This page was created by Yipeng Zhou.  The last update was by Kelly O'Neill.

Imperiia: a spatial history of the Russian Empire

Russians in the World


This project examines the spatial and social history of migration in its many forms (voluntary and coerced, individual and collective). Our goal is to enhance the growing body of knowledge about Eurasian migration with a collection of datasets, maps, and visualizations that deliver deep dives into specific historical episodes.

The Tsar's Trans-Atlantic Voyagers

The centerpiece of the project is a large dataset provided by the U.S. National Archives consisting of half a million passenger arrival records and ship manifests across six decades (1834-1897). The data is vast and rich, but difficult to use in its raw form. In an effort to increase the usability of the records we reorganized, decoded, tidied, and enhanced. We even built statistical models that allowed us to test the spatial and thematic patterns embedded in the records. We identified the inconsistencies and documented the ambiguities. In a nutshell, we converted messy historical records into data you can feed into your favorite GIS software or visualization app. 

Feature List
Ready to reconstruct the social and cultural identities of those who left the empire behind, as well as the political, economic, and geographical contexts through which they moved?

We will be posting a series of visualizations and maps right here, but there is no need to wait: we published our edition of the data under an open-access license. We invite you to play with it, improve on it, build new tools with it, and share your work with us!

Go Straight to the Data

Authors: Vivian Wei, Kelly O'Neill

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