Earliest times: before Cyrus

All dates are BC (BCE), but many are uncertain or tentative

10,000 - 7,300 First evidence of farming in Chogha Golan, Ilam, Iran
9130 - 8800 Earliest structures at Göbekli Tepe, Turkey
5500 Earliest signs of civilised life at Tepe Sialk, Kashan,Iran
5000 Evidence of wine-making in Neolithic village at Hajji Firuz Tepe in Zagros mountains, Iran
3800 Earliest objects made of bronze (copper + arsenic) found at Tepe Yahya, southern Iran
3600-3200 City of Ugarit flourishes as centre of Canaanite culture in Syria. Invention of alphabet.
3600-2450 Occupation of settlement at Skara Brae, Orkney, Great Britain.
3500 Jiroft in south central Iran becomes established as a wealthy trading centre
3100-2686 Early dynastic period in Egypt.
3000 Evidence of advanced civilisation in "The Burnt City", Shahr-e Shookteh, in eastern Iran
3000-1400 Minoan civilization in Crete.
2900 Elamite settlement with ziggurat at Tepe Sialk
2750 -2550 Corded Ware/ Bell Beaker people spread rapidly through Europe and NW Africa replacing up to 90% of previous inhabitants
2500 Great pyramid and sphinx built in Egypt.
by 2500 Flourishing cities in Mesopotamia (Uruk, Ur, Eridu) Egypt and Indus Valley (Mohenjo-daro, Harappa)
2000 Stonehenge in Britain, first phase.
1750 Oldest fragments of Epic of Gilgamesh, earliest surviving literature, from Mesopotamia.
1400-1200 Mycenaean civilization in Greece.
1275 - 1000 Migrations of the 'Sea Peoples'
1274 Battle of Kadesh between Egyptians and Hittites
1250 Building of ziggurat at Chogha Zanbil by Elamites.
1250 Israelite settlements in Canaan.
1220 Destruction of Troy.
1200-1000 Iranian peoples (Medes, Persians and others) begin migration into Iran
1100 Possible date for birth of Zarathustra (Zoroaster) - but could be much later (600 BC)
1000-750 Phoenician expansion overseas.
836 Assyrians begin subjugating Medes and Persians
814 Traditional date of founding of Carthage.
776 First Olympic Games.
775 Euboean Greeks establish a trading post in Bay of Naples.
753 Traditional date of founding of Rome.
753-510 Period of the kings in Rome.
750 Greek alphabet, based on a Phoenician version of the Canaanite alphabet, begins to be used. Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.
720 Conquest of kingdom of Israel by Assyrians - deportation of Jews to Media.
705-681 Sennacherib king of Assyrians
700 Medes win independence from Assyria
640 Elamite centre at Chogha Zanbil destroyed by Assyrians under Ashurbanipal
612 Medes destroy Assyrian capital at Nineveh
590 - 580 Conquest of Judaea by Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar II. Destructiion of temple and deportation of Jews to Babylon.
568-488 Life of Buddha.
558 Cyrus becomes king of Anshan/Persis
551-479 Life of Confucius.