The history of Europe is breathtakingly complex. While there are rare exceptions like Andorra and Portugal, which have had remarkably static borders for hundreds of years, as Visual Capitalist’s Nick Routley points out, jurisdiction over portions of the continent’s landmass has changed hands innumerable times.
Today’s video comes to us from YouTube channel Cottereau, and it provides an informative overview of European history starting from 400 BC. Empires rise and fall, invasions sweep across the continent, and the borders of modern countries slowly begin to take shape (with the added bonus of an extremely dramatic instrumental).
Below are nine highlights and catalysts that shifted Europe’s geographic dividing lines:
146 BC – A YEAR OF CONQUEST
146 BC was a year of conquest and expansion for the Roman Republic. The fall of Carthage left the Romans in control of territory in North Africa, and the ransack and destruction of the Greek city-state of Corinth also kickstarted an era of Roman influence in that region. These decisive victories paved the way for the Roman Empire’s eventual domination of the Mediterranean.
117 AD – PEAK ROMAN EMPIRE
The peak of the Roman Empire is one of the more dramatic moments in European history. At its height, under Trajan, the Roman Empire was a colossal 1.7 million square miles (quite a feat in an era without motorized vehicles and modern communication tools). This enormous empire remained mostly intact until 395, when it was irreparably split into Eastern and Western regions.
370 AD – THE ARRIVAL OF THE HUNS
Spurred on by severe drought conditions in Central Asia, the Huns reached Europe and found a Roman Empire weakened by currency debasement, economic instability, overspending, and increasing incursions from rivals along its borders. The Huns waged their first attack on the Eastern Roman Empire in 395, but it was not until half a century later – under the leadership of Attila the Hun – that hordes pushed deeper into Europe, sacking and razing cities along the way. The Romans would later get their revenge when they attacked the quarreling Goths and Huns, bouncing the latter out of Central Europe.
1241 – THE MONGOL INVASION
In the mid-13th century,