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The CENTENNIA Historical Atlas

A dynamic, animated guide to a thousand years of history...

The video above is a capture from the Centennia Historical Atlas: Nations Edition. It's a sample of the animation. Since many videos have appeared online using our animations (usually unlicensed!), we have to emphasize that the Centennia Historical Atlas is not a video. It's a desktop app, a software atlas, that can be zoomed in and out, played forward and backward in time, linked to a database of events and explanatory text. Centennia is a guide to history, and it's a convenient way of putting modern events in historical context.

The Centennia Atlas is a map-based guide to the history of Europe and the Middle East from the beginning of the 11th century through the early 21st century. It is a dynamic, animated historical atlas including over 9,000 border changes. The map controls evolve the map forward or backward in time bringing the static map to life. Our maps display every major war and territorial conflict displaying the status of each region at intervals of a tenth of a year. The maps reflect actual "power on the ground" rather than internationally-sanctioned or "recognized" borders.

From Kevin Kelly's review of Centennia, published in the Whole Earth Catalog:

"As a kid I dreamed of maps that would move; I got what I wanted in Centennia. This colorful political map of Europe and the Mid-East redraws itself at yearly intervals from the year 1000 to present. It's a living map, an atlas with the dimension of time. I can zoom around history, pause at particular dates, or simply watch how nations melt away, or disintegrate into tiny fragements, or unite! Year by year the outlines of tribes and nations spread, retreat, and reform almost as if they were tides or infections. The resolution of detail (almost at the "county" level) is astounding; the breadth of time (ten centuries) thrilling. It rewards hours and hours of study."

Kevin Kelly is editor-at-large and co-founder of WIRED magazine and one of the board members of the Long Now Foundation, devoted to thinking on a millennial timescale.

The Centennia Historical Atlas was required reading for all beginning students at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis for over fifteen years. Over 1150 copies were purchased annually for all prospective naval officers at Annapolis. The software serves as a visual introduction to Western History from a cartographic perspective. Centennia is also licensed by hundreds of secondary schools, colleges, and universities worldwide.

Current editions of the Centennia Atlas include text in Greek and German, as well as English. To change language while running Centennia, on your keyboard, hit "D" for German (Deutsche), "L" for Greek (ELLenika), or "E" for English.

Individual home users also purchase the Centennia Historical Atlas. It's ideal for anyone who loves maps and history, and it's also popular among genealogy enthusiasts. There's no easier way to get a long-time-scale perspective on the history of the regions of Europe and the Middle East than by watching the borders shift back and forth in Centennia.

Professor Charles Ingrao, Purdue University wrote:

"The Centennia Atlas offers an instant antidote to the problem of changing frontiers. It permits you to view any part of Europe, North Africa or the Levant from A.D. 1000 to [the present]. You can also go forward (or backward) in time, which permits you to see the map change in five-week intervals for the period and region of your choice. Centennia also provides a "historical gazette" and glossary of names/places that students might find useful. It even traces the changing battlefronts between countries in wartime, so you can follow the inexorable march and retreat of the Austrian armies in the Balkans and elsewhere. I was most impressed by the developer's incredible eye for detail, which was more precise (and often more accurate) than Magocsi's new Historical Atlas of East Central Europe. Centennia is no less precise for Germany..."

The Centennia Historical Atlas software runs under Apple Macintosh OSX (macos 10.5 or above), as well as Microsoft Windows (10/8/7 etc.). The app requires 20 megabytes of hard disk space and 40 megabytes of memory. Centennia does not have any other significant system requirements, and it will run well on almost any computer manufactured in the past ten years.

The latest version of the atlas, Centennia Historical Atlas: Nations Edition, is available at no charge. It's free. Centennia Nations Edition covers the 150-year period from 1789 to 1939, from the beginning of the French Revolution through the Napoleonic Wars, the revolutions of the mid-19th century, the unifications that led to the creation of the modern nation-states of Germany and Italy, the wars of liberation in the Balkans in the early 20th century, the First World War, the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, the creation of the modern map of the post-colonial Near East, the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, the rise of Nazi Germany, and the events leading to the Second World War. All of the data, maps, and text for the complete edition of the Centennia Historical Atlas covering the ten-century period from the year 1000AD to the present are included in the app and can be accessed by entering a license code (available for purchase).

Comments:

Ellen M. wrote: 12/8/2018
At last! I'm looking forward to using CENTENNIA Research Edition when my department completes the purchase ..... assuming we can fund it. Can you tell me: are the KML files compatible with Google Earth? Would I be able to show the historical borders of Europe, e.g., in 1499 displayed with the perspective and view features in Google Earth?
Frank Reed wrote: 12/8/2018
Hello Ellen. I have added some sample views showing Centennia KML files viewed in Google Earth.
Jing Chu wrote: 8/14/2018
Hello, Clockwork Mapping. I use the MacOS version of your Cantennia Atlas, and I wonder if you plan to port it to iPad. I think it would be really *slick* on a tablet! Also, do you intend to expand it into the tenth century? My specialty is medieval France, and I would like to see more detail there. Just a wishlist! Thank you for this amazing atlas.
Frank Reed wrote: 8/14/2018
Yes, indeed. We are working on an iPad version. It's mostly a matter of funding. The new "Research Edition" of Centennia will, we hope, provide enough revenue to get the iOS version launched. As for the other item on your wishlist --more in medieval Europe-- it's certainly a possibility in the next year if we can get enough interest. Thanks for letting us know what interests you!

Frank Reed
Owner/Head Cartographer
Clockwork Mapping
Conanicut Island USA
Phil Perry wrote: 6/21/2017
Your historical atlas shows details that I have never encountered anywhere else. I first discovered your maps through a viral video on youtube, and I was appalled to learn later that the video was published without attribution and violating your copyright. I hope you at least got some visitors to your site out of that. It's an astounding accomplishment and obviously a huge amount of research and artistry went into its creation.

Can you email me and let me know if you have any deals for students? I would love to be able to assign this to my students in my European History survey class this summer. Thanks, Phillip Perry, Ottawa.
Frank Reed wrote: 6/22/2017
Hi, Phil. Absolutely -- we do have discount pricing arrangements for students in classes, assuming you would be ordering ten licenses or more. We also have licenses for history departments and small computer labs/libraries. I'll email you.

Frank Reed
Owner/Head Cartographer
Clockwork Mapping
Conanicut Island USA
Janet H. wrote: 11/2/2014
I can't tell you how much I LOVE this atlas. I've been using it for five years in my genealogy research, and there's nothing that compares. If I need to know what was happening in Baden in 1660 or Brittany or Danzig/Gdansk in 1925 or Milan in 1805 or anywhere else at any date... then I can turn to the "Centennia Historical Atlas" for insight. I only wish it covered more centuries, and I'm really looking forward to the version covering the history of North America. Thank you!

J.A.H.

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Recent News

  • Centennia: Research Edition ($) extensive GIS versions of Centennia's primary historical database, CRE has been developed for academic research. Institutional licensing fees apply.
  • Centennia: Nations Edition 1789-1939 FREE.
  • German and Greek included.
  • Physical copies now on USB flash (or CD-ROM).
  • Get it here, by download or on USB or CD, or buy on Amazon: USB or CD.
  • Review by Kevin Kelly, founder/editor of WIRED magazine.
  • Frank Reed, Creator of the Centennia Atlas, guest expert on Neil deGrasse Tyson's StarTalk.
  • Like us on Facebook: FB-logo / HistoricalAtlas.