Some of the top 50 events in world history include Columbus reaching the New World in 1492, the signing of the U.S. declaration of independence in 1776 and the invention of the printing press in 1450. Some modern top events include the Russian Revolution in 1917, the end of World War II in 1945 and the fall of Communism in 1989.
Though Columbus was attempting to find a western route to India, finding the New World helped open the way for trade and colonization in what would become the United States. During his lifetime, Columbus made a total of four trips back and forth from the New World.
The significance of Gutenberg's printing press resounds even today. Due to his invention, it became possible to print books in mass for the first time, providing more people access to the written word. Though his printing press was not the most efficient machine, the fact that type could be reused greatly reduced the cost of printing, making the production of books much cheaper than in the past.
With over 50 million casualties, World War II is known as the deadliest war in history. It was also the most far-reaching war. It began when Germany invaded Poland in 1939 and continued until 1945. One of the technologies that resulted from this war was the invention of the atomic bomb, which was used to end the struggle with the Japanese in the Pacific theater.