With the United Kingdom due to hold a referendum on its membership of the European Union on 23 June, the question of the EU's importance and Britain's role within it is under major scrutiny.

Ahead of the crucial vote, IBTimes UK has produced a special animated time-lapse map of the European Union, charting its history from foundation as the European Economic Community in 1957, Britain's entry in 1973, the adoption of the Euro by 12 member states in 1999, all the way up until the current state of the EU today.