Monday, November 23, 2009

"I did not become His Majesty's First Minister to preside over the liquidation of His empire."

But you did, Sir Winston, you did.

Here's a viral video about the dissolution of the great European empires.

It's a neat video, but it only shows half the story. The video names each piece of empire as it was granted independence or otherwise spun off. It would have been better if it first identified each piece as it was absorbed.

That approach would show, for example, how the British incrementally absorbed cities and kingdoms on the Indian sub-continent (Surat in 1613; Calcutta in 1757; Bengal in 1765; Punjab in 1849; Awadh in 1856) which, in 1947, became "India" -- a polity that had never before existed.



Blogger Tom Salemi said...

Very cool. Do the violent bouncings between bubbles represent conflict? Or is it just a graphic tick?

7:43 PM  
Blogger PKL said...

I think it's just a graphic tick. I can't read any correlation between the Brownian motion of the blobs and a timeline of European wars.

For example, France does not appear in the graphic until about 1820, but it spent the first 20 years of the nineteenth century engaged in the Napoleonic Wars.

After those wars ended, the rest of the nineteenth century was quiet as far as intra-Continental conflicts went. Europe had to deal with civil wars, revolutions and colonial wars, but it's not until WWI that they really start pounding each other again.

3:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No recognition of Irish independence in this animation.

7:10 AM  
Blogger Tom Salemi said...

Also doesn't show the Louisiana Purchase.

6:12 AM  

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