Mapping the War of 1996 [Independence Day] – Map-It

TL;DR – We map the carnage over four days of July in 1996 on Independence Day.

The Aliens arrive over New York.

Mapping Independence

Well, I had been feeling off, and when that happens, one of the best remedies is to go back to one of your comfort films. While everyone has their own list of comfort films, mine include Ever After, 10 Things I Hate About You, and today’s focus Independence Day.     

As I was watching the film, I wondered what the global extent of the attack would be because the film’s focus is America, but it was an international event, given what we can see in snippets throughout the film. I went through the original movie with a fine-toothed comb and any references in Independence Day Resurgence to get the locations here. However, this only painted part of the picture, and the novel of the first film differs from the movie in places, so that is an issue.

The War of 1996 page via the Wayback Machine. Image Credit: 20th Century Studios.

Just when I was about to throw in the towel, I discovered a promotional website set up before Resurgence came out with a fictional explanation of what happened between the two movies. But more importantly, it listed all the in-universe places the aliens struck during those four days. These are presented in four waves, Washington DC, Los Angeles, and New York in Wave 1 and Las Vegas, Cairo, and Sydney in Wave 4, which we see in the film. Unfortunately, that site no longer exists and now forwards to the Disney website. I was out of luck, or I would have been without the work of the wonderful Internet Archive Wayback Machine.



If there is one country that rivals America in the number of cities destroyed, it would be China, and for good geopolitical reasons [if you were the aliens]. From a concentration effect, I think Japan would be up there in one of the most significant losses of life in the war. You may notice that some locations are red, and some are black. Those in black were the sites in the fourth wave when the primary fightback occurred, and the ships were destroyed. In the movie, the weapon did not eliminate some fourth-wave cities like Sydney, so I have differentiated them here. We have used the city names as they were presented in the documents, which means some of them look old in 2023, especially in India.


Europe probably has some of the most widespread damage in the films, which makes sense given the line that Western facilities were hit first. It is also here that you start to see some of the areas that make sense, in that you can sort of follow the ship’s track as destroys city locations in a line. But then also see some baffling choices, like when Monaco would be a priority target even within the larger France area, let alone Europe. Also, surprisingly Russia was not nearly as targeted as I thought it would have given its prominence in the film.   


The one area that we get the most information on in the films is America, which is not surprising because it is the main focus of the narrative. But we also see that the aliens did an excellent job levelling the continent’s major cities. You will also notice that there are some smaller locations on this map. That is because the films give some specific places that were destroyed, which we don’t get in other regions, even though it is clear that other military bases would have been wiped out similarly to El Toro.


And here we have the whole world map. You can feel that the Northern Hemisphere did take the brunt of the attack, which lines up with a notation that there were no ships in the South at the start and that the Earth is skewed to the North regarding landmass density. You will notice some oddness in Africa because Mt Kilimanjaro is seen in the film but not referenced in any supporting information. We also have the addition of Umbutu that happened in this war, according to the sequel, even if that does make an odd continuity error in the alien’s motivations between the two films.

To see the fill map you can download the PNG or JPEG versions below.

There we have it, the War of 1996 mapped out. You can see our other maps HERE, and if you have any other film/TV/video game that you would like to see mapped out, let me know in the comments.      

Credits –

– The World Map that we used as a base several iterations ago was created by ‘San Jose’ which is shared with a Creative Commons Licence.

– The Nation detail maps America, Antarctica, Australia 1, Australia 2, Canada, Caribbean, China, Cook Islands, Europe Relief, Fiji, French Polynesia, Gilbert Islands, Germany, Greece, Hawaii, Italy, Japan, Karachi, India, London, Los Angles, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Micronesia, , New York City, New Zealand, Netherlands, Northern Mariana Islands, San Francisco, Samoa, Scandinavia, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Tonga, Valley of Mexico, Vietnam & Washington DC that we used for reference were shared with a Creative Commons Licence or was in the public domain. They were originally created by Aotearoa, Alexrk2, Antigoni, E Pluribus Anthony, Fut Perf, Htonl, Koyos, L. Claudel, Li Chao, Maximilian Dörrbecker, Mrflip, NASA, NgaViet, NordNordWest, Saqib Qayyum, Shadowfox, Silver Spoon, Szczureq, The Emirr, Tubs, Tyk, United States Department of the Interior, Wikimedia Commons, Yavidaxiu & Yug.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you watched Independence Day?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us
Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.