10 Historical Events That Changed The World

Events that changed the world

This is the 1st part of a 5 part series where we will highlight 10 historical events that changed the world we are living in today, had these events not happened or not happened the way they did, we would probably be heading towards a different direction or a different lifestyle. Over the past 2,000 years, several major events has happened, historical events that shaped our future and helped transform it into the modern society that it is today, not just in the US, Britain or any other part of the Western world but on a global scale. It should be noted that while some of these events brought about so many positive impact to the society, others were horrible resulting to harm, destruction, tension and war

Here are the key historical events that changed the course of our history

Historical Events That Changed The World Part 1 of 5: (6 BC – 1869 AD)

1. The Birth of Christ (6 BC – 4 BC)

Jesus also known as Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ or simply Christ is the key figure and foundation of Christianity, whom majority of Christian denominations beleive to be the Son of God and the awaited Messiah of the Old Testament. Christians believe that Jesus’s life provides a perfect example of how God wants us to live. In Islam, Jesus is considered to be a prophet.

Christian beliefs and how it helped shape our future

Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate,  was crucified, dead, and buried, He descended into hell; The third day he rose again from the dead, He ascended into heaven, And sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. (Apostle’s creed)

Jesus is the Son of God, begotten of the Father [the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God], Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made [both in heaven and on earth]; who for men, and for the salvation of men, came down and was incarnate and was made man; he suffered, and the third day he rose again, ascended into heaven; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. (Culled from the Nicene Creed)

The Birth of Jesus Christ

“Now the birth of Jesus Christ happened this way: When his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit”. Matthew 1:18

While the nativity accounts in the New Testament gospels of Matthew and Luke did not mention a specific date or time of year for the birth of Christ, it is believed from the information available that Christ was born during the time of King Herod which many pundits generally assume a date of birth between 6 and 4 BC.

How Christ and Christianity Has Impacted Our World

Universal human rights and equality finds its root from the Christian belief that all people are created in the image of God, the church has been a major source of services like healthcare, schooling and welfare services, a lot of universities and higher institutions in the world were founded by the Church.

Several charitable organisations owe their origin to Christian sources such as the Parable of the Good Samaritan and the teachings of Jesus which is to love your neighbour as you love thyself

“‘And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” – Mark 12:30–31

Long held Christian teachings on sexuality and marriage have also been of influence in family life.

The Church has brought about a significant, positive influence on the development of science and Technology, Christianity has played a major role in ending practices such as human sacrifice, slavery, infanticide and polygamy, it still plays a major role on issues like abortion, divorce, incest, polygamy, birth control and marital infidelity.

Time itself is measured from the assumed date of the birth of Christ; the Year One AD (1AD) translated as In the year of the Lord or Anno Domini Nostri Iesu (Jesu) Christi (“In the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ”), prior to that is BC which means before Christ.

Either directly of indirectly, many laws we have today are based on Biblical teachings, in the list of the 100 Most Influential People in Human history, 65% of the people in the list are Christians from various fields. The establishment of christianity is definitely a remarkable historical event that changed our world


2. The Birth of Muhammad (570 AD)

Abū al-Qāsim Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn ʿAbd al-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim (Arabic: محمد بن عبد الله بن عبد المطلب ‎) also transliterated as Muhammad was born in about 570 CE in the Arabian city of Mecca, he was orphaned at an early age and brought up under the care of his uncle Abu Talib. Muhammad was a religious, political, and military leader from Mecca who is believed by Muslims and Bahá’ís to be a messenger and prophet of God. He is almost universally considered by Muslims as the last prophet sent by God for mankind. To non-Muslims, Muhammad is regarded as the founder of Islam, while Muslims consider him to be the restorer of an unaltered original monotheistic faith of Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. He destroyed the pagan idols in the city and then sent his followers out to destroy all of the remaining pagan temples in Eastern Arabia, Muhammad unified Arabia into a single religious polity under Islam.

Muslim Beliefs and how it shaped our future

  • Muslims believe that Prophet Muhammad is a human being and a prophet of Allah and that God used him to reveal His final message to man, a repeating of the eternal message
  • Muslims believe that he has no son nor partner, no one has the right to be worshipped but Him alone. He is the true God, and every other god is false. 

“Say, “He is God, the One. God, to Whom the creatures turn for their needs. He begets not, nor was He begotten, and there is none like Him.” – Qur’an, 112:1- 4

  • it is believed that there were 124000 prophets including Noah, Moses, Abraham, Jesus and that all of them command equal respect.
  • Muslims also believe that we will all be resurrected one day when we will have to give answer to all of our deeds. The bad deeds and good deeds will be compared side by side. The one with more sins than good deeds will go to hell where he will live in blazing fire and will be tortured forever.
  • Just like Christians, Muslims believe that after this life, there is another life which will be permanent but there’s also hell where bad people will be tortured for a certain amount of time.
  • God is the most beneficial and merciful according to Islamic beliefs.
  • No member of other faith or religion should be attacked and that every person has a right to follow religion that he/she wishes. (Freedom of Religion)
  • Every person is responsible for his/her own actions

How has Muhammad and Islamic beliefs impacted Our World?

Muhammad founded and promulgated one of the world’s most influential religions, today, thirteen centuries after his death, his influence is still powerful and pervasive and has tremendously shaped our world in a lot of ways.

Michael H. Hart, the American astrophysicist in his first book The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History (1978), ranked Muhammad as the first person on his list of the the most influential single figures in human history based on the fact that Muhammad was “supremely successful” in both the religious and secular realms.

Islam which was founded by him urges mankind to search and explore the universe:

We (Allah) will show you (mankind) our signs/patterns in the horizons/universe and in yourselves until you are convinced that the revelation is the truth”.  – Qur’an, 14:52

So many Muslims are now interested in astronomy, mathematics, geometry, and other sciences giving rise to several inventions as a result of this influence.



3. Black Death Comes to Western Europe (1347 – 1350)

The Black Death also known as bubonic plague which was rampant during the Fourteenth Century was one of the most devastating pandemics in the history of mankind peaking in Europe between 1347 and 1350 and killing between 75 million and 200 million people. No amount of medical knowledge could help when this plague struck. It is thought to have started in China and then then travelled along the Silk Road and reached the Crimea by 1346

It is estimated to have killed something between 30 to 60 percent of the entire population of Europe at the time. Generally, black death reduced the population of the world to a number between 350 million to 375 million from about 450 million at the time

It was one of those few moments in history that created a series of social, religious and economic upheavals, which had profound impact on the course of European history.


4. Christopher Columbus First Transatlantic Voyages, 1492

Although the Italian born Columbus did not actually discover the Americas first, he also did not actually get to the mainland until his third voyage in 1498 (when he reached South America, and the fourth voyage, when he reached Central America), it was his exploration that changed the entire continent forever, his discoveries resulted to the major European sea powers sending expeditions to the “New World” to build trade networks, colonies and to convert the native people to Christianity.

In April 1492, Columbus was given the title “Admiral of the Ocean Sea,” he is credited with connecting the 15th century old world that is made up of Africa, Asia and Europe to the new world (the Americas), this discovery is marked with celebration in the US as Columbus day



5. Industrial Revolution Begins in England (1760)

This is the unprecedented explosion of new ideas and new technological inventions that occurred in the period from about 1760 to some time between 1820 and 1840 which led to an increasingly industrial and urbanised country. This revolution started in Britain but eventually spread to western Europe and the US.

It marks a major turning point in the history of mankind and helped shape our future, almost all aspects of our lives was impacted as a result of the changes that took place within that period from healthcare to transportation, it’s one of those historical moments that helped reshape our future and will always be remembered



6. US Declaration of Independence (1776)

What gave rise to the United states of America in 1776 was a declaration adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, signed by 55 men representing 13 colonies drafted principally by Thomas Jefferson, it claimed sovereignty for the thirteen American colonies which was then at war with Great Britain, they regarded themselves as independent states, the declaration of independence means that no longer a part of the British Empire.

Although the document has served its purpose in announcing independence, it’s still considered very important today particularly the second sentence which is often regarded as “one of the best-known sentences in the English language” often used by President Obama:

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

The new independent country (USA) which was founded because the people rejected the idea of taxation without representation is now the leader of the free world.


7. French Revolution Begins in Paris (1789)

This was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France between 1787 and 1799  reaching its climax in 1789, hence the conventional term “Revolution of 1789,”

It had a lasting impact on not just the French history but also throughout Europe. The political upheaval in France will not only be remembered as the period that ended the feudalism in France but will always be remembered as that moment in history which led to the total transformation of the social structure of Europe.


 8. British abolishes slave trade (1807)

Slave Trade Act of 1807 was an “Act of Parliament made in the United Kingdom passed on 25 March 1807, with the long title “An Act for the Abolition of the Slave Trade”.

It was an act that abolished the slave trade in the British Empire, although it did not abolish slavery itself immediately as it remained legal in most of the British Empire until the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 or Emancipation Act of 1833 led by a young MP named William Wilberforce, it led to the actual abolishment of slavery throughout the British empire.


9. Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species (1859)

“On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life” which was published in 1859 is a work of scientific literature by Charles Darwin, an English naturalist considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Charles Darwin’s book established the scientific theory that all species of life descended from common ancestors that evolved over the course of generations through a process of what he called natural selection.


10. Opening of Suez Canal (1869)

Suez Canal is an artificial waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. the canal was opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, the implication was that ships could then travel between Asia and Europe without having to sail several miles around Africa, it also stimulated more European colonisation of Africa, the canal is still in use today where an average of 50 ships navigate the canal daily, carrying more than 300 million tons of goods a year.


Image credit: Edal Anton Lefterov