In 1931 John B. Sparks distilled human civilization into a single chart. Even today its great infographic design.
If time is a river, the Histomap, created by John B. Sparks and first published by Rand McNally back in 1931, is a raging Mississippi. In that massive river of time, each of humanity’s great civilizations becomes a confluence that ebbs, wanes, and sometimes ebbs again, each a separate current in a river that inexorably rages down to the mouth of the present day.
Although certainly not modern, the Histomap is still a breathtaking example of good infographic design: A five-foot, roll-up chart that can fit an overview of human history on any wall. Starting in 2000 B.C. with seven different civilizations–the Aegeans, the Egyptians, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Iranians, the Indians, the Huns, and the Chinese–you travel forward or backward in time as your eyes move up or down 0.75 inches. Some civilizations bleed together, others are swallowed up; some surge, others crash.
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