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When we think about learning history, our first thought is usually sitting in our high school history class (or AP World History class if you're a nerd like me) being bored out of our minds. Unless again, you're a huge freaking nerd like me. But I think we all have the memory of the moment where we realized learning about history was kinda cool. And they usually start from one weird fact.

Here are a few examples of turning points in learning about history, straight from the keyboards of the people at AskReddit.

U/Tynoa2 asked: What's your favourite historical fact?



​Let’s start off with some super weird facts that you probably never even considered. These are the best.

Trees are honestly really effing cool.

For 60 million years trees didn't decay.

When they died the just fell over and laid there.

For 60 million years trees existed before the enzyme that broke them down when they died.

So tons of massive trees in the oxygen rich environment just laid on the ground. Until they burned. That's how we have coal.

Tkieron

Did they believe her though?

disney bambi GIF Giphy

In 1726 there was a woman called Mary Toft who tricked doctors into believing that she gave birth to rabbits.

Solarflannels

There was another woman who would take the eggs from her chicken, etch "jesus has come" into them and shove them back into the chicken who would then lay it again and people actually thought the chicken was a prophet.

Stitchmidda2

A whole river.

Some time in around the beginning of the 1500's Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolo Machiavelli conspired to try to steal the Arno river.

They both lived in the city of Florence and at the time there was hostilities with the city of Pisa which was nearer to the mouth of the Arno river and controlled trade on it. Da Vinci came up with the plan to create a canal to divert the river so it no longer flowed to Pisa which would allow Florence to dominate the whole region. Da Vinci drew up the plans and Machiavelli put them into action. However Da Vinci didn't oversee the project and instead the engineer who did decided to do it his own way which would take longer and need more people. In the middle of the project war broke out and the project had to be scrapped due to attacks from Pisa so it never came to be. Still a great historical footnote though.

Dakens2021

​Some of the most stunning facts come from assassinations for some reason. Especially the ones that survive.

Beast mode.

Roosevelt was shot in the chest during a speech and just continued on like nothing happened.

Alpaca1yps

He was shot just before his speech and he knew it hadn't pierced his lung since he wasn't coughing up blood, so he bandaged it and went to give his speech.

Bob-Chaos

In another timeline, things might have been different.

John F Kennedy Democrat GIF Giphy

It is very possible - and some consider likely - that JFK could've survived the assassination had he not been wearing a thick, girdle-like back brace that kept him stiffly upright when in public.

Kennedy had terrible back problems since serving in WWII that were continually worsening. The back brace began as early as JFK met Stalin for the first time and wanted to appear tall and strong since it was at the height of the Cold War, however his pain was so bad he often walked around the WH hunched over and looked decrepit.

JFK continued to wear the brace to keep himself upright and portray the strong youthful image he crafted. When the first shot was fired, the brace made it nearly impossible to move, much less crouch down in the back seat to get out of the line of fire.

He was then struck with the infamous shot to the back/throat which rendered him more immobile and finally the headshot that killed him. Parkland doctors testified to the Warren Commission how surprised they were at the size and tightness of the brace and how long it took to get off. One remarked it likely made him a "sitting duck" because of how immobile it would've rendered him.

StaySafePovertyGhost

Good to know before she was beheaded.

When King Henry VIII was still married to Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard(his future fifth wife) was one of Cleves' ladies in waiting. They were close, even after Cleves' divorce. With all the tragedy and abuse from the men in her life, I'm just glad that she at least had one friend to trust.

SoapySapling

​Here’s the part you’ve all been waiting for- the facts about famous animals. You’re welcome.

The student teaches the teacher.

Benjamin Franklin had a pet squirrel. As a little girl, I dressed as him, with a squirrel beanie-baby on my shoulder. My teacher had to look it up on the internet to check if I was right. She was amused.

MasterAqua2

Sounds on-brand for Jackson.

happy dr pol GIF by Nat Geo Wild Giphy

When Andrew Jackson died they had to remove his pet parrot from the funeral because it couldn't stop swearing.

Belligerentbanana69

He also had a comically large cheese wheel.

Klaudiapotter

​Lastly, we gotta shout out the presidents. Sometimes they actually did weird sh*t.

I guess we’ll never know.

Abraham Lincoln once gave a speech which was so good that all of reporters forgot to take notes, still to this day we don't know what exactly he said.

SmilE_HACK

Well-portrayed in the Hamilton musical.

That George Washington was known as this Really Talented Dancer, and was very in tune with the dances at the time of his being... Idk why I just never woulda thought this at all but it's dope to hear that dancing/socializing was always a thing!

Like from the passage I read it seemed like Whenever George was in attendance at the function, everyone knew he was gonna cut a rug and tear the house down.. and the ladies considered themselves lucky to be his dance partner.

BobbyCodone303

As for me, my favorite weird historical fact is that Anne Boleyn had an extra finger. That fact is frequently overlooked in favor of her identity as Henry VIII sixth wife. I could go into that, but they already made a whole musical about it.

Anyway, I hope this made history a little more fun for you. It's not all memorizing dates- sometimes you never know what you'll find in a history book

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