Charting culture

6 minutes

What can a map of notable births and deaths reveal about the spread of culture?

Culture spreads through people, but how does that really happen? This data visualisation from Nature Video charts the movement of 120,000 prominent cultural figures – predominantly European and North American – between 600 BC and 2012 CE, by plotting lines between where each one was born and died. While limited by its Eurocentrism – reflecting history as written by the victors – the visualisation proves to be an interesting tool for reimagining history.

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