History Buffs Break Down Little-Known Historical Events That Actually Shaped The World

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 ThronesGiphy

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 FriendsGiphy

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 WarsGiphy

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-DooGiphy

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 KIDSGiphy

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.


People Divulge Their Favorite 'Rich Person Hobbies'

We've all played the "What I would do if I was rich" game.

Admit it.

You've imagined a trillion scenarios for what you would do (after you paid off your debt, of course) with wads of cash. In your imagination, you've given money to friends, started charities or businesses, and probably bought your fair share of imaginary real estate.

And that's all just the basics. We haven't even gotten into all the rich-people hobbies you could take up like SCUBA golfing, sailboat customization, or learning how to melt down antique jewelry to make gem-encrusted bongs for yoga Wednesdays at the gym-slash-coffeehaus.

Keep reading...Show less
People Share The Best Ways To Say 'I Love You' Without Actually Saying It

When it comes to expressing love, there is a multitude of ways to go about it. Most people stick to the classic: using the words "I love you."

But that's not the only way.

Using thoughtful gestures, love languages, special messages, or even just remembering little details about another person are all great ways to express love.

Keep reading...Show less

Humans, we fall in and out of grace with one another constantly.

But there are reasons.

People change one another's mind through behavior.

At first you can really like someone.

Enjoy their company.

Spend tons of quality time with them.

Then one day, they drop the facade of their character and show you some true colrs.

And those colors can be stomach turning.

Then respect goes out the window.

And all you can say is...

"I can't even look at you anymore."

Keep reading...Show less
People Explain Which Animals Get An Undeserving Amount Of Hatred

So many animals are only dangerous because of their need for survival or hunger.

Humans make the relationship with the animal kingdom worse.

Is there no way to co-exist?

Keep reading...Show less