Western Civilization - Important Dates in History
Page Still Under Construction

Western culture and civilization as we know it began long ago. The concept of our culture and civilization spring from the myths of Gods before 700 BC. The ancient Greeks developed western philosopher. Philosophy is the "Love of Wisdom" and the "Love of Ideas". Wisdom is the ability to grapple with fundamental questions and ideas.

This website is an attempt to grapple with fundamental questions about our Nation's founding and the resulting Constitution. Is our Nation a democracy or a republic? Is a democracy a good thing? Does a republic best protect the minorities?

The following dates list the major events that led to our Nation and our Constitution.


1194 - 1184 BC Trojan Wars

1200 - 700 BC Greek epic Poet Homer - author of Iliad and Odyssey.

585 BC Beginning of Greek Philosophy (Thales) / Western Philosophy

469 - 399 BC

Life of Socrates

Socrates left no writings. Socrates believed that writing weakens us by allowing an external device (writing) to be a crutch of support for not remembering.

His life and philosophy is conveyed by Plato through his dialogues. They both lived in Athens and their lives overlapped. Socrates would wander the city, asking questions and probing for answers. But most of all giving his views for those who would listen. Plato listened.


429 - 348 BC

Life of Plato - Friend of Socrates

Plato was in his 20s when he began his quest of learning from Socrates. Living in Athens allowed Plato to listen to Socrates as he posed fundamental questions to the citizens of Athens. After Socrates death in 399 BC, Plato wrote over 25 dialogues about these fundamental questions. These dialogues covered many subjects of Western Philosophy. His dialogue "Republic" was about politics. The dialogues uses Socrates as the main character, posing questions while proving others' positions wrong.

Plato/Socrates set the highest achievement of love as the "Love of Wisdom" and/or the "Love of Ideas".

Plato is said to have placed all the questions of civilization onto the philosophy table. Plato criticized Democracy as being a terrible form of government. Freedom is the highest value. We are all equal - Equality. Our Constitution places a high value on Freedom and Equality.

In the "Republic', Plato talks about Justice via the main character Socrates, who asks the question "What is Justice?". The answer returned to Socrates is that "Justice is nothing more than the advantage of the stronger." "Stronger" meaning the reigning political body. Thus justice is relative to the political regime. Plato/Socrates questioned this doctrine of Relativism versus Absolutism (Truth).

Relativism is about the Truth being relative and not worrying about getting Truth right. Relativism is a doctrine that is attractive to students where one must give up the desire for knowledge to accept the doctrine of Relativism. In Athens the Sophists (teachers of the day) embraced Relativism. Socrates and Plato set out to proved the doctrine of Relativism is contradictory: something can't be True and False at the same time.

We don't know where the dialogues crossed over from being Socrates' views to being Plato's views. Never the less, Plato set the standard for our Western Civilization. And the fundamental questions are still being discussed today.

Today, our political parties represent Relativism (Liberals) and Absolutism (Conservative).

As an example of a fundamental question: "Is stealing all right?". In Relativism, stealing is relative: to thief's stealing is fine. So the relative part is what group are we talking about: thief's or law abiding citizens? To the Absolutism group, stealing is always wrong.


384 - 322 BC

Life of Aristotle - Student of Plato

Set up the curriculum of education that we use today in the West. Aristotle had a major effect on Western Civilization, Western Science and Western Technology.


0 BC Birth of Christ.

1

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1421 Chinese Travel the world - Visited the New World.

The Chinese left many world maps with the Portuguese Government. Columbus' brother was a Portuguese map maker.

1439

Invention of Printing Press

German Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press and movable type machine.


1455 - 1485

War of the Roses


1485

England: Henry VII founds the Tudor dynasty.


1492

Columbus discovered the New World.


1509 - 1547

England: Reign of Henry VIII


1533

England Henry VIII breaks with Rome


1558 - 1603

England: Reign of Elizabeth I


1559

New Worlds First Settlement by Spanish settler Don Tristan de Luna in what is now Pensacola, Florida.

Early exploration of Pensacola was by Ponce de León (1513), Pánfilo de Narváez (1528), and Hernando de Soto (1539)


1564 - 1623

England: Life of Shakespeare


1603

England: James I founds the Stuart dynasty.


1606 - 1669

Life of Rembrandt


1607

America: Jamestown Founded


1620

England: Bacon's Novum Organum published.


1637 - 1660

England: British Civil Wars


1687

England: Newton's Principia Mathematica published.


1688 - 1689

England: Glorious Revolution


1690 John Locke's publications ....

1763 Britain, Spain, and France signed the "Treaty of Paris" in February. This ended the Seven Years' War also known as the French and Indian War in America. Under the separation of land, Britain obtained all lands from Canada to Florida Keys. French Canadians move to Louisiana to remain under French rule.

Britain's tight rule and taxation of the colonists to pay for the war became the match that flamed the fire for the American Revolution.

1775 - 1783

American Revolution


1776 Declaration of Independence

1776

England: Smith's Wealth of Nations published.


1778 U.S. Constitution

1792

Wollstonecraft's A Vindication of the Rights of Women published.


1832

Reform Act


1833

Factor Act reduces working hours.


1861 Civil War

1913 Sixteenth Amendment ratified that authorized Federal Government to collect tax on individual's labor: Income Tax.

Seventeenth Amendment ratified that changed the Election of Senators from State Legislatures to election by citizens.

1916 World War I

1929 Stock Market Crash

1941 World War II

2009

Pensacola, Florida celebrates the 450 anniversary of the founding of America's first European settlement by Spain's Don Tristan de Luna on August 15, 1559. A month later a hurricane destroyed seven of his eleven ships dooming the settlement's life to a few years.

The King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia of Spain visited Pensacola in February 2009 in celebration of the 450 anniversary.