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Watch humans go from a tiny group in Africa to 7 billion around the world, in 5 minutes

Here’s a fun distraction after a long week.

It’s been a bad week for a lot of Americans. How about an interesting distraction?

The video above, from the American Museum of Natural History, shows essentially all of human history in just six minutes. It shows humanity spreading across the world over a few hundred thousand years — even as our population remained under 1 million. After that came the rise and fall of many empires and civilizations, plagues, wars, and so on — all the way to our current population of around 7 billion.

Here are some of the notable moments in the video:

  • About a minute in, the map begins tracking population in the millions — showing the rapid expansion of humanity with the advent of farming.
  • Around 3:15, in the 13th century, the Mongol Empire rises, invading its neighbors, expanding quickly, and killing huge segments of the population. The Mongol conquests are still considered among of the deadliest wars in history, killing tens of millions of people at a time when the world population was much smaller — around 360 million.
  • Around 3:30, in the 14th century, the bubonic plague spreads around the world, killing more than 20 million people in Europe — nearly one-third of the continent's population — and 75 million around the world, when the global population was about 380 million. Combined with the Mongol conquests, this created the first lengthy period in which human population actually declined.
  • Around 4:10, in the 18th century, the world population begins to explode thanks to the Industrial Revolution and modern medicine. From 1800 to 2015, the global population grew from about 1 billion to nearly 7 billion. And the population is projected to peak at about 11 billion around 2100.

It’s a pretty insightful, inspiring look at how far humanity has come — from a tiny group of people in Africa to 7 billion people all around the world. So make sure to watch the full video above.


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