The timeline of human history begins between 160,000 and 195,000 years ago with early modern humans, beginning with early periods, such as the Mesolithic and Neolithic. Later on, there were various technological advancements that occurred throughout human civilization.
For the largest part of human history, mankind survived through hunting and gathering until the first farming societies developed about 12,000 years ago. This development, precipitated by the end of the most recent ice age, marks the beginning of the Mesolithic period. The next major development, the invention of pottery, occurred about 5,500 years ago. This event coincides with the beginnings of the first human civilizations.
Early human civilizations began with Mesopotamia, and continued through various periods in Egyptian history. The next major period was the Bronze Age, which began at about 2000 B.C. and continued until the Iron Age, which began about 1,000 years later. The Iron Age coincided with the rise of some major ancient empires, such as the Greek Empire, the Persian Empire and the Qin Dynasty. Afterward, other great empires developed, including the Roman Empire in 49 B.C. and the Byzantine Empire in 476 A.D. The major historical periods after this include the Middle Ages, beginning in 1000 A.D., and the Renaissance era, beginning around 1600 A.D.