17 September, 2014

Scottish Independence Poll: What is Scotland, and What Will Happen if it Votes to Leave the UK?

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Map of Scotland. On September 18, 2014, Scotland will vote on whether to leave the UK and become an independent country.
Map of Scotland by Eric Gaba (source). License: CC BY-SA
By Evan Centanni

Scotland's Independence Vote
On Thursday (September 18), residents of Scotland will vote in a referendum on whether to leave the United Kingdom (UK). But is Scotland a country already? What will happen if voters choose "yes" in the referendum? And what other changes would this bring to Scotland and the UK's political geography? Read on for the answers to these questions and more!

Crash Course: History of Scotland
Scotland is the name of the northern third of Great Britain, the main island of the UK, which is shared with England to the south and Wales to the southwest. It originated as the Kingdom of Alba, an independent Celtic country that was unified around the year 900.

It remained an independent kingdom throughout the Middle Ages, gradually absorbing Anglo-Saxon culture from the south until it came to be ruled by English-speaking monarchs, who called it "Scots" or "Scotland" after the Latin name for the Gaels, the predominant Celtic people of the region.

15 September, 2014

Syria Civil War Map: September 2014 (#14) (Premium)

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Detailed map of fighting and territorial control in Syria's Civil War (Free Syrian Army and Nusra Front rebels, Kurdish groups, ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State and others), updated to September 2014.

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Our Syrian Civil War coverage continues with this updated situation map, showing changes to territorial control since our previous Syria map report in August. Government forces, the Islamic State (ISIS), and the allied rebels have all made territorial gains during the past weeks.

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  • Up-to-date map of current territorial control in Syria, color-coded for the Assad government, rebel groups, Islamic State (ISIS) extremists, and Kurdish self-protection forces
  • Detailed indication of city-by-city control, highlighting key towns relevant to current events
  • Recent areas of fighting including Tabqa Airbase, Halfaya, Quneitra Province and more
  • Timeline of events since mid-August, including both territorial changes and major political happenings

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02 September, 2014

Ukraine War Rebel Control Map: September 2014 (Premium)

Detailed map of pro-Russian rebel control in Ukraine's eastern provinces of Donetsk and Luhansk, claimed by the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic and Lugansk People's Republic. Updated to September 1, 2014

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Russia is now being accused of directly invading eastern Ukraine, and opposition control in the region has seen major changes since our last Ukraine war map update.

This is detailed map and timeline of pro-Russian territorial control in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk and Luhansk regions, home to the claimed Donetsk People's Republic, Lugansk People's Republic, and Federation of Novorossiya. Updated to the start of September 2014.

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  • Detailed, updated map of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, showing both past and current rebel control
  • Indication of which districts and cities have had their administrations occupied by separatists
  • Timeline of changes to territorial control since July, and summary of major trends

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29 August, 2014

Map: Which Countries Use the Euro? (Plus: This Year's New Addition)

Map of the Eurozone (euro area), showing which countries use the euro as their currency. Includes members, pre-members (ERM II), EU non-members using the euro, and other EU countries (colorblind accessible).
The Eurozone, European Union, and other countries using the euro.
Map by Evan Centanni, from blank map by Ssolbergj. License: CC BY-SA
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22 August, 2014

Belarus's Quiet Flag Change

Sometimes geopolitical changes make headlines, but other times they slip quietly under the radar. Such is the case with the flag of Belarus, which was changed without fanfare (or explanation) by a government decree back in 2012. We don't want you to miss any changes to the world's list of countries and flags, so we now present a belated report on this little-known event.

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Flag of Belarus, 2012-present
Flag of Belarus, 2012-present
Flag of Belarus, 1995-2012
Flag of Belarus, 1995-2012
Flag of Belarus, 1991-1995
Flag of Belarus, 1991-1995
By Caleb Centanni

Belarus, a former Soviet state in Eastern Europe, made a slight change to its flag in early 2012. On Feb. 10 of that year, the State Committee for the Standardization of the Republic of Belarus announced a minor change to the ornamental pattern on the left margin of the flag.

The pattern originally occupied one-twelfth of the flag's total length, and was located inside a white margin making up one-ninth of the flag design. The ornamental pattern has now been extended to fill the entire one-ninth margin. The Belarusian government apparently provided no specific reason for the change.

Other than this minor adjustment, the current flag of Belarus has been in place since 1995, when it replaced the traditional white-red-white flag after a controversial referendum that critics denounced as unconstitutional.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko supported the adoption of the 1995 flag, which is very similar to the Soviet-era flag. State-owned media argued the traditional tricolor flag was unacceptable due to its use by Nazi collaborators in World War II.