History of Christian Missions

c. 29 - Pentecost and birth of the church


c. 39 - Peter preaches to the Gentiles

c. 48 - Paul (formerly known as Saul of Tarsus) begins his first missionary journey to modern-day Turkey.

c. 51 - Paul begins his second missionary journey, a trip that will take him through Turkey and on into modern-day Greece.

52 - Apostle Thomas arrives in India and founds Mar Thoma church (?)

c. 54 - Paul begins his third journey.

c. 60 - Paul journeys to Rome.

c. 180 - Pantaenus preaches in India

c. 300 - Ulfilas goes to the Goths in present-day Romania

328 - Frumentius takes gospel to Ethiopia

386 - Augustine of Hippo converted

410 - New Testament appears in Armenian language

432 - Patrick goes to Ireland as missionary

496 - Conversion of Clovis I, king of Franks in Gaul, along with 3,000 warriors

c. 528 - Benedict destroys pagan temple at Monte Cassino (Italy) and builds monastery

c. 563 - Columba sails from Ireland to Scotland.

596 - Gregory the Great sends Augustine to England

631 - Conversion of the East Angles

635 - First Christian missionaries (Nestorian monks from Asia Minor and Persia) arrive in China; Aidan launches crusade into heart of Nurthumbria (England)

637 - Lombards become Christians

692 - Willibrord and 11 companions cross the North Sea to become missionaries to the Frisians (in modern Holland)

697 - Muslims overrun Carthage, capital of North Africa

722 - Boniface goes to Germanic tribes

823 - Anskar goes to Sweden

869 - Cyril and Methodius go to the Slavs

864 - Conversion of Prince Boris of Bulgaria

1000 - Leif the Lucky evangelizes Greenland

1219 - Francis of Assisi presents the Gospel to the Sultan of Egypt

1266 - The Khan sends Marco Polo’s father and uncle, Niccolo and Maffeo Polo, back to Europe with a request to the Pope to send 100 missionaries (only two responded and they turned back before reaching Mongolia)

1276 - Raymond Lull opens training center to send missionaries to North Africa

1289 - Franciscan friars begin mission work in China

1294 - Franciscan John of Monte Corvino goes to China

1329 - Nicea falls to Muslim Ottoman Turks

1368 - Collapse of the Franciscan mission in China as Ming Dynasty abolishes Christianity

1382 - Bible translated into English from Latin

1453 - Constantinople falls to the Muslim Ottoman Turks who make it their capital

1500 - Franciscans enter Brazil with Cabral

1510 - Dominicans begin work in Haiti

1526 - Franciscans enter Florida

1537 - Pope Paul III orders that the Indians of the New World be brought to Christ "by the preaching of the divine word, and with the example of the good life."

1542 - Francis Xavier, having two years previously launched the missionary work of the Society of Jesus, goes to Portugese colony of Goa in South India; Franciscans reach what is now New Mexico

1555 - John Calvin sends Huguenots to Brazil

1564 - Legaspi begins Augustinian work in Philippine Islands

1582 - Jesuits begin mission work in China, introduce Western science, mathematics, astronomy

1577 - Dominicans enter Mozambique and penetrate inland, burning Muslim mosques as they go

1601 - Matteo Ricci goes to China

1605 - Roberto de Nobili goes to India

1612 - Jesuits found a mission for the Abnakis in Maine

1614 - Anti-Christian edicts issued in Japan

1622 - Pope Gregory VI founds the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith

1628 - College of Propaganda established in Rome to train "native clergy" from all over the world

1644 - John Eliot begins ministry to Algonquin Indians in North America

1649 - Society for the Propagation of the Gospel In New England formed to reach the Indians of New England

1651 - Count Truchsess, prominent Lutheran layman, asked the theological faculty of Wittenberg as to why Lutherans were not sending out missionaries in obedience to the Great Commission

1658 - Paris Foreign Missions Society established by Jesuit Alexander de Rhodes

1661 - George Fox, founder of the Society of Friends (Quakers) sends 3 missionaries to China (although they never reached the field)

1664 - Justinian Von Welz goes to Dutch Guinea (now called Surinam)

1670 - Jesuits establish missions on the Orinoco River in Venezuela

1698 - Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge organized by Anglicans

1701 - Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts

1705 - Danish-Halle mission to India begins with Bartholomew Ziegenbalg and Henry Plutschau

1719 - Isaac Watts writes missionary hymn "Jesus Shall Reign Where'er the Sun"

1722 - Hans Egede goes to Greenland

1723 - Robert Millar publishes A History of the Propagation of Christianity and the Overthrow of Paganism

1732 - Moravians launch missionary outreach in Caribbean

1733 - Moravians go to Greenland

1735 - John Wesley goes to Indians in Georgia as missionary with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel

1736 - Anti-Christian edicts in China

1743 - David Brainerd starts ministry to North American Indians

1746 - From Boston, a call is issued to the Christians of the New World to enter into a seven-year "Concert of Prayer" for missionary work

1747 - Jonathan Edwards appeals for prayer for world missions

1750 - Jonathan Edwards, preacher of the First Great Awakening, having been banished from his church at Northhampton, Massachusetts goes as a missionary to the nearby Housatonic Indians.

1750 - Christian Frederic Schwartz goes to India with Danish-Halle Mission

1782 - Freed slave George Lisle goes to Jamaica as missionary

1792 - William Carey writes Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use means for the conversion of the heathen and forms the Baptist Missionary Society to support him in establishing missionary work in India.

1795 - The London Missionary Society is formed.

1797 - London Missionary Society enters Tahiti

1799 - The Church Missionary Society (Church of England) is formed; John Vanderkemp, Dutch Physician goes to Cape Colony, Africa; Religious Tract Society organized

1804 - British and Foreign Bible Society formed; Church Missionary Society enters Sierra Leone

1806 - Haystack prayer meeting at Williams College; Henry Martyn lands in Calcutta

1807 - First Protestant missionary to China, Robert Morrison, begins work in Canton

1809 - National Bible Society of Scotland organized

1810 - The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions is formed.

1811 - English Wesleyans enter Sierra Leone

1812 - First American foreign missionary, Adoniram Judson, arrives in Serampore and soon goes to Burma

1813 - The Methodists form the Wesleyan Missionary Society.

1814 - First recorded baptism of a Chinese convert, Cai Gao; American Baptist Foreign Mission Society formed; Netherlands Bible Society founded

1815 - American Board of Commissioners open work on Ceylon; Basel Missionary Society organized

1816 - Robert Moffat arrives in Africa; American Bible Society founded

1817 - James Thompson begins distributing Bibles throughout Latin America

1819 - John Scudder, the missionary physician, joins the Ceylon Mission; Wesleyan Methodists start work in Madras, India; Reginald Heber writes words to missionary classic "From Greenland's Icy Mountains"

1820 - Hiram Bingham goes to Hawaii (Sandwich Islands)

1822 - Paris Evangelical Missionary Society established

1823 - Scottish Missionary Society workers arrive in Bombay, India

1825 - George Boardman goes to Burma

1826 - American Bible Society sends first shipment of Bibles to Mexico

1828 - Basel Mission begins work at Christiansborg, Accra (Africa); Karl F. A. Gutzlaff of the Netherlands Missionary Society lands in Bangkok, Thailand; Rhenish Missionary Association formed

1830 - Alexander Duff arrives in Calcutta

1831 - American Congregational missionaries arrive in Thailand, withdrawing in 1849 without a single convert

1833 - Baptist work in Thailand begins with John Taylor Jones; American Methodist missionary Melville Box arrives in Liberia

1834 - American Presbyterian Mission opens work in India in the Punjab

1835 - Rhenish Missionary Society begins work among the Dayaks on Borneo (Indonesia)

1836 - Plymouth Brethren begin work in Madras, India

1839 - Entire Bible in Tahiti published

1840 - David Livingstone is in present-day Malawi (Africa) with the London Missionary Society; American Presbyterians enter Thailand and labor for 18 years before seeing their first Thai convert

1844 - Swiss Johann Krapf begins work on Zanzibar

1852 - Zenana (women) and Medical Missionary Fellowship formed in England to send out single women missionaries

1854 - London Missionary Conference; New York Missionary Conference

1856 - Presbyterians start work in Colombia with the arrival of Henry Pratt

1857 - Bible translated into Tswana language

1858 - John G. Paton begins work in New Hebrides; Elizabeth Freeman martyred in India; Basel Evangelical Missionary Society begins work in western Sumatra (Indonesia)

1859 - Protestant missionaries arrive in Japan

1860 - United Lutheran Church begins work in Liberia; Liverpool Missionary Conference

1861 - Sarah Doremus founds the Women's Union Missionary Society; Episcopal Church opens work in Haiti; Rhenish Mission goes to Indonesia under Ludwig Nommensen

1862 - Paris Evangelical Missionary Society opens work in Senegal

1864 - Baptists enter Argentina

1865 - The China Inland Mission is founded by James Hudson Taylor.

1867 - Methodists start work in Argentina; Scripture Union established

1868 - Robert Bruce goes to Iran

1871 - Henry Stanley finds David Livingstone in central Africa

1872 - First All-India Missionary Conference with 136 participants

1873 - Regions Beyond Missionary Union founded in London in connection with the East London Training Institute for Home and Foreign Missions

1877 - James Chalmers goes to New Guinea

1881 - Methodist work in Lahore, Pakistan starts in the wake of revivals under Bishop William Taylor; North Africa Mission (now Arab World Ministries) founded on work of Edward Glenny in Algeria

1882 - A.B. Simpson founds missionary training school in New York

1883 - Salvation Army enters West Pakistan

1885 - Horace Underwood, Presbyterian missionary, and Henry Appenzellar, Methodist missionary, arrive in Korea; Scottish Ion Keith-Falconer goes to Aden on the Arabian peninsula; "Cambridge Seven" (C. T. Studd, M. Beauchamp, W. W. Cassels, D. E. Hoste, S. P. Smith, A. T. Podhill-Turner, C. H. Polhill-Turner) go to China as missionaries.

1886 - Student Volunteer movement launched as 100 university and seminar students at Moody's conference grounds at Mount Hermon, Massachusetts, sign the Princeton Pledge: "I purpose, God willing, to become a foreign missionary."

1888 - Jonathan Goforth sails to China; Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions officially organized with John R. Mott as chairman and Robert Wilder as traveling secretary. The movement's motto, coined by Wilder, was: "The evangelization of the world in this generation"; Scripture Gift Mission founded

1890 - Central American Mission founded by C. I. Scofield, editor of the Scofield Reference Bible; The Scandinavian Alliance (now The Evangelical Alliance Mission) founded; Methodist Charles Gabriel writes missionary song "Send the Light"

1891 - Samuel Zwemer goes to Arabia

1892 - Redcliffe Missionary Training College founded in Chiswick (London)

1893 - Eleanor Chestnut goes to India as Presbyterian medical missionary; Sudan Interior Mission founded

1895 - Africa Inland Mission formed by Peter Cameron Scott

1897 - Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. begins work in Venezuela

1899 - James Rodgers arrives in Philippines with the Presbyterian Mission; Central American Mission enters Guatemala

1900 - American Friends open work in Cuba; Ecumenical Missionary Conference in Carnegie Hall, New York (162 mission boards represented); 189 missionaries and their children killed in Boxer rebellion in China

1901 - John Diaz goes to Cape Verde Islands; Maude Cary sails for Morocco; Disciples of Christ open work in northern Luzon (Philippines); Oriental Missionary Society founded by Charles Cowman (his wife is the compiler of popular devotional book Streams in the Desert)

1902 - Swiss members of Christian Missions in Many Lands enter Laos; California Yearly Meeting of Friends opens work in Guatemala

1903 - Church of the Nazarene enters Mexico

1906 - The Evangelical Alliance Mission (TEAM) opens work in Venezuela with T. J. Bach and John Christiansen

1907 - Harmon Schmelzenbach sails for Africa; Presbyterians and Methodists open Union Theological Seminary in Manila, Philippines; Bolivian Indian Mission founded by George Allen

1908 - Gospel Missionary Union opens work in Colombia with Charles Chapman and John Funk

1910 - C.T. Studd establishes Heart of Africa Mission (now called Worldwide Evangelization Crusade); Edinburgh (Scotland) Missionary Conference

1911 - Christian and Missionary Alliance enters Vietnam

1912 - Conference of British Missionary Societies formed

1917 - Interdenominational Foreign Mission Association (IFMA) founded

1920 - Church of the Nazarene enters Syria

1921 - Founding of International Missionary Council (IMC); Norwegian Mission Council formed

1924 - Bible Churchman's Missionary Society opens work in Upper Burma; Baptist Mid-Missions begins work in Venezuela

1927 - Near East Christian Council established

1928 - Cuba Bible Institute (West Indies Mission) opens; Jerusalem Conference of IMC

1929 - Christian and Missionary Alliance enters East Borneo (Indonesia)

1930 - Christian and Missionary Alliance starts work among Baouli tribe in the Ivory Coast

1931 - HCJB radio station started in Quito, Ecuador by Clarence Jones; Baptist Mid-Missions enters Liberia

1932 - Assemblies of God open work in Colombia; Laymen's Missionary Inquiry

1933 - Gladys Aylward (subject of movie "The Inn of the Sixth Happiness") arrives in China

1934 - William Cameron Townsend begins the Summer Institute of Linguistics

1935 - Dr. Frank C. Laubach, American missionary to the Philippines perfects the "Each one teach one" literacy program, which was used worldwide to teach 60 million people to read in their own language.

1938 - West Indies Mission enters Dominican Republic; Church Missionary Society forced out of Egypt; Madras World Missionary Conference held; Dr. Orpha Speicher oversees construction of Reynolds Memorial Hospital in central India

1940 - Marianna Slocum begins translation work in Mexico

1941 - Joy Ridderhof founds Gospel Recordings

1942 - William Cameron Townsend founds Wycliffe Bible Translators; New Tribes mission founded

1943 - World Gospel Mission (National Holiness Missionary Society) enters Honduras; 5 missionaries with New Tribes Mission martyred

1945 - Mission Aviation Fellowship formed; Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC) founded; Evangelical Foreign Missions Association formed by denominational mission boards

1946 - First Inter-Varsity missionary convention (now called "Urbana"); United Bible Societies formed

1947 - Conservative Baptist Foreign Mission Society begins work among the Senufo tribe in the Ivory Coast

1948 - Alfredo del Rosso merges his Italian Holiness Mission with the Church of the Nazarene, thus opening Nazarene work on the European continent; Don Owens goes to Korea

1949 - Southern Baptist Mission opens work in Venezuela

1950 - Paul Orjala arrives in Haiti; radio station 4VEH, owned by Oriental Missionary Society, starts broadcasting from near Cap Haitien, Haiti

1951 - World Evangelical Fellowship organized; Bill and Vonette Bright create Campus Crusade for Christ at UCLA

1952 - Church of the Nazarene enters New Zealand

1954 - Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities opens work in Cuba

1955 - Donald McGavran publishes Bridges of God; Brother Andrew makes first Bible smuggling trip into Communist Eastern Europe

1956 -Edward McCully, Peter Fleming, Jim Elliot, Roger Youderian and Nate Saint die in Ecuador at the hands of Auca Indians on the Curaray River; Assemblies of God open work in Senegal

1958 - Rochunga Pudaite completes translation of Bible into Hmar language (India)

1959 - Radio Lumiere founded in Haiti by West Indies Mission (now World Team)

c. 1960 - Kenneth Strachan starts Evangelism-in-Depth in Central America

1962 - Don Richardson goes to Sawi tribe in Papua New Guinea

1963 - Theological Education by Extension movement launched in Guatemala by Ralph Winter and James Emery

1964 - Rebels in the Congo kill missionary Paul Carlson and brutalize missionary doctor Helen Roseveare; Carlson is featured on December 4 TIME magazine cover

1966 - Red Guards destroy churches in China; Berlin Congress on Evangelism; Missionaries expelled from Burma; God's Smuggler published

1970 - Frankfurt Declaration on Mission

1971 - Gustavo Gutierrez publishes A Theology of Liberation

1973 - Church of the Nazarene enters Indonesia and Portugal; first All-Asa Mission Consultation convenes in Seoul, Korea with 25 delegates from 14 countries; founding of American Society of Missiology

1974 - Ralph Winter talks about "hidden" or unreached peoples at Lausanne Congress of World Evangelism

1975 - Nazarene missionaries Armand Doll and Hugh Friberg imprisoned in Mozambique

1976 - U.S. Center for World Mission founded; 1600 Chinese assemble in Hong Kong for the Chinese Congress on World Evangelization; Islamic World Congress calls for withdrawal of missionaries; Peace Child appears in Reader's Digest.

1977 - Evangelical Fellowship of India sponsors the All-India Congress on Mission and Evangelization

1979 - Production of JESUS film commissioned by Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ; Mother Teresa awarded Nobel Peace Prize

1980 - Philippine Congress on Discipling a Whole Nation; LCWE Conference in Pattaya

1981 - Colombian terrorists kidnap and kill Wycliffe Bible Translator Chet Bitterman

1982 - Third World Theologians Consultation in Seoul; story on "The New Missionary" makes December 27 cover of TIME magazine; Andes Evangelical Mission (formerly Bolivian Indian Mission) merges into SIM (formerly Sudan Interior Mission)

1984 - STEM (Short Term Evangelical Mission teams) ministries founded by Roger Petersen

1986 - Entire Bible published in Haitian Creole

1988 - Wycliffe Bible Translators complete their 300 New Testament translation (Cotabato Manobo language of the Philippines)

1994 - Church of the Nazarene enters Bulgaria

1995 - Nazarene missionary Don Cox abducted in Quito, Ecuador