People Share The Strangest Historical Cases Of The 'Butterfly Effect'

The butterfly effect is a commonly referenced idea from chaos theory. Put simply, simple actions can lead to bigger, sometimes more drastic changes. The term "butterfly effect" comes from an analogy where a butterfly flaps its wings in Tokyo and a tornado occurs in Tennessee. And yes, we owe some of history's biggest events––and some not so big ones––to the game of chance.

After Redditor cagatayyes asked the online community, "What is the biggest 'butterfly effect' in the world history that ever happened?" we found ourselves with quite a few riveting examples of the theory in action.

"Constantine was battling..."

Some meteor in the 4th Century. Constantine was battling to take control of Rome and before the final major battle he saw a meteor fly through the sky he claimed was a trophy from God. Then his massively outnumbered army won the battle, Constantine became Emperor and passed the Edict of Milan which led to the explosion of christianity.

So much of European and global history can be traced back to this moment.


"Not the largest..."

Not the largest but an interesting one is that the Portland Trail Blazers only exist because Harry Glickman forgot his rain coat in the NBA owners meeting and was able to convince the owners who didn't want Portland in the league to let them in when he went back to get it.

Another fun sports one from last years NBA season: The last game of the season the Trail Blazers benched the entire starting unit and bench and let the 3rd stringers play the entire game (6 people played total). This was done to rest the starters and some say to lose the game so that Portland would face Utah in the first round.

The team got down by nearly 40 in the first half but behind 19 year old Anfernee Simons 37 points and 12 assists and won the game.

The win changed the seeding so that Portland played Russel Westbrook, Paul George and the OKC Thunder in the first round.

Dame, CJ, and the boys dad d!cked the Thunder into eternity with the piece de resistance being Dame's 50 point game 5 which included him ending the series on a 35 foot step back 3 point shot as time expired leading to his infamous wave goodbye to the Thunder team immediately after hitting the series winner.


The wave proved prescient as the Thunder's complete annihilation led to Paul George requesting a trade, which opened the door for the Clippers to trade for him which allowed them to sign Kawhi Leonard. This then resulted in former MVP and franchise cornerstone Russel Westbrook being traded to Houston and the OKC team which many had considered title contenders for years to come being broken up and going into rebuilding mode

All of it starting with a 19 year old refusing to lose and leading a come back in what many thought was a meaningless game to end the regular season.


"Europeans might have never..."

When the Ottomans took the Middle East in the 15th century, it ultimately resulted in the Portraguese controling trade entirely around the continent of Africa, which lead to Columbus' expeditions, which lead to North America as we know it. If it weren't for the Ottomons deciding Europe didn't need spices, Europeans might have never looked for faster routes in India, and thus no colonization of the Americas.


"He fell off his elephant..."

Hindu King Hemu was shot in the eye while on the verge of winning his 22nd battle against Islamic Invaders. He fell off his elephant and lost the battle to Mughals which changed Indian history for the next 600 years.


"Back in 2013..."

Brazil right now.

Back in 2013 people started protesting against the rising of the bus fare, those protests led to the rise of extremist politicians. Now we have an idiot who constantly flirts with authoritarian policies as a president.

During this pandemic he fired/lost 2 health ministers because they did not want to say chloroquine was an effective drug

Stoped reporting the death toll of corona victims.

I bet he will try a coup d'etat before the end of his term.


"Difficult to imagine..."

In the year 312, ahead of an imminent battle, Emperor Constantine had a dream in which he was instructed to paint the first two letters of Christ's name in Greek on the shields of his soldiers.

He won the battle, despite being significantly outnumbered, leading him to convert to Christianity (then an underground, fringe sect) and stop the persecution of its followers. Less than 70 years later Christianity was made the official (and only) religion of the Roman Empire.

Difficult to imagine how different things might look today if he never had that dream.


"If he hadn't..."

The Dean scream. If he hadn't yelled "yeeeaaahhhh!!!" perhaps he could have won the nomination, defeated Bush, and been President through 2012. No Obama or Trump presidency.

But instead..... "yeeeeaaahhhhh!!!!"


"Now, Jeri Zimmerman was married..."

In 1997, producers of Star Trek: Voyager decided to shake things up by killing off one of the supporting characters. They eventually decided between two characters: Kes, an Ocampa who joined the crew after the Voyager was transported into the Delta Quadrant, and Ensign Harry Kim, and eventually settled on killing off Harry Kim.

However, TV Guide placed Garrett Wong, Harry Kim's actor, as one of the sexiest Star Trek actors. The producers were concerned about this and considered how this would affect the popularity of Voyager, and reverted their decision, killing off Kes in the end.

But, since they killed off one of the main female characters, they found a replacement for Kes. Enter Jeri Lynn Zimmerman (known back as Jeri Ryan) , who was auditioning and then got the now famous role of Seven Of Nine, considered to be one of the biggest in Star Trek and which skyrocketed the then-unknown Jeri into stardom.

Now, Jeri Zimmerman was married to an investment banker named Jack Ryan, who embarked on a political career. Now, Jeri's rising popularity and her spot on the TV show required her to commute frequently between Los Angeles and Chicago (where her husband was campaigning), which put a very difficult strain on their relationship and caused a divorce in 1999. The couple kept the divorce records public, but not the custody agreement of their son public.

In 2004, Jack Ryan was campaigning as the GOP candidate for the Illinois seat in the Senate and won the primaries. Due to his high-profile marriage and the rising popularity of his ex-wife, the media was snooping into his divorce proceedings and especially the sealed custody agreement proceedings, more specifically, Chicago Tribune and WLS-TV. California judge decided to open the custody records due to increased media and public pressure.

In it, it was discovered that Jack Ryan allegedly requested and demanded Jeri to perform multiple sexual acts in public, displaying exhibitionist tendencies, and also dragging Jeri into open BDSM and swinger parties. This caused a massive scandal and intense public scrutiny for Jack, and with the scandal destroying his public image, Jack Ryan decided to drop out of the race.

Now, his Democrat opponent was a relative unknown at the time, and a lecturer at the University of Chicago Law School. While he was a member of the Illinois Senate and representing the 13th district, he wasn't expected to win the 2004 US Senate race. However, Jack Ryan's withdrawal caused him to win in an unprecedented and unexpected landslide. The opponent's name? Barack Obama.


Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.

When you gotta go, you go.

That should be a mantra for getting rid of the toxic people in our lives.

Not every relationship is meant to last forever.

Some people don't know how to be friends.

They are awfully good at pretending though.

Be vigilant of the signs and red flags.

Toxic people are crafty.

And once you're free, never look back.

Keep reading...Show less
Decorative wedding sign that reads, "Eat, Drink, and Be Married"
Photo by Ben Rosett on Unsplash

There's nothing quite like the drama that can arise at a wedding or in the days leading up to it.

But the moment people don't necessarily think about is the moment when the audience can choose to object if they so choose, and surprisingly, some people take advantage of this opportunity. It often doesn't go well.

Keep reading...Show less
Person holding up multiple $100 U.S. dollar bills
Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

Financially speaking, most of us could benefit greatly from having extra money each month.

But where someone might assume that the extra money would just be wasted, most people would apply these funds to very practical purposes and expenditures.

Keep reading...Show less
Paper ripping in two
Kelly Sikkema/Unsplash

When love is on the rocks and there's no salvaging a relationship, it's better for a couple to call it splits.

Sometimes the reason for a breakup is obvious.

Other times, it's more complicated.

But the people involved going their separate ways is better than staying in an unhealthy relationship.

Keep reading...Show less