Starting a few hundred million years after the universe expanded from an infinitesimally dense point, on and on through the formation of the Earth 4.6 billion years ago to the development of life, agriculture, civilization, and war, this dramatic video tracks the rise of America and sets out to encompass the span of human origins in just two minutes.
As YouTube commenters point out, as a representation of the chronological scale of the universe, the video is a bit skewed, with the formation of the Earth coming at the six second mark and the 20th century filling the bulk of the story. But as a story of humanity, the video, made by Minnesota high school student Joe Bush, highlights many of the important events, debates and developments of human history: the rise of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent, the expansion of Asian, European and African civilizations, the Renaissance, the civil rights movement, and more. (There is a lot missing, and a big emphasis on video games and conflict, but I’d suspect any high school history teacher would be proud of the breadth of topics presented.)
Bush’s video, titled “Our Story In 2 Minutes,” was made for a unique class at Stillwater Area High School in Stillwater, Minnesota. Known as Cutaway Productions, the class gives high school students a chance to run a video production company, making public service videos, music videos, advertisements and more.
More from Smithsonian.com: