The 1931 Histomap: The entire history of the world distilled into a single map/chart.
The Vault is Slate's history blog. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @slatevault, and find us on Tumblr. Find out more about what this space is all about here. This “Histomap,” created by John B. Sparks, was first printed by Rand McNally in 1931. (The David Rumsey Map Collection hosts a fully zoomable version here.) This giant, ambitious chart fit neatly with a trend in nonfiction book publishing of the 1920s and 1930s: the “outline,” in which large subjects (the history of the world! The 5-foot-long Histomap was sold for $1 and folded into a green cover, which featured endorsements from historians and reviewers. 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. This stunning geological map of Europe was produced in 1875 by Andre Dumont, a Belgian scientist and mapmaker. It’s unclear what the width of the colored streams is meant to indicate.
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