Does History Repeat Itself?

Only time will tell

You've got the whole world in your hands.  What will you do with it?

4 billion years ago the planet Earth formed around the sun.

1 billion years ago a tiny amoeba split in two, paving the way for all sorts of life.

100 million years ago, dinosaurs ruled the planet.

10 million years ago, small monkey-like animals were our closest ancestors.

1 million years ago, our closest ancestors were no longer monkey-like, but they were still small.

50,000 years ago Homo Sapien man emerged and Cro-Magnon man slowly disappeared.

20,000 years ago the most recent ice age chased Homo Sapien man to all parts of the globe. Ancestors of the American Indians used the Siberian land bridge to walk from present day Russia to present day Alaska.

10,000 years ago the fertile Nile Valley inspired people to stop living in caves, plant crops, and herd animals.

5000 years ago the Egyptian civilization began its rise.

4000 years ago the Great Pyramids were built.

3000 years ago the beginnings of the Roman Empire were found in isolated city-states.

2500 years ago Buddha sat under a tree discussing Enlightenment.

2400 years ago Socrates was put to death for discussing truth and beauty.

2000 years ago Jesus was put to death for discussing love and redemption.

Circa 500 AD, the Roman Empire fell apart, and the Dark Ages began.

Circa 1100 AD, religious zealots killed women and children for the Promised Land. The battle still rages today. Around the same time, the Vikings dominated the Northern Seas.

Circa 1200 AD, the Mayan, Aztec, and Inca civilizations dominated South and Central America. Marco Polo established trade routes from Europe to India and China.

Circa 1300 AD, Chaucer wrote the Canterbury Tales, and someone else wrote Beowulf. We don't know who.

Circa 1400 AD, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake for saying she heard the voice of God.

Circa 1500 AD, someone drew a pretty picture, and the Renaissance began. At the same time, European explorers unwittingly unleashed a plague of disease on the American Indians.

Circa 1600 AD, Shakespeare wrote and directed Hamlet. Around the same time, Martin Luther lead the Protestant Reformation, redefining religion.

Circa 1700 AD, Europeans and Americans sailed the Ivory Coast of Africa, kidnapping men, women, and children to be sold as slaves in the English, French, and Spanish colonies. Around the same time Japan began opening its doors to Western culture.

Around 1800 AD, the United States had already fought and won a war for independence from the English crown. The English continued the practice of sending convicts to a little island called Australia. Charles Dickens wrote some of the first political commentaries on social reform disguised as novels.

Around 1850, Charles Darwin studied the Galapagos Islands and came up with his controversial theory of evolution. Around the same time, the Northern and Southern States of the Americas were split over the issue of slavery.

Around 1870 John Wilkes Booth shot Abraham Lincoln in the head during a play at Ford Theater. Slavery became illegal in the United States. The California gold rush began. Billy the Kid, Wyatt Earp, and Jesse James raised hell in the American Mid-West.

Around 1900 two brothers decided they could fly at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Trouble was brewing in a country called Russia.

Around 1911 the ship Lusitania was destroyed and the stage was set for the Great War (World War I).

In 1918 the Great War ended. Soon after the United States declared alcohol illegal.

In 1929 the American stock market collapsed, and the Great Depression began.

Around 1931 a little known man named Adolph Hitler wrote Mein Kampf.

In the 1940's the Japanese bombed the American Navy Base at Pearl Harbor. The Nazi party ruthlessly exterminated more than 10 million ethnic Europeans. The United States declared war on Japan and Germany. Two scientists, Einstein and Oppenheimer, unwittingly created the most destructive device known to man. The United States dropped two atomic bombs on civilian targets in Japan. The war ended.

In the 1950's the golden era of television began. Retailers discovered a new method of advertising. McDonald's only had one restaurant. The most powerful computer needed 3 rooms of vacuum tubes to run operations. The US went to war in Korea. African-Americans fought for their civil rights. Russians beat Americans in the race to outer space.

In the 1960's the beat movement was in full bloom. The Beatles invaded America. Elvis was a hunk of burning love. Jim Morrison moved to California. John Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. were both assassinated. The US went to war in Vietnam. Man walked on the moon.

In the 1970's the US left Vietnam to fend for itself. Jim Morrison died. Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones, and Black Sabbath began making headlines. Hippies put away their peace signs and went back to work. The Hawaii Ironman began.

In the 1980's a US Space Shuttle blew up. The US and Russians boycotted the Olympics for political reasons. Reagan was shot. The Pope was shot. The Berlin Wall came tumbling down. The Internet began. Dan Marino nearly took the Miami Dolphins to a Super Bowl victory.

In the 1990's the United States went to war to protect oil investments in the Mid-East. Construction began on the International Space Station. Communist Russia collapsed. Communist China got stronger. Lance Armstrong beat the odds and won two Tour de France overall titles. Mark Allen retired from the sport of triathlon. Bill Clinton was impeached but found not guilty. American television reached a new low with the popularity of Survivor, the fascination with the OJ trial, and the mind-numbing reiteration of the term, 'Monica-Gate.'

In 2000 triathlon was the first sport in the Summer Olympics. Florida had trouble figuring out how to vote. The US budget was in the black again. The dot com market crashed. Y2K came and went with much ado about nothing.

In 2001, history has yet to be written. You can sit and watch, or you can make it happen. It's up to you.

Marty Gaal - December 2000