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Watch a Millennium of European History at Internet Speed

A thousand years of history in less than four minutes.
Video via YouTube

(Update: The video above contains animations and maps created by Frank Reed, as part of his Computer Program, 'the Centennia Historical Atlas.' Editor of Wired, Kevin Kelly, originally reviewed the atlas software in 'Cool Tools,' a section of his personal blog, 10 years ago.)

I just enrolled in a geography course about the European Union. Acting as a super state to 28 member nations, it's only been a thing for 20 years. But the history of the continent, as you ought well know, is endlessly fascinating. To excite students about the course, my instructor compared Europe to Central America during the first class session. In Central America, "there's really only one language region, one religious region, and two climate regions," he explained. In Europe, there are a handful of climates, dozens of religious regions, and over a hundred language regions.

Just watching the video above, which covers the continent's past 1,012 years in history, is reason enough to become curious. Well, if the rapid shifts of territorial lines, crumbling empires, appearing, disappearing, and reappearing nations aren't enough for you, then just pump up the ridiculous film score music pulsing along in the background. If you're trying to follow what's going on, here's an okay place to begin.