A map of Europe for each century
If this is actually a reliable resource* then it’s a hugely useful tool: maps of Europe from 1900, 1800, 1700… going back into speculation.
…and with the quarter maps with individual states called out, it becomes much, much more useful. Were you wondering where Montferrat was or Hesse-Darmstadt? Maybe you weren’t, but when I had a Saint-gallois mutineer popping up in my trial records, I was having a hard time placing him. Admittedly, I still don’t know much about his home life and expectations before getting to the court, but it’s something, to be able to pinpoint him there, in the Eastern Alps. Something more than the Dutchified of Frenchified name with which he appears in the VOC’s paybooks.
Of course, the site misses some things and incurs some interesting distortions, landing arbitrarily on the century marks – most egregiously/obviously at 1800, well into but not at the height of Napoleon’s expansion, or 1900, which shows a Germany in the middle of one of its big inhales, between 1860 and 1945. But I guess decade maps would be wildly more expensive and still open to the same fundamental criticisms. And it’s prey to the myth of fingerprints, too, of course, with the HRE wearing the same colour as Germany and “East Francia,” and so forth.
Applications for roleplayers should be obvious, I think.
* there are limits to how accurate it possibly could be, especially before say 1600: see Anderson and Thongchai on schemas of the polity that are not based on the kinds of boundaries cartographers love. Still, the data available support much, much greater accuracy than you’d find in Yuri Bregel’s extraordinary, masterly but necessarily frustratingly vague Historical Atlas of Central Asia. Which, by the way, if you can somehow get access to a copy, I have found to be worth meditating on, either for inspiring brooding, epic poetry or long roleplaying campaigns, in which front lines of empires slosh back and forth drunkenly across diaphanous networks of oases and mysteriously bustling-yet-isolated city states.