20 May 2012

[map] 1,012 Years Of European Boundary Changes In 2 Minutes and 33 Seconds

2824.When I was a kid I got the standard, substandard American training in world history, meaning that, here in Oregon, it was all Oregon Trail (this was pre "you died of dysentery") with the occasional dash of Lewis & Clark, numerous attempts to correctly pronounce "Champoeg", and periodic field trips to the Oregon Capitol Building (which provided me with a love of architecture but not much of history). As far as American, US, and world history, I'm pretty much an autodidact.

When I started reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, I was still not completely clear on the fact that international boundaries are not permanent verities, although the 1990s really started to change that, at least insofar as the Germanies could reunite. Reading the history of Nazi Germany, with its de facto boundary changes due to out-and-out annexations (Austria, the reattachment of east Prussia, and such) was a real lesson for me.

Someone, somwhere, somehow, has done a huge service, though, by taking all the European boundary changes from the year 1000 CE to the present day and animating them. It's a flawed production: there should have been an animated timeline, and the colors that change are not defined. But to watch the boundaries fluctuate over time is quite compelling. If you're familiar with such things as the Holy Roman Empire (which was only Holy and Roman in that it was beholden to Rome; it was actually a German empire), the Ottoman Empire, the growth and decay of Lithuania and the numerous divisions of Poland, you'll have some idea of what's going on and when.

I was also surprised, by the by, when I found that, for a time, Rome belonged to the French. Like I said, I got the standard American education in history.

All that being said, the video.

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