Many historical sites have museums or commemorative monuments built upon them today, but Google Earth provides another perspective on history - a peaceful, unique look from the stars at historical landmarks and places, some of which just look like ordinary, tranquil natural locations.
While there are limits to what can be seen on Google Earth, the exact locations where major historical happenings left a mark can be seen from locations around the world. Here is a collection of historical places on Google Earth and how they look today. Click the links below each pic to view them interactively on Google Earth.
The attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, resulted in the loss of more than 2,400 lives. As a surprise move by Japan, the early morning airborne offensive destroyed numerous American naval vessels and airplanes. The USS Arizona, a battleship in port at the Hawaii base, sank with more than 1,000 sailors on board and continues to leak oil into the Pacific Ocean. In the immediate aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack, the United States officially declared war on Japan and entered World War Two.
Gettysburg National Military Park
Considered a turning point during the American Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg took place over two days in July 1863. The Battle of Gettysburg was a victory for the Union, one that signaled a demoralizing decline for the Confederacy. Gettysburg, located in Pennsylvania, was also the site of President Abraham Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address," delivered later the same year.
As the largest Nazi concentration and extermination camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau was the site of more than 1.1 million murders during World War Two. Auschwitz-Birkenau was opened in 1940 and, as a focal point for the "Final Solution," featured facilities for prisoners of all ages. Alongside forced labor, torture, and executions, prisoners at Auschwitz-Birkenau were subjected to medical experiments, starvation, and countless other atrocities.
In 1989, a group of students staged a protest at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. Tiananmen - the "gate of heavenly peace" - was located near the Forbidden City and, as China grieved the loss of leader Hu Yaobang, was home to demonstrations calling for democratic reforms. By June 4 and 5, the Chinese government took violent measures to end the protests, opening fire into crowds in Tiananmen Square.