The zebrafish is an excellent vertebrate model for the study of the cellular interactions underlying the patterning and the morphogenesis of the nervous system. Here, we report regional fate maps of the zebrafish anterior nervous system at two key stages of neural development: the beginning (6 hours) and the end (10 hours) of gastrulation. Early in gastrulation, we find that the presumptive neurectoderm displays a predictable organization that reflects the future anteroposterior and dorsoventral order of the central nervous system. The precursors of the major brain subdivisions (forebrain, midbrain, hindbrain, neural retina) occupy discernible, though overlapping, domains within the dorsal blastoderm at 6 hours. As gastrulation proceeds, these domains are rearranged such that the basic order of the neural tube is evident at 10 hours. Furthermore, the anteroposterior and dorsoventral order of the progenitors is refined and becomes aligned with the primary axes of the embryo. Time-lapse video microscopy shows that the rearrangement of blastoderm cells during gastrulation is highly ordered. Cells near the dorsal midline at 6 hours, primarily forebrain progenitors, display anterior-directed migration. Cells more laterally positioned, corresponding to midbrain and hindbrain progenitors, converge at the midline prior to anteriorward migration. These results demonstrate a predictable order in the presumptive neurectoderm, suggesting that patterning interactions may be well underway by early gastrulation. The fate maps provide the basis for further analyses of the specification, induction and patterning of the anterior nervous system, as well as for the interpretation of mutant phenotypes and gene-expression patterns.