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There are many stories and legends surrounding the history of the Pokémon world as it is known to us today. Nobody knows if such legends are true or not, but there are many clues in the games, anime and manga that suggest that they are.
Below is a timeline of events in the history of the Pokémon world, primarily those established in the canon of the Pokémon games since these apply most to other forms of canon. There are also separate timelines of events for the anime series and for Pokémon Adventures.
Please note that the below timeline is based on speculation and possible information from different aspects of the Pokémon franchise.
It is still unknown exactly where Generation V or Generation VI fits in the timeline, but the dialog of both the Team Rocket Grunt in Icirrus City and Cynthia, as well as Caitlin's older appearance, indicate that Generation V must happen at least a few years after the events of Generations II and IV.
Beginning of the universe
This information is based primarily on the mythology of both the Hoenn and Sinnoh regions.
Palkia, Giratina and Dialga
- In a vortex of complete chaos and nothingness, a single Egg comes into being, which then hatches into Arceus, the first Pokémon in existence. Arceus then creates Dialga, Palkia, and Giratina, giving them power over time, space, and antimatter respectively. Giratina, as punishment for its destructive nature, is sent by Arceus to live in the Distortion World. Dialga and Palkia then succeed in creating the universe and Pokémon world and retreat into their own dimensions afterwards, with a point of access being at the ancient Spear Pillar in Sinnoh.
- Kyogre is formed by the pressure in the deep sea trenches, Groudon is formed deep inside the Earth, likely from hardened magma and earth, and Rayquaza is formed by the minerals of the ozone layer. Rayquaza proceeds to fly around in the ozone layer, occasionally coming to rest at Sky Pillar.
- Kyogre and Groudon then proceed to fill the sea and create land, respectively. A chance meeting turns the two into rivals, and a conflict for dominance over the Pokémon world begins. This battle continues until Rayquaza quells it, causing Kyogre and Groudon to retreat to special caverns, where they rest until the events of Generation III many years later. The Red and Blue Orbs are created to prevent the reawakening of Kyogre and Groudon, and are left at Mt. Pyre for safekeeping. At this time, Mew may have been plentiful and lived in large numbers.
The Legendary Golems: Regice, Registeel and Regirock
- The Sinnoh region is created around Mt. Coronet. During this violent procedure, Stark Mountain is created due to shifts in the crust of the world and Heatran is formed in a pool of lava. Arceus creates the Adamant, Lustrous, and Griseous Orbs before falling into a deep slumber.
This information is based primarily on the study of Fossils and other archaeological remains. Some of this information is also based on scientific research.
Millions of years before Generation I:
- The earliest known prehistoric Pokémon existed at this time. It is possible that the Mew population may have decreased at this stage, as they slowly gave way to other Pokémon species. The first humans also appeared around this time.
- 300 million years ago: An ancient version of Genesect was born. Kabuto and Kabutops lived in the sea.
- Team Plasma later used its DNA to create an infinitely stronger version of Genesect with cybernetic technology.
- 100 million years ago: Species such as Aerodactyl, Lileep, Cranidos, Shieldon, Tirtouga, and Archen were supposedly widespread. They all ultimately went extinct, but not before Archen gave rise to bird Pokémon and Tirtouga gave rise to turtle Pokémon.
- 10,000 years ago: During the last Ice Age, the Mamoswine population flourished, then decreased when the Ice Age ended.
- At some point in the distant past, the Magikarp population mutates due to unknown reasons and becomes weaker.
- At some point after the Iron Age, Regigigas is sealed away in the Snowpoint Temple, and Regirock, Regice and Registeel are sealed away at various points across the Hoenn region after years of human worship.
3000 years before Generation V:
3000 years before Generation VI:
- The Kalos war occurred, the ultimate weapon was created underneath Geosenge Town, and AZ was given eternal life.
2500 years before Generation V:
1500 years before Generation I:
Archaeologists are currently unsure whether the nearly identical Unown preceded or succeeded the writing system, but it is assumed they share some sort of connection.
- The Farfetch'd population decreases due to overhunting.
This information is based on historic records.
Hundreds of years before Generation I:
c. 700 years before Generation I:
c. 500 years before Generation I:
c. 400 years before Generation I:
- Azalea Town in Johto is struck by a long-term drought. After bringing the rain back once again by yawning, Slowpoke gains an honorable position in that town.
- The Pokémon move Toxic is invented by a ninja.
c. 300 years before Generation VI:
c. 150 years before Generation I:
c. 200 years before Generation V:
c. 100 years before Generation V:
c. 50 years before Generation V:
- Elgyem is seen for the first time when it appeared from far in the desert.
c. 40 years before Generation III:
- Lunatone is seen for the first time in the crater.
17 years before Pokémon Colosseum:
11 years before Generation I:
Less than 10 years before Generation I:
From the Pokémon games:
Some years prior to Generation I:
One year prior to Generation I:
- The events of Red, Blue, Yellow, FireRed, LeafGreen, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald:
- Red leaves Pallet Town on his Pokémon journey after his rival, Professor Oak's grandson, Blue. After getting the eight Badges of Kanto, and defeating Team Rocket along the way, he then challenges Kanto's Elite Four, then its current Champion, none other than Blue himself. After defeating Blue, Red becomes the Champion, then ventures to the Sevii Islands to eradicate Team Rocket and help Celio to connect his Pokémon Net Center to the Hoenn region.
- Brendan/May leaves Littleroot Town on a Pokémon journey shortly after moving to the Hoenn region from Johto by saving the local Pokémon Professor from an attacking wild Pokémon. At first, there is a deep-seated rivalry with Professor Birch's daughter/son, however, later on, the rivalry is with Wally instead. After defeating Hoenn's eight Gym Leaders and, with the help of Rayquaza, calming both Groudon and Kyogre, released from their banishment by Team Magma and Team Aqua, respectively, he/she challenges and defeats Hoenn's Elite Four and current Champion, becoming the Champion him/herself, much to the astonishment of Birch's child.
Between Generation I/III and Generation II/IV:
- The events of Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon Ranger occur.
- Eruption of the volcano on Cinnabar Island causes destruction of the island's settlement, except for the Pokémon Center. As a result, Blaine, the Cinnabar Gym Leader, relocates the gym to the nearby Seafoam Islands.
- Blue takes the position of Gym Leader in the now empty Viridian Gym, succeeding the former Team Rocket leader Giovanni.
- Red retreats to Mt. Silver, training day and night, leaving Lance to act as Champion, while Lorelei returns to her home in Four Island, and Agatha retires from her position as a member of the Kanto Elite Four. This leaves three vacancies on the roster for Elite Four.
- Extensive research confirms the existence of Steel and Dark types in the region of Kanto.
- Baoba leaves Kanto when his Safari Zone is closed and begins planning to open a new Safari Zone in Johto, as a replacement.
- The Pokémon Tower is converted into a Radio Tower.
- A Pal Park is opened in place of the Kanto Safari Zone.
- Miracle Cycle moves from Cerulean City to Goldenrod City.
- Groudon and Kyogre retreat to the region of Fiore to rest after their battle.
- Giratina returns to the Distortion World.
- A new Battle Frontier is built in Sinnoh and Johto.
After Generation I/III:
Three years after Generation I/Generation III (Generation II/Generation IV):
- The events of Gold, Silver, Crystal, Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, HeartGold, SoulSilver, Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, and Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs:
- Ethan/Kris/Lyra leaves New Bark Town on an errand for Professor Elm, bonding with his/her starter Pokémon on the way. A red-haired boy steals one of Elm's three Pokémon, and challenges him/her as Ethan/Kris/Lyra's journey across Johto continues. A revived Team Rocket, using plans formulated three years prior, enrages many Gyarados, including a red one, at the Lake of Rage as they proceed to take over the Goldenrod Radio Tower in a desperate attempt to contact Giovanni, their former leader. They are defeated, and the new leader vows to never again re-form Team Rocket, and Ethan/Kris/Lyra continues to gather Johto's Badges, eventually gaining all eight and traveling to the Pokémon League at Indigo Plateau in Kanto. After defeating the Elite Four and their Champion, Lance, Ethan/Kris/Lyra then heads to the Kanto region to challenge its eight Gyms, which have changed from three years prior. After gaining all eight of their Badges, for a total of sixteen, Professor Oak declares him/her ready to travel to Mt. Silver, where he/she meets and defeats Red.
- Lucas/Dawn and Barry leave Twinleaf Town in an attempt to see a Pokémon like the recently reported red Gyarados in the nearest of Sinnoh's lakes, Lake Verity. After being attacked by a wild Starly at the lake, and using one of Professor Rowan's Pokémon to fend off the attacker, their journey begins in earnest, and both Lucas/Dawn and Barry challenge the Sinnoh region's eight Gyms to gain the Badges necessary to challenge the Pokémon League. Along the way, however, Lucas/Dawn is brought into many conflicts with Team Galactic, whose leader, Cyrus, wishes to remake the entire universe in his image with the powers of the legendary Pokémon Dialga and Palkia. Defeating the team and calming Dialga/Palkia/Giratina, Lucas/Dawn challenges Sinnoh's Elite Four and Champion, Cynthia, and becomes Champion him/herself.
- Hayley, a friend of Bebe, opens up a Pokémon Ranch.
Approximately two years after Generation II/Generation IV:
Between Generation II/IV and Generation V:
A few years after Generation II/Generation IV (Generation V):
- The events of Black and White:
- Hilbert/Hilda along with their friends Cheren and Bianca receive their very first Pokémon in the bedroom of Hilbert/Hilda's house in Nuvema Town from Professor Juniper. The three decide to leave Nuvema Town and go on a journey across their region of Unova, with Cheren wanting to learn as much about every kind of Pokémon possible and Bianca going against the wishes of her dad. Upon arriving in Accumula Town they encounter the nefarious Team Plasma who announce their plans for Pokémon liberation to separate Pokémon from humans. Hilbert/Hilda then battle Team Plasma's leader, a mysterious man known only as N who claims Pokémon are his friends. Hilbert/Hilda make a journey across the land of Unova challenging all eight Gyms and earning all eight Badges. After earning the eighth Badge, they travel to the Pokémon League where they defeat the Elite Four. Upon defeating the Elite Four, they discover that N has already defeated the champion Alder and promptly summons his castle, destroying the Pokémon League Castle. Ghetsis, one of the members of the Seven Sages reveals that he had the plan to separate people and Pokémon so that he could be the only person in the whole world with Pokémon. After defeating N and Ghetsis with Reshiram/Zekrom N becomes sorry for all his wrongdoing and flies off to distant lands on his dragon of legend. Hilbert/Hilda, Cheren, and Bianca continue their journey in Unova and get recruited by an undercover officer codenamed Looker to discover and arrest the remaining six of the Seven Sages. After the arrest of all six, Hilbert/Hilda returns to the Pokémon League, re-defeats the Elite Four, then challenges and defeats Alder, becoming champion of Unova.
Between Black and White and Black 2 and White 2:
- Hilbert/Hilda leaves Unova with his/her Dragon to look for N.
- Bianca officially becomes Professor Juniper's assistant.
- Cilan, Chili, Cress, Lenora, and Brycen retire as Gym Leaders to train.
- Cheren, Roxie, and Marlon become Gym Leaders.
- Alder retires as the Champion, and Iris takes his place.
- Five of the Seven Sages leave Team Plasma, and Ghetsis and Zinzolin form a new Team Plasma solely dedicated to conquering Unova.
- A landslide seals off Route 10 and a majority of Victory Road, forcing another Victory Road to be built. Another landslide seals off Challenger's Cave.
- Significant construction occurs in Unova:
Two years after Black and White:
- The events of Black 2 and White 2:
- Nate/Rosa receives his/her first Pokémon from Bianca in his/her hometown of Aspertia City. Together with Hugh, who hopes to take back his sister's Purrloin from Team Plasma, the duo takes on the new lineup of Gyms in the Unova region. After earning their seventh badge from Drayden, Team Plasma attacks Opelucid City, covering the city in unbreakable ice. The Shadow Triad takes the opportunity to steal the DNA Splicers from Opelucid Gym. Nate/Rosa and Hugh chase Team Plasma to Humilau City, where after earning their final badge, they confront Zinzolin, Colress, and the Shadow Triad at the Giant Chasm. After the Triad releases Hugh's sister's Purrloin, now a Liepard, Hugh tells Nate/Rosa to go ahead and confront Team Plasma's leader, Ghetsis. Just before Ghetsis freezes Nate/Rosa alive with Kyurem's Glaciate, N flies in on Reshiram/Zekrom, saving him/her. However, Ghetsis uses Kyurem's power to turn Reshiram/Zekrom back into an orb, then uses the DNA Splicers to turn Kyurem into Black/White Kyurem. Nate/Rosa knocks out Kyurem, causing the two Dragon Pokémon to separate, then defeats an enraged Ghetsis. Thankful, N suggests that Nate/Rosa proceed to the Pokémon Leauge. Heeding his words, Nate/Rosa ascend Victory Road, defeats the Elite Four, and emerges victorious in battle with the new Champion, Iris. After returning home, Hugh's sister thanks the player for helping her big brother, and tells Nate/Rosa that she has been dreaming of a Zoroark calling Nate/Rosa's name. At Hugh's suggestion, Nate/Rosa returns to Victory Road, finding a Zoroark that leads him/her to the ruins of N's Castle, where N and Reshiram/Zekrom challenge them to battle. After being defeated, N says goodbye to his dragon and releases it by asking it to turn back into an orb to give to Nate/Rosa. Nate/Rosa climbs to the top of Dragonspiral Tower, and faces Reshiram/Zekrom again, this time, in an attempt to capture it.