Political Pangea reimagines the original supercontinent with the political boundaries of today.

Now some of the islands you see are the result of creative license (many weren’t actually part of Pangea at all).

But the idea that Europe and the U.S. were once each smashed side-by-side with Africa is interesting to contemplate.

One thing’s for sure: Travel would have been a lot easier, though road trips would have been a lot longer.

Co.Design

Pangea Redrawn With Today's Political Boundaries

Once, the earth was comprised of a supercontinent called Pangea. So what would that continent look like if it had the political boundaries of today?

It’s hard to imagine a time when Antarctica was a stone’s throw from the Australian Outback, or when Morocco was right across the street from New York. But that was the world 300 million years ago, when the lands of Earth were clumped into the supercontinent of Pangea.

Of course, back then, there was no United States or any other country—not yet—so geologists have been less concerned with accounting for Pangea’s placement of countries than its placement of continents. In response, Massimo Pietrobon redrew the map of Pangea, painstakingly accounting for the political boundaries that separate us today. And what he rendered is astounding to ponder.

"Europe is touching now Africa, Cuba is touching Miami, and Venezuela is also almost touching the U.S.A.," Pietrobon explains. "There’s no separation between all the nations of the world."

Pietrobon is the first to admit that he was forced to take some artistic liberty. The precise arrangement of Pangea is a debated theory. And even after researching the best information on plate tectonics and placing waterways as accurately as possible, Pietrobon was faced with the fact that our science is inherently limited, and besides, much of the world was created by entities like underwater volcanoes and surfaced at a later date.

"I decided how to create my map, forcing here and there where necessary, because the task of this work is its meaning and its visual impact, not the scientific reality," Pietrobon explains.

Indeed, whether or not one particular country is slightly misplaced isn’t really the point. It’s that when we look back 300 million years into our geological history, it seems absurd to think that we somehow ended up where we are today—not from the standpoint of nature but from the standpoint of human nature. And once faced with that absurdity, I actually find the effect quite hopeful. The Political Pangea can be both our history and our ideal future.

"All of the distances that drive policies of fear and mistrust crumble down," Pietrobon says. "The world is united."

See more here.

[Hat tip: FlowingData]

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8 Comments

  • Ken Kaminesky

    While the concept is cool there is no way that Pangea looked anything like this. For example Antarctica did not have the ice cover that it has today (even a few thousand years ago) and the Canadian islands, Florida, Italy, Baja, all were very differently shaped.   

  • Guest

    "But the idea that Europe and the U.S. were once smashed side-by-side with Africa is interesting to contemplate.'

    Er.... but they weren't, at least not according to your map; the US and Africa were side by side in the picture.

  • Mark Wilson

    "Were once 'each' smashed side-by-side" is how that should have read.

  • IsaulCarballar

    Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico and the US would form the strongest cocaine cluster in the world.

  • Michael Gmirkin

    Uhh, shouldn't Russia be down by Saudi Arabia? Seems like it fits better there... Just saying...

  • ROYCE da VOICE

    OH and Shouldn't Japan & the Koreas be on the "western" side of China closer to Vietnam & The Philippines? 
    Great attempt and idea, but this Pangea isn't really "politically" correct. ...Just saying as well