Looking at old personal snapshots can often be emotionally overwhelming. Looking at pictures from the past that have captured some aspect of human history can be even more moving. After all, going back to experiences that mark major events and moments which have brought us where we are today can affect us greatly. Some well-timed photography and historical realities make for very powerful pictures. Here are some photos from the past that are sure to incite a myriad of feelings in you. Don’t be surprised if you’ve never seen most of them – these rare snapshots aren’t in wide circulation. Keep in mind how much things have changed and how far we have progressed. While you may be astounded by some of the progress, we think you will also be shocked at how much there is left for us to do.
Commissioning the Statue of Liberty’s construction may be counted amongst the bravest projects in the history of the architectural world. The momentous decision was taken on April 21, 1865 at a public meeting in Glatigny, France. The attendees wished to celebrate the spirit of liberation and progress that the young republic of United States represented and to commemorate the anniversary of the abolition of slavery. The financing and execution of the statue’s construction, however, was not easy. Both France and the USA chipped in financially. The latter decision was made because, if the financing was a purely French undertaking, they would be responsible for maintenance too. The final product commemorates both the vision and the effort of both France and America in creating a beautiful, symbolic icon. What is born from trials and tribulations can sometime results in beautiful works of art that commemorate the struggles witnessed and give the future hope.
On the fateful night of April 14, 1912, collision with an iceberg caused the world’s then-largest passenger liner, The Titanic, to hasten to its untimely destruction. The snapshot shows a priest praying for the earliest victims of the tragic occurrence, even as other passengers scramble to escape the ship. The captain of Titanic, Edward J. Smith, had called for the unloading of the lifeboats at 12.05 am on April 15. As the lowest levels of the ship filled with water, stewards and crew members rushed from room to room on the decks above, rousing sleeping passengers, urging them into immediate action. As the roars of the gushing water became louder and louder, agitated passengers made a mad dash to the upper decks, hoping to make their way to safety. What has only come to light recently is the fact that it may have been fire that was the downfall of the titanic and not an iceberg. We may never know the true cause of this horrific accident, and sadly those who know the truth are likely to have perished with the ship.
It was a moment of surreal wondrousness when Helen Keller met Charlie Chaplin back in 1919. There is little doubt, based on this captured moment, that this introduction would have been a special moment for both of them. This was not Keller’s first Kodak moment with an illustrious public figure though. The blind and deaf writer and advocate for the severely handicapped had been photographed with many a celebrity in her time, and these rendezvous’ are preserved in picture form in all their black and white brilliance. Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, Dwight Eisenhower, Rt. Hon. W Paling, Grace Coolidge and Alexander Graham Bell are just some of those who enjoyed the good fortune of making Keller’s acquaintance. One has to wonder about the influence Keller may have had on these influential historical figures, as Helen was often said to inspire those around her by her positive outlook on life, given her great difficulties.
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This is a classic black and white picture of the circus chimp who was billed as “Little Nap – The Napoleon of the Chimpanzee World”. Little Nap was a prime tourist attraction back in 1915. Here in the picture, he can be seen dressed up like French general Napoleon Bonaparte. He usually performed in the circus in his trademark cop’s dress along with two cute dogs who were dressed as horses. This popular sideshow character was extremely famous not only with the children, but also adults. Even today, posters of “The Napoleon of the Chimpanzee World” are available for sale. While attractions of this nature have come under immense criticism, it was said that no chimpanzee in the world was as lavishly cared for as Little Nap.
On the unfortunate night that the RMS Titanic sank and 1,518 passengers died, the first ocean liner to respond to the distress call was Carpathia. The ship under the valiant efforts of Captain Arthur Rostron came to the rescue of surviving passengers. Carpathia arrived at the scene at 4am. Sparing no effort to save the survivors, lifeboats were swung out, blankets prepared and extra chairs brought on board. The rescue operation went on for around 4 hours. Due to limited resources, Captain Rostron chartered a course to New York rather than continuing on to Europe. One of the messages sent to the New York White Star after the rescue operation, confirming the disaster was as follows:
Steamship Carpathia, April 17, 1912 (via Halifax)
Deeply regret advise you Titanic sank this morning, after collision iceberg, resulting serious loss life. Further particulars later. Bruce Ismay.
While again the latest evidence suggests that it was fire and not an iceberg that resulted in the sinking of the titanic, if it weren’t for the Steamship Carpathia, the toll would have been much greater than it already was.
Once an Incan retreat for its emperor, Machu Picchu is an archaeological site perched on a ridge between the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains in Peru. This amazing picture captures the accidental discovery of Machu Picchu by Hiram Bingham on July 24th, 1911. The explorer was led to the historical site by a group of Quechuans. Hiram found that locals were still living in Machu Picchu and using the Inca terraces. He removed 5,000 artifacts from the site and sent them to Yale University, which was later disputed by the Peruvian government. Those who want to know more about the Incan city can read “The Lost City Of The Incas” written by Hiram Bingham himself. While it is possible to visit Machu Picchu, great care must be taken not to disturb the delicate ecosystem of this ancient civilization so that it may be enjoyed for generations to come.
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At the Monson Motor Lodge, this hotel owner was not exactly on board with the human rights movement. In fact, he poured acid in a swimming pool, where African American guests were swimming. This is one of those photos that shows just how far we have come as a society, and that human life is equal across all divides. It is pictures like this that remind us not to succumb to the struggles of the ignorant, and that together we can shape the future.
This is a classic picture taken in 1940 by Toni Frissell – a famous photojournalist and fashion photographer. Her most notable work was documenting World War II. In this iconic picture, a boy clutching a stuffed toy amid the ruins following a German aerial bombing in London can be seen. According to the photographer, the boy had returned from playing to find his home in ashes – his father, mother, and brother among the rubble. He looked up at the sky with a perplexed face, which made him resemble a young Winston Churchill. The boy survived the war and grew up to earn a livelihood as a truck driver. This picture of the sad, gloomy orphan boy continues to break our hearts. Images like this can still be seen today in places like Libya and Syria, and are a grave reminder that wars fought over resources and land have a far greater impact on things that cannot be replaced.
All of humankind owes a big thanks to chemist and metallurgist Robert Cornelius – the man who decided to take a photo of himself in 1839. This is officially the first ever ‘Selfie’ – the word that we throw around so casually today! The trend of taking selfies has caught on so much that the word even won Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year in 2013. As per the Library of Congress, Robert Cornelius, who came from Philadelphia, was the first man ever to look into the unblinking iris of a camera while he was in the yard of his lighting store and captured his essence in it forever. His self-shot daguerreotype is also the earliest known American portrait photo. So, now you know that selfies are far from being a modern phenomenon; in fact it was a novel iteration of an old art form; the self-portrait. Selfies, however, have become far easier to do with modern technology – to a level that Robert Cornelius probably never thought was possible.
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He had dreamed of visiting America since he was a young boy, and you can see the joy in his face in this image. Who would have known that a few decades later Arnold would not only be one of the most popular movie stars ever known in America, but that he would be representing the country, specifically the state of California, as the governor of the state. Schwarzenegger has been great on, and off the screen.
Mona Lisa, probably the world’s most famous painting by Leonardo Da Vinci, portrayed a woman of virtue. It is a half-length portrait of a woman with an enigmatic smile, which was painted between 1503 and 1506, in Florence, Italy. In 1938, on the outbreak of war, of the French government evacuated France’s public art collections. The artworks were moved to secret, unlisted locations in France’s countryside and elsewhere in order to escape the danger of bombing. Leonardo’s smiling maiden was moved out of the Louvre on 28th August, 1939 before being brought back safe and sound after World War II. Jacques Jaujard, director of the Musées de France was given the important task of taking care of the movements of all the precious artworks that faced a great threat due to an encroaching war.
Who knows what would have happened to these priceless peices of art if it were not for the dedicated caretakers who took great risk to themselves and their families in order to keep these precious items safe from harm.
Bill Gates is an American business entrepreneur, born in Seattle, Washington, who co-founded Microsoft in 1975. He was on the Forbes list of the richest people of the world in 1987. This is a mug shot of Bill Gates wearing a floral collared shirt taken after he was arrested for speeding and driving without a valid license in his Porsche 911. At that time, Bill was only 21, and he was freed on bail of one thousand dollars. This shot was taken in Albuquerque by New Mexico police on 13 December 1975. It is kind of surprising that Bill Gates is smiling though he had been arrested by the police. The picture is owned by Time Warner. Since then Bill has gone on to reach the top of the list as the worlds richest man. The smile in this mugshot is telling in that it was obvious that Bill knew the risks of driving without a license, but hey, who can resist a burn in a Porsche 911?
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In a rare photo of its kind, as many as nine reigning kings were photographed together in 1910 mourning the death of King Edward VII. The funeral of took place on Friday, 20 May 1910, which was attended by a who’s who of European royalty. Among the nine royal kings pictured, one was later brutally assassinated and another ousted.
Standing from left to right: King Haakon VII of Norway, King Ferdinand of Bulgaria, King Manuel of Portugal, Kaiser Wilhelm II of the German Empire, King George I of The Hellenes (Greece) and King Albert I of the Belgians (Belgium). Seated, from left to right: King Alfonso XIII of Spain, King-Emperor George V of Great Britain and King Frederick VIII of Denmark. While most of these countries are ruled by elected officials, it is interesting to see the Kings that forged the countries as they once were. It is also interesting to note how similar they all looked to each other.
How many times has someone told you to ‘let loose and have fun’. Years ago, people looked for ways to ditch their everyday lives and have some time to relax and unwind. This picture captures the beauty of the early 19th century, where a couple can be seen zip lining, the way it used to be done in the old-days, on a weekend afternoon in 1923. Though zip lining dates back to the 18th-century, it was only in the 19th-century that the activity really caught on with adventure lovers. This picture also tells a lot about the fashion of those days – the guy can be seen wearing really high-waisted pants, while the girl is zip lining in a casual dress. Safety protocols probably wouldn’t allow for this anymore as the participants aren’t strapped in, and they appear to be several feet off the ground. Sure looks like fun though!
What happens when the two undisputed kings of their sports – Ali in boxing and Jordan in basketball – have a chance meeting? Well, it becomes history of sorts. This is a photograph of Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali taken together in 1992. Muhammad Ali is an American former professional boxer and one of the biggest heavyweight champions in the history of boxing and Michael Jordan is a retired American professional basketball player. Muhammad Ali was born on January 17, 1942, in Louisville, Kentucky and Michael Jordan was born on February 17, 1963, in Brooklyn, New York. Both famed athletes took their respective sports to an altogether new high and became some of the most recognizable athletes in the world. Both were larger than life! Even today’s generation aspires to become like them! Ali had battled Parkinson’s disease for years before his death in June, 2016. He was an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam war and a leader in the civil rights community.
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When cast members (which is the name for all Disney employees at the amusement parks) need to fuel up, it might prove for a pretty interesting social setting when they all enter the cafeteria. From princesses to villains, they all need a good cup of coffee. The employees had to eat separately from the paying crowd because Disney did not want them to be viewed doing normal ‘every day’ things. It was very important that they stayed in character 100% of the time and that they never let their guard down.
And this was before the detrimental effects of the sun were well known. Swimming masks like these can still be found on some beaches in China, where it is seen as being in the ‘peasant class’ if you have darker skin. Masks are warn so that the ‘beautiful’ white skin colour isn’t lost from the face and is preserved to show your status within the community. Humans are strange…
People were always trying to find new, exciting ways to get around without actually walking. This Italian man invented this genius contraption that kept this machine in a constant wheelie. While this concept wasn’t new (think chasing a hoop and a stick), applying modern day technology to it was. Without the modern gasoline engine this contraption wouldn’t have been possible. Now that’s not saying that it should have been created, as it was later proven to be highly dangerous, unstable and not suitable for anything besides having some fun. There have been current era designs of this same machine, but none have really improved on the original design and they never made it to the mainstream. Novel concept though.
This photograph was taken in 1923 in Turin, Italy. One can see racing cars running on the roof of the Fiat factory. Only in Italy will you see racecars on a roof. This was in a time before the Lamborghini and Ferrari – both of which would run out of roof before hitting 60 mph. This is a nice piece of history though, because as well all know, Italy is the birthplace of exotic sports cars. Too bad Fiat is now owned by GM though.
Much like ‘Nap’ the Chimpanzee, having animals perform human acts such as water skiing is no longer condoned. I assume having to chain Queenie to the surfboard/boat means she wasn’t jumping up there on purpose. None the less, it’s a great reminder of how far we’ve come with the treatment of animals. I will add that it sounds like Queenie didn’t actually mind, and in fact enjoyed her forays out on the water, and she was treated like a queen(ie) when she was on dry land.
Humour was often a way through the misery of the Great War. As the Allies rolled into Berlin and the fighting finally ceased, there was much looting and pillaging of both civilian and government properties. PTSD wasn’t formally known back then, other than being coined ‘shell shocked’ so a little humor went a long way.
Robin Williams, American stand-up comedian, merrily cheering with the cheerleading squad for the Denver Broncos in 1980. Robin’s humor was sometimes a mask for the personal struggles he dealt with. He brought joy and laughter to millions of people over the years and this photo is a perfect example of his quirky sense of humor. Robin is greatly missed but he leaves behind a treasure trove of beautiful video content for generations to share.
It’s pretty hard to imagine this unit taking humans to the surface of the moon. Unless you are a conspiracy theorist (tinfoil hat images are on the next page) that is just what the Lunar Lander did. And while it’s widely knows that the Americans were the first, it is hard to say who will be the last.
It’s hard to find a truely creepier photo than this. Before the actual consequences of fall out and nuclear wars were actualized by the population, scientists were testing the capabilities of the atomic bomb in the deserts of Nevada. It is a good thing this guy is made of plastic.
Is this another selfie? It’s hard to know for sure, but Hitler may have been practicing his shot-put technique. In all seriousness, Hitler was a renowned orator with a penchant for swaying millions of people to his point of view using techniques he had learned through studying others.
What’s the saying? 90% technique, 10% effort? None the less, when you have to learn something but don’t have the resources immediately available you make do with what you have. Children from this era had no shortage of ‘making due’ and I’m sure most of them found access to swim-able water one day.
Bruce Lee wasn’t just a master of martial arts – he was a master of woo’ing the ladies. Bruce was known to be a well rounded individual who also studied the fineries of life, not just Kung Fu. The setting of this photograph is unknown, but some suggest it was taken during his school years.
While the caption says that the picture was taken when the lady was in mid-sneeze, this is highly unlikely as in those times, cameras took forever to take pictures. Photographed way back in 1900, many believe that this picture tries to communicate that if a task at hand is left unfinished, the output is always ugly. A few believe this was taken when the woman was still not ready for the photo. However, there’s another possible angle that this picture may represent an actress who is hamming it up for the camera. In the early 1900’s, performers used to make a side income by selling their self-portraits; the woman in the picture might have done just that, without knowing that the picture would become a classic. What is your take to this picture, though? We would love to know!
Two iconic influencers of history – the Beetles and Ali. One was known for fighting, and the others known for fighting off the girls. This photograph was taken during the early years of the Beetles, and while Ali was fighting his way to the top of the ranks. Ali was always known to be the clown of the party, as we can see here.
Are rare shot of the face of Lady Liberty herself. The Statue of Liberty was France’s way of saying thank-you to the Americans and has remained a pillar of welcome to those arriving upon the shores of New York. Her flaming torch was set to be a beacon for immigrants over many generations and a symbol of American welcoming and multi-culturism.
This image is worth a thousand words. While it’s unclear as to why the penguins didn’t just hop in the pool seen on the right of the image, it’s clear that penguins are complicated birds. They can’t fly but can swim like a fish… how are they birds then? Great photo.
In Chicago, entertainment has always been over the top, even reaching new heights, so to speak. This aerial duo steps out at above 100 stories in the air to put on a show for watchers down below. With no safety nets or wires, these entertainers literally took their life into their own hands. Something like this would not fly in today’s world, and one could only be fortunate enough to witness something like this if you were alive around when this picture was taken.
The great dictators taking a little rest and relaxation fishing for Marlon off of Cuba. These two infamous leaders were close companions and often exchanged ideas on the future and development of their countries. They both also came to power during bloody civil rebellions.
This image is so good we had to show it twice. This vehicle while not a great commuter, was a marvel of technological innovation during its time. 93mph is far faster than most land based vehicles could go in 1931 (I’d like to see the radar print out myself) and risk of catastrophic failure was high.
The punishment for not saluting the Fuhrer was death in some cases, so this individual was risking all to stand up for what he believed was right. Passive resistance wasn’t common during Hitlers reign, as his powerful SS troopers were quick to deal with any dissension. It is not known if this fellow was caught, or what the repercussions were for his acts of civil disobedience.
The rope used to tie the door to the tomb shut was made of hemp fibers which are naturally antibacterial and resistant to decomposition. This was one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century and remains a legend in folklore to this day. The remains of many Pharaohs from this time are still undiscovered to this day.
Unconventional now a days, but it had to get done. American workers from this error were known for their bravado and daring attitude to do what ever it took to succeed. Before large workers compensation unions and safety laws, these hard core workers took to the skies to paint, and fasten steel together at great risk to themselves.
Annette Kellerman wearing and promoting women’s right to a fitted one-piece bathing suit in 1907, for which she even got arrested, on the charges of indecency. I’m not sure which is uglier – the cheap fake ocean backdrop or the choice of swim suit in this photo. None the less, it was a daring and bold act by Kellerman, which is sure to have had a forward motion affect on the liberal women’s movement of her time. It is shocking to think what was once considered ‘indecent’ is now the epitome of prudishness. My how the times they are a changin’.
This is a fantastic image of the roots of what has become one of modern days most iconic children’s books. The story of Christopher Robins and Winnie The Pooh are a western cultural staple known to all young and old.
Factories had to move their vehicles from the factory floor to the factory show room somehow. The Model T was an early example of the inefficiencies of the assembly line, and is hailed as one of the most progressive achievements in modern day. Without the assembly line, our production abilities wouldn’t be anywhere near where they are today.
In a time where commuting to work, dropping the kids off at school, and tailoring a dress all had to be done at once, one man was… err… brave (?) enough to invent this fine piece of machinery. Bonus points for attaching a steering wheel to a single front wheel though.
This lion was the face of the iconic MGM movie production study for several decades. While it was often rumored that this lion mauled and killed his recording artists while on set, we are happy to report that that is just a myth. Who knows if MGM would have their own casino in Las Vegas without this lion as their mascot.
Taken on the set of “How to Marry a Millionaire” in 1953, the image captures the both the pure beauty of Marilyn and the eccentric and bubbly personality of Sammy. The movie was a box office hit and brought in $8 million worldwide (pretty good at the time!). Very little is known about their relationship, though close friends to Marilyn allege they had a relationship between 1954 and 1955.
Surprisingly little is known about Putin’s background and pictures like these crop up few and far between. This lack of information is likely down to his previous background in the Soviet Intelligence agency (pretty secretive stuff!). He entered politics in the early 90s and soon rose up the ranks. In August of 1999 President Boris Yeltsin appointed him prime minister and Putin became president when Boris stepped down the following December. Putin has since won every election since then, maintaining his presidential post to date.
Construction began in 1887 and was finished in record time – Just 2 years! The tower was built to celebrate the World’s Fair in 1889 which also marked the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution. Each of the 18,000 pieces used in the tower were designed and measured meticulously to an accuracy of a tenth of a millimetre!
This is a photograph of young Osama Bin Laden with his family holidaying in Sweden in 1970s. He is the second one from right side, dressed in green shirt and blue pant. Makes you think how people can change. I’m sure even he couldn’t predict the drastically different course his future would take and and global impact he would have.
The Rolleiflex TLR camera was revolutionary for its time and soon became a favorite for celebrities. The high quality compact camera produced square negatives, had the best lens available, and was extremely easy to operate. Anyone could become a ‘professional’ with one of these bad boys.
If you have an idea, chances are it’s already been made in Japan, home of all things weird and crazy. This Japanese machine of the 60’s actually has quite the use to it. Creating a meowing sound every minute, the machine was widely used to scare off mice from buildings. Pretty ingenious!
If you see a bottle of Coca-Cola nowadays, even without the label, you know what it is. Here, one of the most famous brands in the world makes it’s debut in France. In 2013, Coke products were sold in over 200 countries worldwide and had 1.8 billion beverages being consumed every day! Woah. Coca Cola origins can find their way back to the American Civil War, where confederate Colonel John Pemberton became addicted to morphine after being injured. He created early versions of what become Coca Cola as a means to find a substitute for the drug.
A scene not unlike what you might see today! Note the man wearing a facemask; a popular custom of the Japanese when sick. The facemask became popular in the early 20th century when a massive pandemic of influenza killed between 20 and 40 million people around the world. A great eartquake in the 1920’s followed by a 2nd global flu epidemic in the 30’s cemented Japan’s love affair with the facemask as a means to reduce sickness and toxic air.
Fun fact: A slice of the Queen’s wedding cake sole for ~$625 at auction in 2015, some 68 years after Britain’s longest serving monarch was married. The cake was still wrapped in its original baking parchment and is supposedly still edible due to the cake’s high alcohol content. The 9ft tall, 500lb cake was the centerpiece of the wedding party held at Buckingham Palace in 1947.
Salvador Dali was a prominent Spanish surrealist painter born in 1904. He was known to be quite the eccentric man and attributed his love for luxury and excess to his arab lineage. In 1938 Coco Chanel invited him to her home in the south of France where he painted several painting which were later exhibited in New York.
The invention of bulletproof glass was sure to save a lot of lives, but getting to that point was a little harried. I think the man behind the glass would agree, as a police officer fires real bullets to test the glass. This is the definition of having faith in one’s product!
Woodstock was one of the first massive music and art festivals in the world. It began as a paid event on Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York, but soon drew such crowds that the fences were torn down and became a free concert to the public. over 500,000 people attended the festival over the course of 3 days which featured such acts as Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Joe Cocker, and The Who.
This picture of marathon runners was taken in 1896 in Athens Greece during the first modern Olympics Games. Spyridon Louis of Greece won with a time of 2:58:50. Surprisingly, the men would not even be at entry level standard in the modern day. The current world record for the race stands at 2:03:38.
This historic photo captures the moment the first same-sex couple was legally married in New York. 823 couples were selected to get married on July 24th by entering a lottery. The first of the day, seen in the photo above, were Phyllis Sigel and Connie Kopelov.
Many people just don’t understand how quickly East and West Berlin were separated. On August 13, 1961, this wall was literally constructed overnight, resulting in the painful separation of countless families. The wall completely cut off (by land) Eastern Berlin from the West. The Eastern Bloc claimned the wall was erected to protect its population from the fascism of the west.
On April 26, 1986, the tiny town of Primyat in the Ukraine was impacted by a horrifying nuclear explosion. While this wasn’t deep into the past, the haunting photographs that circulate depict what appears to be a time long past, as Primyat had prepared amusement rides for an upcoming festival. To this day radiation levels prevent anyone from living in the area.
This picture was taken in 1994 in Chechnya following orders from the Russian President Boris Yeltsin to send tanks and troops into the rebel region to restore order. The Russian soldier takes a break from war and shows his more human side in playing the piano. Issues in the area continue to this day.
To this day, some Americans are completely in the dark about the internment camps that were utilized during WWII. Over 127,000 American citizens of Japanese ancestry were kept in these camps until it was deemed safe to release them back into the general population.
It’s not often that you see something heartwarming coming from Afghanistan. Here a local Afghan native delivers hot tea to an American soldier showing his support and gratitude to their effort in fighting to remove the Taliban and provide a safer place for them to call home.
Here lie the graves of a Catholic woman and her Protestant husband in the Netherlands. Due to their conflicting religions, the churches would not allow them to be buried together. The churches did, however, allow the graves to be joined over the separating wall between the two.
This incredible sunset was taken by the Mars Curiosity Rover some 350 million miles from Earth. The rover has been on Mars for 1631 days since landing on August 6th, 2012. The main goal of the rover is to investigate the Martian climate, geology and assess whether life can (or has in the past) harbor life. Show us your aliens!
Leao the dog sits for a second day in a row at the grave of her owner who died in horrific landslides in Rio de Janiero. The disastrous floods and landslides of 2011 caused at least 903 deaths and became the worst weather-related natural disaster in Brazilian history.
This image taken from the inside of Auschwitz gas chamber shows scratch marks on the walls from the victims of the Holocaust. The Holocaust carried out by Hitler’s Nazi Germany claimed the lives of over 6 million Jews residing in Europe. This continued until the end of the war in 1945.
Walter Yeo, an English sailor, was terribly wounded during his duty in WWI whilst manning the guns on HMS Warspite. He then became the first man to undergo extensive plastic surgery for a skin transplant on his facial region after losing both his upper and lower eyelids. This was a newly developed technique and quite the gamble at the time.
Little is known about this mysterious man who seemed unphased in blocking military access to Tiananmen Square. The Tiananmen Square protests were studen demonstrations in Beijing in 1989 promoting Democracy. During the protests the government declared martial law, resulting in the military killing several hundred demonstrators trying to block the military’s advance towards Tiananmen Square.
Albert Einstein’s office desk photographed on the day of his death, 18 April, 1955. His office was at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. It’s a wonder that the world’s most famous physicist was able to make any of the discoveries that he did in the mess that was his office!
Prior to the Civil Rights Movement led by Martin Luther King, racial segregation was rampant throughout the United States. Non-whites were forced to use separate washrooms and even drink from different water fountains. Many people believed colored people carried different diseases than whites.
Bullet casings litter the street during a Civil War in Liberia. The civil war raged on between 1989 and 1997 and resulted in over 600,000 people being killed. The war was initiated by Samuel Doe who led a coup d’etat and overthrew the elected government in 1980 and fraudulently won the following elections in 1985. The peace in 1997 only lasted 2 years and was followed by a 2nd civil war in 1999.
After the storming of Berlin, many Soviet soldiers grabbed a thing or two to remember the momentous occasion. However, this Soviet soldier really scored, by grabbing Hitler’s head from a toppled statue in a square. Quite the memento to take home!
In all of history, there is only person to have ever been known to have been struck by a falling meteor. Ann Hodges even lived to tell the tale, with a large bruise on her side as a reminder. They say lightning never strikes the same place twice.. hopefully that applies to meteors too! Still, it’d be a cool story to tell the grandchildren.
The National Park Service released rare photos, including the one above, in 2013 in celebration to the prison’s 50th anniversary of closure. The image above depicts the final exit for the prisoners before their transfer to neighboring prisons. Today Alcatraz is one of California’s most popular tourist attractions and receives about 1.5 million visitors a year.
In June of 1963 a Vietnamese Buddhist monk burned himself alive at a busy intersection in Saigon to oppose the tension between Vietnamese Christians and Buddhists. It is said that the monk didn’t flinch once. The photo became quite the visual icon during the 1960s.
Lake Natron is a salt and soda lake found in Tanzania, close to the Kenyan border. It is fed by a single river and underlying mineral-rich hot springs. Due to the climate of the area (frequently above 104F) the lake sees high levels of evaporation which has left behind chemicals causing a pH level of greater than 12. You don’t want to go swimming here!
The atom bomb, the most devastating weapon of mankind. The nuclear bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki released a cataclysmic amount of energy. Similar to being dropped into the center of the sun. Almost 100,000 people died instantly. Following the bombs there were mass fires which destroyed much of the cities.
Miners, often exiting the mines covered in soot and dust, help each other to get clean in the showers before heading home. Coal is closely related to oil and creates a nasty oily type dust requiring a certain amount of scrubbing to remove.
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor and physicist. He is credited for creating the AC electricity supply system. Common media relates to him as a “mad scientist” though he was actually quite the genius and created various feats of engineering including one of the first wireless boats. He went on to pursure the possibility of wireless electricity distribution but died before he was able to prove the idea.
This photo taken in 1990 shows a 106 year old woman sitting in front of her home in Armenia. Armed conflicts in the area claimed both by Azerbaijan and Armenia resulted in the elderly being left home to defend the home while the children went out to find work.
The famous passenger liner tragically sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in the early morning of 15 April 1912, after colliding with an iceberg. There were 2224 passengers and crew on board and over 1500 (exact number unknown) died. Thomas Andrews, the ship’s architect was among those who died in the disaster. The Titanic, built in Belfast, was the largest ship afloat at the time.
A native tribe of the pacific Northwest had a ritual of burying members of the tribe in trees. The body was placed in a box and then attached to a branch in the tree. Due to the circulating air, the bodies mummified. They would then take down the body from the tree and soak it in salt water before smoking the body. After smoking, senior members of the tribe devoured portions of the corpse. Yum!
When most people of the WWII concentration camps, their minds typically go the images of adults that were seen on television and across the front pages of the newspapers. However, this image depicts the children of Auschwitz, just as they were liberated in January 27, 1945, by the Soviet army.
In 1931 Gandhi traveled to England. During his stay anyone who was someone attempted to meet with him, including Charlie Chaplin. Gandhi (who had never heard of Chaplin) replied that he was too busy to meet with him. Someone close to Gandhi, knowing Chaplin’s radicalism and popularity, spoke up “He’s sympathetic to our cause!”. “In that case,” Gandhi replied, “I will meet with him.”
Bill Gates and Steve Jobs weren’t always enemies.. In the early days Microsoft would create software to run on Apple PCs and Gates would often fly down to the Apple offices to see what they were working on. Granted, this was before Microsoft and Apple were two of the largest companies in the world going head to head for market share.
Gemini 12 was the final Gemini flight which went up to space in 1966. Buzz Aldrin led 3 spacewalks during the flight which lasted 5 hours and 30 minutes. During one such extravehicular activity (EVA), Buzz captured this pretty impressive selfie with the deep black emptiness of space behind him.
It’s ironic to see how the epitome of evil found refuge behind something he proclaimed to hate. Props to the police officer in this photo showing a perfect example of how we are all human, and in this together. Individual acts are what brought the civil rights movement to where it is today. And while it is still not without it’s struggles, the movement has taken root in dozens of other countries since this picture was taken.
While this might not have been mainstream in the baby isle of the British Trading Emporium, it is a scarey reminder of days passed. Britain obviously was not spared the horrors of war as seen here in this photo. Hopefully this is one lesson we have learned the hard way.
In the face of adversity some are strengthened while others weakened. This poor street boy takes the opportunity to read literature he otherwise may have never had access to.
It’s amazing to think of how much shoes can mean to someone in our post-modern consumer driven world. Often times shoes were worn for years, splitting at their seams before new shoes could be acquired. Just look at the state of disrepair of the bots old shoes and you can see just how uncomfortable they must have been!
Paris seemed to be having a bit of a problem with drunk drivers on their busy streets. So, a gifted inventor decided that this scooping mechanism placed on the hood of a car might grab up any pedestrians when they were hit by the driver, bracing their impact against the moving vehicle.
This is what happened on the day Sweden switched its driving side from left to the right in 1967. City buses were retrofitted to have doors on both sides. Of the change, only 157 minor accidents were reported. In fact it only took 6 weeks for the accident rates and insurance claims to go back to their ‘normal’ levels, equal to those seem before the change.
The original Ronald McDonald in 1963 was like something from a cheap horror movie! This was taken from the very first McDonald’s TV commercial. Times have definitely changed since their humble beginnings, and not only with Ronald McDonald’s makeup! The fast-food chain sells a whopping 75 hamburgers every second and feeds more than 68 million people per day! That’s almost 1% of the world’s population!
The earth rising over the horizon of the moon. This pic revolutionized the way we perceived earth in the space.
Another reminder of the horrors our fore-fathers endured to bring peace and stability to our society. In photographs like these we are reminded time and time again of the errors of the past, and we must learn from these events to avoid them from recurring.
One of the most infamous disasters ever known in the history – the Hindenburg caught fire on May 6, 1937. The tragic event occurred as the German passenger airship caught fire as it attempted to dock with its mooring mast in New Jersey. Of the 97 people on board, there were 35 fatalities along with one worker on the ground. The event killed the public confidence in passenger travel via airship.
Oddly enough the pilot of the aircraft that dropped the first ever atomic bomb on a populated area named the aircraft after his mother. It’s a strange thing to associate ones mother with and I wonder what her response was… thanks?
Much to the benefit of our current understanding of space and time, Stephen Hawking was not supposed to be with us today. His life expectancy was much shorter than what he has been able to endure. Once can only hope that this caring genius is with us for years still.
World War 1 was an interesting mix of modern technology and old world practices. In some of the nordic countries, soldiers rode head long into battle on war horses, which had been the practice for centuries. It would be a strange site seeing tanks vs horses, and one doesn’t have to imagine for long what the outcome would have been.
It’s interesting to note that Bin Laden was once an ally of the West. This photo shows how accustomed to western culture he was before turning into a radicalized individual capable of killing thousands of innocent civilians.
It didn’t take expensive computer graphics back then to wow the kids. All it took was a decent backdrop, lighting and some video cameras to create the illusion that Batman and Robin were scaling a vertical building. Great series!