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The complete history of the world — up to 1930 — in one glorious chart

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Back in 1931, John B. Sparks put together this "Histomap" — an ambitious effort to chronicle all of the world's history in a single five-foot long timeline. The word 'epic' most certainly comes to mind.

The Histomap was brought to our attention by Rebecca Onion of Slate and it can be found in David Rumsey's Map Collection. It originally appeared in a Rand McNally publication in 1931.


It sold for a dollar and could be folded into a green cover. It was advertised as "clear, vivid, and shorn of elaboration," while presenting "the actual picture of the march of civilization, from the mud huts of the ancients thru the monarchistic glamour of the middle ages to the living panorama of life in present day America."


The Histomap emphasizes civilizational domination through its use of color, though it exhibits a primitive understanding of human groups and ethnicity.

Here's what it looks like completely unfolded:


More at Slate and Rumsey's site.