Post-nuclear America has never been quite as fun or rich with lore as it is inside Bethesda’s incredible, RPG, Fallout. The world of Fallout has many similarities to our own world in physical makeup alone. Clearly, the history and chain of events that befell this reality are far different from that of our own as after years of tensions between warring countries, the first stone was cast and total nuclear war had erupted.
As a pretty obvious result of these actions, the world was essentially destroyed and the world as they knew it cast back into the dark ages, for humanity (and whatever mutations gained life) to rebuild and struggle to survive. The timeline of the Fallout universe is vast, with a large portion of it very well documented allowing for us to understand what brought the people of this doomed world to where they are now.
With each entry in the series, we seem to get further and further from the destruction of the year 2077 when the bombs first fell. However, this formula is finally getting a shakeup with the upcoming release of Fallout 76, a title which places the player into a world only freshly destroyed with it only taking place 25 years after the day the bombs drop.
With this, there are many events that have not yet occurred in the wasteland and thus have had no effect on the shaping of the world yet. So let’s take a look at 25 of the biggest events to take place between the earliest game in the series, Fallout 76, and the very first 3D entry in the series, Fallout 3, that essentially brought the franchise back from the afterlife and made it into a household name.
25 The Master Begins Forming His Army (2103)
As we all know, Richard Grey, also known as the Master, was the primary originator of the Super Mutants that we see infesting the greater part of the United States. The “New God” was once a regular Human, he is the result of being submerged in a vat of the FEV for over a month led his creation as the Master. After his rebirth, he began experimenting with the FEV to start building his own army of powerful Super Mutants.
24 The Institute Is Formed (2110)
The Commonwealth, however, fractured and broken it may appear to be, all share one common enemy in the silent and invisible threat of the Institute. This brain trust of the worlds smartest minds was formed in the year 2110 in the ruins of the Commonwealth Institute of Technology. After attempting to work together with the people of the Commonwealth, they were eventually driven into hiding by the fear and mistrust of their fellow Bostonians. This would eventually lead to much larger issues down the road.
23 The Great Winter Occurs (2130)
The Great Winter was a period in time after the war in which the whole earth was coated in a thick layer of snow and ice. Of course, this caused an incredible amount of destruction both directly and indirectly on the irradiated planet. This was particularly frustrating for the Master who at the time had been conducting his FEV experiments on human subjects and the near extinction of the human population made it incredibly difficult for him to find subjects to continue his research.
22 This Location Is Founded (2142)
The first town the Vault Dweller encounters after leaving on his quest for the Water Chip to save his vault from complete collapse. S. Sands is a hub for the world of the first Fallout game. Here you will meet one of your companions, Ian, and you will find yourself coming back quite frequently to this humble city into the future of the title as you progress. Oh, the humble beginnings of the Fallout series really does take us back, doesn’t it?
21 The Vault Dweller Embarks On A Quest For The Water Chip (2161)
The quest that started it all! This was the year that the Vault Dweller left and began his journey to save Vault 13 and embarked on the journey that would change his life forever, this lead the player to encounters with the people of S. Sands, the eventual meeting of his best friend Dogmeat, and of course, the fateful clash with the Master for the fate of the wasteland. Such adventures we went on in the earlier years of gaming.
20 The Vault Dweller Befriends Dogmeat (2161)
Everybody’s best friend and most loyal companion, Dogmeat has made an appearance in many Fallout titles in different incarnations, but this was the year that the Vault Dweller befriended the very first version of man’s best friend in the Junkyard. Dogmeat would go on to become a series staple and we could always count on him to be there when we needed him and it all began on this day! Who could have imagined how beloved he would go on to become.
19 The Master Is Defeated By The Vault Dweller (2162)
What started as a quest to grab a water chip resulted in the Vault Dweller defeating the man/mutant/machine hybrid, the Master, and putting a stop to his experiments. The Master’s army of super mutants was one of the most deadly forces the wasteland had seen and if not for the Vault Dweller intervening, who knows how powerful the Master might have gotten, or how many more lives he may have destroyed. Although, even in his defeat, the Super Mutants he created went on to ravage the wasteland even without him.
18 The Institute Begins Researching The FEV (2178)
If you have played Fallout 4, then you know of the Institute and that they are ever hungry for knowledge. In the year 2178, they began researching the FEV, which of course, led to trouble down the line. We see this evidently through the events of Fallout 4 where the Sole Survivor encounters Virgil, a scientist who worked in the FEV labs before defecting and being infected with the FEV himself. Thankfully, the institute saw the FEV for the danger it was and ceased research eventually.
17 Minutemen Save Diamond City From Super Mutant Attack (2180)
Ahh, the Minutemen; the stalwart defenders of the Commonwealth. This event is what brought the Minutemen into the spotlight as legitimate protectors of the wasteland. When the great green jewel, Diamond City, was attacked by a large group of Super Mutants, the Minutemen appeared to offer some very well timed assistance and protected the city in its time of need. This led to the height of their popularity before falling into shambles at the battle of Quincy many years later.
16 Nick And DiMA Escape From The Institute (2187)
Depending on your stance, these are two of the most important Synths that the Sole Survivor encounters on his journey. In 2187, Nick Valentine and his semi-brother DiMA make their daring escape from the clutches of the Institute. As we know, after they escaped, Nick made a name and a home for himself in Diamond City as well as gaining the trust of most of the town, while DiMA founded the runaway synth refuge to the north in Far Harbor known as Acadia. This was clearly an important day for all synths.
15 The Sole Survivor’s Spouse Perishes By Kellogg's Hand (2227)
The event that sets Fallout 4’s main story into motion. During your playthrough, the timeframe that this event occurs is all a blur to you as you believe that your son is still a baby only to find out that the moment he was taken was decades before the Sole Survivor reawoke to the future. This sets into motion a chain of events that eventually leads to the clash of the Institute with several other factions of the Commonwealth and there is no shortage of bloodshed on every side. All over the taking of one innocent child.
14 Underworld Founded In The Museum Of Natural History (2228)
The Capital Wasteland has many creatures residing in it and in this year, Underworld was founded so that the many Ghouls of the Wasteland would have someplace to call their own. It was created inside the Museum of Natural History. This gave them a safe haven where not even the Super Mutants bothered them despite the settlement being nestled in the heart of the wartorn downtown Washington D.C. ruins. This city has gained a name for itself and has even drawn in ghouls from all across the wasteland.
13 Broken Mask Incident Occurs In Diamond City (2229)
The Broken Mask Incident is perhaps most responsible for the paranoia surrounding the Institute. A man enters Diamond City and began chatting it up with the locals and making friends with everyone. However, out of nowhere and without provocation, the man began to ending 5 people before being taken down. It was revealed at this moment that he was actually a Gen. 3 synth, the first anyone in the Commonwealth had ever seen. This created the fear in people that someone they love may be replaced by an Institute synth.
12 Nellis Air Force Base Is Settled By The Boomers (2231)
One of the more unique groups of settlers in the Mojave Wasteland, the Boomers, found Nellis Air Force Base this year and decided to make it their own establishing it as their new home and base of operations. They would spend the many years that followed the founding, keeping outsiders at bay, by launching explosives at anything that walked within their crosshairs and dreaming of the day that they would attain their dream of returning to the sky and raining explosives and hellfire down on the violent beings of the Mojave.
11 Goodneighbor Is Founded (2240)
After the ghouls were kicked out of Diamond City, Mayor McDonough’s own brother Hancock, who was also excommunicated, founded Goodneighbor further into the war-torn city of Boston. This city would go on to serve as a home and place for the rejects of the wasteland to rest their heads. It is technically lawless, but the whole town is governed by the simple notion of treat others how you want to be treated. This has proven for the most part to be enough to keep the inhabitants at bay.
10 The Castle Is Destroyed In The Battle Of The Castle (2240)
The army that stands for true freedom in the Commonwealth, the Minutemen used to call the Castle home, until a Mirelurk Queen rose out of the ocean and destroyed the castle, leaving nothing but ravaged walls and Mirelurk nests behind. This was truly a big blow for freedom in the Commonwealth, one that wouldn’t be mended until the Sole Survivor helped the Minutemen reclaim the castle after becoming General and it would become the forward operating base for the Commonwealth’s many Minutemen members.
9 The Meeting Of Herbert “Daring” Dashwood And Argyle (2241)
Nothing keeps the Lone Wanderer comforted on his long travels like the fine stories of the adventures of Herbert “Daring” Dashwood and his ghoul Manservant Argyle. If not for this meeting of two great adventurers, what stories would keep us company on our journey! The story of how these two brave adventurers met and grew to see each other as brothers is something that is irreplaceable in the harsh grim existence of the Capital Wasteland, without which, the wasteland would feel a lot colder and lonelier than it already does.
8 Caesar Begins His Conquest Of Midwestern America (2248)
The malevolent ruler of Caesar’s Legion, and a living nightmare for anyone living in the Mojave, Caesar began his conquest of the midwest during this time and after taking territory in several states, it was clear that he wasn’t going to be stopping anytime soon. This eventually led to the first battle of the Hoover Dam. Obviously, afterward, it also lead to the second battle of Hoover Dam in which the Courier takes part in.
7 The Scourge (2255)
One of the more intense acts to occur in the years following the total annihilation of the world, the Scourge is the name for the sweep of the inhabitants of The Pitt by the Brotherhood of Steel on there way to the Capital Wasteland. In one night, the Brotherhood of Steel decided to end anyone who would fight back and get rid of the raiders residing there. After the Scourge, one Paladin was left behind, thought to be gone, this Paladin was Ishmael Ashur. Ashur would go on to bring the law back to the Pitt in the form of slave-based labor.
6 The Brotherhood Of Steel Arrives In The Capital Wasteland (2255)
After making their run through the Pitt and dealing a ton of devastation, the Brotherhood of Steel finally arrived in the Capital Wasteland at the request of central command. Their mission was to retrieve any and all advanced technology from the ruins of the once great city, and it eventually led to a permanent base being set up in the hollowed out shell of the Pentagon. This would be one of the triggers for the future conflict that would shape the future of not only the Capital Wasteland, but the remnants of America itself.
5 Brotherhood Of Steel Establishes The Citadel (2255)
The central foothold of the Brotherhood of Steel in the Capital Wasteland, the Citadel is enormous and not a place you want to mess around with. Perhaps the most well-fortified location in the Wastelands of D.C. and with its founding, came the saviors of the Capital Wasteland, with the help of the Lone Wanderer of course. The founding of the Citadel brought with it not only the hope for the future, but a lot of big guns!
4 Dr. Li Arrives At Rivet City & Pinkerton Moves Out (2259)
After she assisted James in delivering his infant son/daughter who would eventually become the Lone Wanderer, she left to make her way towards Rivet City and quickly became a pivotal part of the city’s infrastructure. She earned a spot on the city’s board and began working on her own projects in the city’s labs. Around this time, Pinkerton decided to leave Rivet City and move into the broken bow of the ship to continue his research in seclusion as he had had enough of the leadership within the city.
3 The Ranger Unification Treaty Is Signed (2271)
Perhaps one of the most pivotal moments to strike the western United States. When the Ranger Unification Treaty was signed, it had brought both the NCR Rangers and the Desert Rangers together under the same banner. This is such a pivotal moment for the shaping of the Mojave Wasteland as it gave the people of the Wasteland a more unified and powerful force to protect them. And with the rising power of Caesar’s Legion, this couldn't have been more welcomed.
2 Galaxy News Radio Begins With Three Dog At The Helm (2272)
Nothing screams Capital Wasteland, like the sweet, raspy voice of resident disc jockey, Three Dog. The story-teller of the Lone Wanderer’s adventures, he decided to get GNR back up and running with him at the helm as the DJ and with a whole slew of Brotherhood of Steel backing him up and keeping him safe. Life in the Capital Wasteland just wouldn't be the same without him to help keep us company on our far too long and arduous journey.
1 Mr. House Recruits The Three Families For The Strip (2274)
The Strip is THE most prominent location in the Mojave Wasteland showing that even after nuclear decimation, we can still always find a way to have a good time. Sin and vice never sleep and that is incredibly apparent in the Strip. This was the year that Mr. House, the enigmatic overlord of New Vegas, got his hands on the three tribes he would eventually shape into the Chairmen, Omertas, and White Glove Society, that run the three casinos on the Strip.