Historians Share The Strangest Chain Of Events That Played Out In The Past

Historians have a frustrating job, presumably because there are so many people out there who seem pretty intent on repeating our history... which sort of goes against the very point in the first place.

History is also chockfull of chain reactions, some stranger than others, that shaped the world as we know it today. Quite a few were explored after Redditor unchainedrobots asked the online community:

"Historians of Reddit, what is the strangest chain of events you have studied?"

"President Andrew Jackson..."


"President Andrew Jackson was walking out of the Capitol Building with his buddy Congressman Davey Crockett. A man approached them, drew a gun, but it misfired. The man drew a second gun, which also misfired. Andrew Jackson, fairly old at this point, lifted his cane and began beating the would be assassin. Normally, people would react with "justice served," but Jackson was beating him so badly that Davey Crockett had to pull Jackson off his would be assassin, who was arrested shortly after."

"The would be assassin stood trial, represented by lawyer Francis Scott Key, author of the Star Spangled Banner, and was the first American to be found not guilty by reason of insanity."


"Pretty much..."

"Pretty much the fall of the Berlin Wall. The USSR was already crumbling by this point and so they agreed to allow the wall to be opened for a bit. Well the guy in charge over in Berlin didn't really get the point across to the public very well and as a result everyone assumed that the wall was permanently coming down. This led to pretty much all of East Berlin flocking to the wall and demanding to be let through. The guards there knew there was no way to restrain all these people without a massacre occurring and the Russian government had no real way of easily fixing the huge mistake. And so the Berlin Wall fell, all because of a misinterpretation."


"The events..."

"The events that led and culminated in the War of the Bucket for sure. Essentially one Italian State who followed Holy Roman Emperor stole a bucket from another Italian State who followed the pope. War broke out, The papal state highly outnumbered the HRE state, but HRE state won. Then stole another bucket. Was a trip for sure when I learned about this one."


"They invented tonic water."

"British officers in India in the 18th century were eating quinine powder to help treat malaria. Quinine is so bitter on its own so they started putting it in their club soda to make it easier to down. They invented tonic water. Brought the water back to Europe and they started putting it in their gin. Hence, gin and tonic."


"Horses evolved..."

"Horses evolved in North America, spread during pre-historical times into Asia, and then later went extinct in North America. If things had been only slightly different, horses could have been native only to the Americas, or just completely extinct by pre-history. Not having horses would have made a huge difference to Asian & European history: no Mongol invasions, no European knights."


"This leads to..."


"Recent history but it still boggles my mind."

"Jeri Ryan gets cast on Star Trek: Voyager as Seven of Nine."

"Jeri Ryan divorces her husband."

"Her ex husband, Jack, with a really strong resume and a lot of money, announces a Senate campaign in the state of Illinois in 2004. His entry in the race is enough that it is now considered a tossup."

"Because both Jeri and Jack are public figures journalists push for their divorce records to be released and a major factor in their spilt was Jack's desire to have sex in public locations."

"Jack Ryan drops out and the GOP struggles to find a replacement."

"This leads to an overwhelming victory from the Democratic challenger, Barack Obama."

"The entire Obama presidency exists because some writers in the 90s wanted a Borg girl in their show."


"Probably how Pepsi..."

"Probably how Pepsi briefly became the 6th largest military in the world."

"In 1959, President Eisenhower wanted to show the Soviet Union how great America was, so the government set up an "American National Exhibition" and sent Vice President Nixon there."

"Well Nixon and Soviet leader Khrushchev got in an argument over Communism vs Capitalism. As it got heated the President of Pepsi stepped in and was like, "Bro Khrushchev, chill out, have a Pepsi."

"Khrushchev must of loved that, because then the Soviet Union wanted to permanently bring Pepsi over to their country. The problem is that their money wasn't accepted throughout the world. Instead, like true Russians, the Soviet Union traded vodka for Pepsi."

"This was all good until the late 1980s when their contract was going to expire and vodka wouldn't cut it for payment. So instead they traded Pepsi a ton of submarines and warships for 3 billion dollars worth of Pepsi."

"Sadly instead of terrorizing the seas and shooting harpoons at their enemies, Pepsi decided to sell the fleet to a Swedish scrap metal company."


"As a boxing historian..."

"As a boxing historian probably the story of an ancient Greek boxer named Kleomedes"

"Apparently while in the Olympic final, he killed his opponent by stabbing his fingers into his opponents chest, killing him. Which means he loses due to a strange and awesome rule was if your opponent was killed by the fight, he automatically won. So despite surviving the fight, Kleomedes is judged the loser. No glory or olive wreath."

"Returns home to Astypalaia and lapses into deep depression. Commits the the first mass murder of school children after punching a support beam so hard the school fell down. All the kids die. Angry mob forms to kill Kleomedes who takes shelter in a giant chest in the temple of Athena. Townsfolk storm the temple and try to pry open the chest. End up having to rip it apart board by board. But when they got it open there was nothing in it."

"Naturally the people didn't know what to make of it. So they send people to the oracle of Delphi. Who declared that Kleomedes was The Last True Astypalaian and that he be worshipped as a Demigod."

"That is how an olympic boxer became a deity of fertility after murdering a ton of kids."


"So in 1968..."

"Nixon created a chain of events that I find hard to believe."

"So in 1968 Lyndon Johnson is president, he's a Democrat, and the Democrats are having issues, the party is majorly spit up between segregation issues, and they hate the Vietnam war that the country is stuck in."

"Nixon starts promising to end the draft, and he also proclaimed that he had a plan to end the war."

"Just before the election that year, on Halloween, (a Thursday) LBJ gets on the news, and declares that the war is almost over, and peace is at hand. The North Vietnamese were participating in peace talks, and all war activity had been suspended. They left the peace talks because NIXON HIMSELF told them that if they kept the war going for one extra week, HE WOULD OFFER THEM A BETTER DEAL ONCE HE WAS IN POWER."

"So by Saturday, the North Vietnamese had walked out of the peace talks, and the war was back on. The election on the next Tuesday, went to Nixon, but barely. The war continued for another five years, and in that time 15k Americans died, as well as who knows how many Vietnamese."

"LBJ knew about it at the time, because he had wire tapped the South Vietnamese ambassador as well as several others, and felt he could not reveal the extent of the wire tapping that Americans were guilty of. Even if it meant Nixon got away with treason."


"And it does."

"So, the Han heard the Qin were fond of mega projects and massive infrastructure investments, so they found a hydraulics engineer and sent him over to sell them on an absurd canal idea; build a massive canal to use runoff water from two flood-prone rivers to irrigate worthless plains. Tame the rivers' flooding, irrigate wasteland, everybody wins! And in the Han's schemes, it's an absurdly large project that will keep the Qin diverted and invested for decades."

"And it does. Except about halfway through, the Qin caught on to this and confront their hydraulics engineer; Zheng Gou, presumably confronted with whatever creative thing(s) they do to spies and saboteurs, throws himself on Qin mercy;"

"Yeah, I'm a spy, yeah, it was to sabotage your efforts- but I'm really an engineer, guys, and this will really work, honest! Let me finish it, and please don't do that thing with the cheese grater-"

"The Qin, presumably, conclude they can always torture him to death later, and let him remain in charge of the project."

"And wonder of wonders, it works. Thousands of hectares or rich but fallow desert are turned into fertile farmland. Existing farmland is made safer by giving the flooding rivers runoff channels. The canal makes the Qin rich beyond their already immense wealth, which they turn to larger armies, eventually crushing the Han and (briefly) uniting China."



"We learnt about this is school: in the 1950s in Borneo they were suffering from an outbreak of malaria, so, with the help of the world health organization, they sprayed DDT all over the island to kill the mosquitos. But the DDT also killed the islands wasps which helped control the population of thatch eating caterpillars, thatch that people's homes were made of, and thanks to this, their roofs began to collapse."

"Many other small insects started to get affected by the DDT, which were eaten by geckos, the geckos developed a tolerance to the DDT but the cats who ate the geckos didn't, and the cat population started to die off. This led to the islands rat population increasing greatly. And that's the story of how an island with a malaria problem, lead to cats being airdropped into Borneo."



"A Chinese man wanted to create a potion to become immortal instead he accidentally created gunpowder."


BBC Coverage.


"This is an older BBC series called Connections, with James Burke hosting and it is incredibly fascinating. You can watch most of the episodes on Youtube. It's kind of what you're asking about, chains of events throughout history. From the Normans horse stirrups to mine shafts to vacuums to telecommunications, all connected. I highly recommend anyone give this a try."


MP Noel Pemberton Billing

"In 1918, British MP Noel Pemberton Billing caused a major scandal when he accused actress Maud Allan, and Margot Asquith, wife of the previous Prime Minister, of being at the centre of a homosexual ring sabotaging the war effort. Evidence included Allan having performed in a play by Oscar Wilde, and Asquith having attended the performance. He presented his case in an article entitled "The Cult of the Clitoris", in which he claimed the exiled prince of Albania had a black book, listing all the blackmailed homosexuals in Britain."

"Maud Allan (who was in fact homosexual; Asquith was not) sued for libel, but lost. During the trial, one witness claimed to have seen the Albanian prince's black book, and claimed that the judge's name was in it."


The immovable ladder!

"The immovable ladder!"

"Guy leaves ladder leaning against wall of the church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem some time before 1728. A thing called the Status Quo happens in 1757 which means don't touch stuff on holy sites."

"Ladder is still there."


Fact will always be stranger than fiction.

Do you have similar experiences to share? Let us know in the comments below.

People Describe The Moment They Realized They've Been Doing Something Wrong For Years

It can be very embarrassing when you pronounce words wrong. Let's face it, the English language is super complicated, especially if you're learning it for the first time. You can't always trust yourself to pronounce things phonetically either because of all the different rules!

Recently, a relative pronounced the word "epitome" like "epi-tome." They were embarrassed when I corrected them. I told them that it wasn't a big deal, though they did note that they love that word, have used it for a long time, and that no one corrected them until that moment...


People told their stories after Redditor adeptwarrior asked the online community,

"What's an 'oh sh*t' moment where you realised you've been doing something the wrong way for years?"
Keep reading...Show less
People Break Down Which TV Shows Aged Poorly
Francisco Andreotti/Unsplash

There are many TV shows with compelling themes and interesting character developments that impressed both critics and audiences alike back in the day.

But some of the shows that once captivated audiences have not aged well, and there are many elements in them that are outdated by today's standards.

Keep reading...Show less
People Who Moved Out Of Their Parents' Home Before Turning 30 Share Their Experiences
Michal Balog/Unsplash

After having grown up inside the protective environment that was your childhood home, the inevitable time to leave and carve out your own path without a safety net can be terrifying.

Emotions can vary–with some people itching to leave their trappings while others terrified of adulting in the real world.

Keep reading...Show less

I may not be popular for saying this, but I think comedy is the best form of entertainment.

However, it’s not always easy to find great comedy.

There are lots of comedians who make me smile or even make me laugh at a joke or two. Yet, it’s really hard to find a comedian who can keep me laughing through their whole set.

If you’re having trouble finding those kinds of comedians, or are just ready to find a new comedian to enjoy, Redditors are here to help.

Probably hoping to find a great comedian themself, Redditor Plastic_Ad_6179 asked:

"Who's the best comedian of all time in your opinion?"

Sean Lock

"Sean Lock"

"For many reasons, but mainly for being the undisputed champion of the world in...Carrot In A Box:"

– Rymundo88

"What a HUGE talent. Luckily he left a lot of great footage. Terrible loss."

– Pan-tang

"The comedians comedian"

– FrederickBishop

George Carlin

"George Carlin."

"Honorable mention to Bill Burr."

– gobigred3562

"When I turned 21, my mom took me to Vegas. We saw Carlin perform and we laughed solidly for 90 minutes. I don’t remember any of the jokes, but I have never laughed like that since. He was a true master of the art."

– drCrankoPhone

"Carlin is the only correct answer. Nobody will ever touch that level of wit, wordplay, satire, and social commentary."


– reflUX_cAtalyst

Mike Birbiglia

"I went to a Mike Birbiglia show at Zanies in Nashville back in 2008. Guy killed…got up on stage, told 1 story. Took him 90 minutes to get through that story. The whole time, he’s veering off on tangents that seemed completely natural, conversational even. Each tangent was a tiny hilarious story itself. The show seemed so smooth and flowed so naturally, that I could hardly believe it was written. It was masterful. Sure, he doesn’t tell jokes that leave you breathless with laughter, but he does tell jokes that get 90% of the way there with such consistency that I’m actually more impressed with that than the former."

– mavol

Norm MacDonald

"In terms of:"

  • "Being at the top of his game for a long period of time"
  • "Being perfect at timing and execution"
  • "Understanding comedy to a degree that other comedians notice and respect"
  • "Being clever and witty on the spot"
  • "Having memorable jokes and killer standup routines"

"Norm MacDonald"

– warpus

"My favorite story about Norm MacDonald I've heard is that when he was coming up if he bombed he'd wait in the back of the club after the show to shake everyone's hand in their way out. If he killed he wouldn't. What a legend."

– SixPieceTaye

"If you asked a group of comedians who their favorite comedian is I'd bet Norm would be near the top of the list. So much of his material was a deconstruction of comedy itself. If Norm MacDonald tells you a bad joke, and you laugh, is it still a bad joke? Why is it funny? Are you laughing at him or is he laughing at you?"

– foldingcouch

Mitch Hedberg

"Mitch Hedberg. RIP."

– onepotatotwopotato3

"I used to love that guy. I still do but I used to too."

– ChefHannibal

""I got in an argument with a girlfriend inside of a tent. That’s a bad place for an argument, because I tried to walk out, and had to slam the flap.""

""F**k you, zzzzzzzzzzip""

– StarktheGuat

Monty Python

"Monty Python, as a group."

"I don't think there's been a single more influential comedy act than Flying Circus."

– EarlyBirdsofBabylon

"I agree with it just because it’s one of the few non-American mentions here. People seriously think that humor ends on American Stand Up and television…"

"Also Monty Python is ALWAYS funny"

– RockThePlazmah

Robin Williams

"Robin Williams."

– Flicksterea

"Live on Broadway stands as one of the most memorable things I have ever watched."

– Grimlock64

"Idk why he isn’t higher on this list or mentioned more often. Robin Williams had absolutely insane improv skills. Watch the episode of Who’s Line with him as the guest star, the rest of the cast can’t keep it together."

– _xXmyusernameXx_

Lucille Ball

"Lucille Ball"

– LusciousofBorg

"Scrolled this far to find a female comedian! Love Lucille Ball"

– boonybun

"I saw I Love Lucy was streaming a couple months ago. Having watched it as a kid, I figured I’d put it on for a nostalgic chuckle. I was not ready for that show to be so, so funny—I nearly passed out I was laughing so hard."

– mypantsareawesome

"She was a comedic genius."

– DrWorm_DD

Rowan Atkinson

"Rowan Atkinson (John Cleese closely second)"

– DarkFluids777

"Atkinson is such an amazing physical comedian that it’s basically overlooked that he’s a first-rate stand-up, as well."

– HilariousSpill

Eddie Murphy

"Eddie Murphy"

– onterrible1

"He saved SNL. They wouldn't be on air today were it not for Murphy"

– Blackgurlmajik

"Goat of comedy"

– IndependenceScary644

Comedy may not be everyone’s favorite form of entertainment, but it is a can’t miss, so long as the comedian in question is a good one.

Luckily, we’ve got some great suggestions above.