If history class were taught properly, it would be the most interesting class in school. Think of all the amazing, weird, juicy stuff we humans got up to since the dawn of recorded history.
Yet, it just so happens that history is usually taught in such a dry and narrow manner, you may as well be watching rocks grow.
Though I can't go back and redeem all those boring hours of history class for you, hopefully this article will add a little bit of magic back into the history of humanity.
1. In the Battle of Pelusium (525 BC) Persian soldiers used cats as shields as Egyptian religion forbade harm towards cats.
2. Before alarm clocks were invented, people were hired to shoot peas at workers' windows to wake them up for their shifts.
3. So by now you may be under the impression that slavery in the US is considered illegal and unconstitutional, right? Ha! The 13th amendment to the US constitution abolished slavery EXCEPT as a form of punishment for crimes. That's why you've got felons making that shirt you just bought.
4. In Ancient Rome, it was the job of one of the slaves to stand behind victorious generals as they were paraded through the streets after coming home, triumphant, from battle and lean over every so often to whisper into the general's ear, "Remember, you are mortal."
5. In Detroit in the 1930s, a baby fell from a high window and landed on a man on the street below. Thankfully, both survived the incident. A year later, the SAME baby fell from the SAME window and landed on the SAME man, and they both survived. Moral of this story: get some better window locks
6. Obviously the best part about history class was WWII. But did they ever tell you this little tidbit about Hitler? Hitler had a Jewish family doctor that didn't charge Hitler's family while he was growing up, due to economic hardship. Later, Hitler actually labelled him as a "noble Jew" and ensured that he (Continued)
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wasn't targeted during the Holocaust.
7. Contrary to popular belief, the word 'idiot' actually came from Ancient Athens, and originally meant people who didn't care about or participate in public affairs or politics.
8. 400 million years ago there were 22 hours in a day and more than 400 days in a year.
9. During WWII in Australia, there was a dog whose hearing was so acute that it could warn airforce personnel of incoming Japanese planes 20 minutes before they arrived way before they even showed up on the radar. "Gunner", the dog, could also
differentiate the sounds of allied and enemy aircrafts. What a good boy.
10. You're probably well aware of the delicious Hershey chocolates that your Grandma keeps in her pockets by the fistful. Well, the founder of Hershey's chocolate, Milton Hershey, launched a 'Great Building Campaign' during the Great Depression, with the aim of giving more people jobs. When he was told that the steam shovel being used on the project did the work of 40 men, he instructed the foreman: "Take them off. Hire 40 men.
11. Winston Churchill famously stated that he limited himself to 15 cigars per day. That's a very generous limit, even for the British Bulldog himself.
12. The act of "giving the key to the city" isn't just an arbitrary ritual. It's the continuation of a medieval practice where cities would be locked at night but anyone given the key could come and go as they please as an honor for something great done for the city.
13. Sometimes you probably find yourself thinking, "Ahh, if only we went back to horse and buggy. Life would be so much simpler." You DO think that, right? RIGHT?! Anyway, your simple-life ideals might not be worth keeping. In 1894, London and New York were "drowning" in horse poop. It was estimated that (Continued)
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within 50 years, London streets would be buried in 9 feet of poop and horse carcasses. What solved the problem? The invention of the automobile.
14. The words for the Algerian National Anthem were originally written on a prison wall in blood. What a cute little origin story!
15. The Romans substituted criminals into plays for punishment. If a character died in the play's story, a real criminal would die on stage. Talk about realistic!
16. In Monza, Italy, King Umberto I, went to a small restaurant for dinner, accompanied by his aide-de-camp, General Emilio Ponzia-Vaglia. When the owner took King Umberto's order, the King noticed that he and the restaurant owner were virtual doubles, in face and in build. Both men began discussing the striking resemblances between each other and found many more similarities.
Both men were born on the same day, of the same year, (March 14th, 1844).
Both men had been born in the same town.
Both men married a woman with same name, Margherita.
The restauranteur opened his restaurant on the same day that King Umberto was crowned King of Italy.
On the 29th July 1900, King Umberto was informed that the restauranteur had died that day in a mysterious shooting accident, and as he expressed his regret, he was then assassinated by an anarchist in the crowd.
17. Guessing game! Guess how much larger the population of London, England has grown from 1939 to 2015?
The population in 2015 is a whopping 1 person higher than it was in 1939.
18. Pineapples used to be valued to $5000, rarely eaten and used as a status symbol at parties. Remember that, next time you order Hawaiian pizza.
19. The loveseat was not invented so two lovers could snuggle up together on cold Winter nights. Originally, they were just oversized chairs designed to allow more space for the excessively wide women's dresses of the 17th and 18th centuries.
20. Tug of war was once an Olympic sport.
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21. Move over Americans! One of the thirteen articles in the 1781 US Articles of Confederation states that if Canada decides they want to become part of America, it will be automatically accepted. By the way things are looking, I don't see that happening any time soon.
22. Nowadays it's hard to get kids to read. But in the 1700s, they had the opposite problem! As novels became popular, society and the media grew increasingly concerned that young people spent too much time reading books. They even had a couple names for it: reading rage, Reading fever, reading mania, and reading lust.
23. 18th Century Prussian king Frederick William was obsessed with having soldiers over 6 feet tall. He paid families for tall children, kidnapped tall man, bred his soldiers by
pairing them with tall women, and even went so far as to stretch some of them on a rack to make them taller.
24. When a British captive officer challenged French Navy officer Surcouf with the words, "You French fight for money while we fight for honour," Surcouf replied, "Each of us fights for what he lacks the most." BURN, BABY!
25. Everyone knows England has always been a bit weird. But they took it to a whole new level when, in 18th Century England, it became cool for wealthy estate owners to hire people to... (Continued)
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dress as druids, never wash themselves, grow their hair and nails out, and rome around their gardens as "ornamental hermits."
26. 5,000 years ago, watermelons were pale green and bitter. As they were bred to become sweeter, their flesh slowly changed to red.
27. When Isaac Newton was asked why the planet's orbits are elliptical he wasn't sure, but went home to have a wee think about it. He then 'invented' differential and integral calculus to explain why. He then turned 26.
28.In the 19th Century, Americans purposely filled their parks with squirrels for entertainment purposes. They were rarely found outside the forest beforehand.
29. Damascus is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, with actual evidence of
habitation dating back at least 11,000 years.
30. Anne Frank's diary talked a lot about masturbation, but most of it was edited out.
31. Andrew Jackson, 7th U.S. President, has some really great stories. Here are two of the best:
Once Jackson received a 1,400 pound wheel of cheese for a gift. He couldn't get rid of the cheese, because, that's a lot of cheese, so he invited people into the White House to eat the cheese.Jackson was riddled with bullets from duels. Once during a meeting in the White House he removed a bullet from his arm, no anesthesia. He then gave the bullet to one of the people he had dueled and said "I believe this is yours."
32. Officially, the longest war in history was between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly, which lasted from 1651 to 1986. There were no casualties.
33. John F. Kennedy was dating Miss Denmark in the 1940's, and when they stayed at Sumter House in Charleston the FBI bugged their room because they thought she may be a Nazi spy. Turns out they didn't hear a lot of conversation, but instead they actually discovered (Continued)
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a lot of dirty-talk time and the "deeds" that accompanied it. Tapes are in the Library of Congress for those interested.
34. Recent DNA tests have confirmed that King Tut's parents were brother and sister. This could explain all those pesky illnesses and deformities.
35. This has to be the luckiest woman to ever live.
Over the course of her life, she survived the sinking of the Titanic and the Lusitania, the Hindenburg explosion, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and the terrorist attacks of September 11, at which point her apartment was destroyed by the collapse of the World Trade Center.
36. The first female Athenian doctor had to dress as a man in order to get her education and practice medicine because being a female doctor was a capital crime, but when she became the most popular doctor in town among women in her male guise, the other doctors accused her of seducing her patients.
37. In 1912, a Paris orphanage held a raffle to raise moneythe prizes were live babies.