Visualizing Information

Here’s a really interesting clip that shows the breakdown of colonial powers from the 19th-21st Centuries using visual information and animation.

The clip was created by Pedro Cruz and he focuses on the major maritime colonial powers of that period: Great Britain, Spain, France, and Portugal. The clip moves the viewer through time, starting in 1800 and ending in 2010. As colonies or territories declare independence from the colonial powers bits of the bubbles break off. This visual information tool shows just how significant the decolonization period of the early 1960s was. From 1960-1963 we see a huge explosion of colonial independence represented by an explosion of the colonial bubbles. Check it out:

Visualizing empires decline from Pedro M Cruz on Vimeo.

It would have been great if Pedro included other colonial powers of that period such as Russia, the Netherlands, Belgium, etc. I think he should have also showed the growth of the United States’ colonial sphere that took place in the late 19th Century when we absorbed Cuba, the Philippines, and Puerto Rico after the Spanish-American War. This was largely viewed as the end of the Spanish Empire and the beginning of the “American Empire.” Pedro Cruz’s blog and his work with Information Visualization can be seen here.

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