Have you ever stopped for a moment to think how and why the world is like as we know it today? History, of course, plays a major role in shaping and influencing the modern days. Many of us tend to regard history as nothing more than a collection of abstract facts that possess no bearing whatsoever on the ‘real life’. You may not realize it but a lot of things in the present are affected by historical events that transpired in the past, especially those big, world-changing events. Did you know that ISIS wouldn’t have existed had it not been for World War I? The war also caused Ireland to part ways with the UK and form their own Brexit.
To put it simply, historical events don’t simply alter things when they happen, but also send out shock waves that reverberate into the present. In this case, William Faulkner’s words seem to make sense: The past is never dead. It’s not even past. If you are curious about what some of the significant events in the past are and their contributions to the present days, then we’ve got you covered! The list of the most influential historical events below will satisfy your curiosity.
The upshot of the American Revolution definitely impacted the world as a whole. Despite what the too localized quality of the event would have you think, it could very well be considered as a global event. This event changed what people thought was possible in terms of revolution and imperial rule. As a matter of fact, other countries modeled themselves on the American Revolution when they wanted to be free from their colonial rulers. Many other countries, like France for instance, used the Declaration of Independence of the American Revolution as a guide to form their own and fight for freedom.
Never in recent history had a colonized nation overthrown a massive imperialistic power like Great Britain to establish a republic of free citizens with their own individual rights. It didn’t take long for such liberal ideas of self-rule and social equality to start spreading to other countries. Poland, Greece, and France were just some of those countries. It even impacted as many as half the countries within the United Nations, such as Israel, Vietnam, and Venezuela. The American Revolution marked the beginning of new belief that it is possible to revolt against the imperial rule and establish an independent nation. This event shows the world that it is always possible to win a rebellion against a stronger and more powerful imperial nation.
The Protestant Reformation can be seen as both a major 16th century religious and political historical event. Some of the prominent figures that played important roles include Martin Luther and King Henry VIII. To say that this European movement doesn’t affect the world would be inaccurate for it practically impacted the structures and beliefs that define the continent in the modern day. The event that occurred 500 years ago was undeniably the colossal upheaval in Western church history for it ended the unity imposed by medieval Christianity, signaled the start of the modern era and of course rent the Church into two factions, namely Catholic and Protestant.
The Protestant Reformation initially wanted to reform the practices and beliefs of the Roman Catholic Church and fight for total power redistribution into the hands of the Bible. The disruption led to wars, persecutions, and Counter-Reformation. Ambitious political leaders wanted to extend their power to the point of absolute control over the whole Christian world at the expense of the Church.
Reformers such as John Calvin, Martin Luther, and Henry VIII questioned the Catholic Church’s ability and challenge papal authority to define Christian practice. A German Augustinian monk, Martin Luther, posted his 95 theses in 1517 on the church door in Wittenberg. In the past, this act was considered as an invitation to debate. He argued that the Bible was the central means to discern God’s word, not the Pope. This view obviously raised eyebrows in Rome. His challenges which would later become known as Lutheranism soon gained adherents in the Netherlands, German states France, Scotland and Scandinavia. America or the New World wouldn’t have happened had this not happened. Today, Reformation Day is celebrated every October 31st which marks the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Castle Church in 1517 at Wittenberg.
No story is more significant than the story of Jesus Nazareth when it comes to the Western Civilisation. Even if you are a religious skeptic, you can’t deny his significant role considering one-third of the entire world population regards themselves ‘Christian’ – the follower of Jesus Christ. Jesus was a mere tradesman in a Jewish neighborhood of Nazareth. Entire Israel was under Roman control during this period. Jesus started his public ministry around the Sea of Galilee when he was 30 years old and was famous for his powerful teachings and recorded miracles. His main teaching about the power of God and harmony among people were somehow perceived as a threat to Roman rulers. He began having disciples around Jerusalem and the number increased drastically over a couple centuries where hundreds of thousands would call themselves “Christians” in the Mediterranean region. It was only until 325 AD that Christianity truly became an official religion of the Roman Emperor and his teachings continued to spread even further until today.
The Berlin Wall served as more than just a barrier between the West and East Berlin at the time. It was a physical representation of the boundary between capitalism and communism. The Wall stood tough for over 10,000 days before it was eventually breached. One of the obvious impacts it had on Germany was family reunions. The impact of its fall was profound on not only on the country but also the whole world. For instance, the event signaled a massive change in global affairs. Following the WWI, the Cold War created a bipolar world where relations among countries and rampant contests for state power were subsumed by the binary clash of an US-led West against the Soviet-led East.
The Fall of the Wall symbolized the end of the Cold War. Following its fall, the entire Soviet power structure started to fall causing welter of moribund economies across Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Former Soviet Union to splutter to life. Consequently, more hardship to lurch forward. More than 30 countries were greatly affected, causing price liberation and the emergence of voucher privatization for properties. At the same time, the Fall of the Berlin Wall caused a vast swath of the Euro-Asian landmass where a market of more than 400 million people emerges. To put it in a nutshell, the destruction of this Wall symbolized the end of communism and the birth of the voice of the people.
As World War II involved almost every country in the world, it’s only natural to include this event in this most influential historical events list. It’s even dubbed as the deadliest military conflict in history where the number of casualties reached a dangerous figure of 70 million people, which literally amounts to 4% of the world’s population. The war was fought between the Allied (France, the US, and Great Britain were the leaders) and the Axis powers (led by Japan, Italy, and Germany). The Soviet Union was initially one of the Axis powers before it joined the Allies in 1941 during the German invasion. The early ‘successes’ of the war caused the Nazis to gain power and dominance with the German people.
The primary cause was obviously World War I and its aftereffect. The War began to come to an end when Hitler betrayed Stalin where he sent 3 million Axis troops into the Soviet Union. Germany wanted to claim to land for its own and so they slaughtered as many civilians as possible. However, they underestimate their former ally’s strength as well as Russian winter. It was the bloodiest and longest battle in modern warfare resulting in 4 million casualties. The Allied forces won the war and they controlled territories and countries of the Axis powers. They also dismantled their former enemies’ ability to initiate war by dismantling factories. One of the most notable impacts was, of course, the rise of the Berlin Wall to divide the West and East Germany. North and South Korea were also divided which eventually resulted in the Korean War. The end of World War II marks the birth of the United Nations.
When America declared war on Germany one hundred years ago, it caused the most extensive international conflict in history. Granted, the impacts of World War II were way worse but given the fact that causes of World War II can all be traced back to World War, I really say a lot about the significant role of World War I plays in history. It was once called the Great War. The barbaric events were responsible for 40 million lives. The war also ushered in a new era of advancement and discoveries, starting from prosthetic limb to canned food. The world map was also rewritten because of WWI. When domestic unrest triggered the Bolshevik Revolution, the rise of the Cold War and Communism, Russia decided to quit the war.
The Middle East changed with the downfall of Turkey along with Britain’s pledge for a Jewish state in Palestine. Add to that the Western powers yielded to isolationism. The war came to an end when people began to articulate a vision of the future, an optimism about how things could be better with nations working together. So, in a way, World War I served as an unforeseen pivot point for modern civilization as a whole. Another thing that is forever changed by the Great War is medicine. Most of the medicine practiced around the world was archaic prior to WWI. But during the war, all the best researchers and physicians were in the military and tending to patients. That ultimately led to ground-breaking discoveries that made a huge difference for public health to this day.
There is no denying the impact that Johannes Gutenberg has for pretty much everyone in the world today. Thanks to him, we now know how to spread literature to the masses in a very efficient, and durable way. The Gutenberg’s printing press also instigated Europe headlong into the original information age, known as the Renaissance. In the past, all English texts had to be laboriously copied by hand prior to the use of movable type. Books were typically in the form of handwritten manuscripts while playing cards, paper money or posters were block-printed from hand-carved wooden blocks that were inked and transferred to paper.
Thanks to the oft-unsuccessful German businessman, Johannes Gutenberg, he recognized the moneymaking potential of mass book production and began experimenting with printing methods. As a matter of fact, the printing press was one of the significant factors in the growing Renaissance movement because access to standard works of science, such as spreading new ideas, was quicker than ever. Martin Luther’s 95 Theses was nailed to the door of a German church and inevitably initiated the Protestant Reformation, he easily had multiple copies to hand out elsewhere. Guttenberg is now known as the Father of Printing Press. His contributions to printing have greatly influenced the increasing opportunities for learning and literacy around the world, especially among laypeople. Many people even regard his invention as the most influential in society.
You have to admit the massive impacts Muhammad has in history, even if you are not his follower. Prior to being a Prophet and essentially becoming the founder of Islam. He was considered as both a successful prophet and a successful politician. One of the reasons that account for the latter was when he migrated from Mecca to Medina with his followers. He built his first Muslim community here. When the Meccans heard about his success in Medina, they initiated skirmishes for years. Finally, in March 628, a treaty was signed that stated the Muslims as the new force in Arabia. He came when the world was deep in the darkness, between the 6th and 7th century when Christianity fell into idolatry with the Trinitarian concept of God and practices that deviated from the original teachings of Prophet Jesus. The height of idolatry was when the symbols for the worship turned into Satan and Satanism came began. Muhammad then came to shed light and guidance for mankind through the Quran.
It consists of the greatest and final revelation from God (Allah). Muhammad also taught people Sunnah, which is the wisdom to understand the application of the Holy Quran through his lifestyle. The life of Muhammad deserves to be regarded as one of the most influential historical events as his message had a profound impact, especially on the entire Arabian society where warring tribes were turned from fighting against each other to people united in worship of Allah. This society was changed from gambling, drunkness, adultery, racism, oppression, and robbery into a united society under the worship of God. The social impact Muhammad brought to the world was the real change, especially the elimination of race consciousness as among Muslims. By the time of his death, Islam was accepted almost by entire Arabia. It then spread to Southern Europe and China and eventually all around the world. To this day, Muslims around the world follow his teachings through Sunnah and rely on the Quran to help them get through life. His teachings live on until today. Now, Islam is known as one of the biggest religions in the world.
The term Pax Romana literally translates to “Roman Peace”. It refers to the 200 year period of first-time peace and economic prosperity throughout the Roman Empire, which extended over England to Iraq. The peace that had settled in the Empire led to many accomplishments and advances, especially in the arts and engineering. In order to keep their sprawling Empire, the Romans put up a massive system of roads, which contributes to the saying “all roads lead to Rome”. These roads facilitated the movement of communication and troops. The Romans also constructed aqueducts to carry water overland to farms and cities. Other significant impacts that are present until today also lay in the buildings and architecture. All of this thanks to Roman’s discovery of concrete. This material made possible the creation of big rounded domes and arches. The Pantheon is just one of the many famous structures built during the Pax Romana. It has one of the largest freestanding domes in the world today. When it comes to literature, great authors such as Virgil, Horace, Livy, and Ovid produced poetic and literary masterpieces. To put it in a nutshell, Rome reached its political, cultural and economic peak during Pax Romana in the entire Western World. This period also marked the end of the vicious sadist that is Caligula. He was mentally ill and loved seeing people being put to death. Due to his baldness, he resented people with hair and demanded that they are shaved. Due to his constant tyrannical behaviors, the Romans eventually turned against him and assassinated him in 41 C.E.
What is the first thing that pops in your head when you hear the word ‘Renaissance’? Arts? Architecture? Statues? The Renaissance wins as the most influential historical event for it basically changed the world in pretty much every way one could think of. It laid the foundation for the age of exploration and ultimate European world domination. The Renaissance marked as the rebirth of European’s interest in technology, exploration, and art. It was the beginning of a totally new way of thinking. Prior to the Renaissance, everything that conflicted with the religious dogma was wrong and heresy. Many people were illiterate and average people were treated like slaves by their masters. Art also suffered because if it’s not religious art then it was banned. True science, too, didn’t exist. Then, the Renaissance began in Italy where they began to rediscover and spread classical ideas such as the old Greek idea of the scientific method. Along with the invention of the printing press, books and writing became more common.
Eventually, people began to realize that the world could be seen separately from knowledge and religion. The Renaissance also brought about extraordinary art from artists like Michaelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Donatello. The art itself wasn’t simply about looking pretty but there lied intellectual discipline underneath where shadow and light were studied, perspective was developed and the human anatomy was poured over. Add to that Europe’s rebirth couldn’t have happened at a more perfect time. It’s because it coincided with the booming of trade, marriage, exploration, and diplomatic excursions. The new ideas and technologies that Europe gained from the Renaissance allowed Europe to earn the resources of the entire Americas all for themselves. This led to Europe dominating the entire world for centuries to come. The modern world as we know today is greatly influenced by the Renaissance spread across Europe that began in the 14th century. As a matter of fact, the Renaissance is kind of like a snowball effect in which each and every new intellectual advanced paved the way for more advancements.
This list should at least be able to provide you with a new perspective on the events in the past and their roles as well as the impacts they have on the world today. The way we live today wouldn’t be the same without the contributions of events and people around the world. Compiling together a most influential historical event isn’t an easy task as there are about hundreds and maybe as many as millions of historical events that greatly influence the world as it is today that we fail to recognize. Nevertheless, all the events in this list should give you a concise picture of how and why our world has either developed or shrank in size and significance and therefore this thread should do for now