INFOGRAPHIC: The history of China and all human civilization in one chart

By Ryan Kilpatrick, April 28, 2015

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In 1931, decades before the term "infographic" was even a twinkle in anyone's eye, John B. Sparks created this ambitious and enthralling "Histomap." 

Measuring 1.5 meters in length and costing USD1, it painted a vivid picture - as advertised - of "the actual picture of the march of civilization, from the mud huts of the ancients thru the monarchistic glamour of the middle ages to the living panorama of life in present day America."

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The chart also presents a interesting look at the history of China, particularly how it compares to other civilizations. China, on the far right, remains the most constant and continuous of all the ancient cultures.

Although it fluctuates with the fortunes of various dynasties, its ebbs and flows are nothing compared to the dramatic spikes of Mongolian conquest or the rise and fall of the Roman Empire.

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Produced in the same year as the Mukden Incident, when Japan made its first bold moves to seize Chinese territory, the country is but a narrow bar on the bottom of the Histomap.

If it were to continue to the present day, however, we would undoubtedly see China shrivel still further as it weathered Japanese invasion, civil war, the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution - and then expand at a dizzying and constant pace to this day.

MORE MAPS: 68 provinces, 68 languages? What China might've looked like if the KMT had retaken the mainland; This WWII-era map of China just might change the way you view the country   

[Image via Slate]

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