Rand McNally, best known for their maps, atlases and globes, published “The Histomap: Four Thousand Years of World History” in 1931. It was created by John B. Sparks, and it originally sold for $1. The map measured 5’2″ tall. It was intended to “[dramatize] the great adventure of mankind.” It is the story of civilization.
The colored regions represented the various empires throughout the last 4000 years. The width of the colored areas represent the relative power of their respective empire.
I am an American man in his early 30s, living in a country that is not yet a quarter millennium old, dwarfed in age to nations that are as old as the Bronze Age. The “Histomap” visually tells the story of empires growing and contracting, snaking through other empires. Some trail off. It is both humbling and empowering to see the rise and fall of civilizations.
It should be noted that Spark’s “Histomap” does not include all of recorded history. Writing was invented in the 4th millennium BC, 2000 years before the start of this Histomap. Recorded history, in turn, is only a fraction of human history, which extends back to the Paleolithic Age, 2.6 million years ago. That still pales in comparison to Geologic Time, the age of the Earth, which may have begun as early as 4.6 billion years ago during the Hadean Age and coinciding with the birth of the solar system. Here is a chart to put it into perspective.
Having been published in 1931, the “Histomap” does not include the conclusion of World War II, which drastically changed the global balance of power.
Following the popularity of the “Histomap”, Sparks produced a couple more histomaps, including the “Histomap of Evolution” and the “Histomap of Religion”.
The “Histomap of Evolution” is blatantly racist, segregating modern man into distinct races of people. According to Spark’s version of Evolution, the Chinese are as different from the English as a mammal is from an insect.
How can I purchase a copy of each map? How large in the font? What are the dimensions?