35 History Maps That Will Make You See The World In A Whole New Light

Published November 1, 2021
Updated November 13, 2021

From Indigenous territories in pre-colonial America to the height of the Nazi regime, these maps explain history better than any textbook.

Human Migration Map
Roman Empire History Map
Rise And Fall Of Rome
Roman Roads History Map
35 History Maps That Will Make You See The World In A Whole New Light
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We primarily think of maps as tools to show us where we're going. But these 35 world history maps can show us where we've been.

Some of the historical maps displayed above highlight how empires have risen and fallen throughout the centuries. We can learn how the Mongols once consumed a continent. We can see how Roman roads once stretched across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. And we can marvel at how the Ottoman Empire came to spread across 2 million square miles.

Other history maps show how warfare has touched various places around the world, and how things have changed after these battles have passed.

Several of the historical maps in the gallery focus on North America. While perusing them, you can learn about the decimation of the American bison. You can also see how diverse Indigenous tribes once controlled large swaths of land throughout the continent before European settlers arrived.

In one particularly engaging map, you can take a look back at the results of every U.S. presidential election from 1860 to 2004.

All in all, these history maps present the path of mankind in a variety of ways. Instead of telling just one narrative, they explore the evolution of people, places, and politics from above. Using the natural boundaries of continents, they show how human history has shifted with time.

Sometimes, they tell tragic stories from the past. Other times, they present a more hopeful future.


After looking through these world history maps, check out these maps that explain America. Then, take a look at these unique world maps that you won't find in any textbook.

Kaleena Fraga
A staff writer for All That’s Interesting, Kaleena Fraga has also had her work featured in The Washington Post and Gastro Obscura, and she published a book on the Seattle food scene for the Eat Like A Local series. She graduated from Oberlin College, where she earned a double degree in American History and French.