A short review of the history of palynology is presented. This branch of science received its greatest impetus from the introduction of the pollen diagram, 50 years ago. Emphasis is laid on the development of palaeopalynology, but the history of pollen morphology, medical pollen studies and melittopalynology are also briefly discussed, as well as work on chitinozoans and fossil microplankton of botanical affinity. International palynological meetings are also reported.