We must learn and appreciate the history that has come before us; or else we are doomed to repeat it. Truth in knowledge. That reason alone makes historical knowledge imperative. It is fascinating to know the drama of life. There are so many turning points that crafted the way we live, it's criminal not to be aware.

Redditor u/Kalehfornyuh wanted to hear from all us history geeks. Let's teach people some lessons. it was asked..... History buffs of Reddit: what historical events dramatically shaped world history but for some reason are nearly forgotten about?

In Threes

Come At Me Bring It GIF by Game of Thrones Giphy

The 3rd Battle of Panipat.

Completely winded the Afghans, turned the Mughals into puppets and weakened the Marathas greatly.

This turmoil was astonishingly good fortune to the lucky British who were then able to scrap their way to the top of India.

Once the British had India, the history of Europe, Asia, Oceania and Africa was set.


The "Dark Era"

Clouded in darkness for 18 months:

The "dark era" of 536 AD which was also one of the worst years to be alive. A mysterious dust cloud had engulfed Europe, the Middle East and parts of Asia into darkness for 18 months!

Temperatures during summers dropped to as low as 1.5° C and it is the coldest decade in the past 2300 years. The "dark" era witnessed snow falling in China, people starving, famine and failure of crops.

The culprit of this phenomenon is a cataclysmic volcanic eruption in Iceland which expelled ash around the Northern Hemisphere. This was followed by two more volcanic eruptions.

The historical event was especially deadly for Europe as it wiped out nearly a third of its population!


Oh Fritz....

Frtiz Haber, in 1910, invented the Haber-Bosch process, which allowed for the production of ammonia from nitrogen gas. This ammonia would end up allowing for increased fertilizer production, allowing millions more people to be fed and clothed by agricultural processes. However, nitrogen compounds are also used heavily in explosive compounds such as artillery shells and smokeless powder. Basically, Haber provided the means for the world powers of the day (And especially Germany) to cheaply produce all the armaments that would be used in WWI and beyond.


the cool

Cool Down Season 2 GIF by Friends Giphy

The invention of air conditioning.


Fun fact is that it was invented for its dehumidifying ability; cold was just a side effect.


False Alarm

Stanislav Petrov was the Soviet duty officer in charge of an early-warning system on September 26, 1983. The system detected a missile launch from the United States. Then another... and another (up to 6 total). He decided that the reports were false alarms (spoiler... they were), and probably saved humanity from a nuclear holocaust. In an investigation later conducted by the Soviet military it was discovered that the sun's reflection was creating false positives on the warning system.


Being Blunted

Might be too recent to qualify, but James Blunt (the singer) prevented World War Three.

He was the captain in command on the ground leading NATO forces into Kosovo.

They got to an airfield that had been occupied by 200 Russian soldiers, and General Wesley Clark (US) ordered Blunt to attack and take the airfield by force.

Blunt refused. Questioned his orders up two different chains of command until a British general (Mike Jackson) intervened, declaring he would not have his men starting World War Three.

They later agreed to share the airfield with the Russians.


Jonas Salk

That one time when humanity was worth more than money.

Before there was a cure, polio would paralyze as many as 20,000 kids a year. In the US, everyone had at least one relative stricken with it: it was deadly in up to 5% of children and 30% of adults. Enter Jonas Salk who in the early 1950's invented a cure for this scourge. While within his right to take out a patent and charge royalties for it, he passed on the prospect and gave the cure away.

Let me say that again: he didn't lose the window of opportunity to patent, he didn't not know what a patent was or face any form bureaucratic, institutional or political resistance: he knowingly and willingly donated his cure to the world without expecting anything back. By doing so, he lowered the cost of his treatment by as much as 25% and cut the red tape required to manufacture the medicine worldwide. Forbes estimates that Salk could have made as much as 6 billion dollars off his patent: if he had wanted to, he could have easily built and lived in an average 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1600 square ft suburban home... but made of gold.

Because of his outstanding act of kindness and all the suffering he ended, Salk was known nationwide and barbers, shoe shiners, tailors and diner owners would frequently refuse to charge him for their services as an act of gratitude. As of 2018, there have been less than 40 reported cases worldwide, and polio is on track to be eradicated by the end of the decade.


The Fire

revenge of the sith power GIF by Star Wars Giphy

The Reichstag fire in Berlin in 1933. It was basically the catalyst that enabled Hitler to attain unlimited power.


Papal Ways

Battle of Tours. If Charles Martel lost, Christendom would have been destroyed by the Umayyad Caliphate. There would be no Papal States, no Charlemagne, no Holy Roman Empire, No Germany, no third reich. Quite frankly history as we know it would turn out quite different.


The Big C


The donation of Constantine, it was a forged document discovered by the midici that gave early Catholics land and power , no one really knows who wrote it, but because of it the Catholics got as powerful as they did.


Mixed Routes

The 1453 Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire (now Istanbul, Turkey). Due to the collapse of the Byzantine Empire by the Ottomans, many Greek scholars fled to Italy and started what is now known as the Renaissance.

Perhaps more importantly, due to the closure of many trade routes to Asia, European powers had to find new ways to trade with India and China.

Enter Christopher Columbus; who's original aim was to do exactly that for the Spanish crown and instead encountered the Americas along the way. The rest, as they say, is history.

Also the 1870 Franco-Prussian War. Which led to the formation of the German Empire (thereby upsetting the balance of power in Europe) and the French vowing revenge on the Germans, which had an impact on the First World War.


The Fog

Cartoon Knife GIF by Scooby-Doo Giphy

The Great Smog of London in the 1950's. Killed up to 12,000 and injured thousands more.

A mysterious pea soup fog mixed with coal smog that covered the city for days. In the fog there was a crime wave where criminals were hidden by the fog and police couldn't operate, and there was even one famous serial killer who killed in the fog. John Reginald Christie. A book about it called Death in The Air is very interesting and worth a read.


Hail Mary

Mary Louvestre. She completely helped change the course of the civil war, and yet not many people know about her.

She was a newly-freed slave and worked as a housekeeper for a Confederate engineer who was a part of the group of people building the new confederate ship/vessel.

She intercepted a letter (blueprints) sent to the engineer regarding the secret plans for the confederacy's newest navy vessel, which would be the first ship of its kind. She hurriedly sketched/copied the plans onto another piece of paper and hid it on her before returning the letter back to its previous spot.

Mary Louvestre then managed to get ahold of the Secretary of the Union Navy and showed him the blueprints that she had copied. This was a turning point because this new vessel would be an element or surprise in the war and would've changed the tides had Mary not found out about it.

Mary's bravery led to the Union having the upper hand and the capability to overcome the confederacy's new vessel.

She literally risked her life and, in the end, made a drastic difference in the war. She deserves way more attention and acknowledgement. <333



German Revolution (November 1918)

The Russian Revolution was the beginning of the end of WW1. The German Revolution was the actual end. The armistice happened because the German Navy had mutinied and the mutiny was spreading among soldiers. Strikes were widespread.

The fiercest opponents of this revolution were the German officer class. Many of them would join the Freikorps to fight against the revolution. One of them, an officer named Adolf Hitler, would later seek to recruit many of these Freikorps veterans, first in an armed uprising against the post-revolution state, then later into a new type of political party, one that maintained both a 'legitimate' wing (the NSDAP) and a street fighting wing (the SS).


Go Fish

Big Fish GIF by PBS KIDS Giphy

The battle of Fishguard - the last time there was a foreign invasion in the Uk was the french invading Wales in 1797. The french came inland and some fighting was done (33 killed I think) but due to lack of discipline (and boozing) the french were taken aback.

The British then told the french they had until a certain time the next morning to surrender. The next morning the British lined the beach of Fishguard and a women named Jemima Nichols organized the welsh women to dress in the traditional welsh costume, which at the time looked (from afar) like a soldiers uniform. The french thought there were far more soldiers than there actually was and surrendered.



Pham Ngoc Thao was a high ranking commander in the South Vietnamese Army (ARVN) during the Vietnam War. In actuality he was a sleeper agent working for the North Vietnamese. Thao sabotaged the Strategic Hamlet Initiative by having ARVN/US forcibly relocate rural people from their villages causing resentment of the Diem regime in rural areas along the North/South border. Thao also acted as a key player in the coup against Diem.

He was a key player in keeping the junta divided and would be a key player in several more coups. After a failed coup attempt, Thao's rivals in the South found out about his true loyalty and had him killed. However the division he caused in South Vietnam took its toll and was one of the factors that led to the North's successful takeover of the South.


The Occupied

Almost any decision prior to Kursk in Operation Barbarossa; Stalin moving factories north and away from the front lines, German Army treatment of Soviet civilians, Hitler's decision to not go after Moscow, Hitler not stopping Barbarossa after a certain point and negotiating surrender terms when he had enormous chunks of Europe and Asia, the Lend-Lease Program's effects on it all...

And on the other side, the entire Chinese occupation by Japan. China lost a lot of people keeping the largest chunk of skilled, veteran Japanese soldiers in China for years, sapping Japan's strength from the Pacific war with the US, and that sacrifice isn't even mentioned in US history books.


Wash your hands....

Ignaz Semmelweis. Pioneered sterilization procedures after discovering that washing your hands between dissecting cadavers and delivering babies would keep women from dying from infection after childbirth.

It's actually a pretty sad story, and I don't feel like typing it out, so here.



The Elixir

The invention of black powder! And the Mongolians introducing it to the Europeans through war.

It was created trying to make an "Elixir of Life." It is a mixture of charcoal (used for filtering water, soap, and other types of cleaning and filtering). Potassium Nitrate salt basically (was used for killing bacteria and healing infections) And sulfur that well can't remember why they added it but it was used for something.

But they mixed them together and added heat that made it explode.

If that didn't happen then we wouldn't have gotten out of the medieval period and wouldn't have started the industrial revolution.

Think about it, without black powder we would still be using swords, armor, horses, and castles. Still be dying of broken legs, a small cut, or unclean water.

In trying to make immortality and something peaceful they made the most deadly weapon in history.



There was a pharmacist who saved a boy from drowning. The boys name was Adolf Hitler.


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


Image by tookapic from Pixabay

Can you see Harry Potter at a football game in the Midwest? Chowing on a corn dog, throwing back some good ole Pepsi-Cola? Or can you picture the Harry universe living and loving in the great U. S of A? What would casting look like against the backdrop of the great harvest plains? I have so many thoughts and ideas. The first thought, the change would never work. Keep the story alive on British soil.

But, for fun, let's chat about the idea.

Redditor u/Cuish wanted all the Potter heads out there to share what American tweeks would occur in the Potterverse within America, by asking:

If Harry Potter was set in the United States, how would the story change?
Keep reading... Show less
Luke van Zyl/Unsplash

Life isn't as simple as one may think. It's not always easy to take a step back and look at the big picture, but when there's over seven billion people on the planet, there's no way things are as cut and dry as they seem.

Everyone's experiences are different going through life. We may not be able to see the complexities it if we haven't lived it ourselves.

So we went to Reddit because we wanted to see what's not as simple as people think it is.

Keep reading... Show less

Double standards are something we all live with and, quite likely, find extremely annoying. Things like men being expected to hide their emotions—or not have them at all—or women being expected to stay home and support a couple's children, everyone is generally harmed by double standards.

This is especially true when the double standard isn't clear until someone violates it and then has to deal with anger, ridicule, or sometimes even violence as a result.

Content Note: this article mentions suicide and sexual assault, reader discretion advised.

Keep reading... Show less
Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay

They say one man's trash is another man's treasure - and sometimes that saying is pretty literal.

Lots of people build entire businesses picking up cool stuff on bulk-pickup trash day, and upcycling it into something even better that people are willing to pay for.

Sometimes, you might even end up with something pristine and usable right away.

Reddit user JampackedAlborn1976 asked:

What is the most valuable item that you have seen somebody throw away or have found in the garbage?

And for real ... some of these people scored BIG TIME. Like big time. Like really big.

Like Refrigerator Big

just ask leslie jones GIF by Saturday Night Live Giphy

"Our current refrigerator is a double-door one with exterior ice and water dispensers. We got it for free, with absolutely no problems whatsoever. It's just a few years old."

"How we got it? My dad (civil engineer) was doing some work on someone's apartment when they said they had bought a new modern French door refrigerator and that they were just going to discard their current refrigerator."

"My dad simply asked if he could have it.. and they said yes." - SauloJr

Immigrants In Action

Dog Brazil GIF Giphy

"I immigrated to the US from Brazil when I was 12. And every Saturday, my mom, stepdad, sister and I would go out at night to upper middle class neighborhoods the day before trash pickup to rummage through the garbage they were putting out."

"We found perfectly good TVs, VCRs, microwaves, couches, lazy boys, tables, books and comics, etc."

"I couldn't believe these Americans were throwing out like that. We furnished our entire house with that stuff. The entire Brazilian immigrant community in my town did it. We were flabbergasted." - PhillipLlerenas

With A Note

Television Bunny GIF Giphy

"My wife yelled at me that someone put a big TV outside with a note on it. Walked across the street and it was a brand new Samsung 37 inch HDTV."

"They were actually renovating the apartment building and got an upgraded TV. Even had the remote taped to it with batteries, I guess I have really nice neighbors here in NYC." - MadLintElf

Life Hack!

studying busy philipps GIF by Drunk History Giphy

"If you want high end stuff out of the garbage for free, follow these steps:"

"Pick a city with a large university in it. If it's a school well known for its law programs, or medical, or engineering, all the better."

"Search for luxury apartment complexes that market themselves towards students. Look for things like included shuttle service, pools, fitness centers, etc. The more expensive and swanky the better."

"Figure out when finals week is at the end of Spring semester."

"Dumpster dive at those luxury apartment complexes during that week and the following weekend."

"Very wealthy international students will arrive in the US, fully outfit an apartment with nice furniture, big TVs, audio systems, gaming consoles, you name it, and when the semester ends they just junk it all because they aren't going to fly it back to wherever, and it's too much effort to spend the time selling when they do not care about the money."

"It's a smaller scale phenomenon a little like all the luxury cars abandoned at the airport in Dubai." - whattothewhonow

Literal Gold Treasure

valley of the boom david kim stanley GIF by National Geographic Channel Giphy

"I found a gold coin at goodwill for 5 bucks. It was in a case with someone's name and company name."

"It was their gift from the company for retiring. I assume the family threw it out when he died not knowing it was solid gold. It was in a in a thick solid plastic case that had to be cracked opened."

"It literally said 1 oz fine gold on it. I figured 5 bucks was worth the risk it not being real."

"It was a South African KRUGERRAND 1 oz coin. Everyone was just too busy to read it lol."

"Bought it and took it too a pawn shop and sold it for a couple grand." - streetmitch

The Best Day Of My Life

Will Smith Wow GIF by 1LIVE Giphy

"When I was a kid, I grew up right outside the Los Angeles area in the suburbs. My stepdad was a garbage truck driver for the city of Beverly Hills."

"I swear in the late 80s and early 90s we'd have so much basically brand new stuff (still in boxes) brought home on a regular basis."

"I'll never forget one day in particular. My stepdad came home and was like 'get ready, come to the car, I'll need your help.' So I go down there and in back seat of his car he had a few large black garbage bags."

"We haul them up to our apartment and he's like 'go ahead, open them.' Inside was what I could only describe as an 80s kids trove of treasures."

"One bag contained just about every Ghostbusters and GI joe toy you can imagine, they were played with but had every little accessory, there was a bunch the playsets and everything."

"In the other bag was pretty much every LEGO of the early 80s sets, still in their original boxes. I was a big LEGO nerd but was totally thrown off by the old school space ones because they looked nothing like the 90s space sets. I think they even said "NASA" the minifig's chests."

"That was like a random day in July, it felt like Christmas. I was 9 years old and it was basically like the best day of my life up to that point." - Zombgief

Who Throws Away Money?

spongebob squarepants money GIF Giphy

"A jar full of quarters."

"Annual spring cleaning projects happen in a lot of towns where anyone can put almost anything on the curb and it's taken away for free. It's to stop open dumping or stuff being dumped in ditches."

"Sometimes people deal with estates from winter by just dumping all their grandfather's stuff on the curb for the cleanup to get the house empty immediately. Most often they don't even bother to look at what they are throwing away."

"In 2012 on north road in Akwesasne I found an estate pile that I shuttled back and forth with my bike trailer getting lots of older tools like a scythe, hammers, saws, screwdrivers and wrenches, a 22 rifle with 100 round of ammo, a bunch of ar15 magazines, cast iron cookware, oil lamps, a hand crank food mill with all kinds of accessories, a black raven axe head (worth $100 easily since they are a collectable), and a quart size mason jar full of change mostly quarters."

"That was spring and the sheriffs office did a gun buyback in the fall where I took the mags and got $20 each for them (30 round mags suddenly illegal under the safe act of fall 2012. The buyback was a local political move). I still got the 22 and picked off a lot of woodchuck with it in my gardens." - Bogtrotterso1980

Filing Fever

Files Workload GIF Giphy

"I own a small company which is located directly in front of a state funded program facility. The state decided to have this office shred all of their files as they were going to switch to electronic data (exclusively)."

"We found two of these old rotary filing cabinets outside of their office. They're worth almost $3k each!"

"They just placed them there and we saw them and asked what they planned on doing with them. They said, 'Hmmm.....either donate them or trash them.' The state told them simply to get rid of them."

"We jumped at this and took the two into our already tiny office because there was no way in hell that we were going to let these gems go. (We do use paper files, unfortunately)."

"They wanted to give us two smaller ones but seriously, our office is very small. I made some phone calls and they were picked up immediately by other office workers/friends." - GlitzBlitz

This Sucks - In A Good Way!

mrs doubtfire vacuum GIF Giphy

"In the 1990s my moms work had a really nice high end Hoover that stopped working. They threw it out."

"My mom took it home because my dad tinkers and repairs things easily. Turns out since it was a bagged vacuum all the dummies had to do is REPLACE THE BAG."

"Like it never occurred to them to do the most easy and basic step. My parents were excited to have a really upgraded vacuum. Maybe like $500ish." - schweddyboobs

Tiffany's Trash

Audrey Hepburn Movie GIF by The Good Films Giphy

"My dad found an old stained glass window laying out by someone's trash. He thought it would look cool hanging in our cabin, so he stopped and grabbed it."

"It sat in our garage for a few years before he looked at it more closely and found "Tiffany and Co." branding on it. He got in touch with some stained glass window dude who figured it was worth about $40k fully restored, so my dad sold it to him for somewhere around $30k." - throwaway_stopdrink

Have you had any awesomely trashtastic treasures? Let us know!