The use of timetables in the study and teaching of world history was pioneered by the German scholar Karl Ploetz (1819-81), who in 1863 published his famous Auszug aus der alten, mittleren, neueren und neuesten Geschichte. This work appeared in English in 1883 under the title An Epitome of Ancient, Medieval and Modern History. It subsequently was revised and reprinted in numerous editions. The English edition was reissued in 1915 under the title A Handbook of Universal History. Ploetz was followed by other scholars, notably the German physicist Werner Stein (1913-93), who in 1946 published Kulturfahrplan (The culture timetable), which employed synchronized timelines to show developments in different spheres of human endeavor – politics, religion, literature, science and technology, and so forth – over the millennia. The advent of digital technologies has opened up striking new possibilities to illustrate the timelines of history with manuscripts, books, maps, photographs, and other primary source documents. Presented here is a first attempt by the World Digital Library to show the sweep of world history by presenting a set of documents associated with especially important dates and events. These documents can be displayed either by timeline or interactive map. This set will be expanded and made more representative as new content is added to the WDL.