Setting:Brighthammer 40,000/Timeline

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(This is a Brighthammer 40k Second Edition article.)

Age Year Event
Ancient Age Unknown The first sapient species start appearing in the galaxy. Among them are the C'tan, the Star Children who live within suns.
Unknown The terrible Great Old Ones roam space, enslaving and modifying species on their whim. Their evil spawns the first Warp Horrors.
Unknown The Necrontyr make contact with the C'tan and become a transhuman species.
Unknown The Great Old Ones, bolstered by their mastership of the material universe begin to turn their attention towards the Warp. They begin to exercise control over the various Horrors, forming corrupt Warp Gods that thrive on harshly enforced worship of the slave races.
The War in Heaven Unknown The Necrontyr and C'tan fight the Great Old Ones. The C'tan flee into hibernation and the Necrontyr are likewise scattered and beaten.
Unknown Critically weakened, the Great Old Ones are subject to a massive slave uprising. Siding with the slaves are some of their own Warp gods, who later take on the identity of the Lords of Order.
The War of Souls Unknown Lord Kroak, their Enlightened Supervisor, sends the last handful of his species (the Slaan) into the darkest corner of the galaxy before he, too, is forced into hibernation. The Great Old Ones are finally defeated in the Materium.
Unknown The Immaterium, bristling with the hatred of the dead Old Ones and the slaves that perished, forms one last Warp Horror out of the loyalist Warp Gods, The Universal Destroyer, against which even the assembled armies are helpless. Only the ascension of the Ork brainboyz Gork and Mork stops the Destroyer from outright collapsing the entire galaxy.
The Long Darkness Unknown The Destroyer and his adversaries wage war in the Warp for millennia. Space travel becomes nearly impossible.
Unknown The Initiates of Order - originally a warrior brotherhood during the rebellion - reform on countless worlds.
Unknown The Enslavers, minor manifestations of the many-bodied Destroyer, burst forth through into the galaxy and kill entire worlds.
Unknown Three Lords of Order begin to take their modern form as result of the work of the Initiates. Eventually, as the Enslavers that had crossed into the Materium are thought annihilated the warp becomes usable again (although still dangerous).
Unknown The Eldar Ascendancy forms.
M-12 The Universal Destroyer begins harvesting the souls of unprotected Psychers.
M-12 The first Ork Empires form.
M-8 At the end of the last Ice Age, the Emperor of Mankind is born in central Anatolia.
Age of Terra M3 A ruinous global wars leaves the human nation states in ruins. Humanity creates one united government, the Terran Alliance, to prevent the divisions of the past from resurfacing.
M3 Terraforming of Mars begins under a multinational conglomerate which eventually evolves into the first truly global corporation.
M3 First attempts at faster than light travel fail horribly when the experimental ship is contaminated by the Destroyer's malign influence. As a result, research into FTL is heavily regulated, which makes rapid progress near impossible.
Age of Exodus M15 The Terran Alliance begins colonizing distant worlds via sleeper ships.
M15 Mars begins its specialization into a purely industrial world. Eventually, it evolves into the vital point for manufacture to support outlying colonies further out into the solar system.
M18 The Emperor of Mankind defeats the C'tan known as the Void Dragon on Mars, forcing technological secrets out of him. Drained by the battle, the Emperor falls into a regenerative coma that will last 10 millennia.
M18 Humanity develops the Warp Drive and the Geller Field for safe warp travel.
M18 After 26,000 years, human Psykers are being born again.
Dark Age of Technology M19 Unguided by the Emperor, whisperings of the Void Dragon drag humanity into the abyss of transhuman advancements.
M24 Radicalization of human politics and the ever-present progress of technology lead to the formation of three large factions: those believing into abolishing the difference between man and machine, those favoring a more conservative approach, and radical neo-Luddites. They would become known as Golden, Iron, or Stone Men respectively.
Age of Strife M25 The Golden Men (the followers of abstract transhumanism) declare An End to Flesh and starts a civil war that destroys the Terran Alliance. Opposing them, the Iron and Stone Men take up the flag of humanity. Thus begins the Human Age of Strife.
M25 The Universal Destroyer, bloated on the spirits of countless Psykers, tears into the Materium again. Space travel is again rendered impossible, starting another collapse of galactic civilization. An entire sector of space is destroyed outright; it has since been known as the Void.
M25 The Elder Ascendancy begins a concerted effort to create a fourth Lord of Order, the Lord of Passion. While some Eldar only join the effort to finally get rid of the Destroyer, most are genuine about bringing peace to the galaxy.
M26 Large parts of the the Initiates of Order reforge themselves into the Adepts of Unified Order and begin a crusade to convert whole worlds to their worship of the three Lords.
M28 The Emperor reawakens on ravaged Terra. After shedding a manly tear, he brings the Terran Civil War to an end, forces the Void Dragon into hibernation, and begins to slowly extend his rule over the closest solar systems.
M30 The Eldar create the Lord of Passion, Slaanesh. Most of them ascend, except for the Bright Eldar (who are rejected as being too impure, but continue to study the means of ascension) and the Exodite Elder (who never liked the idea to begin with).
The Universal Destroyer is finally overwhelmed by his opponents and its composite Warp Gods are forced apart and sealed. Most succumb to lack of worship, but some endure.
The Exodite Eldar make it their mission to subdue pieces of the Destroyer to gain power in the Materium. The Bright Eldar stay on the empty worlds of the Ascendancy and mourn.
The Great Crusade M30 As the Warp calms, both the Adepts of Unified Order and the new Imperium of Man begin to integrate the wayward human colonies into their respective realms.
M30 The Emperor begins his Primarch project, creating 20 superhumans with his genes. Thanks to sabotage by immaterial sources, they are spread throughout the galaxy. While searching for one of the missing Primarchs, first contact occurs between the Adepts and the Imperium. While the Primarch Sanguinius is recovered, the encounter ends in bloodshed, war is declared soon afterwards. The Adeptus Maximus declares the Imperium of Man a heretical abomination, the Imperium in response deploys the first Space Marine legions and opens recruitment centers on populous worlds.
M31 After many long and difficult battles, the fleets and armies of the Adepts are decimated, but the Lords of Order themselves begin to affect the Materium to support their worshippers.
The Horus Ascendancy M31 Calculating a solution that will not require untold millennia of bloodshed, Horus the Great and several of his fellow primarchs ritually sacrifice themselves to ascend into the warp.
M31 As the Lords of Order withdraw their direct support from the Adepts, the Crusades come to an end with the treaty of Ophelia VII. While himself an atheist, the Emperor declares the Initiates of Order a sanctioned religion (in time, many more religions will gain this stamp of grumbling approval). The last remaining Adepts lay down their arms and are reintegrated into the Initiates.
The Imperial Age M32 Due to many outside forces acting upon the Imperium, the disparate nature of many of its worlds often acting against one another, and endless low level conflict with the many aliens and remaining Initiate dissenters, the Emperor's Secret Service is formed to deal with matters before they flare into war. They are granted great power and authority due to their position, and the importance of their job.
M36 The Imperial Secret Service records the first known conflict between the Exodite Eldar and a species of amphibians called the Slaan. Further battles between these two adversaries continue with disturbing regularity over a selected few worlds. Further search of local archives point to conflicts leading back before humanity's recorded history. The Secret Service is tasked with disrupting such engagements and collecting whatever is fought over. Most of what they recover is ordered sealed.
M39 The Slaan track down some of the Great Old Ones and reawaken them. Soon, covert operations to reassure galactic control are begun.
M40 Rise of the Tau Commonwealth. Declaring the Elder, Imperium, Orks, and Initiates a great evil on the galaxy, the Tau (led by the Ethereal Caste, which suddenly appeared several centuries prior) embark on a mission of enforcing The Lesser Evil, a unification under their rule.
M41 First contact with an extragalactic species. The Zoanthropes raid the Klendathans' (a semi-independent human civilization) worlds for genetic material. Contact ends as suddenly as it began. It is only realized why when a Klendathan scout makes contact with a pursuing species above the world of Tyran.
Age of Endings M41 After two additional Tyranid Hive Fleets are beaten back at high cost, it is discovered that the Imperium has been fighting mere scout troops so far. The conflicts with Zoanthropes and Tyranids shock most galactic powers into an uneasy alliance, as the sheer scale of the threat becomes known.