The 20th Century started on 1st January 1901 and ended on 31st December 2000. This was the century of deadly world wars, cold war, rise of nationalism, destruction of empires, bloody revolutions, space technology, invention of computer, internet & nuclear weapons etc.
World at the Start of 20th Century
In Europe, the British Empire was at the height of its power and became the largest empire in the history. Germany and Italy were two emerging superpowers after their unification in the last half of 19th Century. Ottoman Empire and Russian Empire were declining and especially Ottomans lost many European territories before and in the beginning of 20th Century.
In Asia, the Japanese Empire was emerging and stretching its occupation around Japan. But most of the Asian and African areas were still under the control of Imperial nations.
After achieving national unity and expansion, the United States was also emerging as a world power at the end of 19th Century after defeating Spanish Empire. USA also got hold of few Spanish colonies in the Americas and Asia Pacific. Along with military power, USA was also emerging as an industrial power during this century.
On 1st January 1901, the Australian colonies of Britain became one nation when they adopted Constitution of Australia. Now, these colonies; New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia; became states of the Commonwealth of Australia.
On 6th September 1901, an anarchist Leon Czolgosz wounded the 25th president of USA William McKinley with bullets. McKinley died on 14th September 1901 due to these wounds.
On 13th January 1902, Abdul-Aziz Al Saud captured Riyadh from Al Rashid family which started the Formation of modern Saudi Arabia.
On 20th May 1902, Cuba gained independence from USA and became Republic of Cuba.
On 1st July 1903, the 1st Tour de France race started.
On 3rd November 1903, Central American country Panama gained independence from Columbia and became Republic of Panama.
The Ottoman and German Empires signed an agreement for the construction of Constantinople-Baghdad Railway in 1903. This agreement is known as one of the causes of World War 1.
On 8th February 1904, Russo-Japanese War started between Russian Empire and Empire of Japan over the disputes on Korean Peninsula and Manchuria. Surprisingly, an Asian power Japan defeated Russia in this one and a half year long war and its result weaken the Russian Empire miserably.
On 8th April 1904, UK and France signed a mutual agreement Entente Cordiale to overcome their differences. This agreement became the basis of alliance against German Empire in the World War 1.
On 22nd January 1905, Revolution of 1905 started in Russia. This revolution led Russia to become a constitution monarchy with the formation of State Duma, Russian Constitution of 1906 and multi-party system. This revolution is known as the rehearsal for 1917 Russian Revolution.
On 31st March 1905, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany visited Morocco and his tour started the First Moroccan Crisis between Germany and France. This crisis is also known as one of the causes of World War 1.
In October 1905, Viceroy of India Lord Curzon divided the Bengal province into eastern and western parts. Muslims were in a majority in Eastern Bengal and they benefited from this partition. The domination of Hindus in the Muslim-majority area weakened and they became very annoyed. Later, this partition and its effects became one of the causes of formation of Pakistan in 1947.
On 26th October 1905, Sweden recognized Norway as an independent constitutional monarchy. This lead to the end of the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway (1814-1905) and Haakon VII became the king of Norway.
On 30th December 1906, All India Muslim League was founded in Dhaka (now in Bangladesh) by Nawab Salimullah Khan. Later, this party led the Indian Muslims to form an independent Muslim state Pakistan in the Muslim majority north-west and north-east of Indian subcontinent under the leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
In September 1906, America occupied Cuba for the second time. The reason for this occupation was to maintain political stability in Cuba. In February 1909, USA withdrew its troops after Cuban elections.
In March 1907, a Peasant’s Revolt started in Romania. The reason for this revolt was the discontent of peasants from their landowners. The revolt was suppressed by Romanian Army with more than 10,000 people killed and around the same number arrested.
On 31st August 1907, British and Russia signed an agreement to resolve their disputes over Tibet, Persia and Afghanistan. This agreement ended their longer conflict The Great Game for the supremacy in Central Asia.
In 1907, Finnish Parliament holds its elections which were first in the world where women were allowed to be candidates along with every adult citizen with the right to vote.
On 12th January 1908, a long-distance radio-message was sent for the first time from Eiffel Tower.
On 5th October 1908, Bulgaria gained independence from Ottoman Empire.
On 6th October 1908, Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia & Herzegovina.
In 1909, Empire of Japan and China signed Gando (Jiando) Convention. Through this treaty, Japan recognized Gando (Jiando) as part of China.
In 1910, Mexican Revolution started by Revolutionary Forces against autocrat Porfirio Diaz. Diaz was ousted by the revolutionaries but later the war became Mexican Civil War between revolutionaries and their counter forces and lasted till 1920. More than 1 million Mexicans died in this war. Revolutionary forces were supported by German Empire for a shorter period (1917-18) while their opposite forces were supported by USA (till 1918) and British Empire (1916-18).
On 31st May 1910, Union of South Africa was created by the unification of four British colonies; Cape, Natal, Orange River and Transvaal.
In May 1910, Albanian rebels revolted against the Ottoman Empire. The rebels were supported by Serbia. The Ottomans suppressed this one-month long revolt.
On 28th August 1910, Montenegro became an independent constitutional monarchy.
On 29th August 1910, Imperial Japan annexed Korean Empire.
On 5th October 1910, a revolution in Portugal ended the constitutional monarchy and Portugal became a republic.
On 18th March 1911, the first International Women’s Day was celebrated.
On 29th September 1911, Italo-Turkish War started in Libya. Italy captured Libya after this 1 year long war.
On 10th October 1911, Xinhai Revolution started in China by Chinese Revolutionary Alliance against Chinese Qing dynasty. This 4-month long revolution led China to become Republic of China and the last empire of China came to end. More than 200, 000 soldiers from both sides were killed during this revolution.
On 14th February 1912, Arizona became the 48th and last state of Contiguous U.S. below Canada.
On 14th-15th April 1912, famous ship RMS Titanic sunk in the North Atlantic Ocean due to its collision with a giant iceberg.
On 8th October 1912, the First Balkan War started between Ottoman Empire and the Balkan League (united forces of Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Montenegro). The Balkan League was victorious in this 7 months long war.
In 1912, United States started the occupation of Nicaragua against the construction of Nicaraguan Canal.
On 29th June 1913, the Second Balkan War started between Bulgaria and its former allies of 1st Balkan War including Serbia, Romania, Greece and Montenegro who were supported by Ottoman Empire. Bulgaria lost this war and ceded few areas to its former allies and Eastern Thrace to the Ottomans.
On 28th June 1914, a Yugoslav nationalist Gavrilo Princip killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, the future king of Austro-Hungarian Empire, and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo during their visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina. This assassination became the direct cause of World War 1 as the Austro-Hungarian Empire blamed the assassination and later attacked on Kingdom of Serbia which started WW1.
On 28th July 1914, the World War 1 started when Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia due to its alleged involvement in the killing of Austro-Hungarian Empire’s Heir. The Austria Hungary Empire was later supported by German Empire, Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria. This alliance was named Central Powers. The other alliance was called Allied Powers and they include British Empire, France, Russia, United States, Japan and several other countries. It became one of the biggest and fatalist warfare of human history as more than 70 million military personnel engaged in this war while around 10 million of them were killed and more than double of that figure wounded in this war. The trench warfare started after Allies halted German advances on Paris in the beginning of war. Little advances were made after trench battles till 1917. In 1917, Russian Empire withdrew from war after Russian Revolution and USA joined the war for Allies. These changes took the war towards the decision and later the Central Powers accepted defeat due to their low international support and internal differences. After over 4 years, the war ended on 11th November 1918 in favor of Allied Forces. German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman and Russian Empires collapsed after the war.
On 28th July 1915, United States started occupation of Haiti.
On 24th April 1916, an armed rebellion known as Easter Rising started in Ireland. The rebellion ended after 5 days with the surrender of rebels. Most rebel leaders were executed later. Around 200 people in total killed during the rebellion.
In June 1916, Arab Revolt started against the occupation of Ottoman Empire with the aim to establish a unified Arab State from modern day Syria to Yemen.
On 30th December 1916; a Russian faith healer, mystic and adviser to Tsar; Grigori Rasputin was killed by a Russian prince and count Felix Yusupov.
On 8th March 1917, the Russian Revolution began with the formation of Provisional Government that replaced absolute monarchy. This revolution was started by Bolsheviks and other hard-line socialists who first fought against the Imperial Government and later against the Provisional Government. The revolutionaries won after 8 months and created Soviet Russia and later they also executed the last Emperor Nicholas II and his whole family.
On 7th November 1917, Russian Civil War started between the Red Army of Russian SFSR and White Army of the anti-soviet forces including pro-independence forces of many areas. The war lasted for 5 years in which around 3 million people killed from both sides. The Red Army won the war in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Central Asia, South Caucasus and Mongolia while pro-independence forces won in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland and Estonia.
In January 1918, Spanish flu pandemic started that infected more than 500 million people worldwide. More than 50 million people died due to this pandemic and it is known as of the deadliest pandemic of human history.
On 27th January 1918, Finnish Civil War started between White Finland and Red Finland. White Finland forces were supported by the German Empire white Red Finland received support from Soviet Russia. White Finland won the war in which over 35,000 people killed from both sides.
On 28th May 1918, Azerbaijan Democratic Republic was founded.
On 3rd November 1918, German Revolution started after WW1. The revolutionaries ended the imperial government on 9th November 1918 and Germany became a republic. Later, the forces of republic defeated the communist uprising and formed Weimer Republic on 11th August 1919.
On 1st December 1918, Kingdom of Iceland was founded after signing ‘Act of Union’ with Denmark.
On 1st December 1918, Kingdom of Yugoslavia was founded by unification of Serbia, Slovenia and Croatia.
In 1918, Armenian-Azerbaijan War started for control over disputed territories. Later, Soviet Russia occupied both the countries in 1920.
In 1918, Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen was founded in north-western part of today’s Yemen.
On 10th January 1919, League of Nations was founded after 1st World War in order to prevent any such war again.
On 2nd March 1919, Comintern (Communist International) was founded in Moscow. Its aim was to create an “International Soviet Republic”.
On 19th May 1919, Turkish War of Independence started by Ankara Government against Greece and Armenia which were supported by the Allied Powers. Turkey won this war and restored its independence through Treaty of Lausanne (1923). Victory in this war also formed Republic of Turkey and abolished Ottoman Empire.
On 28 June 1919, Treaty of Versailles was signed between Germany and Allied Powers.
In 1920, United States of America banned the production, sale, transportation and importation of “alcoholic beverages” in whole of country through constitution. This prohibition remained in effect till 1933. Due to large scale smuggling and increase in crime rate, the ban was later lifted.
On 15th February 1921, Red Army of Soviet Russia invaded the Democratic Republic of Georgia (DRG) and within a month Georgia became Georgian SSR (Soviet Socialist Republic) after its occupation by Soviet Russia.
In 1921, Adolf Hitler became Fuhrer (leader) of Nazi Party.
The Russian Famine of 1921 took lives of around 5 million people. The region of Tatarstan was most affected. World War 1, Russian Revolution of 1917 and Russian Civil War were the major causes of this famine.
On 28th February 1922, internal independence was granted to Egypt by United Kingdom. Military, foreign relations, communications and the area of Sudan remained under the British control.
On 28th June 1922, Irish Civil War started between the supporters and opponents of Anglo-Irish Treaty. The war continued for about 11 months with the victory for Pro-Treaty Forces that were supported by UK. More than 2,000 people died during this conflict.
On 22nd October 1922, National Fascist Party of Italy marched towards Rome which is known as March on Rome against the Kingdom of Italy. The march was successful and Benito Mussolini, leader of NFP, formed a nationalist government on 29th October 1922 and became a dictator of Italy.
On 1st November 1922, the Ottoman Sultanate was abolished by Turkish Grand National Assembly and on 17th November, the last sultan Mehmed VI was deposed.
On 6th December 1922, Irish Free State was formed under the Anglo-Irish Treaty that was signed one year before. It was a semi-independent state under the constitutional monarch of King of United Kingdom.
On 30th December 1922, Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) or Soviet Union was established. It was the first communist state of the world. Vladimir Lenin was its first Head of Govt. and Joseph Stalin was the first General Secretary.
On 9th June 1923, a coup by right-wing military personnel overthrew the government of Bulgarian PM Aleksandar Stamboliyski. The coup was aided by Italy. The reason of this coup was Aleksandar’s signature of the treaty with Serbia to end the rebellion of IMRO (Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization).
On 1st September 1923, the Great Kanto earthquake with 7.9 magnitude killed over 100,000 people in Japan.
On 15th October 1923, Germany issued a new currency Rentenmark in place of the old Papiermark. This new currency helped Germany to end the hyperinflation after World War 1.
On 8th and 9th November 1923, the Beer Hall Putsch (coup) was attempted by Nazi Party under the leadership of Adolf Hitler. The aim of this march was to take power in Munich (Bavaria). Though it was a failed attempt and Hitler had to suffer nine-month jail but it helped Hitler and Nazi party a nation-wide publicity.
On 21st January 1924, the leader of Communist Party Vladimir Lenin died. This led to a power struggle in USSR between Joseph Stalin and Leon Trotsky.
On 5th May 1924, USA passed the Immigration Act of 1924. Under this act, only 2% citizens of a country from the number of people living in 1890 were allowed to enter the USA.
On 28th August 1924, the Committee for Independence of Georgia started August Uprising against Soviet rule in Georgian SSR. This 10-day rebellion was crushed by Soviet Union with around 15,000 rebels killed and executed.
On 18th July 1925, Hitler’s autobiography Mein Kampf (My Struggle) was published. Hitler also wrote about his political ideology and future plans about Germany in this book.
On 25th December 1926, Hirohito became the Emperor of Japan. He was the 124th Japanese emperor and remained on this position for 62 years till his death on 7th January 1989.
On 1st August 1927, Chinese Civil War started between Republic of China and Communist Party of China (CPC). The war continued till 1937 and then both forces cooperated against the invasion of Japan. The war resumed in 1946 and ended in 1949 with the victory for CPC in mainland China and the sovereignty of Republic of China reduced to Taiwan and few smaller islands.
In February 1929, Soviet leader Leon Trotsky was exiled to Turkey and Stalin tightened his grip on Communist Party and Soviet Union.
In March 1928, Hassan al-Banna founded Muslim Brotherhood organization in Ismailia (Egypt). Its ideology is Pan-Islamism and Islamic democracy and this movement has affected the whole Muslim world from beginning of its creation till now.
On 28th September 1928, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. These antibiotics were derived from penicillium fungi.
On 18th November 1928, the Walt Disney Company created the famous carton character of Mickey Mouse.
On 11th February 1929, Vatican City gained independence from Italy. It is the world’s smallest country by area and population. It is a Catholic religious state and the Pope of Rome is its ruler.
On 16th May 1929, the first Academy Awards (the Oscars) were presented.
In October 1929, the Wall Street crashed and in the history of USA, it was the most destructive stock market crash. The crash was also the start of Great Depression which affected the whole industrialized western world.
On 18th February 1930, former ninth planet of solar system Pluto was discovered. In 2006, it was reclassified as a dwarf planet.
On 13th July 1930, first FIFA World Cup started in Uruguay.
Between July-November 1931, Floods in Central China killed more than 2 million people. These floods are known as one of the world’s most disastrous natural calamity of human history.
On 18th September 1931, Japan attacked Manchuria (China) and formed a puppet state in Manchuria after they captured it five months later.
On 25th February 1932, Adolf Hitler obtained German citizenship. Till April 1925, he was an Austrian citizen.
During 1932-33, a famine in Soviet Union killed around 6 million people. The famine was the cause of forced collectivization by the Soviet government. Most affected areas were Northern Caucasus, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Volga, Urals and West Siberia.
On 30th January 1933, Adolf Hitler became Reich Chancellor of Germany.
On 27th March 1933, Japan left League of Nations.
On 10th May 1933, a war started between Paraguay and Bolivia.
On 14th October 1933, Germany left League of Nations.
In October 1934, the Long March was started by the Red Army of Communist Party of China (CPC) under the leadership of Mao Zedong. The purpose of this march was to save the Red Army from the army of Chinese Nationalist Party and unite them in the northern Shaanxi province. The march was successful but CPC lost most of the soldiers and very few of them could survive.
On 3rd October 1935, Second Italo-Ethiopian War started. Italy won the war and occupied Ethiopia after around 6 months.
In 1935, Nuremberg Laws were introduced in Nazi Germany. These laws were aimed to purify the German race and prohibited marriages or other sexual relations between the Germans and Jews. Later, Negroes and Gypsies were also banned to have sexual relations with Germans.
On 18 July 1936, Spanish Civil War started between the governing Republicans and the Nationalists. The Republicans were supported by USSR and Mexico while the Nationalists were helped by Italy, Germany and Portugal. Around 500,000 people killed in this 2 year 8 months long war and ended with the victory for the Nationalists. This war ended the Second Spanish Republic and the Nationalist rule started in Spain.
In 1936, Great Purge was started by USSR under Stalin’s leadership. The aim of this purge was to eliminate the opponents of Stalin from Red Army, Communist Party and government.
On 7th July 1937, Japan attacked China which started the Second Sino-Japanese War. Though this war was a bilateral conflict in the beginning but it is known as the opening of World War 2 in Far East because it was fought till the end of WW2 and major world powers took part in this war. Later, China was supported by Allied Powers including USA, USSR and British Empire. The war ended in 1945 with the victory for China as an Allied victory against Japan. Millions of soldiers and civilians died in the war (mostly Chinese) and the casualties account for about half of total WW2 deaths.
On 21st December 1937, Walt Disney released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was the first animated feature film.
In March 1938, Nazi Germany and Austria unified. This was a forceful unification by the Germany and according to Hitler’s ideology to unite all the Germans.
On 29th September 1938, the Munich Agreement was signed between Germany, Italy, UK and France. Through this agreement, Germany was allowed to annex the German-speaking areas of Czechoslovakia.
On 9th and 10th November 1938, Kristallnacht (Crystal Night) happened in Germany and Austria. During this event, the paramilitary wing of Nazi Party and German citizens attacked the synagogues, stores and buildings belong to Jews. Around 90 Jews were killed and 30,000 sent to the concentration camps.
On 1st September 1939, World War 2 started with the invasion of Germany on Poland. On 3rd September, UK and France declared war on Germany. Germany and USSR occupied and divided Poland between them after one month. The world powers divided in two main blocks of Allied and Axis Powers. The Allied forces include UK, France, USA along with several other countries and their dominions while Axis powers comprised of Nazi Germany, Japan, Italy and few other countries. Soviet Union initially signed agreement with Germany but later joined the Allied powers in 1941 after the German attack on USSR. In the beginning, Axis powers seized large areas of different countries including France but the resistance of Britain and German failed attack on USSR took the war towards victory for Allied powers. This war lasted for 6 years and ended on 2nd September 1945. The war was fought mainly in Europe, Asia and Africa while countries from around the globe took part in this war. This is the deadliest war of human history as more than 70 million people (including Sino-Japanese War which started in 1937) died in the war including around 50 million civilians. It is the first and so far only war in which nuclear weapons are used. USA dropped nuclear bombs on Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. After the war, the Italian and Japanese empires fell while Nazi Germany collapsed and the country of Germany is divided into East and West Germany. The Cold War also started after the Second World War.
On 10th May 1940, Winston Churchill elected as the Prime Minister of UK.
In October 1941, Operation Reinhard started by Nazi Germany which was the main phase of Holocaust. During this operation, around 2 million people, mostly Jews, were sent to extermination camps in Poland to be killed in gas chambers. This operation continued for two years.
On 19th February 1942, USA began Internment of Japanese-Americans. During this process, more than 100,000 Japanese-Americans were removed from the western coast of USA due to security reasons.
On 13th August 1942, Manhattan Project started by USA with the support of Canada and UK. This project produced the first atomic bombs.
On 23rd February 1944, Operation Lentil started by the Soviet Union. During this operation, the whole population (over 500,000) of Chechnya and Ingushetia (North Caucasus) was expelled to Central Asia over their alleged support of Germany. Thousands of people died during the exile and they were allowed to return to their homes in 1957. In 2004, European Parliament named it as an act of genocide.
On 26th June 1945, UN Charter was signed.
On 25th May 1946, Jordan gained independence.
On 2nd June 1946, a constitutional referendum was held in Italy. According to results, more than 54% voted in favor of Italy as a republic while less than 46% voted for monarchy and Italy became a republic after this referendum.
On 4th July 1946, Philippines gained independence from USA.
On 16th August 1946, Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) was founded by Massoud Barzani in Mahabad (Iran) with the ideology of Kurdish nationalism. They were backed by USSR against the monarch regimes of Iran and Iraq.
On 19th December 1946, the First Indochina War started between France and Viet Minh (coalition for independence of Vietnam) in French Indochina (mainly northern Vietnam). France was supported by USA while Soviet Union and Communist China supported the Viet Minh. The war ended after 7 years and 7 months with victory for Viet Minh and departure of France from Indochina.
On 14th and 15th August 1947, Pakistan and India respectively gained independence from UK.
On 22nd October 1947, First Indo-Pakistan War started on the disputed territory of Kashmir. The war lasted for over a year with both sides occupying parts of Kashmir. Later in 1949, United Nations draw a Ceasefire Line in Kashmir between the two sides. Kashmir is still an unresolved issue between the two neighboring countries.
On 4th January 1948, Burma gained independence from UK.
On 30th January 1948, Indian independence movement leader Mohandas Gandhi was assassinated by a member of Hindu extremist party Hindu Mahasabha.
On 14th May 1948, the Executive Head of World Zionist Organization, David Ben-Gurion, declared the independence of Israel.
On 15th May 1948, First Arab-Israeli War started after Israel’s declaration of independence. Palestinian Arabs, Arab League nations and volunteers from different Muslim countries fought against Israel. The war lasted for around 10 months and ended with victory for Israel.
On 24th June 1948, the Berlin Blockade was started by Soviet Union. The aim of this blockade was to block the western access to the Allied part of Berlin so that they can practically control the entire Berlin and USSR block the road, rail and canal routes. It made the Air Forces of USA, UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa to supply the necessities through airway to their part of Berlin. This blockade continued for more than 10 months.
On 9th September 1948, the Korean Peninsula was divided into North and South Korea.
In 1948, South Africa passed the Apartheid (racial separation) legislation.
On 25th January 1949, Soviet Union and its allies establish COMECON (Council for Mutual Economic Assistance).
On 4th April 1949, NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) was formed. This organization was formed for a mutual defense against any invading country (especially against communist countries). 28 countries of Europe and North America are part of this alliance.
On 29th August 1949, USSR tests its first atomic bomb.
On 7th September and 7th October 1949, West Germany and East Germany were officially established respectively.
On 1st October 1949, the Communist Party of China fully occupied mainland China and it became People’s Republic of China (PRC).
On 25th June 1950, Korean War started between South Korea and North Korea. South Korea was backed by USA and UK while North Korea was supported by China and USSR. The war lasted for over 3 years without decisive victory for anyone. Millions of people (mostly civilians) died in this indecisive war.
On 8th September 1951, the San Francisco Peace Treaty was signed and under this treaty, Japan again became an independent state on 28th April 1952.
On 23rd July 1952, the Egyptian Revolution under Jamal Abdul Nasir overthrew King Farooq, end monarchy, finished British rule and established Republic of Egypt.
On 5th March 1953, Russian leader Joseph Stalin died.
On 26th July 1953, the Cuban Revolution started by 26th of July Movement under the leadership of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara against the Republic of Cuba. This armed conflict remained successful and Fidel Castro formed a Communist government in 1959.
On 19th August 1953, the government of Iranian PM Muhammad Mosaddeq was overthrown by a coup d’etat which was supported by the secret agencies of USA and UK.
On 9th November 1953, Cambodia gained independence from France.
On 1st November 1954, Algerian War of Independence started against the French rule. The war lasted for more than 7 years and ended with independence for Algeria in 1962.
On 14th May 1955, Warsaw Pact was formed by the 8 communist states of Eastern and Central Europe. It was a military organization and formed in retaliation of NATO.
On 18th August 1955, First Sudanese Civil War started between the Sudanese government and Southern Sudan Liberation Movement. The war lasted for over 16 years. After Sudan’s independence in 1956, it was supported by USSR while the rebels of Southern Sudan were supported by Uganda, Ethiopia and Israel. The war ended in 1972 with the formation of Southern Sudan Autonomous Region. Around 500,000 people (mostly civilians) died during the war.
In 1955, Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) was formed to help neighboring countries of Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Turkey against communism. UK was also a member of this organization while USA supported it militarily. Initially it was named Baghdad Pact but after Iraq’s withdrawal in 1958, it was renamed CENTO.
On 23rd October 1956, Hungarian Revolution began in the Hungarian People’s Republic against the communist policies of Soviet Union. In less than 3 week, this revolt was suppressed by USSR with more than 3,000 died.
On 29th October 1956, Suez Crisis started with Israeli attack on Egypt to gain control of Suez Canal. Israel was supported by UK and France. It was a military victory for Israel as it occupied the Sinai area but it was a political victory for Egypt as superpowers USA and USSR resolved the issue through negotiations instead of force. Israeli occupation of Sinai ended in March 1957.
On 6th March 1957, West African country Ghana gained independence from UK.
On 4th October 1957, the first artificial Earth satellite Sputnik 1 was launched by USSR which started the Space Race. Sputnik 1 completed its mission in 92 days.
In 1958, Great Chinese Famine started which took the lives of more than 20 million people in 3 years. New Chinese policies, including prohibition of farm ownership, were the main reasons for this famine.
On 29th July 1958, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was formed in USA to progress civilian space program.
On 4th October 1958, the French Fifth Republic was established. Under this constitution, France became a semi-presidential government in place of the previous parliamentary government.
On 19th February 1959, Cyprus gained independence from UK.
On 26th September 1959, the Vietnam War started between the North and South Vietnam. North Vietnam was supported by communist countries of USSR, China, North Korea, Cuba and others while South Vietnam was supported by anti-communist countries of USA, Thailand, South Korea, Australia, NZ and others. The war lasted for more than 15 years and ended with victory for North Vietnam. Millions of people from both sides died in this war which was one of the major conflicts of Cold War.
1960 is known as Year of Africa as 17 African countries gained independence that year. These mostly central and western countries gained independence from France (13), UK (02) and Belgium (01).
On 1st May 1960, USSR shot down an American spy aircraft U-2 in its air space through a surface-to-air-missile (SAM). The aircraft took off from Peshawar (Pakistan) and was on a spy mission about Soviet defense projects. This incident was an embarrassment for USA and it also further deteriorated relations between the two superpowers.
On 12th April 1961, USSR sent first Human spaceflight and Yuri Gagarin is the first person to reach the space.
On 13th August 1961, East Germany started the construction of Berlin Wall which blocked the eastern and western parts of Berlin by land.
On 27th September 1962, Yemen Arab Republic (YAR) was established by replacing Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen through a coup. It was formed on the ideology of Arab nationalism and also known popularly as North Yemen.
Soon after the formation of Yemen Arab Republic, North Yemen Civil War started in 1962 between the nationalists and supporters of the former kingdom. YAR was supported by Egypt and USSR while Saudi Arabia, Jordan and UK supported the supporters of former king. The war ended after 8 years with victory for YAR.
On 14th October 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis started with the deployment of Soviet nuclear ballistic missiles in Cuba. The crisis ended after couple of weeks with the Russian removal of these weapons from Cuba. It was the most dangerous crisis of Cold War when the world reached close to an atomic war.
On 20th October 1962, Sino-Indian War started over the conflict of Aksai Chin. This one month long war ended with China’s victory and it occupied whole of Aksai Chin.
On 20th January 1963, Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation started over the island of Borneo. The conflict lasted for over 42 months and Malaysia won the war with support from several countries.
On 22nd November 1963, American President John F Kennedy was assassinated by a sniper.
On 12th December 1963, Kenya gained independence from United Kingdom.
In 1964, the Colombian Conflict started between the Colombian government and communist guerrillas. The guerrillas were supported by USSR and Cuba till 1991 and now allegedly by Venezuela while the government is supported by USA, UK, France, Spain and other countries. Around 200,000 people have been killed so far and this conflict is still ongoing.
On 4th July 1964, the Zimbabwe War of Independence started between the Rhodesian government, ZANLA of Robert Mugabe and ZIPRA of Joshua Nkomo. The minority white Rhodesian government was supported by South Africa and Portugal while ZANLA was supported by Libya, Tanzania and China. The war ended in 1979 and Rhodesia became Republic of Zimbabwe.
On 6th September 1965, second Indo-Pakistan War started over disputed area of Kashmir. Skirmishes between two countries started since August which changed into a full-scale war when India invaded Pakistan on 6th September. The war lasted for 17 days and ended without any change in the borders.
Around 7,000 people died in the conflict (mostly military personnel).
In 1965 and 1966, around 500,000 people were killed in Indonesia during the anti-communist purge.
In May 1966, a Cultural Revolution was launched in China by Mao Zedong. The aim of that revolution was to clean the Chinese society from the capitalists. This revolution proved to be very disastrous socially and economically.
In 1966, Botswana, Lesotho and Barbados gained independence from UK.
On 5th June 1967, Six-Day War started between Israel and Arab countries. The war started after Israeli surprise attack on Egypt. The war lasted for only 6 days with Israel capturing areas of Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
On 6th July 1967, the Nigerian Civil War started between Nigeria and Igbo people of Biafra region. The war lasted for two and a half years with victory for Nigeria as Biafra rejoined Nigeria.
On 8th October 1968, the Northern Ireland conflict started during which Irish Republic Army (IRA) and other groups tried to make Northern Ireland part of Republic of Ireland. Military conflict ended in 1998 while Northern Ireland was later given more autonomy.
On 20th July 1969, the first manned Moon-landing occurred on Aleppo 11 by USA. Neil Armstrong was the first man to land on Moon.
On 1st September 1969, Muammar Gaddafi occupied Libya through a coup against King Idris.
In 1970, Bhola cyclone in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) killed around 500,000 people. This cyclone was used as propaganda by the separatist party Awami League.
In September 1970, the Jordanian Civil War started between Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Jordanian government. Jordan achieved military victory and PLO left Jordan.
On 3rd December 1971, third Indo-Pakistan War started, mainly on Eastern front. On 16th December, the war ended with victory for India and separatists (Mukti Bahini) of East Pakistan and it became Bangladesh.
On 5th September 1972, Munich massacre happened during 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich (West Germany). A Palestinian group Black September kidnapped and later killed 11 Israeli players and coaches during the Olympics. They demanded the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.
On 6th October 1973, Yom Kippur War started between Arabs and Israel. The war started with Egyptian and Syrian surprise attack on Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights respectively. It was the first war during which Israel suffered high military loses. Though Israel later regained the control of Arab occupied areas through US support but it was a political victory for Egypt and Arab countries. Later, Egypt regained Sinai Peninsula after accepting Israel through an agreement.
On 7th June 1975, first one-day international Cricket World Cup started in England.
On 9th September 1976, Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong died.
On 27th March 1977, the Tenerife airport disaster killed 583 people due to collision of two Boeing 747s in Spain. It is known as the fatalist incident in the history of aviation.
In January 1978, Iranian Revolution started against the rule of Shah of Iran. The religious and communist groups of the country were behind this revolution. In February 1979, the regime fell and Islamists took over the country.
On 30th October 1978, the Uganda-Tanzania War began. The war lasted for over 5 months with victory for Tanzania.
On 27th April 1978, War in Afghanistan started after the communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) took power through a military coup. Later Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979 to crush the resistance against PDPA. The Mujahideen (religious fighters) took arms against the Soviet occupation which were supported by Muslim countries, USA and several other countries. USSR left Afghanistan in 1989. This war was decisive victory against communism as later USSR collapsed due to this war.
On 4th November 1979, Iran hostage crisis started when Iranian students occupied US Embassy in Tehran and taken 55 American citizens hostage. The crisis ended in January 1981 with release of these hostages.
On 22nd September 1980, Iran-Iraq War started on border disputes. The war lasted for around 8 years and ended without any territorial change. Around 1 million soldiers and civilians died during the conflict.
On 29th July 1981, the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana took place at London (UK). Around 750 million people globally watched the wedding ceremony on TV.
From 2nd to 18th February 1982, Syrian troops killed minimum 10,000 citizens of Hama during 1982 Hama Massacre. This operation was against Syrian Muslim Brotherhood while sufferers were mostly civilians.
On 2nd April 1982, Falklands War started between Argentina and UK over disputed islands of South Atlantic Ocean. UK won this ten-week war and regained the control of these islands with the support from USA, France and Chile while USSR, Vatican City and most of South American countries supported Argentina.
On 6th June 1982, Israel invaded Lebanon for an operation against PLO which triggered the First Lebanon War. Christian militias supported Israel while Syria and Muslim militias backed the PLO. The war continued for three years.
In April 1983, Second Sudanese Civil War started between the Sudanese government and rebels of Southern Sudan. The war ended in 2005 with a Peace Agreement through which South Sudan became a republic after 2011 referendum.
On 18th April 1983, a suicide bombing at US embassy in Beirut killed 63 people including 17 Americans. A Shia organization Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
On 23rd October 1983, two suicide truck bombs by Islamic Jihad at American and French troops in Beirut killed over 300 people including 241 American and 58 French soldiers. These bombings led to pull out of international peacekeepers from Lebanon.
From 1983-85, the famine in Ethiopia and Eritrea took lives of around 400,000 people.
On 19th December 1984, a Sino-British Joint Declaration was signed. According to this agreement, UK agreed to hand over Hong Kong back to China in 1997.
In January 1986, South Yemen Civil War started between two factions of Yemeni Socialist Party for rule of South Yemen.
On 28th January 1986, American Space Shuttle Challenger destroyed over Atlantic Ocean. All 7 crew-members also died.
On 26th April 1986, a nuclear plant exploded in Chernobyl (then USSR now Ukraine) which killed 31 people while its harmful effects (cancer etc) are still present.
On 19th October 1987, stock markets crashed around the world. The crash started from Hong Kong and spread westward to Europe and then USA. This event is known as Black Monday in finance.
On 8th December 1987, the First Intifada started by Palestinian organization Hamas against Israel. This intifada lasted for less than 6 ears in which over 2000 people killed (mostly Palestinians).
In 1988, Perestroika (reformation) began in the Communist Party of Soviet Union by its leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
On 21st December 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 crashed in Lockerbie (Scotland). Total 270 people including all passengers and crew members died in the bombing which is known as Lockerbie bombing.
On 9th March 1989, Revolutions of 1989 started in Europe and other communist countries of the world. Within 3 years, USSR dissolved into Russian Federation as almost all its occupied states of Europe and Asia gained independence, Germany reunified, many communists states dissolved, fall of communism as ideology all over the world and end of cold war.
On 15th April 1989, Tiananmen Square Protests started in Beijing and other cities of China for democracy, social equality and freedom of speech and press. The Chinese government powerfully suppressed the protests during which hundreds died and thousands injured.
On 24th April 1990, Hubble Space Telescope was launched by NASA.
On 22nd May 1990, North and South Yemen unified to form Republic of Yemen.
On 2nd August 1990, the Gulf War was initiated by Coalition forces against Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. Iraq suffered defeat in the war and Kuwait was liberated by the Coalition armies.
On 3rd October 1990, East and West Germany reunified into a single state Germany.
On 20th December 1990, a British Tim Berners-Lee invented World Wide Web.
On 26th January 1991, Somali Civil War started. It is an ongoing conflict.
On 1st March 1991, Uprising in Iraq started against Saddam regime in the north by Kurds and south by Shiite militias. Iraqi government brutally suppressed the uprising in just over a month.
On 27th June 1991, Slovenian Independence War started against Yugoslavia. Slovenia gained independence after 10 days.
On 10th July 1991, Boris Yeltsin took oath as the First President of Russian Federation.
On 26th December 1991, Algerian Civil War started between Algerian government and different opponent armed groups. The major war ended in 2002 after an amnesty peace plan.
On 7th February 1992, the European Union was created after the signing of Maastricht Treaty.
On 6th April 1992, the Bosnian War started between Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia and Yugoslavia. In 1994, Bosnia and Croatia jointly fought against Yugoslavia with UN help. The war ended in 1995 with around 100,000 deaths (mostly Bosnian civilians).
On 1st January 1993, the federal state of Czechoslovakia split into two separate states of Czech Republic and Slovakia. Due to a bloodless separation, this is also known as Velvet Divorce.
On 26th February 1993, a truck bomb hit World Trade Center which killed 6 persons and injured more than 1,000.
On 24th May 1993, Eritrea gained independence from UK.
On 13th September 1993, Oslo 1 Accord signed between Israel and Palestine which ended the First Intifada.
On 25th February 1994, an extremist Israeli Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Palestinians while they were praying in Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron, West Bank. 29 Palestinians died and 125 wounded. Later, the attacker was also killed by the surviving Palestinians.
On 10th May 1994, Nelson Mandela became First president of South Africa after the end of apartheid (racial discrimination).
On 11th December 1994, First Chechen War started in Chechnya and surrounding areas between the self-proclaimed Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and Russian. The war lasted for more than 20 months and ended with victory for Chechnya.
On 4th May 1994, a Civil War in Yemen started between Northern and Southern Yemen. After 2 months, the war ended in favor of Northern Yemen.
On 4th April 1994, the Rwandan Genocide started by the majority and government-controlled Hutu population against the minority Tutsi population. The genocide lasted for over 3 months and around 1 million Tutsis were massacred during this planned genocide.
Between 1994 and 1998, an estimated 2 to 3 million people died during the North Korean Famine.
On 4th November 1995, an Israeli terrorist Yigal Amir assassinated the then Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin over his support of Oslo Accord.
On 27th September 1996, Taliban occupied Kabul and established the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
On 24th October 1996, the First Congo War started.
In March 1997, conflict started between Albanian government and armed civilians supported by other armed groups. The reason for this Albanian unrest was the failure of Pyramid schemes in which large number of people lost their money. The unrest ended with new parliamentary elections.
On 31st August 1997, Princess of Wales Diana died in a car accident along with her friend Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul.
On 28th February 1998, Kosovo War started between Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and Yugoslavia for liberation of Kosovo. The war lasted for more than 15 months and resulted in departure of Yugoslav forces from Kosovo. KLA was supported by NATO.
On 2nd August 1998, Second Congo War began.
On 7th August 1998, two truck bombs exploded at the embassies of USA in Nairobi (Kenya) and Dar es Salaam (Tanzania). Al-Qaeda was blamed for these attacks in which 224 people died and over 4,000 injured.
In May 1999, Kargil War started between Pakistan and India for the control of Kargil district, Kashmir. The war ended within 3 months with around 1000 soldiers killed from both sides and without any change in the border.
On 26th August 1999, the Second Chechen War started between Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and Russian Federation. The war ended after 9 months with victory for Russia and establishment of a pro-Russian Chechen government. The insurgency by Chechen fighters is ongoing against Russia and its puppet Chechen government.
On 20th November 1999, Sharia Conflict in Nigeria started. During the conflict, Sharia law was introduced in Muslim-majority provinces in Northern Nigeria. The conflict later changed into an armed struggle between Nigerian government and Muslim group Boko Haram and it is an ongoing conflict.
In 1999, second Liberian Civil War started between Liberian government and Rebels. The rebels were supported by UK, USA and neighboring countries. The war ended with victory for rebels after four years.
In 1999, East Timorese crisis started between the supporters and opponents of Independence from Indonesia in East Timor. More than 1000 people died in the conflict and the crisis ended in 2002 with independence for East Timor.
On 28th September 2000, Palestinian Second Intifada started against Israel.
On 12th October 2000, a suicide bomber of Al-Qaeda detonated a small boat near an American guided-missile destroyer USS Cole in Aden (Yemen). The bombing killed 17 crew-members and injured 39.
21st Century is the next section.