Introducing the World Historical Gazetteer

Project Vision

World Historical Gazetteer (WHG) is providing a collection of content and services that permit world historians, their students, and the general public to do spatial and temporal reasoning and visualization in a data rich environment at global and trans-regional scales.

Status

Version 2 of WHG was released in August 2021. The project launched with a Version 1 in July, 2020. For an overview of what is here, what you can do, and what is in the works, please see the Site Guide and the Tutorials section.

The WHG platform is far from complete. We are actively soliciting contributions of place data, large and small, and we expect to add new features and refine existing ones over time. Please get in touch to discuss prospective data contributions, and with feedback about any aspect of the project.

Content

The World Historical Gazetteer index has been seeded with core place data from several essentially modern sources, to which we have added our first several historical contributions comprising about 60,000 records. Our strategy has been to initially provide broad coverage of modern places, then add historical depth over time via contributions of attestations from historical sources. In time, contributions of "trace" data will reveal a variety of connections between places, illustrated in the simplified figure below by red lines.

We anticipate contributed historical content will reflect period/region "focus domains" of interest to particular research communities. The first such emergng domains are for colonial era Latin America and Dutch History. Others likely to form soon include for the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Ottoman Era.