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.

Would you like to support the mission of Open Culture? Please consider making a donation to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your contributions will help us continue providing the best free cultural and educational materials to learners everywhere.

Also consider following Open Culture on Facebook and Twitter and sharing intelligent media with your friends. Or sign up for our daily email and get a daily dose of Open Culture in your inbox. 

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

by | Permalink | Comments (3) |

Support Open Culture

We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture’s continued operation, please consider making a donation. We thank you!

Comments (3)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • 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.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.