2nd millennium

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Voyages of Christopher ColumbusAmerican RevolutionIslamic conquest of ConstantinopleBlack DeathNapoleon BonaparteTelephoneAirplaneApollo 11World War IILight BulbGutenberg Bible
From left, clockwise: in 1492, Italian navigator Christopher Columbus arrives in North America; the American Revolution introduces the concept of liberal democracy in the late 1700s; the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople; the Atomic Bomb from World War II; an alternate source of light, the light bulb; for the first time, a human being sets foot on the moon in 1969 during the Apollo 11 moon mission; aeroplanes become the most-used way of transport through the skies; Napoleon Bonaparte, in the early 19th century, affects France and Europe with expansionism and modernization; Alexander Graham Bell's telephone; in 1348, the Black Death kills in just two years over 100 million people worldwide, and over half of Europe. (Background: An excerpt from the Gutenberg Bible, the first major book printed in the West using movable type, in the 1450s)

The second millennium of the Anno Domini or Common Era was a millennium spanning the years 1001 to 2000 (11th to 20th centuries; in astronomy: JD 2086667.52451909.5[1]).

It encompassed the High and Late Middle Ages of the Old World, the Islamic Golden Age and the period of Renaissance, followed by the Early Modern period, characterized by the Wars of Religion in Europe, the Age of Enlightenment, the Age of Discovery and the colonial period. Its final two centuries coincide with Modern history, characterized by industrialization, the rise of nation states, the rapid development of science, widespread education, and universal health care and vaccinations in the Western world. The 20th century saw increasing globalization, most notably the two World Wars and the subsequent formation of the United Nations. 20th-century technology includes powered flight, television and semiconductor technology, including integrated circuits. The term "Great Divergence" was coined to refer the unprecedented cultural and political ascent of the Western world in the second half of the millennium, emerging by the 18th century as the most powerful and wealthy world civilization, having eclipsed Qing China and the Islamic world. This allowed the colonization by European countries of much of the world during this millennium, including the Americas, Africa, Oceania, and South and Southeast Asia.

World population grew without precedent over the millennium, from about 310 million in 1000 to about 6 billion in 2000. The population growth rate increased dramatically during this time; world population approximately doubled to 600 million by 1700, and doubled more than three more times by 2000, ultimately reaching about 1.8% per year in the second half of the 20th century.[citation needed]

Political history[edit]

Middle Ages[edit]

11th century, 1143, 1400, 1495
Near East
see also Crusades, Mongol invasions
North Africa
East Asia
Sahel / Sudan and Sub-Saharan Africa
Pre-Columbian Americas

Early Modern period[edit]

Colonial empires
sub-Saharan Africa

Modern history[edit]


Cultural and technological history[edit]

Inventions, discoveries and introductions
Communication and technology Science and mathematics Manufacturing Transportation and
Communication and technology
  1. Printing press (c. 1450)[2]
  2. Thermometer (1596)
  3. Electrical battery (1800)
  4. Telegraph (1832)
  5. Video games (1972)
  6. Photography (1837)
  7. Telephone (1860)
  8. Animation (1906)
  9. Television (1932)
  10. Computer (1939)
  11. Transistor (1947)
  12. Satellite (1957)
  13. Internet (1969)[2]
  14. Electrostatic generator (1706)
  1. Accounting (c. 1494)
  2. Probability (c. 1549)
  3. Calculus (c. 1680)
  4. Vaccination (1796)[2][3]
  5. Atomic theory (1808)[3]
  6. Anesthesia (1842)[2][3]
  7. Natural selection (1858)[3]
  8. Genetics (1866)[2][3]
  9. Special relativity (1905)[3]
  10. Penicillin (1920)[2][3]
  11. DNA (1928)[3]
  12. Quantum mechanics (1935)[3]
  13. Electricity
  1. Canned food (1809)
  2. Plastic (1869)[3]
  3. Assembly line (1913)
  4. Sliced bread (1928)
  5. Frozen food (1924)
  6. Nuclear reactor (1942)
  7. Food processor (1971)
  8. Finite geometry (1989)
  1. Barometer (1643)
  2. Bicycle (1817)
  3. Steam engine (1712)
  4. Steam turbine (1884)
  5. Internal combustion engine (1833)
  6. Steam locomotive (1804)
  7. Human flight (c. 1716)
  8. Moon landing (1969)
  9. Space station (1971)
  10. Reusable launch system (1981)
  11. GPS navigation (1983)
  1. Longbow (c. 1386)
  2. Rockets
  3. Aircraft carrier (1911)
  4. Nuclear weapon (1945)
  5. Submarine (1776)
  6. Tanks (1916)
  7. Firearms (c. 1100)


The Julian calendar was used in Europe at the beginning of the millennium, and all countries that once used the Julian calendar had adopted the Gregorian calendar by the end of it. For this reason, the end date of the 2nd millennium is usually calculated based on the Gregorian calendar, while the beginning date is based on the Julian calendar (or occasionally the proleptic Gregorian calendar).

In the late 1990s, there was a dispute as to whether the millennium should be taken to end on December 31, 1999, or December 31, 2000. Stephen Jay Gould at the time argued there is no objective way of deciding this question.[4] Associated Press reported that the third millennium began on 1 January 2001, but also reported that celebrations in the US were generally more subdued at the beginning of 2001, compared to the beginning of 2000.[5] Many public celebrations for the end of the second millennium were held on December 31, 1999 – January 1, 2000[6]—with a few people marking the end of the millennium a year later.

Centuries and decades[edit]

11th century 1000s[note 1] 1010s 1020s 1030s 1040s 1050s 1060s 1070s 1080s 1090s
12th century 1100s 1110s 1120s 1130s 1140s 1150s 1160s 1170s 1180s 1190s
13th century 1200s 1210s 1220s 1230s 1240s 1250s 1260s 1270s 1280s 1290s
14th century 1300s 1310s 1320s 1330s 1340s 1350s 1360s 1370s 1380s 1390s
15th century 1400s 1410s 1420s 1430s 1440s 1450s 1460s 1470s 1480s 1490s
16th century 1500s 1510s 1520s 1530s 1540s 1550s 1560s 1570s 1580s 1590s
17th century 1600s 1610s 1620s 1630s 1640s 1650s 1660s 1670s 1680s 1690s
18th century 1700s 1710s 1720s 1730s 1740s 1750s 1760s 1770s 1780s 1790s
19th century 1800s 1810s 1820s 1830s 1840s 1850s 1860s 1870s 1880s 1890s
20th century 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s


  1. ^ Only the nine years 1001–1009 of the 1000s decade were in the 2nd millennium; the year 1000 was the last year of the 1st millennium (1–1000). The year 1000 is the first year of the 1000s millennium (1000–1999) which is used interchangeably with the 2nd millennium though the start and end dates differ by a year.


  1. ^ "Julian Day Number from Date Calculator". High accuracy calculation for life or science.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Keeley, Larry (2007-02-16). "The Greatest Innovations of All Time". BusinessWeek. The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc. Archived from the original on 7 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "The Big 100: the Science Channels 100 Greatest Discoveries". Discovery Communications, LLC. 2008. Archived from the original on 31 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-12.
  4. ^ Stephen Jay Gould, Questioning the Millennium: A Rationalist's Guide to a Precisely Arbitrary Countdown (New York: Harmony Books, 1999), ch 2.
  5. ^ Associated Press, "Y2K It Wasn't, but It Was a Party", Los Angeles Times, January 1, 2001.
  6. ^ "Millennium FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions". When does the Millennium start?. Greenwich2000.ltd.uk. 2008-08-12. Archived from the original on 12 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-29.