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History is an overwhelmingly broad realm of study. Collecting all of the formative events, by all the influential people, in all of the places in the world--and their interactions--is an insurmountable project.

And that is to say nothing of the minor quirks that, while influential in a niche area of the human story, rarely get much real estate in history text books or discussions.


The task offers internet crowd sourcing a time to shine. One Reddit thread became a common space to collect all those minute happenings from all of time.

The forum assembled a trove of off-hand remarks from teachers, stray paragraphs when a history book author had a little fun, and the commonly omitted marginalized perspectives.

Negative-Pie asked, "What are some history facts that few people know?"

"It's an Honor to Mow for You, Sir"

"Harry Truman was the first US president to have secret service protection after his presidency. He wasn't happy about it and had them do his yard work so they weren't just sitting around doing nothing."

"He was also known to sneak away and go to the bank and by the time they realized he was gone he was on his way back home."

-- Coles_Questions

Structural Problems

"Mexico City is technically an artificial island. It was built by filling up a lake with dirt to create an island, and then making a city on top of that. The Spaniards then built a city on top of that city."

"This is why the earthquakes are so severe, because the soil is basically the shlurpy stuff at the bottom of a lake."

-- Aceofkings9

Glad That Stopped Early

"The Soviets trained dogs strapped with Bombs to run under tanks in WWII. The Soviets mistakenly trained them on their own tanks which run on diesel whereas the German tanks ran on gasoline."

"When they field tested the dogs they ran under their own tanks and that ended that insane piece of history."

-- TrentonTallywacker

It's All About Appearances

"The Netherlands has a city or town named Turkey. The story behind it is that way back in the day Spain claimed to go to war with the Netherlands. The Netherlands not being that powerful asked the Ottoman Empire for their support."

"The Ottoman empire gave the Netherlands one Ottoman flag and one soldier uniform and told them to have someone walk around in that with the flag near it's shores for the Spaniards to see as they arrive (cause they told the Netherlands that they'd attack from sea)."

"The Ottoman empire also sent a message to the king or duke of Spain (idk who the leader was and what he was called at the time) stating that the Netherlands is under their protection and so attacking them ment declaring war on the Ottoman Empire, as the fleet saw the soldier uniform and flag, and got word of the letter they fled before a single shot even occurred."

"As a thanks they named a city after the empire and as the empire then became Turkey of today they change the name of the city too. Not many people know this and I mention it as often as I can when a Dutch person badmouths the Ottomans."

-- Connloadth

*Very* Influential Figure

"A lot of people know that during the crusades of Ghengis Khan, he wiped out 10% of the worlds population. What many don't know is that he and his army sexually assaulted so many women and had so many babies that the 10% was actually restored."

"This is the reason that a decent percentage of East Asian people descended from Ghengis Khan (and his army)."

-- plzhelpchildcrazy

Crossed Wires

"French fries are from Belgium."

"Fortune cookies are from San Francisco."

"Danishes are from Austria."

"Salmon sushi is from Norway."

-- SSS_is_the_best

Hasty Solutions

"During the 1936 Olympics games. Haiti and Lichtenstein both came in with the exact same flag which was blue on top and red in bottom. Up until now both countries weren't aware that they both had the same flag."

"So to stop confusion between the two countries, Lichtenstein added a crown to their flag while Haiti put a white square with their coat of arms inside."

-- Luckycow602

Can't Imagine a Car Chase

"The first car made available to to general public (not just rich people) was the Ford Model T. It was mass produced, keeping it cheap enough for the average working man (and in the process perfecting the assembly line), and it's why everyone has a car nowadays, when it used to be a luxury."

"The catch? Every single Model T was painted black because black was the cheapest paint that dried fastest, so they could get Model Ts off the line faster."

"Every. Single. Car."

"Part of why other car manufacturers eventually became more popular was because they offered a color OTHER than black."

-- ejiciam

Dairy Is Not a Given

"It's reported that one of the many reasons the Vikings were driven out of what is now Canada was the inadvertent poisoning of many of the Native people by trading dairy with them, which they could not digest due to cattle not yet being introduced to North America."

-- larryfellows

How to Spin Violence

"Maybe not super niche, but I'm sure most people have not thought of it in this way."

"The bikini became a brilliant marketing strategy for the US military to deflect from the impact of it's nuclear testing. The very first bikini was named after the nuclear testing in Bikini Atol, that devastated the island chain and displaced its indigenous people."

-- SquilliamFancySon95

Close One

"The London Symphony Orchestra was originally booked to perform on the Titanic on its maiden voyage, but they ended up on another boat at the last minute."

"That surely would have been worse than London Bridge falling down!"

-- Back2Bach

A Rare Unity

"May 5, 1945. Battle of Castle Itter. I believe French POWs were being held in that castle, it was a few days after Hitler's suicide."

"The United States and Defected German Soldiers fought alongside each other against the SS into defending the castle. The only time in the war were 2 opponents turned friendly."

-- KissMeAlreadyy

History's Back Room Deals

"The Boston Tea Party wasn't about taxes, it was about blocking free trade. The East India Company had previously been prohibited from selling directly to the colonies, they had to go through middlemen first."

"The Tea Act removed that restriction which cut the price of tea in half. This was bad for American smugglers, like Sam Adams, who were importing tea from France and Spain."

-- sykemol

Every Coin is a Portrait

"The eagle on U.S. coinage has a name; Peter."

"In the 1830's the mint in Philadelphia was very rural. The eagle would watch the minting of coins and hung out in the open windows of the mint."

"One day he suddenly flew into one of the presses and was mortally wounded. He later died and was stuffed and placed in the mint as a sort of mascot. He was later used as a model for the eagle on coinage."

-- Numismatists

THE CHAMP

"President Abraham Lincoln is in the Wrestling Hall of Fame. Before he was president, Abraham Lincoln was declared a wrestling champion. The 6'4" president had only one loss among his around 300 contests."

"He earned a reputation for this in New Salem, Illinois, as an elite fighter. Eventually, he earned his county's wrestling championship."

-- Goosekilla1

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