This is a timeline of milestones for August 1997 through September 2003.

Timeline and milestones

August 1997

Lord British has an unfortunate accident. While giving a speech to a bright-eyed Britannian crowd, the King was engulfed in flames and spent some time in the realm of the dead. However, with the aid of his companions, he was revived shortly thereafter and finished his speech, much to the delight of those in attendance.

September 1997

Last day of the original beta test. The beta ended with a bang, as players were treated to an "end of the world" scenario with Shadowlords, demons, and other evil creatures slaughtering every character in sight.

September 1997

Ultima Online opens its doors to the public.

October 1998

The Ultima Online: The Second Age is the first expansion and introduced an entirely new landmass, vicious new monsters, new dungeons, and a lush tropical jungle filled with surprises.

December 1998

Ultima Online achieves 100,000 users worldwide.

January 1999

Ultima Online expands into Asia.

May 1999

Origin Systems announces European launch of Ultima Online.

January 2000

Ultima Online expands into Australia with the Oceania server, UO's 21st shard.

February 2000

The invasion of Trinsic. A massive army of undead laid siege to the once peaceful city of Trinsic. Due to the overwhelming odds, the dark army managed to conquer the city under the leadership of Juo'nar and the Dark Mistress Minax. All hope seemed to be lost, but noble Britannians from all over rallied together and reclaimed the city from the clutches of evil!

February 2000

Ultima Online achieves 150,000 subscribers.

February 2000

Lord British disappears. Rumors fly on the wind about the disappearance of the King. Some claim he was abducted by mongbats, while others insist that it was the work of more malevolent forces.

May 2000

Ultima Online: Renaissance is the second expansion and marked the beginning of a new era in Britannia. With the splitting of the lands into the facets of Trammel and Felucca, players could choose their geography based on their play style.

November 2000

UO World Faire. Players from all over met and mingled in Austin, Texas at Ultima Online's first official fanfest.

March 2001

Ultima Online: Third Dawn is the third expansion and introduced the new land of Ilshenar, new beasts and monsters, and an entirely new way to view the game.

January 2002

Online Worlds FanFest. Ultima Online's second official fanfest was held in Austin, TX. Players were able to meet the Developers behind the game, as well as special guest speaker Todd McFarlane.

February 2002

Ultima Online: Lord Blackthorn's Revenge is the fourth expansion and brought players into a world under siege, replete with more than 30 new and exotic characters created by none other than Spawn creator Todd McFarlane.

May 2002

A hero emerges. Dawn, Royal Knight of Britannia, leads the fight against Blackthorn and Exodus.

February 2003

Ultima Online: Age of Shadows is the fifth expansion and the most aggressive yet, offering players the ability to custom design their homes, the Chivalry and Necromancy skills, a new land called Malas, and 13 new combat moves.

March 2003

Ultima Online reaches 250,000 subscribers.

June 2003

Lord Blackthorn is defeated! During a speech given by the virtuous Dawn, Blackthorn orders his minions to attack the assembled masses. The battle was fierce, but in the end, the noble citizens of Britannia prevailed, and Lord Blackthorn was slain.

September 2003

Lord British returns! The Lost King returns to his people and speaks of the future of Britannia.

September 2003

Ultima Online's 6th anniversary.

Timeline and Milestone from UO.com