Watch How the Cultural Hubs of Civilization Have Shifted Over Centuries | Smart News | Smithsonian

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Watch How the Cultural Hubs of Civilization Have Shifted Over Centuries

A study follows the births and deaths of notable people

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For millennia, thinkers, artists and business people have been drawn to the big city. These cultural hubs foster the exchange of money and ideas, and people have crossed land and sea to spend their days at the center of civilization. Yet the dominance of any one cultural hub doesn't hold forever, and over the years cities have gone through booms and busts in popularity.

By tracking where 120,000 notable historical figures were born and died, researchers have charted the ever-shifting appeal of the next up-and-coming Big City. The video above shows the migration of notable figures—artists, explorers, philosophers, missionaries and others—from 600 B.C. to 2012 A.D., says Nature.

The animation reflects some of what was known already. Rome gave way to Paris as a cultural centre, which was eventually overtaken by Los Angeles and New York. But it also puts figures and dates on these shifts — and allows for precise comparisons. For example, the data suggest that Paris overtook Rome as a cultural hub in 1789.

via Quartz

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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