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1893
New Zealand introduces unrestricted women’s suffrage. At this point women win the principle of full political equality.
1905
Einstein’s theory of special relativity published. It transforms the nature of modern physical knowledge.
1917
Russian Revolution creates the first successful, long-term revolutionary state.
1918
End of the First World War. The Habsburg and Ottoman empires collapse; maps of Europe and the Middle East are redrawn.
1939
Outbreak of Second World War: Fifty million die worldwide in the world’s largest and most deadly conflict, which ends the long age of imperialism.
1945
End of Second World War; when the first nuclear bomb is detonated, mankind develops the means to destroy itself.
1949
Communist China founded: China is created as a single territorial unit with a common administration and a modernising economy.
1959
Invention of the silicon chip is the major technical invention of the past century, making possible the computer age.
1960
First contraceptive pill made available for women, who can now make their own biological choices about reproduction.
1989-90
Collapse of Communist regimes in Europe: marks the end of the long communist experiment; Asian communism is also transformed.