamics, optics, astronomy, and music theory. Euler also formalised many mathematical notations.

joseph-louis-LagrangeJoseph Louis Lagrange (1736 – 1813)  Italian mathematician and astronomer. He made significant contributions to the fields of analysis, number theory, and both classical and celestial mechanics.

Carl_Friedrich_GaussCarl Gauss (1777 – 1855) German mathematician. Often referred to as Princeps mathematicorum – “the Prince of Mathematicians” Gauss was influential in a range of mathematics, including number theory, algebra, statistics, analysis, differential geometry, geophysics, electrostatics, astronomy, matrix theory, and optics.

Ada_LovelaceAda Lovelace (1815-1852) English mathematician. Daughter of Lord Byron, Lovelace developed an interest in maths and logic and worked with Charles Babbage writing one of the first computer algorithms – Work on the Analytical Engine. Lovelace saw the potential of computers to be more than just calculating machines.

Bernhard_RiemannBernhard  Riemann (1826-1866) German mathematician, who made substantial contributions to analysis, number theory, and differential geometry. His work was a precursor to the general theory of relativity.

david-HilbertDavid Hilbert (1862-1943) German logician/mathematician. Hilbert was influential in the Twentieth Century study of maths. He was one of the founders of proof theory and mathematical logic. He created the invariant theory, the axiomatization of geometry and the theory of Hilbert spaces.

Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955) German/ US. Revolutionised modern physics with his general theory of relativity. Won Nobel Prize in Physics (1921) for his discovery of the Photoelectric effect, which formed the basis of Quantum Theory.

Srinivasa_RamanujanSrinivasa Ramanujan (1887-1920) Indian. Self-taught mathematician, Ramanujan developed highly original and insightful theorems in number theory, infinite series and continued fractions. Credited with  Ramanujan prime and the Ramanujan theta function. Worked with G.W. Hardy (Cambridge)

Alan_TuringAlan Turing (1912-1954) British computer scientist. Considered the father of computer science and one of the most brilliant minds of Twentieth Century. Cracked the enigma code during the Second World War.

John_NashJohn Forbes Nash, Jr. (1928 – ) – American mathematician. Worked on game theory, partial differential equations and differential geometry. He made great insights into the maths of chance and complex decision making. Awarded Nobel Prize in Economics 1994. His life was the source material for film ‘A Beautiful Mind’

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan “Famous Mathematicians”, Oxford, UK. 30th March 2015. Updated 30th Jan 2017.

Famous Mathematicians

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Read On…

Was the First World War justified?

August 2014 is the Centenary of the First World War – a dreadful war which cost the lives of millions of soldiers and civilians. An estimated nine million soldiers were killed and countless more civilians.


First World War

The first thing is to feel grateful that we didn’t live through such an appalling catastrophe and a waste of human life. War is undoubtedly man’s greatest tragedy and the emotional suffering of this ‘Great War’ is incomparable. I’m glad I didn’t have to make the choice that many young men of the 1914-18 period did.

However, if we could go back in time, would you fight for your country of birth or would you be a conscientious objector?

Was there any justification for the First World War?

Would I fight for Britain?

I am British and have often thought about this question.

Firstly, I believe the British Empire was wrong. Britain had no right to be ruling in India, African countries, parts of Asia and parts of the Middle East. I would not fight to save the British Empire because I would support the independence movements in Ireland and India.

If I joined the British army and found myself in India or Ireland, I would feel compromised because I wouldn’t want to be party to supporting an Empire which denied the democratic rights of the inhabitants.

However, the First World War wasn’t primarily about promoting the British Empire. Most soldiers were sent to the Western Front to fight the German army.

Defence of Belgium and France

Sometimes, the First World War is portrayed as a senseless war where we fought for no reason. However, in 1914, there seemed to be a certain moral necessity for Britain to be involved.

Although the causes of the First World War are complex and multifarious – in August 1914, Germany was invading Belgium and France. This violated Belgian neutrality and also French borders. Britain had signed a guarantee of Belgian independence, and should Belgium request support from an invading army, Britain had a treaty obligation to support.

This makes it very difficult not to join the British war effort. It is true, Britain was fighting for self-interest. We didn’t want Germany to dominate Europe, we wanted to protect our trade interests and also the rule of international law. But, it wasn’t entirely selfish. It was wrong for the Germans to invade Belgium and France. In that sense, the First World War could be seen as a defensive war against an invading army.

If Britain had stayed neutral, it is very likely that ultimately Germany would have defeated the French and occupied both Belgium and France. Germany was not a democracy but ruled by an autocratic military state and powerful Tsar. A military victory would arguably have strengthened the militaristic tendencies within Germany and the occupation of France and Belgium would have violated the rights of the Belgians and French.

German atrocities

German atrocities were definitely exaggerated by the Allied powers. Yet, they did occur. Belgian civilians were shot. The Germans did sink neutral shipping with civilians on board. It is inevitable that an invading and occupying army commit atrocities; another reason why the invasion of German forces needed to be opposed.

The Allies were definitely not blameless; for example, there are reports of shooting German prisoners of war soon after capture. But, when an invading army occupies a neutral country and kills innocent civilians – it becomes hard to refuse to fight.

The senseless nature of the conflict

In August 1914, there seemed to be a clear case for war. If the Allies had prevailed by Christmas – defeated the German army, reigned in imperialistic ambitions and restored the continent to peace – we may look back and think ‘What a wonderful war.’

But, the First World War didn’t end quickly and decisively. For the soldiers in the trenches, it seemed a senseless slaughter with lives needlessly sacrificed for inevitable failures. Sitting in a London coffee shop, it is easy to say the war was justified. But, when you are drowning in the mud of Ypres with death and destruction all around you – many soldiers (on both sides) started to ask – is it really worth it? Why are we fighting? They just wanted to go home.

“the old lie:
dulce et decorum est
pro patria mori”

Wilfred Owen

The long and bloody conflict meant the initial idealist aims seemed lost in the mud and death of the trenches. Both sides became increasingly desperate in their quest to win. The media was used to whip up hatred of the other side. People of German descent were abused in the street and there was a growing intolerance of any dissent from the official line.

Even if you see a moral justification for fighting for Britain, it is impossible not to sympathise with the horrors of the soldiers and their desire to just see the war end.

The difficulty is how could Britain have ended the war in 1916, 1917? It would have essentially meant giving into German demands and allowing the German army to occupy France. The death would have stopped, but it leaves a militaristic regime controlling most of Europe.

It is like a terrible Hobson’s choice – both continuing to fight and stopping fighting had terrible consequences.


I admire the courage of conscientious objectors. But, at the same time, I am not a pacifist. I do believe war can be justified to protect your country from an invasion.

I dislike the patriotic vitriol that was created in Britain and (all participant countries). Yet, despite that, there were still reasons to fight for Britain.

I don’t support the British Empire and many actions of Britain in the First World War (such as promising the Arabs a homeland in return for fighting against the Ottoman Empire – show how Britain could be deceitful and ignore democratic ideals when it felt like it.)

Yet, however, the many failings Britain had – the alternative of a militaristic Germany dominating Europe was much worse.

Would I fight for Germany?

If I was born in Germany, I would like to think I would be a conscientious objector. I believe following orders and fighting for your Fatherland is no excuse for supporting an illegal invasion. There are greater ideals than nationalism. Your country isn’t right, just because you were born in it.

Citation: Pettinger, Tejvan. “Was the First World War justified?”, Oxford, UK., 18th June 2014


Douglas_HaigPeople of the First World War (1914 to 1918) The principal figures involved in the First World War from Germany, Britain, US and the rest of the world. Includes David Lloyd George, Woodrow Wilson, the Kaiser and George Clemenceau.

Sir_Winston_S_ChurchillGreat Briton list – Top 100 famous Britons as voted by a BBC poll. Including Winston Churchill, William Shakespeare, Thomas Cromwell and Queen Elizabeth I.

Edward_viiEdwardian Age (1901 to 1914). A period of growth in science, technology and also rising tensions between the major powers. Also saw the ‘heroic age’ of exploration.


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