The History of the World in One Chart

In 1931, John B. Sparks created a "histomap" that distilled the history of civilization into a colorful timeline. See 4,000 years of empires rising and falling, and even though it stops after World War I, you can imagine how it would look if it were continued.

The chart emphasizes domination, using color to show how the power of various “peoples” (a quasi-racial understanding of the nature of human groups, quite popular at the time) evolved throughout history.

It’s unclear what the width of the colored streams is meant to indicate. In other words, if the Y axis of the chart clearly represents time, what does the X axis represent? Did Sparks see history as a zero-sum game, in which peoples and nations would vie for shares of finite resources? Given the timing of his enterprise—he made this chart between two world wars and at the beginning of a major depression—this might well have been his thinking.

Only a portion is shown here. You can see the full, enlargeable chart at Slate. Link -via Digg


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