Alaskan infant’s DNA tells story of ‘first Americans’

BBC

Excavations at the Upward Sun River archaeological site in AlaskaImage copyrightBEN POTTER
Image captionExcavations at the Upward Sun River archaeological site in Alaska

The 11,500-year-old remains of an infant girl from Alaska have shed new light on the peopling of the Americas.

Genetic analysis of the child, allied to other data, indicates she belonged to a previously unknown, ancient group.

Scientists say what they have learnt from her DNA strongly supports the idea that a single wave of migrants moved into the continent from Siberia just over 20,000 years ago.

Lower sea-levels back then would have created dry land in the Bering Strait.

It would have submerged again only as northern ice sheets melted and retreated.

The pioneering settlers became the ancestors of all today’s Native Americans, say Prof Eske Willerslev and colleagues. His team has published its genetics assessment in the journal Nature.

IllustrationImage copyrightERIC.S.CARLSON ILLUSTRATION
Image captionAn illustration of how the Ancient Beringians at Upward Sun River might have lived

The skeleton of the six-week-old infant was unearthed at the Upward Sun River archaeological site in 2013.

The local indigenous community have named her “Xach’itee’aanenh t’eede gay”, or “sunrise girl-child”.

The science team refers to her simply as USR1.

“These are the oldest human remains ever found in Alaska, but what is particularly interesting here is that this individual belonged to a population of humans that we have never seen before,” explained Prof Willerslev, who is affiliated to the universities of Copenhagen and Cambridge.

“It’s a population that is most closely related to modern Native Americans but is still distantly related to them. So, you can say she comes from the earliest, or most original, Native American group – the first Native American group that diversified.

“And that means she can tell us about the ancestors of all Native Americans,” he told BBC News.

Scientists study the history of ancient populations by analysing the mutations, or small errors, that accumulate in DNA down through the generations.

These patterns, when combined with demographic modelling, make it possible to draw connections between different groups of people over time.

BeringiaImage copyrightSPL
Image captionDuring the height of the last ice age, lower sea-levels would have opened a land bridge

The new study points to the existence of an ancestral population that started to become distinct genetically from East Asians around 34,000 years ago, and which had completed the separation by roughly 25,000 years ago – indicative of the Bering land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska having been crossed, or at the very least of the ancestral population having become geographically isolated in north-east Siberia.

The analysis further suggests that a group of Ancient Beringians, represented by USR1, then subsequently began to diverge from the pioneer migrants. This genetic separation occurs at about 20,000 years ago and is the result of these people staying put in Alaska for several thousand years.

Others in the pioneer wave, however, moved south to occupy territories beyond the ice.

This onward-moving branch ultimately became the two genetic groups that are recognised as the ancestors of today’s indigenous populations.

Prof Willerslev said: “Before this girl’s genome, we only had more recent Native Americans and ancient Siberians to try to work out the relationships and times of divergence. But now we have an individual from a population between the two; and that really opens the door to address these fundamental questions.”

More definitive answers would only come with the discovery of further remains in north-east Siberia and Alaska, the scientist added.

That is complicated in the case of the north-west American state because its acidic soils are unfavourable to the preservation of skeletons and in particular their DNA material.

1843-1947 The past in color

Retronaut

c. 1930

An overhead view of people on 36th St. between 8th and 9th Aves., New York. Manhattan’s Garment District has been the center of the American fashion industry since at least the turn of the twentieth century – in 1900, New York City’s garment trade was its largest industry by a factor of three. The entire fashion ecosystem, from fabric suppliers to designer showrooms, exists within an area just under a square mile. Native New Yorker Margaret Bourke-White was in her mid-twenties when she took this picture. She would later become Life magazine’s first female photojournalist and, during WWII, the first female war correspondent. The two cars shown are a 1930 Ford Model A 4-Door Sedan, left, and a Ford Model A Sports Coupe, right.

Early photographic technology lacked a crucial ingredient — color. As early as the invention of the medium, skilled artisans applied color to photographs by hand, attempting to convey the vibrancy and immediacy of life in vivid detail (with mostly crude results).

The age-old practice of colorization has been revived with modern digital precision in a new book, The Paper Time Machine.

With images curated by Retronaut creator Wolfgang Wild and colorized according to meticulous period research by Jordan Lloyd of Dynamichrome, the book aims to collapse the divide between historical imagery and present-day viewers.

Featuring 124 photos, from the first known photographic self-portrait, to a young and clean-shaven Abraham Lincoln, to unseen images from the Walt Disney archive, the book presents black-and-white originals alongside startlingly lifelike color remixes.

1863

Confederate prisoners at Seminary Ridge during the battle of Gettysburg. Until 1863, both sides in the American Civil War of 1861-1865 used a parole system for prisoners. A captured soldier vowed not to fight until he had been exchanged for a soldier fighting for the opposition. But in 1863, when this picture was taken, the parole system proved untenable, because Confederate authorities would not recognize a black prisoner as equal to a white prisoner. The direct result was that the number of troops being held in prisons increased massively, on both sides. Just over 400,000 soldiers were taken captured and placed in prison camps during the American Civil War. One in ten of all deaths during the war occurred in a prison camp – a total of more than 55,000 men lost their lives incarcerated.

 

c. 1864

This Union soldier is believed to be Sergeant Samuel Smith, together with his wife Molle, and daughters Mary and Maggie. Smith served as a soldier in the 119th US Colored Infantry, enlisting at Camp Nelson, Kentucky. Formed during the American Civil War, after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation came into effect on January 1st 1863, the 175 regiments of the United States Colored Troops (USCT) were largely but not exclusively formed of African-American soldiers. In total, around 180,000 free African Americans together with Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Island Americans were enrolled in the USCT – around one tenth of the Union force. Almost 2,700 were killed in combat – but that is a figure dwarfed by a total of 68,000 killed chiefly by disease – the largest cause of death in the War. The regiments were led by white officers.

 

1918

Oklahoma’s Fort Sill – the burial place of the Native American, Geronimo – housed static kite balloons, inflated with hydrogen such as this one. The balloons were deployed for the observation of artillery attacks, and were secured with guiding cables by groups of ground staff. Six troops were killed in the accident captured here on camera, at Henry Post Field at the Fort. The hydrogen in a balloon was ignited by a what is believed to have been a static electricity charge, created as the folds of the balloon fabric were rubbed together. Thirty more troops were injured.

 

1905

The “Empire State Express” (New York Central Railroad) passes through Washington Street, Syracuse, New York. The Empire State Express was the flagship train of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad. It also had world renown as the first passenger train with a speed scheduled above 50 mph, as well as undertaking the longest scheduled nonstop run, between New York City and Albany, for 143 miles. Trains have run on the roads of Syracuse, New York since 1859, earning the city the sobriquet “the city with the trains in the streets.” As well as the obvious safety concerns, the situation also brought noise, dirt and pollution to Syracuse citizens. At peak points, around sixty trains ran along Washington Street – though that era finally came to an end in 1936 with the arrival of an elevated railroad and a new station on Erie Boulevard East. The final train to run on Syracuse streets was the Empire State Express – eastbound.

 

1918

Celebrations on Wall Street, New York following the surrender of Germany. This picture is almost what it seems – but not quite. We know the exact moment this picture was taken, 1:52 PM on Thursday November 7th, 1918 – four days before the end of World War One. The premature report of the end of the Great War originated in a casual lunchtime conversation between Admiral Henry Wilson, commander of the American Naval forces in French waters, and Roy Howard, President of United Press. Wilson passed on a report of a telephone call he had received from a friend employed in the American Embassy declaring an armistice had been signed. Howard, believing he had just been handed the greatest news story of the his career years, circumnavigated the various systems of checks and censorship in place, going so far as to forge the signature of his foreign editor. He transmitted the story to New York unscrutinized, giving the time of cessation of hostilities as 2pm – eight minutes after this picture was taken. Traders on Wall Street were the first to be aware of the news, and trading ended at 1pm. As the news spread, the entire city was caught up in the celebrations. The next day, the New York Times described the United Press transmission as “the most flagrant and culpable act of public deception.” The Armistice treaty signed at the end of World War One by the Allies and Germany at Compiègne, France, went into effect on the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour, 1918. Yet close to 3,000 men lost their lives on the final day of the War, as, despite the announcement of the Armistice, fighting did not actually cease until that specific moment.

 

July 7, 1865

The hanging of the conspirators in the assassination of Lincoln, at Fort McNair, Washington D.C. The assassination of Lincoln in April 1865 by John Wilkes Booth was part of a conspiracy to bring down the Union government. The plot would have seen the simultaneous killing by conspirators of the President; Vice-President Andrew Johnson; and Secretary of State William Seward. Only Booth succeeded. While Booth was killed before he could stand trial, other conspirators were taken and imprisoned. Three months after the assassination, on July 7th, four of them – Lewis Powell, David Herold, George Atzerodt, and Mary Surratt – were hung at Fort McNair. The scene was captured by Scottish photographer Alexander Gardner. The gallows was constructed specifically for the occasion. Mary Surratt, whose Washington boarding house was a primary location in the conspiracy, became the first woman to be executed by the US federal government.

 

1919

Soldiers of the 369th ‘Harlem Hellfighters’ wearing the Cross of War medal pose for a photo on their trip back to New York. In this picture we see: front row (left to right) – Private Ed Williams; Herbert Taylor; Private Leon Fraitor; Private Ralph Hawkins. Back row (l-r) – Sergeant H. D. Prinas; Sergeant Dan Storms; Private Joe Williams; Private Alfred Hanley; and Corporal T. W. Taylor. When America joined the Great War, the first African-American regiment to fight was the 369th Infantry, transported to France at the end of 1917. The racism and discrimination the soldiers encountered had begun during training in America, and continued in Europe, with many white US soldiers refusing to fight alongside the 369th. After April 1918, under the control of the French Army, such discrimination lessened. Nicknamed the “Harlem Hellfighters,” the members of the 369th were renowned for bravery, ability and ferocity. On their return to New York City after 1918, they received a euphoric welcome, marching up Fifth Avenue.

 

1900

Mulberry Street was at the very centre of Manhattan’s Little Italy, an ethnic neighborhood that followed from the mass immigration to New York of Italians after the 1880s. By the turn of the twentieth century, nine out of ten people in the Fourteenth Ward of Manhattan had an Italian background. Mulberry Street itself took its name from the Mulberry trees that grew around Mulberry Bend – the point in the street where it curved around what was then the Collect Pond. This scene, shot in 1900, shows something of the breadth of activity of Little Italy – vegetable stalls; barefooted children; shoe, boot and clothing merchants; a wagon of barrels and sacks; furniture removal men; and blankets, quilts and rugs left out to air – or to sell.

 

1910

“11 a.m. Newsies at Skeeter’s Branch, Jefferson near Franklin. They were all smoking. St. Louis, Missouri.” As a photographer working for social reform, Lewis Hine found a number of advantages in photographing “newsies” – boys who sold newspapers on street. Unlike the work he did photographing child workers in mines, factories and mills, Hine could photograph the boys without either seeking permission from employers, or, more typically, circumnavigating them. The photographs could be achieved with more time, and with more focus and attention on the subjects he shot. To achieve this sense of direct connection, Hine would bring his camera down to the eye level of his subjects. Not only taking photographs of child workers, Hine also talked to them and sought to document and record their experience. n aggregate, he created a body of work that displayed an unacceptable standard of living for many thousands of children and which ultimately achieved a change in cultural understanding of what it means to be a child, and in the law.

 

1885

Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill. Taken at William Notman’s studios in Montreal, Quebec, during Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, in August of 1885, this photograph bore the title “Foes in ’76 – Friends in ’85.” Sitting Bull was 54 when he agreed to join William Cody’s Buffalo Bill’s Wild West in 1885. Paid a signing bonus of $125, and $50 a week, his role in what was essentially an American circus was to ride round the arena once per show, in the opening procession. Sitting Bull was the star attraction – but after four months, he had had enough, and returned to the Standing Rock Reservation. It was a far cry from 1876, when, as spiritual leader to the Lakota Sioux, Sitting Bull had inspired his tribe in the defeat of Custer’s 7th Cavalry at the Battle of Little Big Horn. Following the battle, Sitting Bull was driven into exile in Canada, until starvation forced him to surrender to the US Government. Transferred onto Standing Rock, Sitting Bull was was shot and killed by a Reservation police officer in 1890.

 

1896

The “Street of Gamblers,” Chinatown, San Francisco. Two men and one woman on board the American brig Eagle were the very first Chinese immigrants to San Francisco. From 1849, Chinese people were drawn by the laboring opportunities for the construction of the Transcontinental Railroad, as well as the California Gold Rush – though racial discrimination was pronounced and enshrined in law, culminating in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1892, which outlawed immigration from China for the next decade. San Franciscan studio photographer Arnold Genthe was drawn to San Francisco’s Chinatown, capturing many hundreds of photographs of its people – often without their knowledge. The pictures are true to the culture Genthe saw – although he also cropped out Western elements. Here, Genthe has captured the essence of a Chinese hutong market transposed into San Francisco, crowded with men wearing black chángshān shirts and sporting the Manchu queue hairstyles – mandatory for all Chinese men until the 1910s. Excepting Genthe’s images, very few photographs remain of San Francisco’s Chinatown prior to the earthquake and fires of 1906. Most photographic collections were lost, but Genthe’s survived, stored in a bank vault.

 

July 1947

Portrait of Art Hodes, Kaiser Marshall, Henry (Clay) Goodwin, Sandy Williams, and Cecil (Xavier) Scott, Times Square, New York. Although born in the Ukraine, Jazz pianist Art Hodes was brought up in Chicago, and spent most of his career in “The Windy City”. Hodes became known for the Chicago Jazz style, but in order to find success, he had had to move to New York, in 1938. Here, Hodes and his River Boat Jazz Band – Joseph “Kaiser” Marshall on drums, Henry “Clay” Goodwin on trumpet, Sandy Williams on trombone and Cecil “Xavier” Scott played clarinet and tenor sax – are playing on a horse drawn cart to promote their concert that night – with special guest Louis Armstrong and Jack Teagarden. Writer and (self-taught) photographer William P. Gottlieb spent the ten years from 1938 to 1948 interviewing and photographing the leading, largely New York-based, jazz musicians of the time, including Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, and Billie Holiday. A columnist for the Washington Post, Gottlieb started to take his own pictures when the Post wouldn’t pay a photographer.

 

 

Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin’s Color Photographs of Pre-Revolution Russia

Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky was a Russian chemist and photographer, best known for his pioneering work in color photography during the early 20th century. His priceless color photographs documenting the waning days of the Russian Empire before the First World War and the Russian Revolution are today some of the most prized possession of the United States Library of Congress.

In the beginning of the 20th century, color photography was still in its infancy. It was the German photochemist Adolf Miethe, with whom Prokudin-Gorsky studied briefly the techniques, who greatly improved the three-color principle of color photography. Using a specialized camera developed by Adolf Miethe, Prokudin-Gorsky took three black and white images in quick succession, using red, green and blue filters, which were later recombined and projected with filtered lanterns to show near true color images. Because exposure time was often high and the three color-filtered photographs were not taken at the same time, subjects that did not hold steady during the entire operation exhibited colored fringes around its edges in the resulting color image. Such fringes are characteristics of many Prokudin-Gorsky’s photographs.

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The Emir of Bukhara, Alim Khan (1880-1944), poses for his portrait, taken in 1911 shortly after his accession. As ruler of an autonomous city-state in Islamic Central Asia, the Emir presided over the internal affairs of his emirate as absolute monarch, although since the mid-1800s Bukhara had been a vassal state of the Russian Empire. With the establishment of Soviet power in Bukhara in 1920, the Emir fled to Afghanistan where he died in 1944.

Around 1905, Prokudin-Gorsky envisioned and formulated a plan to use the emerging technological advances in color photography to document the Russian Empire systematically. Tsar Nicholas II granted him permits that allowed him to travel unmolested across restricted areas and instructed the empire’s bureaucracy to cooperate with the photographer. For six years from 1909 through 1915 Prokudin-Gorsky travelled across the length and breadth of the vast country in a specially equipped railroad-car darkroom capturing vivid portraits of a lost world. His subjects ranged from the medieval churches and monasteries, to the railroads and factories of an emerging industrial power, to the daily life and work of Russia’s diverse population. According to one estimate, Prokudin-Gorsky took over 10,000 photographs during these years.

After the Russian Revolution, Prokudin-Gorsky left Russia in 1918 and eventually settled in Paris. Prokudin-Gorsky couldn’t take all of his photographs with him when he left Russia. Some sources claim he only had about 3,500 negatives with him before leaving the country, of which nearly half were confiscated by Russian authorities for containing material they deemed strategically sensitive for war-time Russia. Some of Prokudin-Gorsky’s negatives were given away, and some he hid on his departure. The remaining negatives—about 1,900 of them—and about 700 more album prints were purchased by the United States Library of Congress in 1948, four years after the death of Prokudin-Gorsky.

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An Armenian woman from Artvin in national costume.

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A merchant at the Samarkand market displays colorful silk, cotton, and wool fabrics as well as a few traditional carpets. A framed page of the Koran hangs at the top of the stall

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Dressed in traditional Central Asian attire, a vendor of locally grown melons poses at his stand in the marketplace of Samarkand in present-day Uzbekistan.

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Prokudin-Gorskii and others ride the Murmansk Railroad in a handcar along the shores of Lake Onega near Petrozavodsk.

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Young Russian peasant women offer berries to visitors to their izba, a traditional wooden house, in a rural area along the Sheksna River near the small town of Kirillov.

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Wooden mills using wind-power to grind wheat and rye are photographed in the middle of summer on the vast Siberian plain in rural Ialutorovsk county in Western Siberia.

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A young Kazakh family in colorful traditional dress moving across the Golodnaia (or “Hungry”) steppe in present-day Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. Many Central Asiatic peoples, for example the Kirghiz, Kazakhs, and Uzbeks, lived nomadic lives on the steppes, valleys, and deserts, migrating seasonally from one place to another as opportunities for obtaining food, water, and shelter changed.

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Wearing traditional dress and headgear, a Turkmen camel driver poses with his camel, laden with what is most likely grain or cotton. Camel caravans remained the most common means of transporting food, raw materials, and manufactured goods in Central Asia well into the railroad era.

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Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii poses near a mountain stream, thought to be the Karolitskhali River in the Caucasus Mountains near the seaport of Batumi on the eastern coast of the Black Sea.

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This photo shows the interior of a tea packaging and weighing operation located at the Chakva tea farm and processing plant just north of Batumi, close to the Black Sea coast in what is now the Republic of Georgia. The Chakva farm and plant was one of the major suppliers of tea to all parts of the Russian Empire.

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In this portrait, Prokudin-Gorksii captures the traditional dress, jewelry, and hairstyle of an Uzbek woman standing on a richly decorated carpet at the entrance to a yurt, a portable tent used for housing by the nomadic peoples of Central Asia.

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Five inmates stare out from a zindan, a traditional Central Asian prison–in essence a pit in the earth with a low structure built on top. The guard, with Russian rifle and bayonet, is attired in Russian-style uniform and boots.

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A small nineteenth-century wooden chapel, was on the north side of the White Lake in north central European Russia.

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In the early years of the First World War, Prokudin-Gorskii photographed a group of prisoners of war from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The men are probably Poles, Ukrainians, and members of other Slavic nationalities, imprisoned at an unidentified location in the far north of European Russia near the White Sea. This image escaped being confiscated by border guards probably because what is being represented is not immediately obvious.

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A Bashkir switch operator poses by the mainline of the railroad, near the town of Ust’ Katav on the Yuryuzan River between Ufa and Cheliabinsk in the Ural Mountain region of European Russia.

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The Ural Mountain region is noted for the richness of its iron deposits and ores. The Bakaly hills, in the area outside the city of Ekaterinburg, provide the locale for a small-scale family mining operation.

Unknown Racist American History

The history of the United States is complex and very diverse.  Many movements and associations came and continue today.  Some stayed and became prominent institutions, others faded away.  One that faded away, thankfully, was the German American Bund.

The German American Bund or German American Federation (German: Amerikadeutscher Bund) was an American Nazi organization established in the 1930s. Its main goal was to promote a favorable view of Nazi Germany.

 

Bund march Manhattan 1939

 

In December 1935 Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess ordered all German citizens leave the Friends of New Germany (FOTNG), while also recalling all the group’s leaders to Germany.  In March 1936, the German American Bund (AV) was established as a follow-up organisation for the FOTNG in Buffalo, New York.  It elected a German-born American citizen Fritz Julius Kuhn, a veteran of the Bavarian infantry during World War I.

 

Fritz Kuhn on left

 

The Bund was one of several German-American heritage groups; however, it was one of the few to express National Socialist ideals. As a result, many considered the group anti-American. In the last week of December 1942, led by journalist Dorothy Thompson, fifty leading German-Americans including Babe Ruth signed a “Christmas Declaration by men and women of German ancestry” condemning Nazism, which appeared in ten major American daily newspapers. In 1939, a New York tax investigation determined Kuhn had embezzled money from the Bund. The Bund operated on the theory that the leader’s powers were absolute, and therefore did not seek prosecution. However, in an attempt to cripple the Bund, the New York district attorney prosecuted Kuhn. New Bund leaders would replace Kuhn, most notably with Wilhelm Kunze, but these were only brief stints. Martin Dies and the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) were very active in denying any Nazi-sympathetic organization the ability to freely operate during World War II.

 

No, this is not Berlin. Rally in Madison Square Garden 1939.

 

 

 

No, this is not Nuremberg.  This is Chicago 1936.  A Nazi youth rally.

 

Photos

France

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Giant crypt in Saudi Arabia

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Mt. Etna

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North Dakota Sunset

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Harvard University

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Cats and their love for small spaces

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Garbage dumpsters

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Amish raising a barn in New York state

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 Nuremberg rally headed by the evil and attended by the brain washed

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Florida flood

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Moving cattle in the Netherlands

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Lightning storm over England

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US soldiers with Dutch children dressed in traditional garb 1944

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