History Archive:

Ages and reigns of famous leaders throughout history. The coverage is a little odd. Mao but not Castro? No Khans?

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Here’s a similar chart of the empires themselves. I’m told this is an awesome graphic, but I can’t read Italian.


The angle threw me for a minute, and I wonder if the ending arc widths are proportionally representative or not – but overall, I like it!


I guess today is the day of map posts! Here is one from the Economist that shows which countries participated in each summer Olympics since 1896. You can see the stupid 1980/84 boycotts by east and west, for example.

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Origins of America

In: History Maps

30 Jul 2012

Awesome animated gif of the growth of the US territories and states. The only improvement I can think of is if there was a timeline control – watching the dates change while keeping track of map changes is almost impossible.


I couldn’t find the original creator to link to. If you know where credit should be given, let me know.

A look at drought through the years. There’s also a nice article about the design decisions and process that went into it.


Some slick programming in this annotated exploration of 50 years of poverty statistics. Tough I’m not a fan of the pie charts, per se, the rollover drill down is a nice idea. Be sure to click on the small “change year” to bring up a timeline slider that updates in real time. Like I said – slick!


Truck Timeline

In: Culture History

17 Jul 2012

Ok, confession time. I’m not posting this because it’s a great infographic or timeline. I’m posting it because I love vintage trucks. Particularly those in the 50s and 60s.

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Native America Maps

In: History Maps

18 Jun 2012

The below map of Linguistic Groups has been making the social media rounds. When I saw it on Facebook it had the title “1491” – which I suppose means this is what North America looked like before Columbus showed up. Yet, the map has no date, and very specifically refers to linguistic groups, not tribes. The link below goes to a Tumblr version with an entertaining review:

this map is awful. it’s so fucking inaccurate and offensive.

when will cartographers (and map-readers) learn to be fucking accountable tho. like it’s just irresponsible and essentially automatically shoddy work to try to map all tribal territories in N. America on the same map, because at that scale, it’s physically impossible to represent everyone. a few months ago I was hired to make maps of historical changes in indigenous territories in eastern Guatemala (a relatively small area), and ended up having to draw maps that were 1” to 20km, and even then, it was still a logistical challenge. lol this map doesn’t even have a date on it, much less sources…again: as someone who makes a living mapping stuff like this, I can tell you: it took over 6 months to dig through archives and indigenous records just to find adequate and reliable information for less than half of Guatemala, a tiny tiny fraction of N. America.

there’s a lot at stake in mapping indigenous territories and cultural/linguistic areas, and unfortunately, usually those with the power and authority to map things like that are (a) not indigenous (b) not invested in indigenous communities (c) not knowledgeable enough on indigenous cultures and complexity therein to draw an adequate representation.



I thought it might be interesting to check out other variations on this topic. Here are two from Wikipedia which are much more detailed:



This one seems to combine tribe locations with language families, which makes sense, but is very simplified.


the National Geographic wins for overall aesthetics, while also including Latin American cultures (click to see zoomable version).


The Atlas of Extinct Nations has a small discussion of the uncertainties of creating these maps, and also included this cool animated gif timemap of the loss of Native American Lands:

loss of lands

When scientific advances were first theorized vs when they became reality. After a close viewing I would say whoever wrote this wasn’t particularly well-read, or even a very good geek – a lot of things on both sides are just plain wrong. Great idea. Crappy execution. Anybody want to try their hand at a version that includes da Vinci, Verne, and Heinlein (just for starters).


Not the most aesthetically pleasing figure I’ve ever seen – but there’s a ton of information crammed in.


I think the change over time is the most interesting.

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I’ve posted charts based on Maddison’s GDP dataset before, but here’s a new one that tacks on IMF projections. Obviously, the timeline scale isn’t linear and thus distorts things a bit, but the broad point is the same.image

What is Chart Porn?

An addictive collection of beautiful charts, graphs, maps, and interactive data visualization toys -- on topics from around the world.

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