A History of the World in 100 Pictures

I recently read a brilliant children’s non-fiction book by Usborne, A History of the World in 100 Pictures.

Last year I suggested that the goal of the compulsory years of the secondary school curriculum should be to give an overview of world history, its drivers and where Britain fits in it (the curriculum was roughly: 1/3 UK, 1/3 Europe, 1/3 the world). A lot of people got very angry at me for suggestion something so ‘elitist’, for thinking that pupils should be expected might be expected to cover this material in three years, or that I was foolish enough to think that the content of what was learned in history mattered as well as the skills.

Most adults would learn something from it too (I did) and my five year old son was fascinated by it, despite the vast majority of it going over his head. Clearly you’d cover a lot more than this in Years 7 to 9, but the very existence of this book demonstrates the concept is viable.

Also, it’s just a great book. You should get it, especially if you have kids. The full list of topics is detailed below.

  1. The first people
  2. The first farmers
  3. The first wheels
  4. The city of Ur
  5. The first writing
  6. Egyptian Old Kingdom
  7. Mohenjo-daro, Indus Valley
  8. The Minoans
  9. The Hittites
  10. The Egyptian New Kingdom
  11. The Assyrian Empire
  12. The Olmecs, Central America
  13. The start of Buddhism
  14. The city of Babylon
  15. The Classical Period, Greece
  16. The Battle of Thermopylae
  17. Alexander the Great
  18. The First Emperor
  19. Celtic tribes
  20. The Roman Empire
  21. The crucifixion of Jesus
  22. The Han dynasty
  23. The Byzantine Empire
  24. The Silk Road
  25. The Maya
  26. The start of Islam
  27. The Abbasid Empire
  28. The Moors, Spain
  29. Illuminated manuscrips
  30. The Maori, New Zealand
  31. The Vikings
  32. Charlemagne
  33. Spread of Hinduism
  34. The Khmer dynasty
  35. The Battle of Hastings
  36. Kingdom of Ife
  37. The Crusades
  38. Samurai, Japan
  39. Saladin
  40. Ghengis Khan
  41. Magna Carta
  42. European cathedrals
  43. The travels of Marco Polo
  44. Easter Island
  45. The Black Death
  46. Great Zimbabwe
  47. Ming dynasty, China
  48. Invention of the printing press
  49. The Renaissance
  50. The European Reformation
  51. Christopher Columbus
  52. The Aztecs
  53. The Ottoman Empire
  54. The Kingdom of Benin
  55. The Inca
  56. Emperor Charles V
  57. The Mughals
  58. Nicolaus Copernicus
  59. The Spanish Armada
  60. The Romanovs
  61. William Shakespeare
  62. The Pilgrims
  63. The Sun King
  64. The Age of Enlightenment
  65. Baroque music
  66. Voyages of Captain Cook
  67. The Declaration of Independence
  68. The French Revolution
  69. Napoleon Bonaparte
  70. The British in India
  71. The Industrial Revolution
  72. Independence in South America
  73. Abolition of slavery
  74. The first ‘computer’
  75. The first photographs
  76. The rise of nations
  77. Charles Darwin and evolution
  78. The Communist Manifesto
  79. The American Civil War
  80. Invention of the telephone
  81. The Anglo-Zulu War
  82. Invention of light bulbs
  83. The first car
  84. The Massacre at Wounded Knee
  85. The first plane flight
  86. The Theory of Relativity
  87. Race to the South Pole
  88. The First World War
  89. The Western Front
  90. The Russian Revolution
  91. The Battle of Britain
  92. D-Day
  93. The Holocaust
  94. Atomic warfare
  95. The end of empires
  96. The Cold War
  97. Telstar 1
  98. The Space Race
  99. Computer revoution
  100. Millennium celebrations