Visualizing 1,000 Years of England’s Kings and Queens
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Visualizing 1,000 Years of England’s Kings and Queens

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Visualizing 1000 Years of England’s Kings and Queens

Visualizing 1,000 Years of England’s Kings and Queens

As far back as the 9th century, when Athelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, became King, England has had a ruling monarchy.

Many countries have had monarchies at some point in history, though few are still recognized today. However, England’s monarchy is very much present, with the current sovereign, Queen Elizabeth II, having reigned for over 70 years.

This visualization by Neil Richards illustrates the reigns of England’s kings and queens from 1066 to present day.

England’s Kings and Queens (1066–2021)

The English monarchy is passed from generation to generation, from parent to eldest child, a tradition that started with the sovereign William I (also known as William the Conqueror).

Up until 1702, this order of succession only applied to male heirs, until Parliament passed the Act of Settlement which allowed women to inherit the throne if a male heir was unavailable. Not until 2013 were these rules further updated to allow a female to inherit the throne if she is the eldest child, regardless of male heirs.

MonarchReign Length of Reign (Years)
William I1066–108720
William II1087–110012
Henry I1100–113535
Stephen 1135–115418
Henry II1154–118934
Richard I1189–119909
John 1199–121617
Henry III1216–127256
Edward I1272–130734
Edward II1307–132719
Edward III1327–137750
Richard II1377–139922
Henry IV1399–141313
Henry V1413–142209
Henry VI1422–146138
Edward IV1461–147009
Henry VI1470–14710.5 (191 days)
Edward IV1471–148311
Edward V14830.2 (78 days)
Richard III1483–148502
Henry VII1485–150923
Henry VIII1509–154737
Edward VI 1547–155306
Jane15530.02 (9 days)
Mary I1553–155805
Elizabeth I1558–160344
James I1603–162522
Charles I1625–164923
Charles II1660–168524
James II1685–168803
Mary II1689–169405
William III1689–170213
Anne1702–171412
George I1714–172712
George II1727–176033
George III1760–182059
George IV1820–183010
William IV1830–183706
Victoria 1837–190163
Edward VII1901–191009
George V1910–193625
Edward VIII19360.9 (327 days)
George VI1936–195215
Elizabeth II1952–Present70+

One notable time frame missing is 1650–1659, which had no reigning monarch following the beheading of Charles I in 1649. Instead, England was ruled by Parliament in a period known as the Commonwealth of England, which lasted until 1653. That year, a coup d’état led by Oliver Cromwell ensued, leading to the eventual restoration of the monarchy in 1660, reigned by Charles II.

Other reigns of interest include the shortest reigning monarch, Jane, who held the throne for just nine days in 1553. Previously, King Edward VI had overruled the order of succession in naming Jane his heir. This was disputed and Edward VI’s half-sister, Mary I, was then crowned.

The longest reigning monarch is also the current monarch of England, Elizabeth II, who has been on the throne for over 70 years. Before her, the longest reign was held by Victoria, Elizabeth II’s great-great-grandmother, from 1837 to 1901 (63 years).

Why Does England’s Monarchy Still Exist?

Today, the English monarchy is largely symbolic. The Queen serves as the Head of State in a ceremonial position, while Parliament, a representative government body headed by the Prime Minister, holds all real political power.

Instead, the monarch’s main duty is to provide ceremonial speeches and formal appearances, specifically for the opening of each new Parliament and on holidays and other special occasions. Though the Prime Minister briefs the Queen regularly on national affairs, it is understood that she will never provide opinions on political matters nor make any final decisions.

This beginning of this shift in political power was first established in 1215 with the signing of the Magna Carta by King John. Essentially one of the first written constitutions, it recognized the King and all future sovereigns as being subject to the law, not above it.

The Future of the Monarchy

Currently next in line to the throne is the Queen’s eldest son Charles, Prince of Wales, followed by his eldest son William, Duke of Cambridge.

And though there is much criticism of England’s monarchy as an outdated, expensive and inegalitarian system, the majority of England’s citizens are still in favor of the institution.

Advocates for a reigning king or queen look at the monarch’s role in unifying the nation and providing reassurance in times of uncertainty. They see the royal family as a symbol for their country, bringing in massive revenues in tourism.

With 61% of polled British adults in 2021 believing that the monarchy should stay, it is safe to assume that the institution will continue in the near future. But as the world continues to shift around us, how will that attitude evolve over time?

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Misc

Iconic Infographic Map Compares the World’s Mountains and Rivers

This iconic infographic map is an early and ambitious attempt to compare the world’s tallest mountains and longest rivers.

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Today, highly detailed maps of our planet’s surface are just a click away.

In times past, however, access to information was much more limited. It wasn’t until the 1800s that comparison diagrams and maps became widely accessible, and people found new ways to learn about the world around them.

The image above, published by J.H. Colton in 1849, is believed to be the first edition of the iconic mountains and rivers infographic map. This comparison chart concept would see a number of iterations over the years as it appeared in Colton’s world atlases.

Inspiring a Classic Infographic Map

A seminal example of this style of infographic was produced by Alexander von Humboldt in 1805. The diagram below is packed with information and shows geographical features in a way that was extremely novel at the time.

Alexander von Humboldt mountain diagram

In 1817, the brothers William and Daniel Lizars produced the first comparative chart of the world’s mountains and rivers. Breaking up individual natural features into components for comparison was a very innovative approach at that time, and it was this early French language prototype that lead to the Colton’s versions we’re familiar with today.

Digging into the Details

As is obvious, even at first glance, there is a ton of detail packed into this infographic map.

Firstly, rivers are artificially straightened and neatly arranged in rows for easy comparison. Lakes, mountain ranges, and cities are all labeled along the way. This unique comparison brings cities like New Orleans and Cairo side by side.

detailed view of longest rivers visualization

Of course, this visualization was based on the best available data at the time. Today, the Nile is widely considered to be the world’s longest river, followed by the Amazon and Yangtze.

Over on the mountain side, there are more details to take in. The visualization includes volcanic activity, notes on vegetation, and even the altitude of selected cities and towns.

detailed view of tallest mountains visualization

Above are a few of South America’s high-altitude population centers, including La Paz, which is the highest-elevation capital city in the world.

In the legend, many of the mountains are simply named “peak”. While this generic labeling might seem like a throwback to a time when the world was still being explored, it’s worth noting that today’s second tallest mountain is still simply referred to as K2.

What details do you notice while exploring this iconic infographic map?

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Demographics

Mapped: A Decade of Population Growth and Decline in U.S. Counties

This map shows which counties in the U.S. have seen the most growth, and which places have seen their populations dwindle in the last 10 years.

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A Decade of Population Growth and Decline in U.S. Counties

There are a number of factors that determine how much a region’s population changes.

If an area sees a high number of migrants, along with a strong birth rate and low death rate, then its population is bound to increase over time. On the flip side, if more people are leaving the area than coming in, and the region’s birth rate is low, then its population will likely decline.

Which areas in the United States are seeing the most growth, and which places are seeing their populations dwindle?

This map, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, shows a decade of population movement across U.S. counties, painting a detailed picture of U.S. population growth between 2010 and 2020.

Counties With The Biggest Population Growth from 2010-2020

To calculate population estimates for each county, the U.S. Census Bureau does the following calculations:

A county’s base population → plus births → minus deaths → plus migration = new population estimate

 
From 2010 to 2020, Maricopa County in Arizona saw the highest increase in its population estimate. Over a decade, the county gained 753,898 residents. Below are the counties that saw the biggest increases in population:

RankCountyPoint of ReferenceStatePop. Growth (2010–2020)
#1Maricopa CountyPhoenix, ScottsdaleArizona+753,898
#2Harris CountyHoustonTexas+630,711
#3Clark CountyLas VegasNevada+363,323
#4King CountySeattleWashington+335,884
#5Tarrant CountyFort Worth, ArlingtonTexas+305,180
#6Bexar CountySan AntonioTexas+303,982
#7Riverside CountyRiverside, Palm SpringsCalifornia+287,626
#8Collin CountyPlanoTexas+284,967
#9Travis CountyAustinTexas+270,111
#10Hillsborough CountyTampaFlorida+264,446

Phoenix and surrounding areas grew faster than any other major city in the country. The region’s sunny climate and amenities are popular with retirees, but another draw is housing affordability. Families from more expensive markets—California in particular—are moving to the city in droves. This is a trend that spilled over into the pandemic era as more people moved into remote and hybrid work situations.

Texas counties saw a lot of growth as well, with five of the top 10 gainers located in the state of Texas. A big draw for Texas is its relatively affordable housing market. In 2021, average home prices in the state stood at $172,500$53,310 below the national average.

Counties With The Biggest Population Drops from 2010-2020

On the opposite end of the spectrum, here’s a look at the top 10 counties that saw the biggest declines in their populations over the decade:

RankCountyPoint of ReferenceStatePop. Growth (2010–2020)
#1Cook CountyChicagoIllinois-90,693
#2Wayne CountyDetroitMichigan-74,224
#3Cuyahoga CountyClevelandOhio-50,220
#4Genesee CountyFlintMichigan-20,165
#5Suffolk CountyLong IslandNew York-20,064
#6Caddo ParishShreveportLouisiana-18,173
#7Westmoreland CountyMurrysvillePennsylvania-17,942
#8Hinds CountyJacksonMississippi-17,751
#9Kanawha CountyCharlestonWest Virginia-16,672
#10Cambria CountyJohnstownPennsylvania-14,786

The largest drops happened in counties along the Great Lakes, including Cook County (which includes the city of Chicago) and Wayne County (which includes the city of Detroit).

For many of these counties, particularly those in America’s “Rust Belt”, population drops over this period were a continuation of decades-long trends. Wayne County is an extreme example of this trend. From 1970 to 2020, the area lost one-third of its population.

U.S. Population Growth in Percentage Terms (2010-2020)

While the map above is great at showing where the greatest number of Americans migrated, it downplays big changes in counties with smaller populations.

For example, McKenzie County in North Dakota, with a 2020 population of just 15,242, was the fastest-growing U.S. county over the past decade. The county’s 138% increase was driven primarily by the Bakken oil boom in the area. High-growth counties in Texas also grew as new sources of energy were extracted in rural areas.

The nation’s counties are evenly divided between population increase and decline, and clear patterns emerge.

population changes in u.s. counties (%)

Pandemic Population Changes

More recent population changes reflect longer-term trends. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many of the counties that saw the strongest population increases were located in high-growth states like Florida and Texas.

Below are the 20 counties that grew the most from 2020 to 2021.

RankCountyPoint of ReferenceStatePop. Growth (2020–2021)
#1Maricopa CountyPhoenixArizona+58,246
#2Collin CountyPlanoTexas+36,313
#3Riverside CountyRiverside, Palm SpringsCalifornia+35,631
#4Fort Bend CountySugar LandTexas+29,895
#5Williamson CountyGeorgetownTexas+27,760
#6Denton CountyDentonTexas+27,747
#7Polk CountyLakelandFlorida+24,287
#8Montgomery CountyThe WoodlandsTexas+23,948
#9Lee CountyFort MyersFlorida+23,297
#10Utah CountyProvoUtah+21,843
#11Pinal CountySan Tan ValleyArizona+19,974
#12Clark CountyLas VegasNevada+19,090
#13Pasco CountyNew Port RicheyFlorida+18,322
#14Wake CountyRaleighNorth Carolina+16,651
#15St. Johns CountySt. AugustineFlorida+15,550
#16Hillsborough CountyTampaFlorida+14,814
#17Bexar CountySan AntonioTexas+14,184
#18Ada CountyBoiseIdaho+13,947
#19Osceola CountyKissimmeeFlorida+12,427
#20St. Lucie CountyFort PierceFlorida+12,304

Many of these counties are located next to large cities, reflecting a shift to the suburbs and larger living spaces. However, as COVID-19 restrictions ease, and the pandemic housing boom tapers off due to rising interest rates, it remains to be seen whether the suburban shift will continue, or if people begin to migrate back to city centers.

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