There are so many unknown facts to discover in life, we all will quite literally go to grave always learning. Some people make it their life's goal to soak in as much historical fact as possible and impart their wisdom to anyone and everyone. Those people become teachers most of the time. You have to be excited about facts and stories to be a history teacher. People with that much curiosity and knowledge tend to be educators or contestants on Jeopardy. Either way it's a win for us all. I love to discover new global details on the regular.
Redditor u/HuskoDoggo wanted to hear from enthusiastic educators by asking... History Professionals of Reddit. What is that one history fact that you just love sharing with people?
Once More... with feeling!
The longest piano piece of any kind is Vexations by Erik Satie.
It consists of a 180-note composition which, on the composer's orders, must be repeated 840 times so that the whole performance is 18 hours 40 minutes.
Its first reported public performance in September 1963, in the Pocket Theater, New York City, required a relay team of 10 pianists. The New York Times critic fell asleep at 4 a.m. and the audience dwindled to 6 masochists. At the conclusion, one sado-masochist shouted 'Encore!'
Meh... it'll work.
The Pentagon wasn't built that way for any defense reason -- in fact, it's not even a regular pentagon. It was designed to fit nicely into the empty field between five major roads, but then later there was some reason why they had to build it somewhere else, I think it was too close to some city or something. Anyway they'd already paid someone to design this five-sided building so they just said forget it, it's a pentagon now.
Where's the rum?
Notorious Pirate/Pirate hunter Benjamin Hornigold Once attacked a ship just to steal all of the crew member's hats. His men had gotten drunk and lost their hats during a party the night before and decided to board a ship to get replacements.
Polly was sassy!
Andrew Jackson had a pet parrot with a surprisingly large knowledge on swear words.
At Jackson's funeral the parrot had to be removed because it kept cussing during the service.
The untold stories...
I like telling people about orphan trains. During the late 19th-early 20th century, Progressive reformers loaded "orphans" onto trains, sending them to the countryside for what often amounted to indentured servitude. Also, some of the kids that were targeted were not orphans, and the Protestant reformers may have intentionally targeted the children of intact Catholic and Jewish immigrant families to make sure they were converted to the right religion. I've found that it's not a very well known part of the Progressive Era.
Are you at War?
There once existed an alleged theoretical state of war that lasted 335 years and 19 days, and was between the Dutch and an archipelago off the coast of southwest England called the Isles of Scilly.
What's more, there were no casualties (because the Dutch forgot that they were at war with the Isles).
It wasn't until a Scilly historian contacted the Dutch about the "war" in 1985, and received the information that the "war" was still technically ongoing, that a peace treaty was signed in 1986.
In Bill's words...
From the memoirs of a Bill Bellamy, a British WW2 tank troop commander:
One of our favorite pursuits was to eavesdrop on other squadron wireless nets while we were resting. This could be very exciting and, on occasion, very amusing.
One splendid moment occurred when C squadron were out on a standing patrol and Michael Payne, a young and popular troop leader, was in a hedgerow with shelling taking place to his front. Apparently the whole area was covered with cattle, who paid little attention to the lethal objects dropping around them and concentrated on the job in hand.
Suddenly over the air came the laconic voice of Mickey,
"Gunner, you see that poor cow in front which has just been wounded? Put the poor devil out of its misery will you?"
He obviously imagined he was talking on his intercom and not broadcasting to the world, because he then remained on the air with his microphone switch pressed. There was a moment of silence and then a rat-tat-tat of the Besa machine-gun. Then came Mickey's agonized cry,
"Not that one you bloody fool, the one on the left!"
We didn't let him forget that for a long time.
Despite being one of the most fearsome pirates of all time, Blackbeard never tortured or killed any of his prisoners.
Blackbeard was a genius at showmanship. He figured that it was easier and less costly to have his targets surrender instead of fighting back, so he used theatrics to make himself appear as fearsome as possible and let word-to-mouth do the rest.
Deborah Sampson. Where's her musical?
I love sharing the story of Deborah Sampson. She was effectively the American Mulan. During the Revolutionary War she masqueraded as a man to fight. While she did eventually get caught after being wounded, she managed to avoid that issue once by digging a musketball out of her thigh! She was the only woman following the war to receive a soldier's pension. Awesome.
Hippo... the rarest delicacy.
That the US was one single vote away from introducing hippos into the Everglades.
The American Hippo Bill of 1910 was made to solve both a meat shortage and the issue of an invasive species of water hyacinth. The bill went to Congress, and we were one vote short of having the North American Hippopotamus, and adding one more thing to the Everglades that wants you dead.