Personally speaking, my favorite historical figure is La Maupin. If you've never heard of her, don't be surprised. They don't exactly teach swashbuckling, lesbian, opera singing, nun-seducing revolutionaries in most schools. Things would be a whole lot more awesome if they did.
Reddit user infinite_boredom wanted to talk about what other epic and interesting moments in history didn't get covered in school... and let me say this. Books make history seem really really boring compared to what was actually going on.
We talk about wars and successions and monarchies in such a sanitized way it's almost a shame. Imagine how much fun we could all be having if we knew this stuff.
That Nazi Germany's soldiers were able to fight for so long and put up the resistance that they did because the government was providing them with and incentivizing the use of methamphetamine. Also, that Hitler had a very serious opioid addiction, which many believe to be the reason why he ultimately lost the war.
The greatest irony is that the Nazi Party, in public, actively condemned drug use. Meanwhile Hitler and much of the high command were very very high all the time.
Penises And Fleeing
Alcibiades, a statesman and student of Socrates, got really drunk and rode around Athens in his chariot knocking the penis's off the Hemes statues at all the intersections. He then had to flee the country to avoid being charged with the crime of impiety. He fled to Sparta, where he slept with the king of Sparta's wife.. necessitating further fleeing all the way to Persia.. where the Persian king kept him around as a sort of curiosity.
Throughout high school and the entirety of my history degree, not once were we told about the Night Witches. They were a squadron of Soviet female pilots that would bomb German camps in the dead of night during WW2. The fascinating thing is, they had to fly the loudest planes known to man. Basically, whilst flying solo, they would have to shut off the engine in mid air, cruise low enough to drop the bombs, climb out onto the wing to restart the engine, and get the hell outta dodge. The name Night Witches came from the sound the idle planes would make. Russian women are badass.
The Nightmare Continued
After WW2, the treatment of homosexuals in concentration camps went unacknowledged by most countries including America, and some men were even re-arrested and imprisoned based on evidence found during the Nazi years. At the end of the war, when the concentration camps were finally liberated, virtually all of the prisoners were released except those who wore the pink triangle. Many of those with a pink triangle on their pocket were put back in prison and their nightmare continued.
Too Drunk Too KillGiphy
Rasputin was literally too drunk all of the time to realize that he was, in fact, in the process of being assassinated. He survived being shot because he swayed too much so they missed anything vital and he just didn't bleed.
They tried to poison him, but because he was a raging alcoholic and most definitely took heavy drugs while leading his all female orgy rave cult, his body had built up an immunity to certain toxicities.
Rasputin was literally revered as a god-like entity because he was just so smashed all of the time that they couldn't kill him.
Ironically, he eventually was found dead face down in a creek - supposedly because he was piss drunk and stoned when he went romping through the woods after his most recent Parade and fell and drowned.
Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin, The Guy that's Hard to Kill
The General Slocum
The General Slocum disaster. It was a sidewheel ship carrying German-American families up the Hudson River for an annual church outing when it caught fire. Most people couldn't swim so the choice was either burn or drown for most. The life jackets were faulty and would make anyone wearing one sink like a rock. Mother's would throw their babies into the water with a life vest only to watch them dragged under immediately. The lifeboats were tied up tightly with wires and inaccessible. Over 1,000 people died, many of them children. Only around 300 people made it off that death trap with their lives.
It was the deadliest disaster in New York City prior to 9/11 but most people have never heard of it. I recommend the book Ship Ablaze by Edward T. O'Donnell. It had me in tears.
That infant incubators were invented in the late Victorian Era, and the guy that invented them used them (and the babies) as a side show attraction so he didn't have to charge parents for the babies care.
Basically, there was a doctor in Germany by the name of Dr. Martin A Couney, who's own daughter was born prematurely and kept alive and by keeping her in an oven. This gave him an idea, and over the years him and his associates (most notably the French obstetrician Dr. Pierre Budin) designed what would be the early versions of the infant incubators we see today. They needed babies to test them out and exhibit the new tech at the World Exposition in Berlin, but most hospitals refused to work with them, thinking it wouldn't work.
Eventually they came to the Berlin Charity Hospital, who loaned them some premature babies, thinking that they were going to die anyway. The exhibit was successful and all 6 babies that had been loaned to Couney survived. After that, Couney hired more medical staff and wet nurses (as formula wasn't a thing yet) and took the exhibit on the road to the United States and to every exhibition he could, including the Worlds Fair.
Eventually, he set up 2 more permanent locations at Coney Island, and charged admission to the public to see these very tiny babies in the new incubators. They cared for the babies for free, so admission paid for the staff and other expenses. Hospitals from all over started to send him babies, and he expanded and opened more locations in other states. His own daughter ran a location in Atlantic City. Through the late 30's and early 40's, more hospitals began to get their own incubators and over time, the side show premie baby attractions closed as the need for them decreased.
In 1907, Congress passed a law stripping American women of their citizenship if they married a non-American man. Note that men weren't stripped of their citizenship if they married non-American women.
Black Wall Street
Black Wall Street in Tulsa, OK. It was the center of black wealth and finance and was burned out by whites. I believe it was bombed as well.
It was napalm bombed over the pretense of a (false) rape allegation.
Not Fans Of Abstract Art
During the Croatian War a small regiment of soldiers was tasked with blowing up an abstract monument in Kamensko. It was once the biggest abstract sculpture in the world. It held no strategic or cultural significance, and bear in mind that there was a huge disproportion between Croatian forces and Yugoslavian National Army.
Tactically speaking, it was a waste of equipment and manpower as well as a massive risk. They just hated this monument that much.
That a book was published in 1898 about an ocean liner called the Titan that sank after striking an iceberg with almost all passengers dying due to there being a lack of lifeboats on board.
14 years later, almost the exact thing happened in real life with the Titanic.
Eerie coincidence at the least.
Andrew Jacksons Parrot
Andrew Jackson had a pet parrot whom he trained to spew obscenities.
And the parrot got kicked out of the funeral because it wouldn't stop swearing.
Columbus Was Even Worse Than You Think
Columbus was arrested for being a terrible governor.
"Following his first voyage, Columbus was appointed Viceroy and Governor of the Indies under the terms of the Capitulations of Santa Fe. In practice, this primarily entailed the administration of the colonies in the island of Hispaniola, whose capital was established in Santo Domingo. By the end of his third voyage, Columbus was physically and mentally exhausted, his body wracked by arthritis and his eyes by ophthalmia. In October 1499, he sent two ships to Spain, asking the Court of Spain to appoint a royal commissioner to help him govern.
By this time, accusations of tyranny and incompetence on the part of Columbus had also reached the Court. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand responded by removing Columbus from power and replacing him with Francisco de Bobadilla, a member of the Order of Calatrava. Bobadilla, who ruled as governor from 1500 until his death in a storm in 1502, had also been tasked by the Court with investigating the accusations of brutality made against Columbus. Arriving in Santo Domingo while Columbus was away in the explorations of his third voyage, Bobadilla was immediately met with complaints about all three Columbus brothers: Christopher, Bartolomeo, and Diego. Bobadilla reported to Spain that Columbus regularly used torture and mutilation to govern Hispaniola. The 48-page report, found in 2006 in the national archive in the Spanish city of Simancas, contains testimonies from 23 people, including both enemies and supporters of Columbus, about the treatment of colonial subjects by Columbus and his brothers during his seven-year rule.
According to the report, Columbus once punished a man found guilty of stealing corn by having his ears and nose cut off and then selling him into slavery. Testimony recorded in the report stated that Columbus congratulated his brother Bartolomeo on "defending the family" when the latter ordered a woman paraded naked through the streets and then had her tongue cut out for suggesting that Columbus was of lowly birth. The document also describes how Columbus put down native unrest and revolt; he first ordered a brutal crackdown in which many natives were killed and then paraded their dismembered bodies through the streets in an attempt to discourage further rebellion."Columbus's government was characterised by a form of tyranny," Consuelo Varela, a Spanish historian who has seen the document, told journalists. "Even those who loved him had to admit the atrocities that had taken place."
Because of their gross misgovernance, Columbus and his brothers were arrested and imprisoned upon their return to Spain from the third voyage. They lingered in jail for six weeks before King Ferdinand ordered their release. Not long after, the king and queen summoned the Columbus brothers to the Alhambra palace in Granada. There, the royal couple heard the brothers' pleas; restored their freedom and wealth; and, after much persuasion, agreed to fund Columbus's fourth voyage. But the door was firmly shut on Columbus's role as governor. Henceforth Nicolás de Ovando y Cáceres was to be the new governor of the West Indies."
Australians fought a war against emus and lost, and I think that's goddamn beautiful.