What if the world were defined by its history? And what if that history was defined by Wikipedia? That's what this word-association map from MapHugger's Martin Elmer illustrates. Elmer calls it the "Laconic History of the World" and explains: "This map was produced by running all the various countries’ 'History of _____' Wikipedia article through a word cloud, then writing out the most common word to fit into the country’s boundary." The map is sort of just a fun visual, but it's also a revealing look into how we describe countries. Note that many African countries on the map bear the names of European countries. A reader's companion to the map notes that the most common word in one fourth of all of the countries was a "colonial power." The companion also points out a striking feature: "war" appears as the most common word for 16 percent of countries. You can see a bigger version of the map right here.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.