Visualizing Empire Decline

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  • Rob Paterson
    Nov 16, 2009

    Fascinating – but where is America and the Soviets?

  • This is a pretty neat idea for visualization, but the underlying data is badly skewed. Some critiques:

    1) It apparently weights the colonies by geographic area rather than by revenues or population or some more pertinent variable
    2) The dates on some things appear to be off. I noticed that Cuba seemed to fly off of Spain in 1875, when it fact it doesn’t go until 1898 or 1901 (depending on de facto or de jure). Likewise, why things fly off suddenly and then fade and disappear a few years later is obscure.
    3) It only deals with the French, English, Spanish, and Portuguese empires. Why not the German empire (1880-1918)? Why not the American empire (at least with the Philippines until 1945)? Why not the Russian empire until 1989?

    In short: great idea, poorly executed.

  • Pedro M Cruz
    Nov 16, 2009

    Hello. I’m the author of the video. Thank you for you notes.
    Please refer to http://mondeguinho.com/master/visual-experiments/visualizing-empires where I explain some options I made.

  • Pedro –

    The fact that everyone’s got something to say about it (particularly in this part of the blogosphere) means you’re onto something special. Hope this is a beta. Look forward to seeing what you do with it next.


  • stevelaudig
    Nov 17, 2009

    If the fissioning were a little slower, and all fonts larger and include the Russian; German; U.S.; Italian [small beer I agree]; and Japanese would be cool.

  • i agree — this is the beginning of something very special. in my mind’s eye, i can see the entire history of empire as bubbles bursting and reforming and bursting once again. excellent work.

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