I made this in video form as well for those who are interested:
After Oden's flashback, I wanted to take a look at the various bits of information we have about Roger and piece together a timeline.
In the video, I used a timeline visual, which I have uploaded as an image here:
A Timeline of Roger’s Voyage – Everything We Know About the Pirate King
At the outset of the series, very little was known about Roger. Details about his voyage have gradually been revealed, though many mysteries yet remain. Information about Roger has often been delivered out of chronological order through flashbacks and exposition. By chronicling his adventure, we may gain some insight into the deeper mysteries of the One Piece world. At the very least, perhaps we can learn which questions to ask.
Roger was executed 24 years before the current point in the story of One Piece. In constructing this timeline, I’ll be using the current year in the story as a point of reference.
77 Years Ago (Age 0): Gol D. Roger is born in Logue Town; We know from the Data Books Roger was age 53 at the time of his execution, so he would be 77 if he were still alive. Logue Town is said to be the place where he was both born and died. The prologue and epilogue of Roger’s Adventure
Approx. 50+ Years Ago (Approx. Age 20+): Roger meets Rayleigh and together they embark on an adventure to turn the world upside down. Rayleigh was not only Roger’s first mate, but also his longest friend. We see this scene from Rayleigh’s perspective in chapter 603. Brook’s voyage began 52+ years before the current point in the story. He says there may have been a rookie Pirate named Roger at the time, so we can say this scene took place at least 52 years ago.
39 Years Ago (Age 38): Roger in his quest to reach the end of the Grand Line, arrived at Lodestar Island, the final island which can be reached by following the log pose where all paths converge. Roger believed this place to be the final island until, after arriving, he somehow learned of the existence of the Road Poneglyphs and the hidden final island (Laugh Tale). Following this revelation, Roger began his journey anew.
38 Years Ago (Age 39): The God Valley Incident. Roger united with Marine Vice Admiral Monkey D. Garp to take down the Rocks Pirates. Rocks formed on Pirate Island 40 years before the story of One Piece began and, for a time, were the most powerful pirate crew in the world. Xebec targeted a group of Celestial Dragons on God Valley in service to his ambition of becoming World King.
28 Years Ago (Age 49): Roger was afflicted with an incurable fatal illness and immediately began his final voyage through the Grand Line. The Roger Pirates recruited Crocus as the ship’s doctor to lessen Roger’s pain and prolong his life.
27 Years Ago (Age 50): The Roger Pirates clash with the Golden Lion Pirates lead by Shiki in the Edd War Sea. The Roger Pirates emerged victorious and Shiki’s fleet was broken apart.
26 Years Ago (Age 51): The Roger Pirates battle the Whitebeard Pirates. Roger tells Whitebeard about the Road Poneglyphs and the existence of the final island. Oden decides to join Roger in order to decipher the Poneglyphs.
In chapters 966 and 967 we see a montage of the Roger Pirates voyage through the Grand Line in pursuit of the Road Poneglyphs taking place over the following year. They voyage to Skypiea where Oden helps inscribe the message on the Golden Bell Robin later reads. They visit Water Seven and meet with Tom, who, at some earlier point, had constructed their ship the Oro Jackson. This scene takes place shortly before Franky joins Tom’s Workers as an apprentice shipwright.
Inuarushi and Nekomamushi tell Roger about the Road Poneglyph on Zou, to which he responds that he already has an engraving of the one in Linlin’s possession. From this, we know the Road Poneglyph on Whole Cake Island was the first discovered by the Roger Pirates. Roger was already in possession of the engraving when he met with Whitebeard and Oden.
After departing from Water Seven, the Roger Pirates voyage to many islands. Interestingly, we see them sail past Tequila Wolf, a massive bridge which has been under construction in the East Blue for 700 years. It would seem this destination was out of their way, so what compelled this visit?
The Roger Pirates next discover the Road Poneglyph located on Fishman Island, where Oden also reads the message left behind by Joy Boy. Roger and Oden hear the voice of the Sea Kings and Roger receives a prophecy from a young Sharly.
The third Road Poneglyph is found on Wano. Toki falls ill and disembarks, returning to Kuri with Momonosuke and Hiyori. Inuarushi and Nekomamushi also remain on Wano rejoining Oden’s retainers while Oden, continues on with Roger.
The last of the four Road Poneglyphs is found on Zou, guarded by the Mink Tribe. A young Pedro begs Roger for the opportunity to sail away wit him. Roger declines his request, but tells Pedro every person gets their time to shine.
With all four Road Poneglyphs, the Roger Pirates chart a course for the final island. Buggy falls ill and is forced to remain behind. Shanks chooses to stay with Buggy and thus is also not present for the discovery of One Piece.
25 Years Ago (Age 52): The Roger Pirates successfully reach the final island where they learn the true history of the world. Roger decides to name the island Laugh Tale in reference to the story of Joy Boy’s adventures, seemingly recorded on the Rio Poneglyph. We here learn that the Roger Pirates were the first people in 800 years to reach Laugh Tale and that the treasure One Piece was not left behind by Roger. We learn that One Piece was instead discovered on the final island, indicating it was likely left behind by Joy Boy many years before the story began at the end of the Void Century.
The world’s papers declare Roger the ‘King of the Pirates’ and name his treasure ‘One piece’.
In light of the revelation of the world’s true history, Roger chooses not to act. On Fishman Island, shortly before arriving on Laugh Tale, while meeting with King Neptune, Roger hears Sharly’s prophecy; 10 years to be born, 15 years to grow older, in reference to Shirahoshi, whose ability to control the Sea Kings will be paramount to reshaping the One Piece world.
When the Straw Hats met Rayleigh for the first time on Sabaody, he told Robin that the Roger Pirates were perhaps too early and we now understand the meaning of his words. Roger chose not to confront the world and shoulder the burden history. As a dying man, he didn’t have time to wait for the appointed day and thus chose to leave the task to a successor.
Roger chose to disband his crew one year prior to his execution. Roger shared a private conversation with Shanks, which brought Shanks to tears. We see Roger disembark his ship and leaves his crew behind in chapter 968 shortly before Oden returns to Wano. In ch 968, Oden says Roger shared a final exchange with Rayleigh. In ch 506, Rayleigh says Roger’s final words to him were “I won’t die, partner.”
25 Years Ago (Age 52): A short time later, Roger meets with Whitebeard one final time on an island covered in Cherry Blossoms. Roger informed Rayeligh of his intent to meet Whitebeard shortly before parting ways. During this meeting, Whitebeard declines Roger’s offer to learn the location of One Piece, but learns about the Will of D. Many years later, at the battle of Marineford, during his final moments, Whitebeard echoes Roger’s words, reinvigorating the Great Pirate era, by affirming the existence of One Piece. It seems Roger may have told Whitebeard a great deal about the world and its history as Whitebeard understands well the important role intended for those who carry the name D. and the degree to which discovery of the treasure will upturn the One Piece world.
24.5 Years Ago (Age 52.5): Roger meets Portgas D. Rouge. Shortly before parting ways, Roger told Rayleigh he believed a successor would discover One Piece at the appointed time and that his successor would likely be his yet to be born biological heir.
24.5 Years Ago (Age 52.5): Roger turns himself over to the World Government after having fathered a child with Rouge. He remains imprisoned for 6 months before his execution. During the Marineford arc, we see a flashback scene where Roger asks Garp to look after his child. A child should not pay the price for the sins of their parent.
24 Years Ago (Age 53): Wealth. Fame. Power. Gold Roger, the King of the Pirate had achieved it all. “My fortune is yours if you can find it, but you’ll have to search the whole world. I left everything I own in that place.” Roger is executed in Logue Town, but uses his final words to incite the great era of piracy, setting in motion the events of the story of One Piece.
So, now onto the lingering questions…
Oden’s flashback revealed many details about Roger’s voyage, but seems to have asked as many questions as it answered.
We know most of the important details of Roger’s second voyage through the Grand Line, during which he discovered the four Road Poneglyphs, and, with the help of Oden, conquered the Grand Line by discovering the Final Island and the treasure One Piece. Oden, Crocus, Rayleigh, Gaban, Shanks, Buggy, Toki, Inuarushi, and Nekomamushi are among those who sailed with Roger during this three year time period.
Yet, Roger’s first voyage remains almost entirely shrouded in mystery. We know Rayleigh was the first companion to join Roger, but not what spurred them to set out to sea. At the time Roger met Rayleigh, he was wearing the Straw Hat for which Luffy is now famous. This appearance of young Roger, sans iconic handlebar mustache, is the only time we have seen Roger during this phase in his life. The closest we have seen is the silhouetted appearance of Roger and Garp engaged in combat with the Rocks Pirates pictured in Chapter 957, which takes place over a decade later in the timeline. Roger at some later point imparted this hat to Shanks, who in turn entrusted it to Luffy for safe keeping. There exists in Imu’s vault in Marijoa a large straw hat identical in design. Where did Roger receive his hat? Was he aware of its seeming importance when he entrusted it to Shanks? Roger promises Rayleigh they will ‘turn the world upside down’, a phrase echoed by Whitebeard in reference to the impact of someone soon discovering One Piece. Was Roger somehow aware of the importance of discovering the treasure?
Appearing in the extra notes for the first volume of the series, there is a single panel with a text box describing Roger as history’s only “King of the Pirates”. Interestingly, no one was ever declared ‘Pirate King’ before Gol D. Roger successfully completed his voyage to Laugh Tale. Why was Roger seeking the end of the Grand Line? Roger was already searching for the end of the Grand Line during his first voyage which ended on Lodestar 39 years ago. Brook’s crew also set out for the end of the Grand Line 50 years prior to the start of One Piece, at which point in time Roger was only a rookie pirate. What spurred on pirates and adventurers in pursuit of this elusive destination prior to Roger’s dying words?
We have seen very little of the One Piece world in the era before Roger’s second voyage through the Grand Line.
To date, there are only 8 prominent scenes or flashbacks set in the pre-Roger era:
-Boodle and the other settlers building Orange Town after their previous home was overrun by Pirates 40 Years ago
-Noland and Calgara’s Skypiea flashback
-The Whole Cake Island flashback to Big Mom’s childhood
-Brook’s flashback to his adventures with the Rumba Pirates
-Dorry and Broggy Flashback scene where their battle on Little Garden begins
-Start of Oden’s Flashback on Wano before meeting Whitebeard
-The single panel in chapter 603 where Rayleigh reminisces about meeting Roger
-The brief glimpses of the God Valley Incident in chapter 957 which accompany Sengoku’s rendition of the tale
We first learn that Laugh Tale and the island which awaits the Straw Hats at the end of the Log Pose path are not one in the same from Inuarushi in chapter 820. It was on Lodestar that Roger learned about the Poneglyphs, the society from which they emerged, and Laugh Tale. Reaching Lodestar must also be quite the daunting task. Roger said he was the first to do so when he met Whitebeard during Oden’s flashback. The existence of the Road Poneglyphs is not widely known, which explains why no one has reached Laugh Tale in 800 years. But what makes following the log path to Lodestar such a herculean task and what arcane repository of knowledge informs those who survive the voyage?
Roger only returned to the Grand Line after contracting a fatal illness, but what prompted his decade long departure 39 years ago on Lodestar? I have posted another theory video about Shanks and the Mystery of God Valley in which I discuss one possible reason for Roger’s hiatus.
The God Valley Incident took place one year after Roger’s discovery of Lodestar, indicating his hiatus did not begin immediately following the conclusion of his first voyage. Roger returns to the Grand Line 10 years later with Shanks in tow as an apprentice, now in possession of Roger’s hat. Momo and Hiyori were not the first babies aboard Roger’s ship, as revealed in chapter 966. Could Shanks have been rescued as a child from God Valley, thus prompting the delay in Roger’s pursuit of Laugh Tale?
Throughout Roger’s second voyage, his ship houses a massive spotted egg which, at the time of his departure had not yet hatched. Where did Roger find it? Has it hatched yet? What will emerge when it does? Could whatever creature it contains be related to the prophesied Dawn of the New World?
When did Roger meet Rouge? Were they already familiar at the time Roger declared his belief that an unbornchild would someday inherit his will or did the two meet and strike up a fast romance in the six months between the disbanding of the Roger Pirates and Roger turning himself over to the World Government?
Dragon’s introduction in chapter 100 is accompanied by a quote from Roger which reads: “These things cannot be stopped. An inherited strength of will. One’s dreams. The ebb and flow of the Ages. As long as people hunger for freedom, these things will exist.” When were these words spoken to have made such a lasting impression on Luffy’s father? During his execution? The God Valley Incident? I imagine we will someday learn the origin of this quote.
Though we have learned a lot about Roger as the series has progressed, much of his life remains unexplored. His first voyage lasted more than decade and there is a ten year hiatus between he God Valley Incident and Roger’s second voyage. These parts of Roger’s life may yet be explored in future, shedding light on the deepest mysteries of the One Piece world.
Roger is such a fascinating character. I know many people feel Oden's flashback has already revealed all the relevant information about him, but I still think there are a ton of questions we need to have answered. This list is far from comprehensive, but it's everything I could think of at the moment.