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Fun Friday: She’s Got the Old World In Her Hands

photo 2Possibly the coolest thing I own is this desk globe I found in my grandmother’s apartment in Cyprus last summer. At first glance, it looks like any small globe — just a bit dented and dirty, and the “Made in England” logo on the stem prompts the same chuckle we get from our son playing with his dad’s 1970s-era “Made in Hong Kong” matchbox cars.

The fun part comes from looking closely at the continents — especially Africa and Asia — and marveling at how much the world has changed in less than 75 years. For the most part, it’s like a desk toy based on this week’s Project Syndicate (via Slate) article, “Of Course The World Is Better Now Than It Was In 1900.”

But even more fun: trying to nail down when on earth this spinning map could have been made?

Some of its countries that no longer exist:

  • Abyssinia
  • Anglo Egyptian Sudan
  • Ashanti
  • Bechuanaland Protectorate
  • Belgian Congo
  • Borneo
  • British Guiana
  • British Somaliland
  • Chinese Republicphoto 1
  • Dutch Guiana
  • Formosa
  • French Equatorial Africa
  • French Indochina
  • French West Africa
  • Italian Somaliland
  • Manchukuo
  • Northern Rhodesia
  • Sarawak
  • Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
  • Yugoslavia

Other clues: There’s no Israel, Jordan, Lebanon or United Arab Emirates. Tibet is bigger than Germany. Bangladesh is Pakistan. Korea is united. Germany has a line snaking down its middle, yet is not labeled into East or West versions…

So what year was this globe made? Make your guess in the Comments section below! (Or, fellow Children of the ’80s, just insert your best Carmen Sandiego joke here.)

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