Modern history , the modern period or the modern era, is the linear, global, historiographical approach to the time frame after post-classical history . This view stands in contrast to the "organic," or non-linear, view of history first put forward by the renowned philosopher and historian, Oswald Spengler, early in the 20th century . Modern history can be further broken down into periods :
The early modern period began approximately in the early 16th century ; notable historical milestones included the European Renaissance , the Age of Discovery, and the Protestant Reformation .
The late modern period began approximately in the mid-18th century; notable historical milestones included the French Revolution , the American Revolution , the Industrial Revolution , the Great Divergence, and the Russian Revolution . It took all of human history up to 1804 for the world 's population to reach 1 billion; the next billion came just over a century later, in 1927.
Contemporary history is the span of historic events from approximately 1945 that are immediately relevant to the present time .