The History of the World, Part 2

Each time we watch this — and we’ve watched it more than a few times — we find ourself focusing on a different region: Germany first, then Russia, then the Ottoman Empire, then Spain, and what’s that happening with the British Isles?

We know enough history to put an animated map of the years 1000 through 2005 in context. But what surprises us is how much the map puts what we know in context. Yes, it takes Germany forever to coalesce into a nation, but look what happens after it coalesces. Watch Russia grow, and grow, and grow — and then collapse. And my, Bohemia manages to hold out a long time while everything evolves around it.

We wouldn’t have minded this in junior high. Start the year with the video, then spend the rest of the year filling in the details — class votes on where to focus next. And maybe, just maybe, you get a sense that the world — our world — is a lot more fluid than some folks would have you believe.

One note of caution: This isn’t the version we originally watched — that one got yanked from YouTube after the atlas designers complained. And, like that other video we really liked this week — which also got yanked — this one features the Inception score. Bad omen: No telling whether it will survive the day.

[via Kottke]

The only time the map stabilized was post WW2 till the end of the Cold War.

“Conventional” wisdum sez otherwise.

They should do a red state/blue state one. Just to make dumb wingnuts feel good.

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