Associated Press, in company with British Movietone, has released a million minutes of historic world news on to two YouTube channels.
The collection of more than 550,000 digitised video stories dates from 1895 to the present day and it is claimed to be the largest upload of historical news content on the video-sharing platform.
AP says in a press release that the two channels will act as a view-on-demand visual encyclopedia to offer “a unique perspective on the most significant moments of modern history.”
The collection records the moments, people and events that have shaped the world. It includes footage of the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Benito Mussolini calling for world peace in 1931, London honouring the German’s ambassador with a Nazi salute in 1936 and US president George W Bush ducking when a man throws shoes at him while speaking at a conference with Iraq’s prime minister in 2008.
There is plenty of celebrity content too, including Charlie Chaplin and his wife Paulette Goddard on honeymoon in 1936, Marilyn Monroe in London in the 1950s and Twiggy modelling in the 1960s.
Alwyn Lindsey, AP’s director of international archive, says: “The AP archive footage, combined with the British Movietone collection, creates an incredible visual journey of the people and events that have shaped our history.
“At AP, we are always astonished at the sheer breadth of footage that we have access to, and the upload to YouTube means that, for the first time, the public can enjoy some of the oldest and most remarkable moments in history.”
The content will also include sporting coups, entertainment, extreme weather, technological innovations and some of the more bizarre moments in history.
These include elephants sprinting through Chicago in a 1935 race; Dutch naturists exercising in public in 2007; the serving, in London, of whale vomit in 2010; and the unveiling by Mercedes Benz in 2011 of chocolate-themed version of its Smart car.
British Movietone is one of the world’s largest newsreel archives. It was the first newsreel to include sound and the first to use colour film in breaking many exclusive stories.