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Terrorism timeline

Terrorist attacks are those in which violence is used unlawfully against people or property.They are designed to influence a government or intimidate the public for the purpose of advancing political, religious or ideological causes. This timeline aims to demonstrate how a wide range of political, ideological and religious ideas are exploited by perpetrators of terrorist attacks. These can range from fringe right-wing/ left-wing groups, religious sects and cults, anarchists, nationalists, insurgent groups and more.

Jump to the terrorist timeline

Development of the timeline

SINCE 9/11 has sought advice from The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence (ICSR), attached to King’s College London, to ensure the timeline reflects a broad range of terrorist attacks, rather than focussing on particular groups or causes. The ICSR is an independent think tank that specialises in radicalisation, counter-terrorism and political violence. Whilst some of the content is by its nature sensitive, it has been developed to be appropriate and accessible to KS4 students, or well progressed KS3 students.

Selection of attacks

The timeline highlights some of the major terrorist attacks of the last 45 years – starting with the Munich Olympic attack – to give a global historical perspective on the many atrocities committed by terrorist organisations and individuals in recent times. The selection of attacks we highlight is not meant to be representative of all terrorist attacks committed in recent history. Instead it is intended as an overview of major events to give a sense of the reasons attacks occur, how they happen and responses from government and the international community.

Who is the timeline for?

This resource is aimed at students and teachers alike. It serves to support a nuanced understanding and knowledge of terrorism which is an otherwise complex and challenging subject matter for children to engage with. This is all the more important in a media environment prone to sensational coverage of terrorism. Teachers concerned with the severity of the material available online that their students might access can trust the SINCE 9/11 terrorism timeline as a resource specifically intended for student use, with appropriate wording and images.

Using the timeline

Explore the timeline by clicking on attacks, we have categorized each attack by size and type of attack, as well as by date. Think about whether there are any themes that can be drawn between attacks and any similarities or differences. How has terrorism changed over time and in what ways has it stayed the same?

View the terrorist timeline

If you would like to explore terrorism further, perhaps for a school project, we can recommend the following website:

START Global Terrorism Database This is a comprehensive list of all terrorist events since 1970. There are some insightful infographics on the homepage, but the underlying data is more appropriate for deeper investigations.