It’s been 100 years since 1917, a year clouded with events mostly centered in Europe. World War I had dragged on since 1914 with little hope of peace or victory. Though involved in the war, Russia had a lot more to consider when its government collapsed in February. Many of the events of 1917 fall into these two categories, but as you’ll see on the map below, there was a lot going on that year. Peruse the map, or read on for highlights from one hundred years ago.
View 1917: Map of Historical Significance in a full screen map
World War I
The Western Front is the most well known area of warfare, but it was hardly the only place to see action. The west was the primary battlefield, but remember the war initially broke out due to the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in eastern Europe. Among the countries with WWI-related events, based on Wikipedia’s list, are Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, England, Estonia, France, Germany, Iraq, Ireland, Isle of Wight, Israel (then Palestine), Italy, Jordan, Mozambique, Russia, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Ukraine, and the United States. There’s a good reason it became known as a World War.
Using the map above, click the WWI category to restrict only those events related to WWI on the map. Now you’ll see how widespread the markers are, though there’s clearly a cluster around Europe and the Middle East. Most of the far-flung locations are declarations of war from the likes of the United States, Brazil, and China. Interestingly, one outlier was actually a battle. In November, Germany and Portugal battled near the border of modern-day Mozambique and Tanzania. Outside of very northern Egypt, on the Sinai Peninsula, that’s the only notable event of 1917 in Africa.
Other 1917 WWI events include a battle led by Lawrence of Arabia, anarchists in Milan, and a Russian mutiny in Ukraine.
In March 2017, members of the Tsar’s Imperial Parliament formed a provisional government, which encouraged Tsar Nicholas to abdicate his role of Emperor. Later in the year, the Bolsheviks, led by Vladimir Lenin, would overthrow the provisional government and establish what eventually became the Soviet Union. Quite a year, right?
Most of the revolution took place in Saint Petersburg, the capital then known as Petrograd. It’s the marker near Finland, which has 14 separate events
As part of the Russian Revolution, other countries once ruled by Russia asserted their independence, including Georgia, Estonia, and Finland.
Other Political Events
With a war and a major revolution, there was plenty of politics happening all over the world. Among them: Sweden received two new prime ministers in the same year. Canada enacted its first income tax. And Mexico enacted a new constitution.
The United States joined the war early in 1917, but still had plenty of action on the homefront. In March, Jeannette Rankin could not even vote for herself when she became the first woman in the US House of Representatives (representing Montana). In the Caribbean, the US purchased the Virgin Islands and granted Puerto Ricans US citizenship.
You can see other political happenings on the map by clicking Politics the the Category selection.
1917 was definitely a year for war, politics, and revolution, but here are a few other highlights from the year:
- The NHL is formed in Montreal
- Children in Portugal claim to see Mary, mother of Jesus
- The first Pulitzer Prize is awarded in New York City
- Bombs, crashes, and explosions galore—click the Distaster category to see more
It was a raucous year and here we are, one hundred years later. Click around to see more, or plot some history with your own map today.