I saw that there are a couple maps like this on Wikimedia Commons, but I was hoping for some more. Basically, what were countries’ borders in 1600, 1750, 1850, etc, etc. Any help?
Google found me this commercial site: http://www.onlyglobes.com/World_History_Maps_s/328.htm
There are several others, but I don’t know if you can browse them online. Sorry.
As a start, check out the University of Texas’s Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection.
Somewhere I have a “Historical Atlas” or “Atlas of History” or something like that. Not all the maps are political borders, and they’re not done at 50-year intervals, but some of what you want might be there.
I’ve also got some atlases from the early to mid-20th century. I’ve seen maps from the 1600s and 1700s but not in any organized collection.
If you just want the information and don’t need it in map form, I would recommend Isaac Asimov’s book on World History. He breaks history into time intervals that get smaller as we get closer to the present, and you can get a good sense of where borders were at the end of each time period.
Colin McEvedy’s historical atlas series is excellent for showing the ebb and flow of European history. His African and North American volumes are good too. Unfortunately, his Pacific atlas doesn’t really do justice to the the political evolution of Asia. Too much is crowded into a tiny sliver on the left-hand side of the maps.
The Historical Atlas of the 20th Century is obviously limited in terms of scope, but you can’t beat it for animated GIF maps (Watch Communism spread and recede!) and some of the commentary is rather interesting.
My dad had a copy of the ancient world atlas when I was a kid. Truly awesome. It went from pre-history to fall of the Western empire.
There are four of them. Medieval runs from the fall of Rome to Columbus’s voyage. Modern continues from there to Napoleon, and Contemporary is from Napoleon to the present.
Here’s Europe by 100 year increments:
You’ll have to play for the full setup but the demo has plenty of maps.
Where did I go wrong?