Timescales of Human History: an illustration

In the following illustration, the history of humanity, beginning a hundred and fifty thousand years ago, is reduced to a single lifetime of 75 years.  The intent of this illustration is to give some notion of the timescales of human history.

Humanity is born at 12:00:01  a.m. January 1st, 75 years ago.  Today is 12:00 p.m. on December 31st of humanity’s 75th year.

Humanity lives the first 45 of the total 75 years in Africa.

Thirty years ago, at about age 45, humanity invents language and moves out of Africa to populate parts of Europe, Asia and Australia.

Fifteen years ago, at about age 60, humanity reaches Beringia.

Eight years ago, at about age 67, humanity begins to populate the Americas.

Five years and three months ago, nearing the age of 70, humanity develops agriculture in the Near East.  From Neolithic farming to now represents 7% of the total lifetime of humanity.

Thirty-three months ago, at the age of 72 years and three months, humanity develops a fully functional writing system in Mesopotamia.  History begins.  96.33% of humanity’s story is already over.

Fifteen months ago, at the age of 73 and nine months, humanity momentarily encounters the era of Periclean Athens.

Three hundred and sixty-six days ago, on December 30th, a day and a half before humanity turns 74, the Christian era begins.  If the Christian calendar were adapted to the timescale of the present illustration, it would now be just about time to break for lunch on January 2nd of the year 2.

Ninety-four days ago, on September 29th at about 7:55 p.m., in humanity’s 75th year, Columbus encounters the West Indies and the modern era begins.  The Aboriginal people waiting on the beach for him to arrive (using the same timescale) got pregnant, had the baby, and the child is already in elementary school before Columbus finally shows up.

Forty-three days ago, on November 18th at about 7:15 a.m., in humanity’s 75th year, Juan Perez sailing for Spain becomes the first European known to have sighted what will become known as British Columbia.

Twenty seven days ago, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, December 4th, in humanity’s 75th year, the colony of British Columbia is founded.

Eleven days ago, just before noon on December 20th, the Second World War ends.

Yesterday, at noon, December 30th, the new millennium begins.

Today, December 31st of the 75th year of humanity, began on July 9th, 2002, according to the Christian calendar.

In one second, humanity turns 75.

Oh, and happy new year.

~ by fathertheo on September 23, 2008.

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