Decline of Empire visualization

See it in HD. Learn more about how they did it. Via Shloky.

About Younghusband

Sir Francis Edward Younghusband (1863-1942) was a British explorer, army officer, military-political officer, and foreign correspondent born in India who led expeditions into Manchuria, Kashgar, and Tibet. He three times tried and failed to scale Mt. Everest and journeyed from China to India, crossing the Gobi desert and the Mustagh Pass (alt. c.19,000 ft/5,791 m) of the Karakoram mountain range in modern day Pakistan. Convinced of Russian designs on British interests in India, Younghusband proactively engaged in the nineteenth century spying and conflict over Central Asia between the British and the Russians known as the Great Game. "Younghusband" is a Canadian who has spent a number of years bouncing back and forth between his home country and Japan. Fluent in Japanese and English with experience in numerous other languages from Spanish to Georgian, Younghusband has travelled throughout Asia. He graduated with an MA from the War Studies Department at the Royal Military College of Canada, where he focussed on the Japanese oil industry and energy security issues. He has recently returned to Canada from Japan, and is working in the technology sector.
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14 Responses to Decline of Empire visualization

  1. a says:

    some problems here.

    why did they start at 1814? would have been much more interesting incorporating earlier history: dutch colonialism, american independence, fluctuations in north american borders between french/spanish/anglos.

    also, why didnt canada split off in 1867?

  2. kende says:

    For a second, I thought this was going to be a photo of Obama bowing in Japan.

  3. Younghusband says:

    According to the explanation he wanted to concentrate on the 19th and 20th C maritime powers. No idea why he jumps to 1814.

    Canada splits off during 1931 as per the Statute of Westminster.

  4. Ha! Not so conquery now…
    Really like this visual tool – much better than a fat book

  5. Curzon says:

    A fun visualization, but it could have been more complete. And there’s room for improvement on the animation and visualization.

  6. Hakuin says:

    I kind of get his reasoning for choosing the four he chose, but this is simply just not as interesting without including America, both its splitting off from Britain, and then it’s own growing empire.

  7. Younghusband says:

    @Hakuin: This is based on maritime power, which the US wasn’t until about the 1940s. Furthermore, since he is using the term “empire”, we would be dragged down the “is America an empire” debate.

    @Curz, I recommend watching it in HD to get smoother animation.

    As for the dynamics, he is experimenting with a tool that is not meant to display the data he fed into it. It is a fun experiment, not sure if it is useful, but still fun. I hope he can figure out a way to adjust the fluid dynamics (particularly collisions) with other types of data other than decolonialization.

  8. Chirol says:

    Hakuin: America never had much of a growing empire. Sure we picked up PR, Guam and the Philippines but didn’t keep Philippines and otherwise just have a few random islands in teh Pacific, mostly from WW2 where nobody lives.

    This was an awesome visualization, great link and I’d have to agree, the start date was far too late.

  9. Curzon says:

    YH, the HD doesn’t do much for me. Just look at the first “pop” — Paraguay and Venezuala fly across the screen and are hard to follow. That’s the prime element that needs fixing.

  10. “For a second, I thought this was going to be a photo of Obama bowing in Japan.” Haha!
    A clever bit of animation. I didn’t see Cyprus in 1960 and I think you could have arguably included Iran’s rejection of Lord Curzon’s Anglo-Persian deal in 1921.

  11. kurt9 says:

    The sun never sets on the British Empire (at least for a stretch there) and Big Ben sets mean Greenwich time.

  12. Master Cook says:

    I tend to agree that the choice of the four Western European countries is a bit eccentric.

    No Russia? No Turkey?

    OK, so we only use martime empires, and they have to be based in Europe (to rule out the US and Japan). But I think the Dutch had some maritime colonies too, including a big one now called “Indonesia”. Even the German and Italian maritime empires in the late 19th century were comparable to whatever the Spanish and Dutch had left, ignoring Germay’s relationship with Turkey. Probably the “Congo Free State” doesn’t count, being one man’s personal fiefdom for much of its interesting.

    The point is that there is just no coherent rationale for choosing those four. If you want just four blobs, I would have gone with Britain, Spain, Russia, and France and I’m not sure about picking France over Turkey.

  13. Kelvin says:

    Well, the choice of these four makes for good visuals of the decolonization process. Turkey would also look interesting but it was never at the same size level as these four. There won’t be much coming off the USA bubble. Russia would work, though.

  14. a says:

    why not use the British North America act as the date of independence – this document is essentially the Canadian constitution? this is widely considered to be the date of independence here. Canada and the UK both commemorated the Canadian centennial in 1967.