This is a chronological timeline of events related to the history of Rapture, based on information revealed in the BioShock game series and There's Something in the Sea. Please note that when specific months and days are not given, they are only known to occur within the specified month or year.
Lutwidge writes a letter to the "Red Pawn" stating "the game is at an end."
Auger Detection writes a letter to Celeste about the continued investigation of Lutwidge and his association with an accomplice, codenamed "Red Pawn", in forging documents.
Lutwidge sends a letter to the Grey Pawn noting his concerns about the Red Pawn.
Lutwidge records numerous audio tapes for "the Seeker," writes symbols on the basement tiles of Warden Yarn, hides the Puzzle Boxes, and disappears.
Frank Fontaine passes out Plasmids, some of which are still experimental, to some of his followers and employees in preparation for the conflict to soon come.
One of Fontaine's loyal men, Ray Lardner, starts to suffer from the heavy side-effects of the Old Man Winter Plasmid given to him by his boss.
Fontaine cancels the production of drinkable Plasmids developed by Suchong in favor of injectible versions, due to the drinkable's high cost in ADAM when Fontaine Futuristics was unable to effectively produce sufficient quantities of ADAM.
On success of Sullivan's investigations of Rapture's smuggling ring, and following Ryan's orders, Fontaine is ordered arrested and his criminal operation shut down. Fontaine resists, resulting in a major firefight at Fontaine's front business Fontaine Fisheries. A full assault is launched by Ryan Security, and Frank Fontaine fakes his own death in the mayhem that ensued.
A revolutionary named Atlas begins protesting and rallying supporters against Ryan's philosophy in running Rapture.
The bonding process for Protectors and Gatherers was still a work in progress. Where as Dr. Yi Suchong had difficulties with adapting the Protector Bond for all Big Daddies and Little Sisters to accept it, Gilbert Alexander creates the Alpha Series to use the Pair Bond as a more permanent solution.
Atlas and some of his closest followers are sent to Fontaine's by Ryan to prevent them from causing further trouble.
Sofia Lamb takes control over Persephone from Sinclair.
The Rapture Civil War takes place. Rapture goes from a working society to a warzone, as Ryan and Atlas fight for control. Both sides actively splice, and many citizens splicing for their own self-defense become unstable. The people who survive and keep their sanity stay barricaded in small holdouts within the city. During this time, Sofia Lamb builds up more followers, who escape from the bloodshed, in Persephone.
Transatlantic Apollo Air Flight DF-0301 (Jack's flight) run by Apollo Air vanishes with six crew persons and eighty-nine passengers; international search efforts fail. U.S. and NATO vessels are sent out to sweep the area.
Sofia Lamb restarts the Gatherer Program to gain ADAM for her plans. Since the Little Sisters left in Rapture have all become too old to gather effectively, young girls are kidnapped from the surface to become new Gatherers.
The Monthly Undergrounder publishes articles on Lutwidge and The Vanishing.
Flann McDonagh writes a reply to the Monthly Undergrounder about The Vanishing article and mentioning his missing uncle's connection to Andrew Ryan.
Phil Isidore appears on the “Mid-Nite Ryde” radio talkshow and talks about The Vanishing
Roscoe Inman calls, cautioning that the lunchbox puzzle could just be a prank or trick.
Meltzer opens puzzle box (presumably).
Philip Isidore calls and sends a letter about the Utropolis story he sent Meltzer.
Amanda Meltzer calls, saying that searching for Cindy is hopeless, and Mark should contact Dr. Lyman.
Phil Isidore calls with information on “The Vanishings”.
Benny Stango calls to harass Meltzer and insinuates that he will have him taken in for questioning.
Roscoe Inman calls warning Meltzer to keep a low profile because ONI has been prepping files on “potential dissidents”.
A German reporter calls about his article on missing persons which Meltzer requested.
Roscoe Inman calls regarding The Vanishing and promises internal info.
Celeste Roget calls asking Meltzer to stop calling her, but offers her sympathies.
Celeste Roget writes Mark a reply letter warning of those who would not want him to continue the search. Mark attends a James Millard Oakes league meeting and is tracked by thuggish followers afterwards.
Jeremiah Lynch calls expressing his pique at being left out of the investigation and recommends the Frozen Triangle Book.
Mark receives the Rapture anthem record.
Charles Molley, Amanda's lawyer, calls requesting that Mark stop phoning “his client”.
Celeste Roget sends a telegram to Mark dismissing Lutwidge as insane.
Meltzer goes to the remains of Lutwidge’s burnt-out lab at his Lower Broadway Suites. He enters and finds the “Seeker” recording. Meltzer is caught by Stango and the local police, but is released shortly afterward.
Mark returns to the warehouse in the early morning and looks under the floorboards as he was clued to do by Lutwidge’s recording. There he finds the Vault-Puzzle.
Celeste Roget calls saying that Mark should not trust Lutwidge or anything that he may have left behind.
Mark cracks the first layer of the Vault-Puzzle and finds the message from Lutwidge hinting that he should go to Scarlet Sovereign Imports on the Hudson River.
Roscoe Inman calls suggesting that Celeste cannot be trusted.
Celeste Roget calls berating Mark for calling her a liar. Mark Meltzer types up an increasingly distressed and disjointed letter of apology to Celeste but doesn’t send it.
Jeremiah Lynch calls commenting on Lutwidge’s “trickster” personality and his numerous misleading forgeries.
Meltzer goes to Lutwidge’s Scarlet Sovereign warehouse in the Battery Park area. Mark enters, finds a bathroom with a red door, breaks the “Red Queen’s glass” inside, and finds the Bellman’s Chart, the tape recording alluding to the August 8th beaches, and the Jewelry box puzzle. Meltzer is intercepted by a local dock patrolmen but is not arrested; The Bellman's Chart appears on wall; Stango calls about warehouse incursion.
Call from Jeremiah Lynch regarding Lutwidge's connections to Lewis Carroll; Hunting of the Snark appears on the right table.
Call from Inman regarding sea currents.
Presumably after opening the jewelry puzzle box, Mark types up a list of locations for August 8 and posts it on his wall.
Meltzer draws continents on the Bellman's Chart.
Giant Boulder Saucer Con occurs, Phil Isidore interviews Lex Harlan.
Call from Phil Isidore regarding the California point, Meltzer writes up Working Theories sheet.
Call from Celeste Roget about the Bellman point in Nice, France.
Ulrich Broder calls about the German point, and Tenenbaum.
Mark Meltzer posts a calender piece for August 8 on the wall. The note says "Tomorrow is the day! Jones Beach, here I come. Hoping my contacts hit the other nine beaches...got a feeling this is BIG."
On the date alluded to inside the jewelry puzzle box (08/08), bottles of Arcadia Merlot from Worley Winery land on beaches noted on the Bellman's chart, with information from, and invitation to, Rapture.
Mark returns to his office with posters and a wine bottle from the beach.
Call form Celeste suggests that the bottles on the August 8th beaches were planted by Lutwidge.
Call from Jeremiah Lynch with “the Drunken Sailor” song.
Roscoe Inman sends Mark requested information about deep sea creatures from the Office of Naval Research.
Call from Roscoe Inman cajoling Mark for “leaving him out in the cold” and saying he has plenty of resources that Mark should use.(presumably) Mark cracks the next level of the Vault-Puzzle. Mark writes a letter to Celeste telling of his revelations about Rapture being at great depth in the ocean and his fear of repeating her mistakes. He muses on the fact that in her post-August 8th call she talked as if she thought Lutwidge was still alive. Mark wonders if she knows something she isn’t telling him.
Call from Phil Isidore miffed that Mark hadn’t read the Utropolis story he sent and mentioning his interviews with Lex Harlan. Presumably he sends the tapes of his interviews.
Call from Celeste suspiciously trying to insist that of course Lutwidge is dead.
Celeste sends Mark a letter saying she was lying about Lutwidge being dead. She tells of the private detectives she employed and her influencing events to have Lutwidge put in an insane asylum.
Call form Lex Harlan telling Mark to stop calling him and saying he last saw Quain in Tollevue Mental Hospital.
Call from Dr. Lyman refusing to divulge any information about any patients and suggesting Mark visit.
Mark doesn’t finish a letter to Stango saying he thinks he is losing his grip. Meltzer calls Detective Benny Stango asking to be taken to Tollevue.
Call from Benny Stango telling Mark to stay put and that he is on his way.
Stango and his men force entry into Marks office while Mark is on the phone with Phil Isadore and generally disrupt and search his office while taking him away.
Mark enters Tollevue.
The doctors diagnose him with depression/anxiety and prescribe him pills.
Mark meets Quain/Lutwidge and is given the Rubix Puzzle.
Mark solves the puzzle and gets Lutwidge/Quain’s diary.
Mark gets out of Tollevue with many pilfered files regarding Quain.
Call from Phil Isidore who is concerned about the ruckus he overheard during Mark’s call.
Mark writes an apology and responds to Phil’s phone call.
Call from Detective Stango, angry that Mark used his sympathy to manipulate him.
Call from Dr. Lyman about some of his files going missing while Mark was at Tollevue.
Call from Lynch, skeptical that Lutwidge is alive.
Call from Celeste Roget offering to have her investigators contact Mark with information on where they last found Lutwidge.
Call from Dash H. Carmady of Auger Detection offering his information as Celeste’s investigator.
Call from Celeste Roget mentioning strange harassing phone calls.
Call from Celeste frantic about a threatening letter she received and her refusing to take part in anything more that Mark will do.
Mark receives a similar letter.
Call from Dash Carmady refusing to give any more help since Celeste is no longer requiring him to.
Mark figures out the location where Celeste's detectives originally found Lutwidge at (the building originally owned by Andrew Ryan) and goes there. Inside he finds empty ADAM bottles, a bunch of Splicer masks, and many documents left by Lutwidge/Quain.
Mark sends out letters to all of his contacts requesting help in analyzing the box full of masks that he found at Lutwidge’s hideout.
Call from Roscoe Inman complaining that Mark has been avoiding him and requesting info from him on his research about the Frozen Triangle.
Call from Benny Stango mocking Meltzer for his filing a complaint about the threatening letters.
Call from “Northern Telco” about an outstanding phone bill of $58.26 which was payed for with a bounced check that Mark sent them. Presumably, Mark’s bank account has run dry.
Mark goes to check Lutwidge’s lab again and sees footprints that aren’t his. When he returns to his office, he feels that someone has been there while he was gone. He finds a dropped canister of film tape with the label “U.S. 570-68 35mm x 20 ISO100” and infers that it is Government Issue.
Call from Dash Carmady replying to Mark. He says that Celeste Roget is still missing and he seems willing to collaborate with Mark on searching for the identity of the Red Pawn.
Call from Detective Stango, skeptical of Carmady’s theory about the Red Pawn being an "Irish conman." He shows increasing hostility towards Mark. Dash Carmady sends Mark documents about a "Jerry Lynchman," seeming to suggest that Jeremiah Lynch is the Red Pawn.
Call from Amanda Meltzer's attorney, Charles Molley, about his freezing the assets of Amanda and Mark's joint bank account due to it being rapidly depleted in the course of Mark's ongoing investigations.
Mark types up an increasingly disjointed letter to Phil Isidore telling of his doubts after the revelation that Lynch may be the Red Pawn.
Call from Phil, trying to encourage Mark to go on with his search. It is exactly one year after Cindy was taken. Mark stays all day at the beach near his office, and when he walks home in the evening he feels like he is being followed. He hears noises during the night which keep him from sleeping, but he doesn't phone the cops. He begins to wonder if he is having "auditory hallucinations".
Mark takes his morning walk on the beach and sees a giant city sand-castle with cypher letters etched in the sand. He thinks it was made by Cindy with the help of the "red eyed traveler" (the Big Sister). He takes a picture.
Call from Detective Stango. He was staking out Mark's place during the night and saw the Big Sister on the beach. He is very shook up and tells Mark "the case is officially closed."
Call from Jeremiah Lynch. He is going into hiding after Detective Carmady began collaborating with law enforcement in Ireland to try and track him.
Call from Roscoe Inman. He is being put under pressure by an internal investigation, but he still wants to confer with Mark on certain matters. Mark writes a letter to Phil about attempting to go back to Lutwidge's lab only to find his way blocked by men in suits.
Mark receives a letter from Phil Isidore saying that he may be too busy to help much anymore, but mentioning some maritime contacts.
Mark tries to go back to Lutwidge's basement lab in midtown but finds his way blocked by Government agents.
Mark receives photos from Auger Detection. They contain images of cypher symbols marked on the tiles at Lutwidge's basement lab in 1958.
Mark writes a letter to Phil and prepares to head down to Baltimore, Maryland to meet Phil's maritime contacts.
Charles Molley leaves a message on Mark's answering machine in Montauk, mentioning that Mark has liquidated all of his family assets and that he is going to miss his court date.
Brigid Tenenbaum returns to Rapture to investigate the disappearance of young girls who lived near the sea.
The S.S. Nellie Bly arrives at the Phantom Lighthouse.
Mark leaves a letter to Captain Ferrence detailing his plan to leave the ship in an attempt to enter the Phantom Lighthouse. The Nellie Bly is attacked by Splicers. The Icelandic Coast Guard responds to a distress signal from the Nellie Bly.
Phil Isidore leaves a phone message in Mark's office in Montauk promising "the truth will out."
The American channel PHE broadcast a two-parts episode of the TV documentary Fact From Myth narrated by Miles Bloom, which covers some of the mysteries surrounding Rapture, presented as a "modern day Atlantis."
↑Based on Burial at Sea - Episode 1's ending and the following exchange in the elevator to the The Pavilion: Elizabeth: "When did you come to Rapture?" (Zachary Hale Comstock as) Booker DeWitt: "Oh, it was… jeez… I guess around '51. No… '48?" Elizabeth: "That's a rather large gap." Booker DeWitt: "Time… Life I had before… sort of becomes a blur. '49, '49 for sure." [Booker's nose start to bleed] Booker DeWitt: "Damn." Elizabeth: "You look a mess, Mr. DeWitt." Booker DeWitt: "Just keep your eyes open for Splicers. They can do us a whole lot worse."