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Visualization of shipping routes from 1750 to 1855

posted by Jason Kottke   Apr 17, 2012

This video is a visualization of the how ships moved goods and people around the world from the mid-18th century to the mid-19th century.

Here’s more on how it was done.

This shows mostly Spanish, Dutch, and English routes — they are surprisingly constant over the period (although some empires drop in and out of the record), but the individual voyages are fun. And there are some macro patterns — the move of British trade towards India, the effect of the American Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, and so on.

There are times in the video when a single nation dominates all of the shipping traffic…the British in the early 1800s and the Dutch from the mid 1830s on.

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