Epic historical photos

A native member of the Selk’nam, also known as the Onawo or Ona people, decorated for a Hain Ceremony on the Tierra del Fuego Islands off the Southern tip of South American in 1923. This tribe was one of the last in the America’s to be exposed to colonists and settlers (outside of a few still yet to be integrated in the Amazon Rain Forest). The people once numbered near 4,000, but once they encountered European settlers in the late 1800s, they experienced diseases, forced relocations, and forms of genocide. By 1930 around 100 were left, and the last known full blooded Selk’nam died in 1974. Chile in particular moved them right into concentration camps in the early 1900s, killing hundreds. Cattle breeders, farmers and gold-prospectors from Argentina, Chile, the UK and the USA had entered the region, and got many of the native leaders drunk, literally. They then took over the tribes, deported and exterminated them, with bounties paid to the most ruthless hunters, including women and children. A people that had been in that same region for thousands of years now no longer exists. Many really cool photos of tribesmen in full ceremonial body paint exist, however they were usually nude, but I recommend you look them up.


A woman carries supplies to make bread on her husbands farm somewhere in Mexico in the 1950s. The furnace is located in its own area, and as you can see, the woman is literally carrying her child on her back wrapped to her by only a thick scarf. This same family had no modern appliances, washed their clothes in a local stream, but would send their kids to school and trade in local towns. This is a common site in Mexico in some parts even to this day.


A religious woman carries a sign and confronts young men and women on spring break in Miami, FL, US in 1987. The notion of spring break was becoming synonymous with sex, drugs, alcohol, and nonstop partying, leading certain people and groups to protest against it. Some congressman even weighed in on it, sort of condemning it without proposing legislation to control it. To this day, spring break is a popular week for college kids to get away and party, usually at beaches all over Florida, California, parts of Mexico, and numerous other places. For those that will ask, this is a picture used in a magazine, hence why its in black and white. It was far cheaper to use black and white in those days and still have excellent quality. Black and white magazine photos were common right up until the internet took off in the mid to late 1990s.


A European missionary shows a young boy with his hand cut off in Belgian Congo in 1903. The territory was privately owned by King Leopold II of Belgium, and the native people were used in forced labor to pay off the Kings debts. If they did not meet their quota, hired mercenaries would routinely chop off the limbs of the workers children, so the workers could still work. The workers were basically slaves, suffering from horrible atrocities Leopold’s private army would do at will. The territory was called the Congo Free State, and was anything but. When it finally came out what was going on after almost 25 years, Leopold II gave up control, and things finally changed. However, this was one of the last areas that instituted forms of slavery on a country wide scale, nearly 50 years after the US eliminated it. It also employed forms of genocide, and its possible up to 20 million people died during the 25 or so years it went on. Exact figures are unknown, but it was bad, really bad.


Mexican girls hired to pick fields in Texas, US in 1939. The labor would be cheaper, and Southern US farmers would sometimes pay to have them transported to the US to work. Some assume Mexicans have always just hopped illegally across the border looking for work, but long ago, they were paid to come over to work by rich farmers. Such a practice was a form of indentured servitude, and was common. Entire farms in the area during this time would be worked by Mexicans, and for poor wages, making rich farmers richer. This would all change of course with new laws, corporations taking over agriculture, and other major factors that shaped modern farming in the US today.


Japanese sailors on a battleship during the Russo-Japanese War in 1904. The war was quick, lasting a year and a half. The Japanese defeated the Russians, destroying their Pacific fleet, and gaining territory. The Japanese Navy in particular performed very well and used strong tactics to destroy the Russian fleet. The Japanese victory gave them confidence after defeating a world power, and many consider this the key victory that ignited Japanese expansionism and aggression. Their land tactics of hard full frontal assaults worked, despite many casualties, and were used to great success later in WWII especially in China, when the would win battles despite being outnumbered sometimes 6 to 1. Many European powers watched this war closely, even sending advisors, as to see modern tactics and weapons used in large scale battles for one of the first times in the 20th century.

Runners prepare to run the 100m dash at the first modern Olympic Games in Athens, Greece in 1896. American Thomas Burke (second from left) would win gold finishing first at around 12 seconds. Only 14 nations participated; Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Chile, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the US. The US took the most golds, at 11, while the home country Greece took the most medals at 46. Most athletes paid for everything themselves, as Olympic programs didn’t exist. 241 total athletes competed in a total of 43 events over 9 days.

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Coincidence? I think not!

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