Contemporary history begins with the splitting of the atom and the rise of computers. These two new technologies more than anything else will fundamentally shape the course of human affairs. The contemporary period is characterized by the end of colonial imperialism, the rise of global capitalism and neocolonialism, and the rapid growth of global communication. Being the present, it’s impossible to say when or how this time period may end.
2. The editors at Infoplease have decided to split the divide around the beginning of the Italian Renaissance. With the Italian Renaissance, things start to look more familiar than in the Middle Ages. Medieval societies were built around systems of government, economic practices, and schools of thought that are often completely alien to today’s readers, while by the Renaissance things like standing armies, stock-bond companies, and ethnic states come into play.
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The avian-borne flu that resulted in 50 million deaths worldwide, the 1918 flu was first observed in Europe, the United States and parts of Asia before spreading around the world. At the time, there were no effective drugs or vaccines to treat this killer flu strain.
invention of the architectural arch, invention of the first accurate calendars (Egypt)
archaic Homo sapiens in Africa, use of fire, huts
19th century – Residual resistance by indigenous people crushed as immigration from Europe assumes mass proportions, with settlers moving westwards and claiming “manifest destiny” to control North America; number of states in the union rises from 17 to 45.
A chronology of key events:
1995 – Annapolis celebrates its 300-year anniversary as the capital of Maryland
1838 – Disguised as a sailor, Frederick Douglass boards a train to Havre de Grace and finds freedom from slavery. The Eastern Shore native later gains international fame as an orator and statesman.