One of the most famous photographs in history was taken on this day in 1960. That photo of Che Guevara has to this day been copied countless times, and is found on an untold number of posters, monuments, t-shirts, and other consumer goods.
It was filmed by Cuban photographer Alberto Korda, during the funeral of the victims of the ship La Coubre in the Havana harbor. Namely, that ship was carrying ammunition and exploded on 4 March 1960. The causes of the explosion have remained insufficiently explained – some see it as a CIA ploy to remove Castro from power. Che Guevara allegedly personally helped the victims of the disaster (he was a physician by education).
Most of Cuba’s top government figures were present at the solemn funeral, including Fidel Castro. It is interesting to note that the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and his life partner, Simone de Beauvoir, were also present at the funeral. Korda also took photos of Castro, Sartre, and de Beauvior on that occasion, but only his photo of Che Guevara has managed to achieve such a historical success.
The photo got the name Guerrillero Heroico (“Heroic Guerilla”) and is, according to some sources (such as the Victoria and Albert Museum), the most reproduced photo in history, while some others (such as the Maryland Institute College of Art) claim it is the most widely-recognized photo in the world.