The History of Civilization Mapped in 13 Minutes: 5000 BC to 2014 AD

Above, watch “a geopo­lit­i­cal his­to­ry of all empires, nations, king­doms, armies and republics” unfold in 13 min­utes. Cre­at­ed by a YouTu­ber who sim­ply goes by the name “kard­board­king,” the video stitch­es togeth­er “more than 500 world maps span­ning all his­tor­i­cal events.” We start in Sumer, some­where around 5500–4000 BC. And end in 2014, with the world as we know it today.

Kard­board­king is care­ful to point out that the clip fea­tures civ­i­liza­tions with a writ­ing sys­tem and urban cen­ters. Hence “pre-his­tor­i­cal cul­tures” don’t make an appear­ance here. For more infor­ma­tion on the maps, see the blurb that accom­pa­nies the video on YouTube. For a tru­ly com­pre­hen­sive his­to­ry of the world, see: The His­to­ry of the World in 46 Lec­tures From Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Free: Nation­al Geo­graph­ic Lets You Down­load Thou­sands of Maps from the Unit­ed States Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey

Down­load 67,000 His­toric Maps (in High Res­o­lu­tion) from the Won­der­ful David Rum­sey Map Col­lec­tion

The His­to­ry of Car­tog­ra­phy, the “Most Ambi­tious Overview of Map Mak­ing Ever,” Now Free Online

New York Pub­lic Library Puts 20,000 Hi-Res Maps Online & Makes Them Free to Down­load and Use

Free Online His­to­ry Cours­es

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Comments (5)
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  • William Huston says:

    This shows Indi­an “Civ­i­liza­tion” began in 500 BC?! What a joke. Accord­ing to Stephen Knapp and many oth­er schol­ars, the Bud­dha can be fixed at 1800 BCE. The Mahabarat war was 3100 BCE, and the Ramayana has been dat­ed using astro­nom­ic mark­ers as being writ­ten either ~5100 BCE or 7300 BCE. This was clear­ly writ­ten by Euro­peans. The Vedas and the Purans are very old, per­haps the old­est texts in the human can­non.

  • Sue Hutchings says:

    I guess it all depends on what you call civ­i­liza­tion. So, nobody in North Amer­i­ca was civ­i­lized until Spain and then France and Britain sent some folks over to throw their weight and weapons about. I sit here and shake my head at the arro­gance of we — yes, we — descen­dants of Euro­pean folks. Cool map, but imcom­plete.

  • Martins says:

    Good maps, but I agree with the com­ments above, there are some impre­ci­sions, the basic is mare or less right and the sources seem to be few (I´ll appol­o­gy if i´m wrong but it seems his­to­ry viewed from west­ern eyes). I guess it could improve with more sources of infor­ma­tion from dif­fer­ent cul­tures. We have to be care­ful of our basic con­cepts and with what we don´t know with a cer­tain degree of sci­en­f­ic truth.
    Many thanks and keep improv­ing it.

  • Ben1 says:

    Lol, there was no civil­i­sa­tion in Japan until like 500AD?
    What crazy per­son made this video?

    There is lit­er­al­ly archae­o­log­i­cal evi­dence that the Yay­oi from Korea spread into Japan start­ing in 300BC, this is when all the archae­o­log­i­cal Kore­an penin­su­la items are found in Japan (clear­ly indi­cat­ing this as the start date).

    Not only does sci­ence prove this, but even Chi­nese tests write about a civil­i­sa­tion of Yamatai peo­ple of Japan back in the BC era (who were descend­ed from Kore­an migrants, Yay­oi).

    This video is sil­ly.
    Here is the actu­al his­to­ry for Japan, backed by actu­al sci­ence and edu­ca­tion (unlike this video in which the guy who made it just appears to wing it and go with guess­es instead of read­ing about the his­to­ry of reach coun­try in the map).

    1.Original Japan­ese are Jomon peo­ple, reach­ing Japan 25,000 years ago. Again the shell mid­dens and the skele­tons found and DNA analy­sis prove this, it’s not debat­able I am afraid. Emishi, orig­i­nal Ryukyuans and Ainu are all descen­dants of those Jomon (though Ainu are part­ly mixed with Siber­ian ori­en­tal peo­ple who met Ainu in Sakhalin where they mixed, so Ainu unlike oth­er Jomon peo­ple car­ry a lit­tle Siber­ian DNA and will have a slight­ly more ori­en­tal appear­ance than pure Jomon groups like Emishi who have a more intense­ly Cau­casian appear­ance and skulls).

    2. The Kore­an Yay­oi find Japan around in 300BC, they enter in around Kyushu and start slow­ly spread­ing there. Form­ing the mod­ern civil­i­sa­tion at the time (that had more tech­nol­o­gy than the Jomon civil­i­sa­tions of Japan obvi­ous­ly). Thus the civil­i­sa­tion that the Yay­oi brought in, became the dom­i­nant one in Japan.

    3. Some­how a lot of Jomon men mixed with the Yay­oi women, mean­ing this process of coloni­sa­tion must not have been how we imag­ine the Euro­pean colonis­ers to be today, but instead the Yay­oi and Jomon appear to have been some­what of a peace­ful inter­min­gling and mix­ing.
    Because if it was a vio­lent and bru­tal inva­sion by the Yay­oi, you would­n’t expect much of the Jomon men’s DNA to remain, yet around 45% of Japan­ese men are descen­dants from the Jomon Y DNA, even more than Jomon women that are more like around 18% mito­chon­dr­i­al DNA descen­dants of Jomon women.

    So it means Jomon men bred with Yay­oi women, more often than Yay­oi men bred with Jomon women.

    4. From the point of enter into Japan, the Jomon become mixed away, and the new civil­i­sa­tion and peo­ple (call them Yam­a­to if you want) are already part Yay­oi and part Jomon now, these peo­ple now end up slow­ly tak­ing over more and more of Japan.
    These peo­ple gain more mix­ture, as more Jomon natives are assim­i­lat­ed in more dis­tant Japan­ese lands. As a result if we mea­sure Jomon DNA in Japan­ese, it’s low­est at the Kore­an entry points, and it’s high­est at the last assim­i­lat­ed zones.

    This is sim­ply because the Yam­a­to peo­ple who already were a mix of the two, the par­tic­u­lar Yam­a­to that migrat­ed fur­ther into Japan to assim­i­late more Jomon, end­ed up gain­ing more of the mix­ture than oth­er Yam­a­to that remained low­er in places like Fukuo­ka or Hiroshi­ma etc.

    That is the com­plete his­to­ry of Japan, some­thing which could be called an advanced civil­i­sa­tion first entered Japan in around 300BC accord­ing to archae­ol­o­gists, and they were migrants from Korea. They brought with them met­al­lur­gy, glass mak­ing etc.

  • Cherry says:

    The Native Amer­i­cans of North Amer­i­ca say their ances­tors have been in the same place for thou­sands of years. This was an amaz­ing project requir­ing months of research, how­ev­er I agree that it is incom­plete and needs revi­sion.

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