Napoleon attacked by rabbits? An underground nuclear powered ice city? A man surviving two nuclear blasts? History is treasure trove of interesting facts. We share 101 most mind blowing history facts we have come across.
1-5 Facts – Ancient Egypt
1. Despite ruling Egypt for hundreds of years, Cleopatra was the first in her family to learn Egyptian.
2. Cleopatra lived closer to the invention of the iPhone than she did to the building of the Great Pyramid.
3. Wooly mammoths still existed 1000 years after the great pyramids had been built.
4. The great pyramids are so old even the famous King Tut would have referred to them as ancient.
5. The Great pyramids were originally clad in white marble with a pure gold cap on top. Imagine seeing them shining in the desert sun under a sky that has yet been polluted.
6-12 Facts – Rome and Contemporaries
6. In ancient Persia, drunken debates were an important aspect of any important decision-making process.
7. Alexander the Great had heterochromia iridium – his eyes had different coloration.
8. Ancient Greece was actually made up of 1500 different states – each with its laws and regulations.
9. The Romans used human urine as mouthwash. Yuck!
10. Ancient Romans celebrated a day called “Saturnalia” in which slaves and their masters would switch roles.
11. Nero, the Roman Emperor, married a man, one of his freedmen, taking the role of the bride.
12. Most Romans avoided being cruel to slaves. They used bonuses and branding to improve productivity, just like modern employers do today!
13-15 Facts – Mongols
13. As a result of the Mongol invasion, the total population of Persia dropped to 10% of the pre-war population due to the accompanying mass extermination and famine.
14. The wholesale distribution caused by the Mongols under Genghis Khan was significant enough to cool the planet; nearly 700 million tons of carbon from the atmosphere was removed because of forests regrowing in previously populated and cultivated areas.
15. Genghis Khan killed 40 million people across Asia and Europe – 10% of the world population at that time.
16-18 Facts – China and Japan
16. Of the ten deadliest man-made disasters, four occurred entirely in China.
17. In 755 A.D. the An Lushan rebellion against the Chinese Tang Dynasty resulted in 36 million deaths – one-sixth of the entire world population at that time.
18. The Japanese monarchy is the oldest continuous hereditary monarchy in the world, predating even Imperial China.
19-31 Facts – Middle ages
19. In medieval Baghdad, if you translated a book into Arabic, you would be given the book’s weight in gold.
20. In the original version of the German folk story – the little red riding hood – the girl and the wolf both eat grandma together.
21. As many as 600,000 ‘witches’ were killed in the medieval ages.
22. After Pope Gregory IX associated cats with devil worship, cats throughout Europe were exterminated in droves. This led to the spread of disease as infected rats ran free. The most devastating of these diseases, the Bubonic Plague, killed nearly 100 million people.
23. In the 13th century, around 30,000 children went on what is known as the Children’s Crusade, convinced that God would allow them to take back the Holy Land without incident. Most died on the journey or were sold into slavery.
24. Medieval England was multilingual, with French, Latin and Hebrew widely spoken alongside English.
25. The Great Fire of London only killed 8 people.
26. Contrary to popular myths, most people in medieval times understood that the world was round.
27. There are many depictions of knights fighting snails in medieval manuscripts and nobody knows why.
28. Queen Elizabeth I never married nor had any children. Since there was no heir to the throne in her family line (the Tudors), the title passed on to the King of Scotland, James VI, who had some family link to Elizabeth somehow.
29. In 1518, hundreds of people took to the streets of France and danced for days at a time, many until their death.
30. Stairwells in medieval castles were narrow and curved clockwise. This made it difficult for attackers to swing their sword hands (right hand) while defenders had more room to swing.
31. Leif Erikson was the first European to land in America, nearly 500 years before Columbus.
32-38 Facts – Colonial Age
32. There are no less than two instances in history where an Austrian army opened fire on itself and lost the battle before it even started.
33. In 1788, the Austrian army attacked itself and lost 10,000 men.
34. The Dutch East India Company was the most valuable company in history. Worth 74 million Dutch guilders, adjusted by inflation, its total valuation would be $7.4 trillion in today’s dollars.
35. Napoleon was once attacked by bunnies. Napoleon lost.
36. From 1814 to 1830, the flag of France was plain white. No figure.
37. As a direct result of bad colonial policies implemented in the British Empire, more than 42 million people perished in a short span of 36 years. Much more than in Genghis khan’s conquests.
38. Following the partition of India and Pakistan, an estimated 2 million people died in the resulting violence and chaos.
39. There are only 22 countries in the world that were never invaded by Britain.
4o-50 Facts – America
40. George Washington started school aged six but left at 15 because his mother couldn’t manage his education expenses. He wanted to become a surveyor.
41. The Constitution of the Confederate States of America banned the slave trade.
42. When the American Civil War started, Confederate general Robert E. Lee owned no slaves while Union general U.S. Grant did.
43. One in four “cowboys” was actually black.
44. In 1918, a black man named Laurence C Jones survived a lynching attempt from a white mob after convincing them of his passion to educate black kids. The mob ended up collecting money for his cause.
45. Contrary to the popular image of the 60s in US, only 4% of Americans had actually tried marijuana and 34% didn’t even know what effects it had.
46. The last American civil war veteran lived until 1956.
48. U.S. Army special forces first entered Afghanistan on horseback.
49. In 2005, the then U.S President George W. Bush was nearly killed when a man threw a grenade at him. It did not explode.
50. The afghan war was the longest war in US history.