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These Historical Photos Show You Glimpses Of History That You Can't Even Imagine

MAY 17, 2015

We know how much you like world history, and we know how much you like weird history. But these historical images really show us exactly what life was like in days past. They give us a glimpse of how people, not too different from us, were affected by their times. Take a trip back to the weirder times and learn what life used to be like.

A slave dealer in Alexandria, Virginia, 1861-65

In this picture, taken between 1861 and 1865, this building was used as a jail for Confederate prisoners. However, in the early 19th century, it was used as a slave pen. Human beings were locked inside after being shipped from Louisiana. Some 3,750 people passed through here on their way to the plantations of the Deep South. It continued to be used for the slave trade up until the Civil War.

The camp of the 150th Pennsylvania Infantry, Belle Plain, Virginia, March 1863

The men line up in formation near their tents while covered wagons pass by.

The Fieldbrook Stump

This redwood was probably the largest tree in the world. However, since humans like to ruin everything, it was cut down in the 1890s on a drunken bet that a table that could seat 40 could be made from a slice of its trunk. Nice going, humans. (If it's any consolation, material from this tree has been saved, and someone is trying to clone it.)

A Union and Confederate soldier reconcile, 1913

After the Civil War, veterans found the ability to move on from the past, and face their former enemies as friends.

The Dalai Lama's baby picture, 1937

The Dalai Lama is born the Dalai Lama; it's believed the former Lama can choose the body into which he will be reincarnated. The High Lamas of Tibet's Glegupa tradition are tasked with finding him. This is our current Dalai Lama, Tensin Gyatso, at age two. It took four years to determine that he was the Lama, and afterwards, he was trained in Buddhist teachings and spiritual leadership.

An Australian soldier watches a Japanese solider commit suicide with a grenade, New Guinea, December 1942

The Australian soldier had shot three other captured Japanese soldiers, but one decided to end his life rather than be a prisoner.

The Mona Lisa being unpacked after spending WWII in hiding, 1945

The painting would move five times, and was one of thousands of pieces of art evacuated from Paris during the war to spare them from bombing.

Teresa, a girl who grew up in a concentration camp, draws "home," Poland, 1948

Children whose first years were spent in concentration camps often did not know their names, their places of origin, or their native languages. Many were sent to foster homes across the world and learned to bury the past. This girl, Teresa, spent time in a home for mentally ill and disturbed children.

Elevator desks in Prague, 1937

Though it looks like something out of Brazil, these desks were real. The Central Social Institution in Prague was home to the world's largest vertical file cabinet, with over 3,000 drawers. The desks could move up, down, left, and right at the push of a button.

Jimmie Nicol, the almost-Beatle, waits for a plane, June 1964

When Ringo fell ill, Jimmie Nicol served as a stand-in drummer for eight concerts over the course of ten days. In June 1964, he flew home from Melbourne and faded into history.

These rare photos show us a side of history many people don't see in classrooms. They also offer us a different perspective and plenty of things to think about. Not all of history was cut-and-dry, and we have these offbeat moments to remember from when times were different.

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