Historical Events You Most Want To Go Back And See

Over 4.4K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of Historical Events You Most Want To Go Back And See
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Vote up the historical events you'd most like to witness.

Every history buff has considered the historical events they would want to witness—from the construction of the pyramids to the moon landing, the historical milestones on this list would have been amazing to see firsthand. And don't forget, woolly mammoths were still alive when the pyramids were built, though you probably wouldn't spot one in Egypt.

And then there are all the historical mysteries you could solve with a little time travel. Who really shot JFK? Do the Illuminati control the world? And what were the completely naked Ancient Greek Olympic games like?

So if you could go back to a moment in history, which would you choose, and why? Wars and battles might not be the best historical events to witness, but what about Hannibal crossing the Alps or the Gettysburg Address? Or would you choose to party with Marie Antoinette or watch Leonardo paint the Mona Lisa? These are some of the most significant historical events we'd want to go back in time to see in person.

  • The Building of the Great Pyramids At Giza
    Photo: Keith Yahl / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    2,138 VOTES

    The Building of the Great Pyramids At Giza

    What Was It?

    Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only the pyramids of Giza still stand. But they looked quite different when they were built around 2400 BCE. Then, the pyramids were encased in white limestone and may have been topped with a gold capstone. The tallest pyramid contains 2.3 million blocks of stone, and each averages about 2.5 tons, or 5,000 pounds.

    Why It Would've Been Awesome To Experience:

    How were the pyramids built? Were they constructed by slaves or farmers? And what did they look like when they were brand new? The pyramids are more than just marvels of engineering––they are also shrouded in mystery. A first-hand account would finally settle the age-old debate: was it aliens who actually built the pyramids?

    2,138 votes
  • The Construction of Stonehenge
    Photo: laszlo-photo / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    1,881 VOTES

    The Construction of Stonehenge

    What Was It?

    The 100 upright stones that make up Stonehenge stand in a circle. For centuries, historians and visitors have wondered about the massive monument. In the twelfth century, Geoffrey of Monmouth even speculated that the wizard Merlin built Stonehenge. Today, we know that it likely took 1,500 years to build Stonehenge, but the purpose of the monument is still a mystery. 

    Why It Would've Been Awesome To Experience:

    Was the massive stone monument just a burial ground, or did it serve other purposes? How did people move the enormous stones as far as 200 miles? And how was Stonehenge constructed, without even using the wheel? Stonehenge is one of the great mysteries in history, and by witnessing it first hand, you'd know all the answers.

    1,881 votes
  • 3
    1,784 VOTES

    The Ancient Greek Olympics

    What Was It?

    Fans of the winter and summer Olympics know that the modern games date back to 1896, but the Olympic Games are much older than that––their roots go back 3,000 years to athletic competitions held in the Ancient Greek city of Olympia. Originally, the only event was a 192-meter footrace called the stade, which gives us the modern word "stadium." 

    Why It Would've Been Awesome To Experience:

    Fun fact: Roman Emperor Nero competed in an Olympic chariot race in 67 CE, and declared himself the winner even though he fell off his chariot during the event. And yes, the male Olympians during the ancient games competed in the buff. Apparently clothing just slowed them down.

    1,784 votes
  • The Moon Landing
    Photo: David R. Scott / Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
    1,787 VOTES

    What Was It?

    On July 20, 1969, the first human set foot on the moon. The moon landing was, according to Neil Armstrong, "one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." NASA's amazing technological feat fulfilled President Kennedy's challenge to put a man on the moon and showed humans' ability to reach beyond our planet.

    Why It Would've Been Awesome To Experience:

    Half a billion people watched the moon landing live, but none of them saw Armstrong step onto the moon's surface in person. That would be a historical event worth witnessing, and would clear up all the conspiracy theories about whether or not the moon landing was faked.

    1,787 votes
  • The Birth of Jesus
    Photo: biblevector / flickr / CC-BY 2.0
    2,118 VOTES

    What Was It?

    Around the year zero in a manger in Bethlehem, a child was born. Jesus founded one of the most important religions in history, but it started with humble beginnings. As Christians believe, the adult Jesus practiced miracles, died on the cross, and was resurrected. And it all began with the nativity.

    Why It Would've Been Awesome To Experience:

    Admittedly, childbirth isn't typically a spectator event, but all the paintings make the Nativity seem pretty amazing. And many would love to go back in time to meet Jesus, so why not check out his birth?

    2,118 votes
  • Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
    Photo: David Bachrach / Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
    1,475 VOTES

    Lincoln's Gettysburg Address

    What Was It?

    Abraham Lincoln's most famous speech was only 272 words long, but it encapsulated America's ideals. The Gettysburg Address was delivered on November 19, 1863 at the site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Lincoln's powerful address, beginning with "Four score and seven years ago," also introduced generations of schoolchildren to the archaic "score" as a measure of time.

    Why It Would've Been Awesome To Experience:

    The Gettysburg Address is one of the most important speeches in American history, and witnessing it live on a historically significant battlefield would be powerful. Plus, it would settle debates surrounding Lincoln's speaking voice. Was it, in fact, shrill and squeaky, as some have claimed?

    1,475 votes