A Video Timeline of Western Civilization (History 113)

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A Brief History

This article presents a video timeline for students of Western Civilization (History 113) at Ashland University.

For each date below, please click on the date to be taken to a video covering that date’s event.  After watching that video, please post a one or two sentence comment in the comments section for the video that demonstrates that you watched the video.

These comments or “thesis statements” are 1-2 sentence summaries of the video. They should include the most important aspects of each video. In other words, the thesis statement should include the individuals involved, the time period, and significance of the event.

For example, if you watched a video on the Declaration of Independence, your comment could be something like the following: “The Declaration of Independence of 1776, originally drafted by Thomas Jefferson, formally declared the American colonies independent from Great Britain.  The Declaration also argued that all men are created equal with natural-born rights and that the government exists to secure said rights.”

Although I would prefer that you post your comments directly on the videos (every time anyone comments on one of my videos, I receive an email notification), if you are uncomfortable posting public comments on YouTube, you may instead email to me a list of your comments sent as a Word attachment.  If you email me your comments, for each comment, please be sure to include a footnote indicating what video your comment corresponds with.  To cite a YouTube video in a footnote, you should follow the following format:

AuthorFirstName AuthorLastName, “Title of Video,” YouTube video, running time, publication date, URL.

Here is an example:

Matthew Zarzeczny, “July 3, 1863: 5 Valiant but Failed Attacks (Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg),” YouTube Video, 8:22, July 6, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-x3gb11YlE.

Your comments on each unit’s videos should be completed by the date on the syllabus for when we finish that unit.

Digging Deeper

0.  Introduction

On December 24, 2018, a cute dachshund got, played with, and defended her 2018 Christmas present!

1. The Spanish Golden Age

On January 3, 1521, Roman Catholic (Augustinian) priest and reformer Martin Luther was ex-communicated from the church by Pope Leo X.

On July 7, 1550, chocolate is thought to have been introduced to Europe from the Americas.

On December 21, 2012, people across the globe waited for the end of the world!

2. The Experiences of Life in Early Modern Europe and North America

3. The General Crisis of the Seventeenth Century

On June 23, 1611, the ship appropriately named Discovery, captained by explorer Henry Hudson, was in what is now called Hudson Bay and was the scene of a mutiny.

4. Constitutionalism versus Absolutism

On May 23, 1701, Scottish Captain William Kidd was hanged in London for piracy and murder.

The 22nd of November is indelibly etched in the public’s mind with the death of a revered hero! (And John F. Kennedy also died on November 22nd.) Yes, pirate aficionados everywhere mourn the 1718 loss of one of the most colorful pirates of all time, Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard.

5. The Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment

6. The American and French Revolutions

On April 14, 1772, the building tension toward open rebellion of Americans against the British erupted in New Hampshire in an incident known as The Pine Tree Riot.

On October 5, 1789, the women of Paris marched to Versailles to confront King Louis XVI about his refusal to abolish feudalism, to demand bread, and to force the King and his court to move to Paris.

7. Napoleon

On January 7, 1797, the first use of the Green, White, and Red tricolor Italian flag was seen in use by the Cisalpine Republic (formerly Milan) after Napoleon Bonaparte’s conquering of that region in 1796.

On May 20, 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul (later Emperor) of France, made a mistake he later regretted the rest of his life when he reinstated slavery in the French colonies.

On June 1, 1813, the commander of the USS Chesapeake, James Lawrence, lay dying, and uttered the immortal words, “Don’t give up the ship!”

On July 15, 1815, Emperor Napoleon I of France surrendered to the British aboard the HMS Bellerophon.

On November 10, 2017, the audio-book version of Simply Napoleon was published.

8. Industrialism, Nationalism, and Imperialism

On May 5, 1809, Mary Kies became the first woman granted a US patent.

On July 19, 1814, Samuel Colt was born in Hartford, Connecticut, and though he lived only to the age of 47 became rich and famous as the man that made the repeating firearm a practical reality.

On June 5, 1829, the British ship, HMS Pickle, a 5 gun schooner, captured an armed slave ship, the Voladora, off the coast of Cuba.

On January 13, 1842, the lone survivor of a British army in Afghanistan staggered into Jalalabad!

On July 1, 1863, the battle of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania began, perhaps the most important battle of the US Civil War.

On July 3, 1863, the Army of the Potomac fought a defensive battle against the Army of Northern Virginia at the Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg.

On May 31, 1866, Irish nationalists known as Fenian Brotherhood invaded Canada in an attempt to force Britain into granting Ireland independence.

On December 25, 1868, much maligned and embattled President of the United States Andrew Johnson issued a blanket pardon for all Confederate veterans of the US Civil War.

On January 9, 1873, Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, died after ruling France for a longer reign than any other leader since the French Revolution.

On July 14, 1881, the outlaw known as Billy the Kid was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garret in New Mexico.

On August 12, 1883, the last known living specimen of the Quagga died, and the species became extinct.

On January 20, 1885, LaMarcus A. Thompson patented his version of the modern roller coaster, and Coney Island, New York became ground zero for it!

On September 4, 1886, after almost 30 years of raiding Mexican and white settlers and battling the U.S. Army, Apache war leader Geronimo finally surrendered in Arizona to U.S. Army General Nelson Miles.

9. World War I

On June 22, 1893, the British battleship HMS Camperdown accidentally collided with the British battleship HMS Victoria off the coast of Lebanon.

On January 5, 1895, French Army officer Alfred Dreyfus was falsely convicted of treason for allegedly having passed along secret information to the Germans in what famously became known as the Dreyfus Affair and was sentenced to live at the dreaded Devil’s Island prison in French Guiana.

On July 8, 1898, gangster and con artist Jefferson R. “Soapy” Smith was killed in a shootout with a vigilance committee on the Juneau, Alaska wharves.

On May 23, 1901, the Attorney General of Paris, France, received an anonymous note that a woman was being kept prisoner by her own mother.

On August 10, 1901, Charlotte Anne Moberly (1846–1937) and Eleanor Jourdain (1863–1924) traveled by train to Versailles to visit the Royal Palace and grounds located there about 12 miles from the city center of Paris.

On May 27, 1907, in the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the city by the bay came down with an epidemic of Bubonic Plague, the same plague responsible for the infamous “Black Death” in earlier centuries.

On January 19, 1913, the Holly Hotel in Holly, Michigan burned for the first time!

On July 11, 1914, the major league career of George Herman Ruth began, with Ruth pitching for the victory of the Red Sox over the Cleveland Naps.

On August 2, 1916, Austrian saboteurs managed to sink the Italian battleship, Leonardo da Vinci as the great ship lay in Taranto harbor.

On August 18, 1920, the United States ratified the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

10. The Russian Revolution

On December 29, 1916, possibly the most cracked clergyman of all time finally met his doom, having been poisoned, shot, and drowned, thereby rivaling Blackbeard for the claim of bearded bad-ass who most went out “like a boss”!

11. Fascism and Nazism

On August 16, 1927, the Dole Air Race began, with 8 airplanes taking off from Oakland, California and heading to Honolulu, Hawaii.

On August 27, 1928, countries that were bitter enemies in World War I signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact to renounce war as a means to resolve disputes and conflicts between nations.

12. World War II and the Holocaust

On December 27, 1922, the Imperial Japanese Navy commissioned the first aircraft carrier in the world that was designed and built as an aircraft carrier, the Hōshō.

On January 9, 1941, the premier British bomber of World War II, the Avro Lancaster, made its maiden flight.

On January 17, 1941, French colonial naval forces engaged the naval forces of Siam (Thailand after 1948) during the Franco-Thai War, a smaller war within the larger conflagration that was World War II.

On July 18, 1942, the Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe (Swallow in English) made its first test flight using its jet engines.

On May 17, 1943, RAF Squadron 617, later known as The Dambusters, embarked on Operation Chastise, a plan to bomb and destroy 2 dams to flood the Ruhr Valley in Germany.

On June 3, 1943, US Navy sailors and US Marines tangle with Latino young men in what is known as The Zoot Suit Riots.

On July 16, 1945, Manhattan Project scientists held their breath as the clock ticked down to the first man-made nuclear blast in history.

13. Conclusion

On January 1, 1950, a new method of designating what year it is (or was) went into effect with the BP system, meaning “Before Present.”

On January 14, 1950, the MiG-17 Soviet jet fighter made its first flight, a plane that would go on to become the 3rd most produced jet fighter in aviation history.

On January 7, 1960, the United States first successfully test launched the Polaris Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) from their launching facility in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

On August 31, 1965, fans of super-different airplanes could add another oddity to their list when the Aero Spacelines Super Guppy made its first flight.

On July 31, 1970, the British Royal Navy experienced one of the darkest days in their long and glorious history, Black Tot Day.

On January 8, 1981, a close encounter with a UFO left actual physical evidence!

On August 14, 1994, Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, Venezuelan terrorist and one of the most wanted men in the world, was finally arrested by authorities in the Sudan and turned over to French law enforcement.

On January 12, 1998, 19 European nations agreed to prohibit the cloning of humans.

On May 29, 2004, President George W. Bush dedicated the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C..

On December 22, 2001, Richard Colvin Reid, age 28, of London, England, attempted to destroy an airliner in flight on its way to Miami, Florida by the use of explosives hidden in his shoe.

On July 4, 2018, 242 years after Americans declared their independence from Great Britain’s King George III, Dr. Zar and Major Dan journeyed to the Community Stadium in Ashland, Ohio to celebrate.

On August 18, 2018, Dr. Zar visited the Lexington Blueberry Festival in Ohio for food, fun, music, and fireworks!

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Zarzeczny, Matthew D.  Meteors That Enlighten the Earth: Napoleon and the Cult of Great Men.  Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013)

Meteors That Enlighten the Earth: Napoleon and the Cult of Great Men (Hardcover)


List Price: $75.95 USD
New From: $25.24 USD In Stock
Used from: $25.24 USD In Stock
buy now

Markham, J. David and Matthew Zarzeczny.  Simply Napoleon.  Simply Charly, 2017.

Simply Napoleon (Paperback)


List Price: $8.99 USD
New From: $8.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $7.15 USD In Stock
buy now

The featured image in this article, a detail from the oil painting (1806–7) titled Sacre de l’empereur Napoléon Ier et couronnement de l’impératrice Joséphine dans la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, le 2 décembre 1804 (Coronation of Emperor Napoleon I and Coronation of the Empress Josephine in Notre-Dame de Paris, December 2, 1804) by Jacques-Louis David (1748–1825) and Georges Rouget (1783–1869) of Joséphine kneeling before Napoleon during his coronation at Notre Dame, is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or less.  The work of art depicted in this image and the reproduction thereof are in the public domain worldwide. The reproduction is part of a collection of reproductions compiled by The Yorck Project.  The compilation copyright is held by Zenodot Verlagsgesellschaft mbH and licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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About Author

Dr. Zar

Dr. Zar graduated with a B.A. in French and history, a Master’s in History, and a Ph.D. in History. He currently teaches history in Ohio.