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how did this happen?

"hi. you're on a rock floating in space. pretty cool, huh?"
—The intro to the video. It only goes deeper from there.

history of the entire world, i guess is a video made by bill wurtz, a follow up to his 2016 video history of japan. The video condenses the entire history of Earth, from the universe's formation to the very near future, summing up nearly every major event usually taught in standard Western World History classes (and some which aren't), into a 20 minute crash course with the aid of catchy jingles and humorous visuals.

Not to be confused with History of the World Part I.

Watch it here.

the tropes are a deadly lazer:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The last event featured in the video (the singularity) occurs in 2028.
  • Adapted Out: Several modern-day countries make no appearances in the video. The largest of these is Canada. Other notable omissions include Ireland, Romania and Finland, in addition to any state once associated with Yugoslavia.
  • The Abridged History: An abridged interpretation of history from the Big Bang to 20 Minutes into the Future
  • all lowercase letters: Like in the previous video, the title and all captions are in all-lowercase.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The Persian Empire is introduced this way, being the last of a rapid-fire food chain of empires starting with the Assyrian Empire being consumed by the Neo-Babylonian Empire, which is in turn succeeded by the Median Empire, which is gobbled up at last by the Persian Empire, which becomes bigger than all of those.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • A portrait of "King Louis XVI" is labelled as "King Louis the XIV," most likely due to general misconceptions of who was ruling during the French revolution.
    • The section on the 19th century briefly implies that the Mexican-American War happened after the American Civil War; it was actually more than a decade before it, and was one of the events that helped spark it.
  • "Begone" Bribe: Chandragupta wants Seleucus to get the hell out, and gives him 500 elephants to get the hell out.note 
  • Big "WHAT?!": "What? That's bullshit!" said Portugal (spiceless).
  • Bilingual Bonus: The invention of the telegraph shows "Hi I just sent you a message thru a wire" being sent via Morse code... but the Morse code in the audio track actually says "Sex LOL".
  • Black Comedy: There were already hints of it in the original, but it's in full force here.
    • "(PERMIAN EXTINCTION) Aw, fuck, now everything's dead."
    • The Black Death gets a comically short mention: "Whoops, half of Europe just died."
    • "The Aztecs and Inca empires are off to a good start. Wonder if they know that Europe just discovered their continent..." (Grim Reaper Looms)
    • On European powers colonizing the Americas: "We gotta start pillaging some stuff."
    • "Damn," said Amsterdam. (Beat) "We gotta start pillaging some stuff."
    • "[Sugar plantations in the Caribbean] are so goddamn profitable, you might forget to not do slavery."
    • "I know! Let's rape Africa!" said Europe, scrambling to see who could rape it the fastest."note 
    • "Britain and France are still hungry."note 
    • "Germany's back, featuring Hitler the angry moustache model! And he's mad at the Jews for existing!"
    • "Japan is finally conquering the east, and they're so excited about it they rape Nanking way too hard. They should probably just deny it."
    • 9/11: "Whoops, someone just attacked America. I bet they'll remember that."
  • Bland-Name Product: "squirrel search" appears in the technology montage.
  • Blatant Lies: The Great War is so great, they won't need a second one!
  • Bookends: The video ends with "by the way where the hell are we?" and starts with "hi, you're on a rock floating in space, pretty cool huh?".
  • Bowdlerise: Some smaller YouTubers have made edited versions of the video that omit the swearing from the original, so it could be used by schools and teachers. Watch one of these here.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: The three main philosophies of China under the Qin dynasty: "having good morals" (Confucianism), "go with the flow" (Taoism), "fuck you, obey the law" (Legalism).
  • Buffy Speak: Used a few times, like when Charlemagne's kingdom was split into "France and Not-France".
  • Call-Back: A couple of jokes return from history of japan:
    • "Knock-knock—er, clop-clop. It's the horse people."
    • The "how about sunrise land?" jingle can be heard as an instrumental when Bill mentions Japan as the "sunrise kingdom".
  • The Cat Came Back: Napoleon, briefly.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Even Gandhi seems surprised that starving himself in public actually succeeded in getting the British to leave India.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Turns out that some of the Crusades almost didn't fail.note 
  • Dark Reprise: "now you can eat sunlight!" is reflected around 2.5 billion years later when "the sun is a deadly lazernote "
  • Dead Artists Are Better: Bill describes the effects of Jesus's death as making him more popular, thus birthing Christianity.
  • Demoted to Extra: Japan is only mentioned a handful of times.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Brought up a few times:
    • "Use a stronger egg. And put water in it. Have a baby, on land, in an egg. Water is in the egg. Baby in the egg, in the water, in the egg."
    • "Guess who's in Rome? Barbarians! What's a barbarian? 'Non-Romans,' said the Romans, being invaded by non-Romans."
    • "'Let's bring stuff to the coast and sell it, and become the Swahili on the Swahili Coast,' said the Swahili on the Swahili Coast."
    • On Russian expansion in the 18th century:
      russia's to do list:
      ✓ expand
      ✓ grow in size
      ✓ get larger
      get bigger
    • "What should we blame on Spain? 'Let's blame the Maine on Spain!' So they blamed the Maine on Spain."
    • Even to the end:
      "Let's invent a thing inventor, said the thing inventor inventor after being invented by a thing inventor."
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: When Bill describes the Bronze Age, he notes that tin is necessary to make bronze, but that he doesn't know where it comes from because "his dealer won't tell him".
  • Eleventy Zillion: How hot was the universe at the big bang? A "kjghpillion" degrees.
  • False Reassurance: Frequently invoked to indicate sarcasm.
    "Don't worry about Rome, it won't fall."
    "Nice going Genghis! I bet that [the Mongol Empire] will last a long time." (Mongol Empire falls apart before he completes the sentence)
    "Don't worry, the big banks won't fail, because they're not supposed to."
  • Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: The video says Adolf Hitler is "mad at the Jews for existing".
  • Flipping the Bird: Done by the American colonies in response to Britain taxing themnote . Ironically, the Bowdlerised version linked above edits out the verbal swearing, but not this instance of potentially offensive content.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The narrator knows time and space can be invented because "everything is here and probably already happened".
  • Foreshadowing: When he talks about society "coming soon to a dank river valley near you", rivers on the map start glowing in the exact areas where he later starts listing the earliest civilizations.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • "I have nightmares" appears briefly during the Big Bang.
    • During the foundation of Israel, there's a brief chart providing a Beige Prose version of the Ten Commandments.
    • A "hippo-mobile" can be seen among the actual tech during the "technology is about to go crazy!" jingle. In fact, it was a real thing, invented in 1863, and that is an actual drawing of it, albeit with a hippo head added onto it.
    • During the "technology's better too" aside, one of the graphics is a VHS tape with the caption "my terrible vacation".
    • When an email inbox is shown, addresses include "".
    • When the video gets to 9/11, before the planes crash into the World Trade Center, a cat appears on the plane that crashes into the North Tower a fraction of a second before impact.
  • Funny Background Event: While Columbus is begging King Ferdinand to be granted the ships needed to reach the Indies by sailing west, Queen Isabella can be seen thinking "WTF".
  • Green Aesop: Downplayed. Bill says that global temperature is rising and the ocean is full of plastic. Everybody comes together and says, "let's save the planet!" (not really knowing how).
  • How We Got Here: You're on a rock. We're separated by oceans. How did this happen?
  • Hope Spot: Napoléon Bonaparte gets banished to an island when trying to conquer Europe, but he came back! And then he got banished to another island.
  • Intermission: The video has a joke intermission that lasts exactly one second. And it's after the first time it mentions Japan, so it might be there just in case you want to watch the first one.
  • Intoxication Ensues: How does Bill describe Christopher Columbus "discovering" America?
    "wait!" Said Christopher Columbus, probably smoking crack. "if the world is round, let's go this way [west] to india."
  • Jewish Complaining: A justified example, since it's in response to their homeland getting invaded by the Romans.
  • Layman's Terms:
    • The names for the many war weapons featured in the video, like "fire gun"note , "exploding pineapple"note , and "extinction ball"note .
    • The "technology's better now" montage later in the video includes "thinking box"note , "idea container"note , and "music box"note .
  • Light Is Not Good: "Hey, can we go on land?" "NO." "Why not?" "THE SUN IS A DEADLY LAZER."
  • Mind Screw: The video begins by explaining what it was like before the universe began.
    "A long time ago, actually never (and also now), nothing is nowhere. When? Never. Makes sense, right? Like I said, it didn't happen. Nothing was never anywhere. That's why it's been everywhere. It's been so everywhere you don't need a where. You don't even need a when. That's how every it gets."
  • Motor Mouth: As with history of japan, this is necessary when you want to tell billions of years worth of history in twenty minutes. There is exactly one minute worth of video with no dialogue.
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Robespierre's answer to French wealth inequality? Cut everybody's heads off! note 
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • The Norse find a land of green and a land of ice. Bill says "they named them accordingly." prankd
    • The Sultan of Oman, who lives in Zanzibar now. That's just where he lives.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Byzantine Empire has this reaction to the rise of the Seljuk Turks.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience: The video momentarily turns into a TV commercial to introduce the mechanism of photosynthesis.
  • Overly Long Gag:
    • The pause after the above mentioned mind screw lasts ten seconds before continuing with the idea to invent time and space.
    • One of the longest jingles. "New arrivals in India! Maybe it's those horse people I was talking about... Or their cousins or something... And they wrote some hymns, and mantras, and stuff."
    • And the second-longest. "...many different types of machines and factories with machines in them so they can make a lot of products real fast."
  • Pun: China "breaking."
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: Just like its predecessor, only it stretches on for more than twice as long.
  • Rhymes on a Dime:
    • Twice, when Cambodia is touched upon.
      Guess who's here?
      And Pagan is there.

      Hey, Khmer, time to share
      New kingdoms herenote  and therenote 
    • During the Spanish-American War:
      "What should we blame on Spain?"
      "Let's blame the maine on Spain!"
  • Rooting for the Empire: In-Universe, empires are often praised for their conquests.
    "So you think you can conquer the Byzantine Empire? 'yep', said the Ottoman Turks. Nice job, Ottoman Turks!"
  • Running Gag:
    • Congratulating various Turkish empires over history for invading Southwestern Asia. invoked
    • "You could make a religion out of this!" is repeated several times throughout the video. Eventually, when the people of France cut the heads off of the royalty, he interrupts it.note 
      "you could make a reli- no, don't."
    • The many states of China; "China is whole again… then it broke again."
  • Sarcasm Mode: "'thanks for invading our homeland,' said the Jews, who were starting to get tired of people invading their homeland."
  • Scare Chord: Regarding pre-ozone Earth:
    "hey, can we go on land?"
    The sun is a deadly lazer
    "Oh okay."
  • Serial Escalation: The original took nine minutes to explain the history of Japan. This one takes twenty minutes to explain the history of the entire world… i guess.
  • Shout-Out:
    • "it's a bird! it's a plane! it's the seljuk turks!"note 
    • "Please remain Christian. We will check in later to see if you're still Christian when you least expect."
    • Finish Him!!
    • It's subtle, but during the scene where the nomads are ransacking China, if sped up, the rhythm of the horse nomad smacking China for coins resembles the rhythm of the intro music of a familiar game's first level. Not to mention that the smacking causes gold coins to appear with a very familiar sound from the same source.
  • The Singularity: Hinted to happen in the year 2028.note 
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Martin Luther (founder of Lutheranism and instigator of the Protestant reformation), at least compared to the rest of the cast.
    "That's bullshit. This whole thing is bullshit. That's a scam. Fuck the church. Here's 95 reasons why."
  • Sudden Video-Game Moment:
    • The bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are presented like a fighting game, unlike its predecessor.
      Finish Him!!
    • The pillaging of China by the horse nomads of Mongolia is also depicted like a character collecting coins in a platformer by bouncing against the scenery.
  • Talking to Themself: wanna see a map of the world? sure!
  • Tempting Fate:
    • The narrator ponders on whether Buddhism would reach China by the time it breaks up again. As soon as he finishes his sentence, China breaks up into three kingdoms.
    • "Don't worry about Rome, it won't fall."
    • "The Mongols just invaded most of the universe. Nice going, Genghis! I bet that will last a long time." Mongolia then immediately breaks into several large kingdoms.
    • About World War One: "It's gonna be a Great War. So great we won't need a second one."
    • During the 1920s:
      The economy's great and it'll probably be great forever. (BOOM) Just kidding.
    • "Hopefully the Arabs won't mind giving part of Palestine to Israel for the Jewish people to live. And dividing up the land between Israel and Palestine will surely make everyone happy."
      "SIKE! they both get ang-ri-eeeeeeer."
  • The Theme Park Version: Since he wants to take a large global view of history in a short time, Bill offers single thumb-tack summaries of famous events, some of which are Dated History (such as Imperial Germany being made to pay undue and punitive reparations) and others are overly simplified, such as his explanation of The French Revolution as merely out of non-payment of taxes for funding The American Revolution (which most see at best as a minor cause)note  and also reducing the Reign of Terror to mere head-chops rather than Emergency Authority fighting a civil war.
  • Tradesnark™: Time™.
  • The Unpronounceable: Bill goes through every combination of syllables before getting "Majapahit" right.
    "Oh, look who controls all the islands. It's the Mahajapit (wrong), Majahapit (wrong), Mapajahit (wrong), Mahapajit (wrong), Mapajahit (wrong)... Ma-ja, pa-hit? (correct!)"
  • Understatement: The narrator's reaction to the gargantuan size of the Persian Empire is a rather flatly articulated "wow, that's big."
  • Verbal Backspace: When Chandragupta starts to conquer all of India—er, most of India! (Because no one conquers the Tamil kings.)Who are the Tamil Kings? 
  • Visual Pun: When talking about Christopher Columbus sailing to America when trying to actually get to India, he remarks that Columbus found the Indies and Japan. The visuals show it's actually the Bahamas and Cuba, angled similarly to Japan.
  • Who's on First?: "Hey, guess who's here? Khmer!" "Where?" "Here!"

"by the way, where the hell are we?"


Video Example(s):


yes, it's the 1920's calling.

The economy's great, and it'll probably be great forever. Just kidding.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheRoaring20s

Media sources: