Dance of the ever-changing borders


I do love a good map, and a map that changes over time is even more exciting. Today I’ve got a video for you (from the youtube channel Cottereau) that shows 2400 years of European history in terms of territorial boundaries, transforming before your eyes in a matter of minutes. Don’t get distracted by the stirring soundtrack–some of the changes in territory happen really quickly–Wait, what happened to the Byzantine Empire? That’s all there is left? There’s a lot to take in. I wondered if I should feel sheepish about not having heard of the Seleucid Empire before (by no means the only new name I saw), but decided instead to own my ignorance, and keep my eyes open.

Nick Routley at the Visual Capitalist does a nice write-up of nine major turning points to watch for. I didn’t look them over until after I’d watched the video, but reading through them first would let you anticipate the big shifts.

If you’re interested in other cool maps from the archives, there are several to choose from, including these: The real size of AfricaShapely foodsVirginia is for Bolivia Lovers, Languages of Spain, Dialect touringHot brown and pretzel jello.


[Images:, Loquita]

2 thoughts on “Dance of the ever-changing borders

  1. This was really cool. I was struck by how some major changes persisted for a long time, and some lasted only very briefly when seen on this time scale. The Nazis, for all the pain they caused, lasted just a few seconds.

  2. Remarkable, isn’t it? I know that when you’re in the middle of a trial, asking yourself, “how much will this really matter in the long run?” is a time honored technique. It may not take be enough to provide complete comfort, but as you note, that whole nightmare went by in a flash. That fact would doubtless have had an impact on those perpetrators most involved, had they known how things would unfold.

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