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Time-lapse map of Europe
May 14, 2012 9:47 PM   Subscribe

Europe, 1000-2005, in 3 and a half minutes.

World War II starts around 3:00.
posted by John Cohen (62 comments total) 49 users marked this as a favorite

 
That was like watching a Bubble sort. Can we get an HTML5 version with a slider so we can control time?
posted by casual observer at 9:59 PM on May 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Excellent, thanks!

Would have been even better with the year displayed somewhere.

Go Golden Horde Mongols!
posted by sour cream at 10:00 PM on May 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


Pretty crazy how balkanized the...well, you know.
posted by sourwookie at 10:00 PM on May 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


I don't know what happened to me as a child to force me to yell "BOOM!" when Poland disappeared and then reappeared.
posted by munchingzombie at 10:03 PM on May 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


Looks just like my last game of Europa Universalis III.
posted by schwa at 10:06 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I really, really, really want that as an interactive feature with a timeline slider and a zoom function.

Because that was awesome.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:06 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Cool video, but it all seems so pointless. Maybe someday it'll just look like this.
posted by LordSludge at 10:06 PM on May 14, 2012


Amazing seeing Germany go from a bunch of puzzle pieces to one monolithic bloc virtually overnight.
posted by me3dia at 10:08 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is made with Centennia software (for Mac and Windows). Seems free to download. Playing with it now.
posted by schwa at 10:09 PM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ah, the free version "just" includes the Napoleonic Era. But it has a slider to control time and a log window describing events.

Just like non-interactive EU3!
posted by schwa at 10:11 PM on May 14, 2012


It's amazing to see the Holy Roman Empire fall apart, and Germany turn into a zillion itty bitty states. It's even more amazing that it stayed that way for such a long time.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 10:16 PM on May 14, 2012


The ominous music just kept me thinking: when Germany gets its act together, you're all fucked.
posted by R. Schlock at 10:23 PM on May 14, 2012 [18 favorites]


Pretty neat to see that all fly by. Though I can't help but thinking that the, I don't know, 'cinematization' of history (re: the filmscorey background music here) is sort of problematic and possibly a dangerous development, inasmuch as it favors excitement (ie, conflict) over, well, goodness.
posted by threeants at 10:39 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've obviously been playing too many Paradox games because my first thought was, that's some pretty epic blobbing by Poland-Lithuania. Followed by the inevitable decline and disintegration under what must have been an excommunicated schizophrenic leper with 0 administration.
posted by daniel_charms at 10:41 PM on May 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


Though I can't help but thinking that the, I don't know, 'cinematization' of history (re: the filmscorey background music here) is sort of problematic and possibly a dangerous development, inasmuch as it favors excitement (ie, conflict) over, well, goodness.

I had the opposite reaction. To me, the video makes the whole idea of "history" seem pretty horrifying, and the soundtrack dramatized this. Yes, it's "exciting" in a certain sense, but my main thought was: every little move of a line represents so many people being subjected to death or violence.
posted by John Cohen at 11:05 PM on May 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


Pretty neat to see that all fly by. Though I can't help but thinking that the, I don't know, 'cinematization' of history (re: the filmscorey background music here) is sort of problematic and possibly a dangerous development, inasmuch as it favors excitement (ie, conflict) over, well, goodness.
Huh? Isn't history mostly about that kind of thing anyway? Most of history is about various wars and crap like that Sometimes they'll talk about various scientists or artists. Half the stuff on the "History" channel is WWII related, supposedly.
posted by delmoi at 11:11 PM on May 14, 2012


Half the stuff on the "History" channel is WWII related, supposedly.

The History channel was about WWII from 2002-2006. We're now in the "HURR" phase.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:36 PM on May 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


delmoi, it's been a long time since academia has considered "wars and crap" to be the only important bits of history, and the term social history covers scientists, artists, and more -- particularly the impact of things on the common, average person.

It's really interesting to watch this, because ages ago I was a real history map geek and loved to imagine those static maps -- which always had to pick one particular year, even in the midst of a turbulent period -- flowing and changing to show the growth, say, of an empire. I expect there are places where students have multimedia textbooks where you can just punch one of those up nowadays. I do agree that at this scale it's sort of non-plussing -- you don't learn terribly much from 30,000 feet and compressing all of WWII into a few seconds. But I'd love to watch a slow-motion (or slider-capable) map showing just the principalities, bishoprics, and city-states of what is now Germany.

As for the war-porn-heavy History Channel, the less said the better. I recently watched one of their hour-long amateur-hour follies on the history of the railroads in the US and it was clearly aimed at about an 8th-grade level at best. In other words, it ain't Ken Burns.
posted by dhartung at 12:44 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Keeping your eye on the boundaries of Portugal is fairly boring once it shows up very early on.

It actually blinks out of existence briefly and then reappears soon after but thats a mistake I think. Its because at one point, due to laws of succession, Portugal and Spain had the same king. But they remained two different countries during that period - just two countries that shared a king.
posted by vacapinta at 12:53 AM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


That was absolutely fantastic.
posted by molecicco at 1:06 AM on May 15, 2012


various wars and crap like that

Yeah, just stupid old crap like that.
posted by Wolof at 1:46 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


John Cohen: "every little move of a line represents so many people being subjected to death or violence."
Not every line. The dissolution of Czechoslovakia springs to mind, as does the union of Castile and Aragon into Spain thorugh the marriage of Isabella and Ferdinand.
vacapinta: "Portugal and Spain had the same king. But they remained two different countries during that period - just two countries that shared a king."
It's funny, because they got it right for Scandinavia during the Kalmar Union. Scandinavia (and Finland) is shown in Danish green to indicate the common ruler, but with the internal divisions of Denmark, Norway and Sweden still shown.
posted by brokkr at 1:47 AM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


There'll always be an England. Probably.
posted by Decani at 2:38 AM on May 15, 2012


They even got the land reclamation in Holland through history right (as right as you can get it at that resolution.)
posted by digitalprimate at 3:21 AM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hypnotic. I'm struck, quite powerfully, by how relatively stable the latter half of the 20th century was. Thanks, European Community/mutually assured destruction!
posted by WPW at 3:24 AM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Agree with the time-slider comments, although I'm shure I've seen one with a time-slider, but it was a long time ago. Maybe on one of the map websites? It may even have been on here. Or maybe it was just a random stumbe from years ago. Or I could be completely wrong.

Wars and crap.

Yeah, UK history is the history of a bunch of toff twats lording it over us peasants for a thousand years. King this Queen that, Duke of someplace. Mafeking, Balaclava, Lightbrgade, WWI. Posh cunts forcing the poor to die for them.
posted by marienbad at 3:25 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


There'll always be an England. Probably.

Yes, this really underscores how easy the English, Norwegians and Swedes have had it. Poor old Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Balkans etc.

Yeah, UK history is the history of a bunch of toff twats lording it over us peasants for a thousand years. King this Queen that, Duke of someplace. Mafeking, Balaclava, Lightbrgade, WWI. Posh cunts forcing the poor to die for them.


History of the world.
posted by Summer at 3:54 AM on May 15, 2012


Cool idea, but just the year up in the corner as this thing whizzed by would have added a lot more for me. Otherwise, the point of it just seemed to be "OMG the constantly shifting borders!" I'll have to check out the interactive version others mentioned upthread, though.
posted by Rykey at 4:08 AM on May 15, 2012


Did I blink and miss Napoleon?

Or was that the part where France expanded into Spain?
posted by cacofonie at 4:17 AM on May 15, 2012


Did I blink and miss Napoleon?

No, you just have to look down a bit.
posted by molecicco at 4:29 AM on May 15, 2012 [12 favorites]


First/Old World Problems.

Europe in 5 minutes.
posted by Eideteker at 5:48 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, UK history is the history of a bunch of toff twats lording it over us peasants for a thousand years. King this Queen that, Duke of someplace.

Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.
posted by benbenson at 5:52 AM on May 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Now don't people with BA in history feel silly for wasting that tuition over 4 years? They could have had it in 3 minutes.
posted by stormpooper at 6:16 AM on May 15, 2012


Yeah, pity there's no indication of the year, but otherwise awesome.

From some of the text cut off, especially on the eastern border and in the southeastern corner, it looks as though it's a crop from something larger. Which sort of disappoints me, because I'm especially fascinated by the Central Asia area and would love to have seen that animated, too.
posted by aqsakal at 6:19 AM on May 15, 2012


It's interesting to watch the Holy Roman Empire break up and everyone declare their a principality in their own back yard. "We hereby declare us the Crown Vixen of Gnewt-Saxophonia. You may kneel gnow, you knave and... gnome."

But it needs continual lightning over the Balkans. Or a long sparkly fuse leading to a powder keg poking out from under Macedonia.
posted by pracowity at 6:23 AM on May 15, 2012


Half the stuff on the "History" channel is WWII related, supposedly.

We used to call it the Hitler channel at our house.

A good three and a half minutes, made properly epic by Inception music, which makes everything epic. Definitely going to recommend it to all my teacher friends.
posted by immlass at 6:33 AM on May 15, 2012


Summer: "Yes, this really underscores how easy the English, Norwegians and Swedes have had it. Poor old Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine, Balkans etc.
Norway and Sweden were terrorized by us Danes for several centuries (and, from time to time, the Swedes terrorized us). Norway was ruled from Denmark from 1379 to 1814, and then from Sweden until they got full independence in 1905.

Great Britain and Ireland looks fairly stable but the island has been invaded more times than you can count and has been the stage for multiple atrocities and civil wars, continuing almost into the 21st century.

Europe is a very big battlefield.
pracowity: "It's interesting to watch the Holy Roman Empire break up and everyone declare their a principality in their own back yard. "We hereby declare us the Crown Vixen of Gnewt-Saxophonia. You may kneel gnow, you knave and... gnome." "
They already were the Crown Vixen of Gnewt-Saxophonia. What happened is that the top tier got abolished, leading to the whole hierarchy falling apart into a thousand independent principalities.
posted by brokkr at 6:48 AM on May 15, 2012


It's gonna be so rad to see the US version of this, Connecticut constantly flipping between the New England Union and the New York Imperial Federation, little logo swapping between Yankees and Sox every two seconds.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:01 AM on May 15, 2012


My dad, Richard Lawrence Cohen, made this comment on my blog:
Assume an average of one war per change on the map. (There would have been some map changes due to peaceful dynastic succession, but also some wars that didn't result in map changes. Also some of the big wars like WWII resulted in more than one map change.) Sustain that for a thousand years and see if you don't want to become a unified, peace-loving continent of government-protected office workers and intellectuals.
posted by John Cohen at 7:49 AM on May 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


aqsakal: The person who uploaded this has now added a slowed down version with years.
posted by daniel_charms at 8:37 AM on May 15, 2012 [8 favorites]


I realize why this seemed so familiar... it's like a real version of the end-game screen of the original Civilization games.
posted by cacofonie at 9:02 AM on May 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


It brings to mind this observation by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, writing in 1993:

"There are today just eight states on earth which have existed since 1914 and not had their form of government changed by violence since then. These are the United Kingdom, four present or former members of the Commonwealth, the United States, Sweden, and Switzerland. Of the remaining 170 or so contemporary states, some are too recently created to have known much recent turmoil, but for the greater number that have done, far the most frequent factor has been ethnic conflict."
posted by jedicus at 9:34 AM on May 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's gonna be so rad to see the US version of this, Connecticut constantly flipping between the New England Union and the New York Imperial Federation, little logo swapping between Yankees and Sox every two seconds.

Connecticut serves as a useful DMZ but no one actually lives there dear god.
posted by The Whelk at 9:56 AM on May 15, 2012


There are today just eight states on earth which have existed since 1914 and not had their form of government changed by violence since then.

It feels odd to mention Portugal again but, yes, they did have a change of government but it was famous for not being violent.
posted by vacapinta at 10:20 AM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I took a speed-reading course and read War and Peace in twenty minutes. It involves Russia. - Woody Allen
posted by condour75 at 10:23 AM on May 15, 2012


This is awesome, though I don't know why they chose green as the color for the Netherlands, rather than, I don't know, orange, but it confused me for a little while while it looked like Ireland took over the whole of the British Isles for about ten years or so in there.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:35 AM on May 15, 2012


It feels odd to mention Portugal again but, yes, they did have a change of government but it was famous for not being violent.

I think the 1926 military coup d'etat would count as a violent change of government.
posted by jedicus at 10:40 AM on May 15, 2012


jedicus: "There are today just eight states on earth which have existed since 1914 and not had their form of government changed by violence since then. These are the United Kingdom, four present or former members of the Commonwealth, the United States, Sweden, and Switzerland."
Two things:

1) which four present/former Commonwealth members? Canada, Australia, ... ?

2) Denmark should be on that list.
posted by brokkr at 11:52 AM on May 15, 2012


I've waited for this ever since steinwald asked about it on AskMe. Good show.
posted by Acey at 11:55 AM on May 15, 2012


1) which four present/former Commonwealth members? Canada, Australia, ... ?

New Zealand and South Africa, I think. South Africa is on somewhat sketchy ground, since quite a few people were killed before the end of apartheid (e.g. Sharpeville, Soweto), but since most of it was committed by the apartheid regime rather than the protestors, I guess it could stand.

2) Denmark should be on that list.

It was occupied by the Nazis during WWII, and they instituted martial law in 1943. The resistance was fairly limited, but (according to Wikipedia), 39 Danish soldiers died during the invasion, four during the 1943 takeover, and over 850 members of the resistance were killed, so I'd say it qualifies as violent. Certainly the restoration of the Danish government occurred by violent means.
posted by jedicus at 12:52 PM on May 15, 2012


jedicus: "[Denmark] was occupied by the Nazis during WWII, and they instituted martial law in 1943. The resistance was fairly limited, but (according to Wikipedia), 39 Danish soldiers died during the invasion, four during the 1943 takeover, and over 850 members of the resistance were killed, so I'd say it qualifies as violent. Certainly the restoration of the Danish government occurred by violent means."
It said form of government. Denmark surrendered after a few hours fight against the Germans but kept the government which largely collaborated with the Germans. In 1943 the government resigned and Parliament wasn't convened until after the war, but the central administration kept ticking.
posted by brokkr at 3:13 PM on May 15, 2012


In 1943 the government resigned and Parliament wasn't convened until after the war, but the central administration kept ticking.

So it ceased to be a parliamentary monarchy at that point, then, especially since the Germans instituted martial law. From the declaration of martial law:
Recent events have proved that the Danish Government is no longer capable of maintaining order. ... Consequently I declare martial law throughout Denmark. I order: Firstly, officials and other authorities must loyally continue to perform their duties and conform with German regulations; secondly, meetings of over 5 persons in streets or public places or else where are prohibited; thirdly, theatres and other entertainments will close at dark, when all street traffic is prohibited; fourthly, use of post, telegraph, and telephone is prohibited; provocation to strike, as usual, is punishable by death. German military courts will deal with violations of these decrees, which are based on international law. Armed force will be ruthlessly used in cases of assault and gatherings.
Several elements there amount to a fundamental change in the form of government: a declaration that the government is no longer in charge, the imposition of martial law by an occupying force, a demand of loyalty toward a foreign state, an effective prohibition on political organization, and the use of foreign military courts. That's not really compatible with the pre-war form of government.
posted by jedicus at 4:41 PM on May 15, 2012


aqsakal: The person who uploaded this has now added a slowed down version with years.

That's great, but wow — could they have made the year any smaller?
posted by John Cohen at 5:25 PM on May 15, 2012


It actually blinks out of existence briefly and then reappears soon after but thats a mistake I think.

Not a mistake. Portugal was overrun by Napoleon in 1807, and the capital of the Kingdom of Portugal was relocated to Rio de Janeiro for thirteen years. This directly led to the independence of Brazil, after the royals moved back to Europe.
posted by Mars Saxman at 5:26 PM on May 15, 2012


...oh, nevermind, you're probably talking about the bit during the early 1600s....
posted by Mars Saxman at 5:38 PM on May 15, 2012


Half the stuff on the "History" channel is WWII related, supposedly.

I recall reading that the reason for this is because that was the only historical period with an abundance of documentary footage that is out of copyright and cheap to licence.
posted by acb at 6:13 PM on May 15, 2012


One cool thing to bear in mind is that at the beginning of the film, each colored shape is not a country or a people, but a sovereign individual to whom certain lands and people owe their allegiance. France is not France, but rather a man called Robert and his possessions. The evolution of the maps over many hundreds of years shows conquests and invasions, but doesn't really do justice to the personal complexities that many "countries" found themselves in. England didn't invade France in the 1300s, but rather Henry III was both the king of England and a vassal of Philip VI, the king of France, as the Lord of Aquitaine. Henry's solution to the problems he had as a vassal were not to take his land by force and hold it, but actually claimed that he was also the king of France, and thus had the right to the land.

The notion that people living within a certain area had some kind of legal personality to create their own country only became widespread much later. The idea lay beneath the national question which has shaped European history in extreme ways. Near the end of the film, the lines that shift are often doing so to answer such a question, splitting or incorporating land inhabited by people who feel, or are supposed to feel, some kind of affinity, often along the lines of language.

We have gone from a king who embodies a country, to a country which embodies its people. Nobody today would care that Edward the Confessor was childless, but nobody 1000 years ago would worry that Belgium has two language communities. William of Normandy would not have invaded England for the sake of the Sudetens, nor would have Hitler pretended that Harold Godwinson had sworn fealty.

How the borders in our minds and thoughts change are sometimes just as interesting as those on a map.
posted by Jehan at 6:47 PM on May 15, 2012 [7 favorites]


Jehan: "Belgium has two language communities."
Three.
posted by brokkr at 2:17 AM on May 16, 2012


Bohemia? Who would have thunk? I never knew that the Kingdom of Bohemia existed. The next time I meet someone from the Czech Republic, I know what conversational topic I'll bring up. . .

:)
posted by WestChester22 at 11:21 AM on May 16, 2012


Bohemia? Who would have thunk? I never knew that the Kingdom of Bohemia existed. The next time I meet someone from the Czech Republic, I know what conversational topic I'll bring up...

Unless they're Moravian or Silesian, I hear they don't like those Bohemians stealing their light. You should Czech first.

Three.

Gah! I knew that but I plain forgot it. Deutsch you just hate it when that happens?
posted by Jehan at 11:42 AM on May 16, 2012


Bother it, I watched this when posted but came back to get the link to email to someone, and it's been taken down - "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Centennia Software (HistoricalAtlas.com)".

I did find this Ask thread which links a rather similar video, though.
posted by paduasoy at 2:50 PM on May 26, 2012


Ah, they are linked from the Centennia Historical Atlas site.
posted by paduasoy at 2:53 PM on May 26, 2012


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