Mesmerising maps show how religion has spread throughout the world

The five largest religion — Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism — represent about 77% of the world population.

Their spread throughout parts of Asia and Europe, and gradually down to Africa and across to the Americas, has been fractured and erratic.

Here’s how the major religions have touched nearly all corners of the globe.

Many scholars agree Hinduism was the first religion to take root, beginning thousands of years before the birth of Christ.

Alex Kuzoian

Over the span of a few hundred years, Hinduism spread throughout the Indus River Valley, or what is present-day India.

Alex Kuzoian

As Hinduism spread, the birth of Abraham sparked waves of converts and all but consumed the subcontinent.

Alex Kuzoian

Around 1000 BCE, Judaism began to spread along the Mediterranean Sea, occupying present-day Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Israel.

Alex Kuzoian

In present-day Nepal, in 563 BCE, Siddhartha Gautama was born. He would later go on to become the Gautama Buddha and found Buddhism. The religion quickly diffused east through China.

Alex Kuzoian

Around 33 AD, the Roman Empire crucified Jesus Christ for his acts of sedition and anti-authority ideals. Christianity was made a crime and became cause for execution in areas under Roman control.

Alex Kuzoian

Nevertheless, soon after Christ's crucifixion missionaries forged through Europe to spread the gospel and convert exiled Jews.

Alex Kuzoian

Halfway through the first millennium came the birth of the prophet Muhammad, who helped Islam spread through the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of Asia.

Alex Kuzoian

As Hinduism remained localised to India and Buddhism to China, trade deals and conquests from the Ottoman Empire continued Islam's march through northern Africa and southern Europe.

Alex Kuzoian

In the 15th century, European explorers ventured across the Atlantic to colonize the New World. Christianity reached North and South America.

Alex Kuzoian

During the late-19th century, those same Imperial powers colonised many African countries, splitting the breakdown with the ongoing spread of Islam.

Alex Kuzoian

On May 14, 1948, Israel was founded. Even seven decades later, tensions persist between Israelis and Palestinians over who should have ownership of parts of Israel.

Alex Kuzoian

Today, the five religions include some 5.8 billion people around the world in a complex and evolving mosaic.

Alex Kuzoian

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