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A geopolitical history of all empires, nations, kingdoms, armies and republics. More than 500 world maps spanning all historical events up to today. View in the high resolution. Turn on annotations for labels if you cannot read the key in the upper-left corner.
Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback. If you have any questions, think I left something out, or find any mistake, leave a comment. All serious feedback is valuable to me. Also see the FAQ section at the bottom of this description.
Most of what is shown here are civilizations with a writing system and urban centers. There are some exceptions to this where possible. This does not include most pre-historical cultures.
Special Thanks to mutong for research and translation of several Chinese maps.
Q: Canada was released in 1867/Australia was released in 1901, why is that not shown here? (Answer also generally applies to NZ, South Africa, Newfoundland)
Canada became a Dominion in 1867 and Australia also in 1901. This meant that it had a great amount of internal autonomy. However, before the Balfour Declaration of 1926, Dominions had no control over their foreign policy, which was completely determined by Whitehall in London. Dominions basically became what they are today upon their ratification of the Statute of Westminster 1931. For Canada, this was in the same year. Some other Dominions adopted it later on. Australia ratified it in 1942.
One interesting thing to note is that Rupert's Land/Northwest Territories was not legally part of Canada at all, until the transfer of the Charter from the Hudson's Bay Company in 1869-1870, through the Crown. Even then, none of the natives there had yet signed any of the Numbered Treaties.
The issue is ambiguous.
Q: Where is New France in America?
Short answer: It is there. You can see the same dark blue as is used for continental France in America. I placed all the major French forts and cities in North America on the maps, starting in Canada. I did not color in all the vast land connecting the more isolated forts, which was not under their control in any sense. Doing so would be extremely sloppy compared to how I treated all other colonies.
Q: The Spanish & First Mexican Empire originally reached from Texas/Colorado/Wyoming to California along the 42nd parallel, so why is that not shown?
This video does not and cannnot show all land claims. But in particular, I did not fully show many de jure claim changes such as the Louisiana Purchase, the Oregon Treaty or the Treaty of Tordesillas. Likewise, neither the Adams-Onis treaty nor the Mexican Cession are fully shown, as much of the claimed land in question was virtually untouched by either side at the time. Such areas remain blank here.
Q: Why don't I see all the Native American/African/Aborigine tribes?
Here are some maps of Old World tribes that never appear in this video:
Many ancient cultures were prehistoric in that they left no known record of their own history (non-oral). What this means is that much less can now be directly inferred about these cultures, such as the extent to which they organized politically and how this might have specifically developed over time. I couldn't objectively include pre-historic cultures in one region (America) without also vastly expanding the number of prehistoric cultures shown around the world, about which very little tends to be known. Early Celtic cultures are a European example. Despite having built Stonehenge at some point, they weren't included here for the same reasons. The prehistoric city of Dobrovody, and the Langkasuka are two more examples.
A few important exceptions do exist for good reason. These are certain major military powers who had extended contact with other literate civilizations. For instance, the Inca did not have any (known) writing system, but they were encountered by others who recorded much of their oral history as it existed then. The Empire they built was so important and well-known that I didn't want to leave them out on a technicality.
Despite a general lack of detailed knowledge, every map from 650 BC onward has some major Native American civilizations represented, despite some of them being pre-historical. There are about a dozen of the most powerful ones shown here. This is in contrast to Northern Europe, which is blank until well after 1 AD.