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The World Bank Group Timeline

The World Bank

The World Bank Group Historical Timeline offers an engaging way to learn about the important moments in the history of the World Bank while discovering the gems of the World Bank Group Archives. Through more than 300 events across four separate sub-timelines, the site communicates the story of how the World Bank’s mission evolved from a facilitator of post-war reconstruction and development to its present-day mandate of worldwide poverty alleviation and the promotion of shared prosperity.

But the World Bank Group Historical Timeline is more than just a chronology of events. Want to learn more about a specific topic? Either browse through the timeline using the arrows or use the search function to identify events that interest you. Then click on the “Learn More” button to access some of the hundreds of resources curated by the Archives that help illustrate each event. In addition to archival records and photographs, you can view audio/video recordings, read World Bank-authored reports, and link to oral history transcripts, project profiles, online exhibits, and presidential profiles.

The World Bank
The World Bank Group Historical Timeline offers users access to archival records, photographs, reports, oral history transcripts, and more.

The World Bank


Many of the events in the World Bank Group Historical Timeline were carefully selected from the World Bank Group Archivists’ Chronology, a comprehensive timeline of key events maintained by World Bank Group archivists. If you are interested in a more expansive history of the World Bank Group, we invite you to download the Chronology, linked above.

Many of the items in the Chronology are "firsts" that document the first occurrence of significant events, such as the first lending for each member country, the first meetings of consultative groups, the first lending in a particular sector, etc. The chronology also includes membership dates for all member countries in each institution within the World Bank Group as well as appointment and retirement announcements for prominent Bank staff.

The Chronology was initially conceived as a means of providing Archives’ staff with historical information to assist them in their work. The product was maintained and added to by numerous archivists over many decades. Thus, it contains some inconsistencies in style and substance. Readers are encouraged to cross-reference any statements for accuracy.


The World Bank Group Historical Timeline was launched with a focus on the entire organization, from its creation at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944 to the present. These events are captured in the "Key WBG Events" timeline. Since then we have added three sub-timelines that focus on specific topics in the Bank Group's history. We invite you to check out whichever timeline most interests you!


The World Bank

The ”Key WBG Events” sub-timeline surveys the history of the World Bank Group, from its creation at the Bretton Woods Conference in July, 1944 to the arrival of our 13th president, David Malpass, in April, 2019.

The World Bank

The Indonesia sub-timeline, created to mark the 2018 World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings held in Bali, describes the history of the Bank’s relationship with Indonesia, one of its key members.

The World Bank

This sub-timeline covers the World Bank’s work in Europe from 1945 to 1960, highlighting the Bank’s role in reconstruction following the Second World War.

The World Bank

The IDA sub-timeline explores the history of the WBG affiliate over the past seven decades, from its conception in the 1950s to its most recent work supporting economic and social development around the world.