Sometimes we forget just how chaotic Europe’s geopolitical past was. Long before the Nazis or the Soviet Union caused great shifts in the balance of power, endless conflicts shifted the continent’s borders time and time again. When put in perspective, empires rose and fell in the blink of an eye. This awesome animation shows just that.

It also highlights that even though we see Europe as largely stable today, changes to its borders continue. Not depicted in this animation is Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in early 2014

The video below is very similar, but it is sped up to really showcase generally how much geographical flux Europe has seen over the last 1,000 years. Although some of these changes were a result of treaties or absorption of less powerful states, the majority was a result of conflict.

If you were from an alien race, looking down on so much chaos over such a tiny amount of time relative to pretty much anything else in the universe, it would be very hard to conclude that humans are a peaceful species.

Contact the author at Tyler@jalopnik.com.