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The Most Iconic Historical Photos of all Time and the Stories behind Them

The world’s history is filled with remarkable moments that have shaped our societies, beliefs, and collective memories. While some of these moments have been lost in the sands of time, many have been captured by the lens of a camera, immortalizing them in the form of iconic historical photos. These images serve as a bridge between the past and the present, allowing us to see, feel, and understand the experiences of those who came before us.

These iconic historical photos have a unique ability to encapsulate complex and powerful stories in a single frame. They often transcend language barriers and cultural divides, resonating with viewers across generations and geographical boundaries. By offering a snapshot of critical events, these photographs become symbols of unity, strength, and resilience, fostering a deeper connection to our shared human experience. They convey the raw emotions and experiences of the people and events they depict. They provide an unfiltered perspective of historical moments, often revealing the humanity behind the headlines. They also elicit strong emotional responses, helping us to empathize with the subjects and better understand the historical context in which they lived.

Also, check some of the most famous and important historical photos.

#1 View from a Window at Le Gras: The First Photograph Ever Taken, 1826

View from a Window at Le Gras: The First Photograph Ever Taken, 1826

This photograph, taken by pioneer photographer Joseph Nicéphore Niépce, is considered the oldest surviving photograph in existence. Taken around 1826 or 1827, it captures a view from a window at Niépce's estate, Le Gras, located in Saint-Loup-de-Varennes, Bourgogne, France. The image is monochromatic and somewhat hazy, with a slightly distorted perspective that reflects the limitations of the photographic technology of the time. Despite its technical flaws, however, this photograph represents a groundbreaking achievement in the history of photography, marking the beginning of a medium that would transform the way we see and understand the world.

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#2 General William Tecumseh Sherman in Union Army Uniform, circa 1865

General William Tecumseh Sherman in Union Army Uniform, circa 1865

This photograph captures a side profile of Union Army Major General William Tecumseh Sherman, who served as the Commanding General of the US Army during the American Civil War. Sherman is depicted wearing his Union Army military uniform, and the photograph was likely taken around 1865, near the end of the war. Sherman's facial expression is stoic and resolute, reflecting his reputation as a determined and effective military leader.

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#3 Dali Atomicus: A Photographic Artwork by Philippe Halsman, 1948

Dali Atomicus: A Photographic Artwork by Philippe Halsman, 1948

Dali Atomicus" is a famous photographic artwork created by Philippe Halsman in 1948. The photograph depicts Salvador Dalí, the renowned Spanish surrealist artist, along with three cats, an easel, and a chair, all seemingly suspended in mid-air. The image was the result of the 28th attempt to capture this particular composition, which required intricate coordination and timing to achieve the desired effect. The photograph is striking and surreal, reflecting both Halsman's and Dalí's fascination with the concept of suspension and levitation. "Dali Atomicus" has become an iconic image of mid-20th century art, representing the creative and experimental spirit of the time.

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#4 The Solvay Conference on Quantum Mechanics, 1927: A Gathering of Great Minds

The Solvay Conference on Quantum Mechanics, 1927: A Gathering of Great Minds

This photograph captures the 1927 Solvay Conference on Quantum Mechanics, which took place at the Institut International de Physique Solvay in Brussels, Belgium. The image features some of the most prominent scientists in modern history, including Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Max Planck, Niels Bohr, and Auguste Piccard, among many others. The conference was a seminal event in the history of science, bringing together some of the greatest minds of the time to discuss the emerging field of quantum mechanics.

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#5 King George V and Tsar Nicholas II in Military Uniforms, Berlin 1913

King George V and Tsar Nicholas II in Military Uniforms, Berlin 1913

This photograph shows King George V of the United Kingdom and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, who were first cousins, together in military uniforms in Berlin, Germany in 1913. The two royals are captured standing side by side, looking stoic and resolute. The image represents a moment of relative peace between the two countries, which would soon be shattered by the outbreak of World War I.

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#6 The Manhattan Bridge Under Construction, 1909: Building a Link Across the East River

The Manhattan Bridge Under Construction, 1909: Building a Link Across the East River

This photograph captures the construction of the Manhattan Bridge in New York City, as workers toil on the massive structure spanning the East River. Taken on March 23, 1909, the image provides a glimpse into the massive engineering project that would soon connect Manhattan and Brooklyn, providing a crucial link for transportation and commerce. The Manhattan Bridge was completed later that year, in 1909, and opened to the public on December 31st. The photograph showcases the scale and complexity of the construction process, highlighting the impressive feats of engineering and human labor that made this iconic landmark possible.

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#7 “Soviet Prisoner of War in Rovaniemi, Finland, 1940: A Harsh Winter in the Arctic Circle

"Soviet Prisoner of War in Rovaniemi, Finland, 1940: A Harsh Winter in the Arctic Circle

The Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland was a military conflict that lasted from November 1939 to March 1940. The conflict arose from a territorial dispute between the two nations over the Karelian Isthmus, a strategic land bridge that connected the Soviet Union to the Baltic Sea. The Soviet Union, under the leadership of Joseph Stalin, demanded that Finland cede the region, but the Finnish government refused, sparking a full-scale military invasion by the Soviet Union.

During the course of the conflict, both sides suffered heavy losses, with the harsh winter weather and unforgiving terrain of the Arctic Circle taking a particularly heavy toll. As the Soviet Union advanced deeper into Finnish territory, they took many prisoners of war, who were often subjected to brutal treatment and forced labor in harsh conditions.

The photograph in question depicts one such Soviet POW, who has been dressed in new clothes near the Arctic Circle in Rovaniemi, Finland. The POW is shown with a bandage over one eye, indicating that he has been injured in the conflict.

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#8 Wernher von Braun and the F-1 Engines: A Pioneer of Rocket Technology in the United States, 1969

Wernher von Braun and the F-1 Engines: A Pioneer of Rocket Technology in the United States, 1969

Dr. Wernher von Braun was an aerospace engineer who played a prominent role in both Nazi Germany's rocket development program and later the United States' space exploration efforts. He was one of the key figures in developing the V-2 rocket, which was used by Nazi Germany during World War II.

After the war, von Braun was brought to the United States along with other German rocket scientists as part of Operation Paperclip, a classified program aimed at recruiting top German scientists to work for the U.S. military. Von Braun would go on to play a crucial role in the development of the United States' space program, including the design of the Saturn V rocket that was used in the Apollo missions to the moon.

The photograph depicts von Braun standing in front of five F-1 rocket engines in circa 1969. The F-1 engines were used on the Saturn V rocket and were among the most powerful rocket engines ever built.

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#9 Thích Quảng Đức’s Self-Immolation Protest, 1963

Thích Quảng Đức's Self-Immolation Protest, 1963

Thích Quảng Đức, a Buddhist monk, set himself on fire on June 11th, 1963, in Saigon as a protest against the persecution of Buddhists by the South Vietnamese government, which was predominantly Roman Catholic. The shocking act of self-immolation was captured in this iconic photograph and quickly spread around the world. The image shows the monk sitting cross-legged in a meditative pose, engulfed in flames, with onlookers gathered around him in shock and disbelief. Thích Quảng Đức's protest, which he carried out with remarkable calm and composure, was a powerful symbol of the Buddhist struggle for religious freedom and human rights in Vietnam. The photo became a powerful symbol of the anti-war movement, and the monk's sacrifice is still remembered and celebrated today.

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#10 The Tehran Conference of 1943: Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill

The Tehran Conference of 1943: Stalin, Roosevelt, and Churchill

This historic photograph captures the meeting of three of the most prominent leaders of the Allied powers during World War II. Taken in November 1943, the photograph shows Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill on the veranda of the Soviet Legation in Tehran, Iran. The three leaders had gathered in Tehran for a conference to discuss military strategy and coordination against Nazi Germany. The Tehran Conference was the first time the "Big Three" had met in person, and it was an important moment in the war effort. During the conference, the leaders agreed on a joint military strategy, which included launching a massive invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe. The photograph itself is significant because it captures the personalities and relationships of the leaders, who had very different backgrounds and worldviews. Despite their differences, they were united in their commitment to defeat Nazi Germany and bring an end to the war. The Tehran Conference was a pivotal moment in the war effort, and this photograph is a powerful reminder of the unity and cooperation that made victory possible.

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#11 Rosa Parks’ Indictment and Fingerprinting, 1956

Rosa Parks' Indictment and Fingerprinting, 1956

This photograph captures a historic moment in the civil rights movement in the United States. In 1955, Rosa Parks, an African American woman, refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to a white person, sparking the Montgomery bus boycott. The boycott lasted for over a year and was a pivotal moment in the struggle for civil rights. In February 1956, Rosa Parks was one of 73 people indicted for her role in organizing the boycott. This photograph shows Parks being fingerprinted by Lieutenant D. H. Lackey on February 22, 1956. The image is a stark reminder of the harsh reality of the segregationist South, where African Americans were routinely mistreated and discriminated against. Despite the injustice of her arrest and indictment, Rosa Parks remained committed to the cause of civil rights, and her courage and determination inspired others to continue the fight.

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#12 British Army Veterans of the Crimean War, 1856

British Army Veterans of the Crimean War, 1856

This historic photograph captures three soldiers of the Coldstream Guards who had fought in the Crimean War, which took place between 1853 and 1856. The soldiers are identified as Joseph Numa, John Potter, and James Deal, and the photograph is believed to have been taken in approximately 1856, shortly after the end of the war. The Crimean War was a major conflict between the Russian Empire and an alliance of British, French, and Ottoman forces. The war was marked by brutal fighting, disease, and high casualties on both sides. The soldiers in the photograph represent the bravery and sacrifice of the British troops who fought in the war. The photograph is significant because it offers a rare glimpse into the lives of ordinary soldiers who fought in one of the most significant conflicts of the 19th century.

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#13 The First Photograph Featuring a Person, 1838

The First Photograph Featuring a Person, 1838

This historic photograph, taken in 1838 by French photographer Louis Daguerre, is believed to be the earliest image to show a living person. The photograph captures a street scene on the Boulevard du Temple in Paris, France, with a man having his boots polished in the lower left corner of the image. The image is significant not only for its technical achievement in capturing a living person, but also for its historical value as a snapshot of daily life in 19th century Paris. The photograph was taken using the daguerreotype process, which was a groundbreaking photographic technique that allowed for the creation of highly detailed images on a silver-coated copper plate. The Boulevard du Temple photograph is a testament to the ingenuity and creativity of early photographers like Daguerre, who paved the way for the development of modern photography.

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#14 Theodore Roosevelt’s Horseback Jump, 1902

Theodore Roosevelt's Horseback Jump, 1902

This iconic photograph captures a daring moment in the life of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States. The image shows Roosevelt on horseback, leaping over a fence with a look of intense concentration on his face. The photograph is believed to have been taken in approximately 1902, during Roosevelt's presidency. Roosevelt was known for his love of the outdoors and his adventurous spirit, and the photograph captures his boundless energy and enthusiasm for life. The image has become a symbol of Roosevelt's larger-than-life personality and his commitment to physical fitness and outdoor recreation. Roosevelt was a prominent advocate for conservation and played a major role in the development of the National Park System.

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#15 The Eiffel Tower Under Construction, 1888

The Eiffel Tower Under Construction, 1888

This iconic photograph captures one of the most famous landmarks in the world, the Eiffel Tower, during its construction in 1888. The photograph shows the tower in mid-construction, with workers visible on the scaffolding and unfinished sections of the tower visible in the background. The Eiffel Tower was designed by Gustave Eiffel, a French engineer, and was built for the 1889 World's Fair in Paris. The tower was a remarkable feat of engineering and construction, and it quickly became a symbol of Paris and France. The photograph is a fascinating glimpse into the construction process and the dedication and skill of the workers who built the tower. The Eiffel Tower has become one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, and this photograph is a powerful reminder of its rich history and cultural significance.

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#16 Liberation of Prisoners at Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1945

Liberation of Prisoners at Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1945

This powerful photograph captures the liberation of prisoners at Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany by US troops in April 1945. The photograph shows a group of survivors gathered together shortly after their release from the camp, with many appearing frail and emaciated from their time in captivity. Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel can be seen in the second row, seventh from the left. Buchenwald was one of the largest and most notorious concentration camps during World War II, and the conditions there were horrific. The prisoners were subjected to torture, medical experiments, and forced labor, and many were executed or died from disease and malnutrition. The photograph is a powerful symbol of the human suffering that occurred during the Holocaust and a reminder of the importance of never forgetting the atrocities of the past.

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#17 The Last Photograph of Vladimir Lenin, 1923

The Last Photograph of Vladimir Lenin, 1923

This historic photograph captures a poignant moment in the life of Vladimir Lenin, the revolutionary leader and founder of the Soviet Union. The photograph shows Lenin in Gorki in May 1923, along with his sister Anna Ilyinichna Yelizarova-Ulyanova and his doctor A. M. Kozhevnikov. The image is believed to be the last photograph taken of Lenin before his death in January 1924. Lenin was a towering figure in the history of the Soviet Union, and his leadership and vision helped shape the course of the 20th century. The photograph is a reminder of his humanity and vulnerability, as well as his close relationships with his family and inner circle. The image is also significant because it captures a moment in time, a fleeting glimpse of a man who was soon to be gone but whose impact on the world would be felt for decades to come.

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#18 USS Bunker Hill After Kamikaze Attacks, 1945

USS Bunker Hill After Kamikaze Attacks, 1945

This chilling photograph captures the aftermath of a devastating attack on the USS Bunker Hill aircraft carrier during World War II. The image shows the ship after it was hit by two kamikaze attacks within 30 seconds on May 11th, 1945, off the coast of Kyushu, Japan. The attacks resulted in the deaths of 372 sailors and the injury of 264 others. The USS Bunker Hill was severely damaged and had to be towed back to the United States for repairs. The photograph is a reminder of the brutal reality of war and the sacrifices made by those who fought in it. The kamikaze attacks were a deadly tactic used by the Japanese in the final months of the war, and they caused immense damage and loss of life among the Allied forces. The photograph is a testament to the bravery and resilience of the sailors who fought and survived the attack, as well as a reminder of the need for peace and understanding in the world. The USS Bunker Hill attack was a tragic chapter in the history of the war, and this photograph serves as a powerful reminder of the human cost of conflict.

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#19 Emmeline Pankhurst’s Arrest at Buckingham Palace, 1914

Emmeline Pankhurst's Arrest at Buckingham Palace, 1914

his historic photograph captures a pivotal moment in the fight for women's suffrage in the United Kingdom. The photograph shows suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst being carried away from Buckingham Palace in London after being arrested while trying to present a petition to King George V in May 1914. Pankhurst was a prominent figure in the suffragette movement, which was fighting for women's right to vote. The suffragettes used a variety of tactics to draw attention to their cause, including protests, hunger strikes, and acts of civil disobedience. Pankhurst's arrest at Buckingham Palace was a high-profile event that brought national attention to the suffrage movement. The photograph is a reminder of the courage and determination of the suffragettes, who faced ridicule, violence, and imprisonment in their quest for equality.

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#20 Neil Armstrong After the First Moonwalk, 1969

Neil Armstrong After the First Moonwalk, 1969

This iconic photograph captures a historic moment in human history: Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, photographed by his fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin shortly after completing the moonwalk on July 20th, 1969.

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#21 The Valley of the Shadow of Death, 1855

The Valley of the Shadow of Death, 1855

This haunting photograph, taken by Roger Fenton during the Crimean War in 1855, is one of the earliest and most famous examples of war photography. The photograph is known as "The Valley of the Shadow of Death" and shows a desolate landscape scattered with cannonballs and other debris from the battlefield. The image is a stark reminder of the horrors of war and the toll it takes on both soldiers and civilians. The Crimean War was the first war to be documented with photographs, and Fenton's images played a key role in shaping public perception of the conflict.

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#22 Herbert Hoover’s Oath of Office, 1929

Herbert Hoover's Oath of Office, 1929

This historic photograph captures the swearing-in ceremony of Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States. The photograph shows former President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court William Howard Taft administering the oath of office to Hoover on the east portico of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on March 4th, 1929. Hoover was a prominent public figure and businessman who served as President during the beginning of the Great Depression. The photograph is significant not only for its historical value but also for its symbolism. The oath of office is a solemn and important moment in American political life, representing the peaceful transfer of power and the continuity of democratic institutions.

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#23 Japanese Samurai in Egypt, 1864

Japanese Samurai in Egypt, 1864

This rare and fascinating photograph captures a group of Japanese Samurai visiting the Sphinx in Giza, Egypt in 1864. The image shows the Samurai standing in front of the iconic monument, dressed in their traditional garb and carrying swords and other weapons. The photograph is a testament to the global reach of Japanese culture and the curiosity and adventurous spirit of the Samurai. During the 19th century, Japan was undergoing a period of rapid modernization and westernization, and many Samurai were sent abroad to learn about the world and bring back new ideas and technologies to Japan. The Samurai in the photograph represent this trend, and their visit to Egypt was part of a larger effort to explore and learn from other cultures.

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#24 Head of the Statue of Liberty on Display in France, 1878

Head of the Statue of Liberty on Display in France, 1878

This historic photograph captures a significant moment in the construction of one of America's most iconic landmarks, the Statue of Liberty. The image shows the completed head of the statue on display at the third Paris World Fair (Exposition Universelle) in Paris, France in 1878. The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France to the United States, and it was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. The statue was a symbol of freedom and democracy, and it was intended to commemorate the centennial of American independence.

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#25 Sergeant Stubby, the Most Decorated Dog of World War I

Sergeant Stubby, the Most Decorated Dog of World War I

This heartwarming photograph captures the most decorated dog of World War I, Sergeant Stubby, in his military uniform and badges in circa 1920. Stubby was a stray dog who was taken in by American soldiers and eventually trained to become a military dog. He served with the 102nd Infantry Regiment of the United States Army and participated in multiple battles during the war. Stubby was known for his bravery and loyalty, and he became a beloved mascot and symbol of hope for the soldiers he served with. He was awarded multiple medals for his service, including the Purple Heart and the Silver Star, making him the most decorated dog of World War I.

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#26 Martin Luther King Jr. at the March on Washington, 1963

Martin Luther King Jr. at the March on Washington, 1963

This iconic photograph captures one of the most significant moments in American civil rights history. The image shows Martin Luther King Jr. among a crowd during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28th, 1963. The march was a landmark event in the civil rights movement, with hundreds of thousands of people gathering in Washington D.C. to demand equal rights and an end to segregation and discrimination. At the event, MLK delivered his famous "I Have A Dream" speech, which is now considered one of the greatest speeches in American history.

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#27 Lunch Atop a Skyscraper, 1932

Lunch Atop a Skyscraper, 1932

This iconic photograph, taken in 1932 during the construction of the Rockefeller Center in Manhattan, is one of the most famous images in history. The photograph shows workers enjoying lunch while sitting on a steel beam suspended high above the city. The image is a striking testament to the courage and skill of the workers who built the skyscrapers that now define the New York City skyline. The photograph captures a moment of daring and adventure, as the workers take a break from their dangerous and demanding work to enjoy a simple meal in an extraordinary setting.

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#28 Grotto in an Iceberg, 1911

Grotto in an Iceberg, 1911

This rare and stunning photograph captures a moment of incredible natural beauty and wonder during the British Antarctic Expedition led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott in 1911. The image shows geologist Thomas Griffith Taylor and meteorologist Charles Wright at the entrance of a grotto in the side of an iceberg, with the Terra Nova ship visible in the background. he British Antarctic Expedition was a landmark scientific and exploratory mission, and the discoveries made by its members have had a lasting impact on our understanding of the polar regions and the natural world as a whole.

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#29 Bedouin Warrior, 1900

Bedouin Warrior, 1900

This striking photograph captures the image of a Bedouin warrior, a member of a nomadic Arab people who have historically inhabited the desert regions of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, and the Levant. The photograph was taken in Jerusalem in 1900, and it provides a fascinating glimpse into the culture and way of life of the Bedouin people. The warrior is dressed in traditional clothing, with a headscarf and long flowing robes, and he holds a rifle and a sword. His weathered and proud expression is a testament to the resilience and strength of the Bedouin people, who have survived and thrived in some of the harshest environments on earth.

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#30 9 Monarchs at King Edward VII’s Funeral, 1910

9 Monarchs at King Edward VII's Funeral, 1910

This historic photograph captures a rare and significant moment in royal history, as nine monarchs from across Europe gathered together at Windsor Castle in England for the funeral of King Edward VII of the United Kingdom on May 20th, 1910. The photograph is a testament to the power and influence of the European royal families during a time of great political and social upheaval in the region. The monarchs are arranged in two rows, with Haakon VII of Norway, Ferdinand of Bulgaria, Manuel II of Portugal, Wilhelm II of Germany, George I of Greece, and Albert I of Belgium standing in the back, and Alfonso XIII of Spain, George V of the United Kingdom, and Frederick VIII of Denmark seated in front. The photograph is notable not only for its historic significance, but also for the striking visual impact of so many monarchs gathered together in one place. The regal and imposing figures of the monarchs, dressed in their ceremonial robes and regalia, are a powerful symbol of the enduring traditions and pageantry of the European monarchies.

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#31 Citizens of Antwerp Celebrating Armistice Day, 1918

Citizens of Antwerp Celebrating Armistice Day, 1918

This historic photograph captures a moment of joy and celebration in the Belgian city of Antwerp, as citizens took to the streets to celebrate the end of the First World War on Armistice Day, November 11th, 1918. The photograph shows a large crowd of people gathered in the streets, waving flags and cheering in triumph. The scene is one of jubilation and relief, as the citizens of Antwerp, like people all over the world, celebrated the end of a long and devastating war that had taken a tremendous toll on human life and society as a whole.

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#32 Train Wreck at Montparnasse Station, 1895

Train Wreck at Montparnasse Station, 1895

This photograph captures the aftermath of a dramatic and devastating train accident that occurred at Montparnasse Station in Paris, France, on or near October 22nd, 1895. The photograph shows a locomotive engine that has crashed through the station's wall and onto the street below, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. The image is a stark reminder of the dangers and risks associated with early railway travel, and it highlights the importance of safety regulations and protocols in modern transportation systems. The photograph is also significant because it captures a moment in history when technological progress was transforming the world at a rapid pace, and the development of new transportation technologies such as trains and automobiles was changing the way people lived and worked.

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#33 First Photograph of the Moon in History, 1840

First Photograph of the Moon in History, 1840

This historic photograph captures a moment of scientific achievement and wonder, as John W. Draper captured the first detailed image of the moon in history. The photograph was taken on March 26th, 1840, from the rooftop observatory at New York University, and it represents a major milestone in the history of astronomy and photography. The image shows the surface of the moon in stunning detail, with craters and other features clearly visible. The photograph is a valuable historical artifact that captures a moment of scientific achievement and progress, and it continues to inspire and fascinate people today, as a symbol of the human drive to understand and explore the universe around us.

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#34 First Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, 1861

First Inauguration of Abraham Lincoln, 1861

This historic photograph captures a moment of great significance in American history, as Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as the 16th President of the United States. The photograph was taken on March 4th, 1861, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., and it shows Lincoln delivering his inaugural address to a crowd of spectators. The image is a testament to the importance of democracy and the peaceful transfer of power, as well as to the challenges and struggles that Lincoln would face as he led the nation through the tumultuous period of the Civil War.

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#35 Troops of the Eight Nations Alliance in China, 1900

Troops of the Eight Nations Alliance in China, 1900

This historic photograph captures a moment of international cooperation and conflict, as the troops of the Eight Nations Alliance pose for a photograph in China in 1900. The Eight Nations Alliance was a multinational military force that was formed in response to the Boxer Rebellion in China, which had erupted in violent anti-foreign sentiment and attacks on foreign nationals and their property. The photograph shows troops from Britain, the United States, Australia (a British Empire colony at the time), India (also a British Empire colony at the time), the German Empire, France, Austria-Hungary, Italy, and Japan, standing together in a show of military strength and solidarity.

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#36 Gutzon Borglum’s Model for Mount Rushmore, 1936

Gutzon Borglum's Model for Mount Rushmore, 1936

This historic photograph captures a pivotal moment in the development of one of America's most iconic landmarks, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The photograph shows Gutzon Borglum's model for the monument, which was originally intended to include not only the heads of four presidents, but also their bodies and hands. The model, which was created in 1936, provides a fascinating glimpse into Borglum's creative vision for the monument, as well as into the technical and logistical challenges involved in its construction. Unfortunately, Borglum's ambitious plans were never fully realized, as his death in 1941 and the onset of World War II led to a shortage of funds and resources for the project. Despite these setbacks,

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#37 Tubman in her Later Years, 1911

Tubman in her Later Years, 1911

This historic photograph captures Harriet Tubman, one of the most iconic figures in American history, in her later years. Tubman, who was born into slavery in Maryland in the early 1820s, became a leading abolitionist and suffragist, known for her work as a conductor on the Underground Railroad, which helped slaves escape to freedom in the North. The photograph shows Tubman sitting in a chair at her home in Auburn, New York in 1911, when she was 89 years old. Despite her advanced age, Tubman remains a striking figure in the image, with a resolute expression and a proud bearing.

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#38 Testing of a Bulletproof Vest, 1923

Testing of a Bulletproof Vest, 1923

This historic photograph captures the testing of a bulletproof vest in Washington, D.C. in 1923, as onlookers watch with great interest. The photograph is a powerful symbol of the changing nature of modern warfare and law enforcement, as well as of the technological advancements that were transforming the world in the early 20th century. The testing of the bulletproof vest was a critical moment in the history of personal protection, as it demonstrated the effectiveness of new materials and designs in stopping bullets and saving lives.

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#39 Claude Monet in His Garden at Giverny, 1922

Claude Monet in His Garden at Giverny, 1922

This historic photograph captures the famous French impressionist painter, Claude Monet, in his garden at Giverny, France in 1922. The image shows Monet standing on a bridge with a visitor, surrounded by the lush vegetation and serene beauty of his beloved garden. The photograph is a powerful symbol of Monet's deep connection to nature and his unique approach to capturing its beauty in his art. Monet was renowned for his innovative use of color and light, and his ability to convey the subtle nuances of the natural world through his paintings.

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#40 Illegal Photo of the US Supreme Court in Session, 1932

Illegal Photo of the US Supreme Court in Session, 1932

This historic photograph is one of only two known photos that exist of the US Supreme Court in session. It was taken by photographer Erich Salomon in 1932 during the Hughes Court, and it is a powerful symbol of the importance of transparency and accountability in the workings of government. The photograph is notable for the fact that Salomon had to hide a camera in his cast in order to take it, as cameras are not allowed in the Supreme Court while it is in session. Salomon's daring act is a testament to his commitment to documenting the important events and people of his time, as well as to the power of photography as a tool for social and political change.

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#41 Aerial View of Boston, 1860

Aerial View of Boston, 1860

This historic photograph is the oldest surviving aerial photograph in history, and it captures an incredible view of Boston in circa 1860. The image was taken by photographer James Wallace Black from a hot air balloon that was 2,000 feet in the air, and it provides a unique perspective on the city and its surroundings. The image is also significant for its historical value, as it provides a glimpse into life in 19th century America and the growth and development of one of the country's most important cities.

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#42 The Duke of Wellington, 1844

The Duke of Wellington, 1844

This historic photograph captures the Duke of Wellington, one of the most important and celebrated military leaders in British history. The image was taken in 1844 when Wellington was 75 years old, and it provides a fascinating glimpse into the life and character of this legendary figure. Wellington is perhaps best known for his role in the Napoleonic Wars, where he played a pivotal role in defeating Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. However, he was also a key political figure in the history of the United Kingdom, serving as Prime Minister twice during his long and distinguished career.

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#43 Updated Map of Europe, 1918

Updated Map of Europe, 1918

This historic photograph captures the moment when people in Philadelphia, and other major cities across the United States, saw a new map of Europe following the changes brought about by World War I. The image shows a group of people gathered around a map, which is likely one of several that were displayed in public places to help people understand the new political landscape of Europe after the war. The changes to the map were significant, with the defeat of Germany and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire leading to the creation of new countries and borders across the continent.
Updated Map of Europe, 1918

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#44 American Revolutionary War Veteran, 1864

American Revolutionary War Veteran, 1864

This historic photograph taken in 1864 depicts Lemuel Cook, an American Revolutionary War veteran who was one of the last surviving soldiers from that war. Cook was born on September 10, 1759, in Northbury, Connecticut, and he joined the 2nd Continental Light Dragoons of the Continental Army when he was just 16 years old in 1775. He served under Captain Benjamin Durkee and fought in several notable battles, including the Battle of Saratoga, the Battle of Brandywine, and the Battle of Germantown.

During his service, Cook was wounded multiple times and was once taken as a prisoner of war by the British. Despite his injuries, he continued to fight for the American cause until his discharge in 1784. After the war, Cook settled in western New York and worked as a farmer.

In 1864, at the age of 105, Cook sat for this photograph. It is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by American soldiers during the Revolutionary War, as well as the longevity and resilience of those who lived through that tumultuous time in American history. Cook passed away two years after the photo was taken, on May 20th, 1866, at the remarkable age of 106.

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#45 Cow Shoes, 1924

Cow Shoes, 1924

This photograph, taken on June 18th, 1924, shows a pair of cow shoes that were used by moonshiners during the Prohibition Era in the United States. The shoes were designed to hide footprints and deceive law enforcement officials while transporting illegal moonshine.

The shoes, made of metal and leather, were designed to fit over the wearer's shoes and leave hoof-shaped prints in the ground. Moonshiners would wear these shoes when moving their illegal cargo, and the unique footprints would help to avoid detection by law enforcement officers who were searching for them.

During the Prohibition Era, the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcohol were illegal in the United States, and those who violated the law risked fines, imprisonment, and other legal penalties. To avoid detection, many moonshiners employed creative techniques like these cow shoes to evade law enforcement officials.

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#46 Last Photo of Tsar Nicholas II, 1917

Last Photo of Tsar Nicholas II, 1917

This photograph, taken at some point after March 1917, is believed to be the last photo of Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia. It shows Nicholas II at Tsarskoye Selo, with guards in the background watching over him after his abdication.

Nicholas II was forced to abdicate in March 1917, following the February Revolution in Russia. The Revolution had been fueled by economic hardship, political unrest, and a lack of faith in the Tsar's leadership. Nicholas II's abdication marked the end of the Romanov dynasty, which had ruled Russia for more than 300 years.

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#47 The Titanic in the Docks of Southampton, 1912

The Titanic in the Docks of Southampton, 1912

This photograph taken in 1912 depicts the RMS Titanic, a famous passenger liner, in the docks of Southampton, England, just before it set sail on its maiden voyage to New York City. The Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship of its time and is famously remembered for its tragic end after it hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean on April 15th, 1912, resulting in the loss of over 1,500 lives. The photograph captures the Titanic in all its grandeur, just before its ill-fated voyage. It serves as a historic record of the Titanic's departure from Southampton.

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#48 Johnson, 1918 or 1919

Johnson, 1918 or 1919

This photograph, taken in 1918 or 1919, depicts Sergeant William Henry Johnson, also known as "Black Death," of the 369th Infantry Regiment (Harlem Hellfighters), wearing his Croix de Guerre medal. Johnson earned this medal for his bravery during World War I in North France, where he single-handedly fought off a German raiding party and received 21 wounds in the process. He was able to save his fellow soldier, Private Needham Roberts, from being captured.

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#49 Franklin Roosevelt meets Lyndon Johnson

Franklin Roosevelt meets Lyndon Johnson

This photograph, taken on May 12th, 1937, depicts President Franklin D. Roosevelt shaking hands with a young Lyndon B. Johnson, while Governor James Allred of Texas stands between them in Galveston, Texas. The photograph serves as a historic record of the meeting between two influential figures in American politics. At the time, Roosevelt was President of the United States and Johnson was a young Congressman from Texas, who would later go on to become Vice President under John F. Kennedy and then President himself after Kennedy's assassination.

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#50 Jack Dempsey, Harry Houdini, and Benny Leonard, circa 1920s

Jack Dempsey, Harry Houdini, and Benny Leonard, circa 1920s

This photograph, taken in the 1920s, shows legendary boxer Jack Dempsey on the left, mock-punching illusionist and stuntman Harry Houdini in the center, while legendary boxer Benny Leonard on the right, holds onto Houdini. The photograph was taken at a publicity event and serves as a historic record of the meeting between three of the most famous and influential figures of the 1920s. Dempsey was a world-famous boxer who held the heavyweight title from 1919 to 1926, Leonard was also a champion boxer and one of the greatest lightweights of all time, while Houdini was a world-renowned escape artist and magician. The photograph captures a playful moment between these three larger-than-life personalities, and it remains a fascinating glimpse into the entertainment world of the 1920s.

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Written by Benjamin Grayson

Former Bouquet seller now making a go with blogging and graphic designing. I love creating & composing history articles and lists.

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