It's a century's worth of history, all condensed into one minute: Graduate student Ben Schmidt created the above video, showing an animated map of Spanish, Dutch, and English journeys across the ocean from 1750 to 1850.
Aside from being eye candy, the video actually reveals a treasure trove of historic information about America's colonial days and the years after. It's like staring at a highway map from 200 years ago — each country has dedicated routes, and naval traffic can be seen changing from month to month. Both trade routes and military movements are represented where the data was available.
Schmidt also created a longer, 12-minute video (below) that shows the data a bit more clearly. That video shows a number of historic events. For example, you can see a definite change in trade in the United States around the Declaration of Independence. Further, you can see the 1796 Battle of Saldanha Bay between the Dutch and the British, and Captain James Cook's voyage through the South Pacific from 1772 to 1775.
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