The History of the World in 20 Odd Minutes

Last year, we flagged Bill Wurtz’s “His­to­ry of Japan,” an idio­syn­crat­ic video that cov­ered 40,000 years of Japan­ese his­to­ry in 9 minutes–everything from the rise of tech­nol­o­gy and reli­gion, to the influ­ence of Chi­na on Japan’s lan­guage and brand of bud­dhism, the emer­gence of the samu­rai, the country’s vexed rela­tion­ship with the West, and the bomb­ing of Nagasa­ki and Hiroshi­ma. Although quan­ti­ty isn’t every­thing, the video clocked more than 25 mil­lion views on YouTube–pretty impres­sive con­sid­er­ing that Wurtz cre­at­ed the video as “a pro­to­type to see if I could do a long video in the first place.”

Now comes his new, more expan­sive video–His­to­ry of the World in 20 min­utes. Released on Wednes­day, the video has already sur­passed 4.5 mil­lions views (sure­ly more by the time you read this), and it may teach you a thing … or two … about world his­to­ry. Have fun with it. And if you’re look­ing for meati­er media that cov­ers the big sweep of his­to­ry, check out the items in the Relat­eds below.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Take Big His­to­ry: A Free Short Course on 13.8 Bil­lion Years of His­to­ry, Fund­ed by Bill Gates

The His­to­ry of the World in 46 Lec­tures From Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty

Free Online His­to­ry Cours­es

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.