A poor 19th century Chinese man failed the civil service exam, fell ill, reread a Christian pamphlet he had earlier ignored, & hallucinated that he was Jesus' brother. He led a cult/rebellion that conquered much of southern China, crowning himself as king. This civil war killed over 10 million. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tai…
Peter Hill was the first known African American clockmaker and the only Black clockmaker known to have worked in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He earned enough money to buy his freedom at age 27. The following year he married his wife Tina and purchased her freedom as well. kentakepage.com/peter-hil…
For nearly a century, Jimmy Red corn was used by bootleggers to make moonshine whiskey. The variety nearly went extinct in the early 2000s, but two remaining ears of corn were used to revive it. npr.org/sections/thesalt/…
Ivy league schools all had ties to the Opium trade in the late 19th century with major benefactors using their drug money to fund libraries, societies and even Princeton itself. Undergrads even began running opium dens from Boston to New York until a Harvard student OD'd in 1889. thecrimson.com/article/20…
Only two fragments of text predating Christianization in (Old High) German still survive, which refer to pagan beliefs. They are magic spells dating from the 9th century. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mer…
Leo Tolstoy, Jules Verne, and J.R.R. Tolkien all spoke Esperanto, a 'universal' language created in the late 19th century. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lis…
Scientists discovered a cypress tree in North Carolina that is at least 2,624 years old, which means the tree was alive for centuries before the advent of Christianity, the Roman Empire, and the English language. charlotteobserver.com/new…
There is a book from the 15th century found in Italy that is written in a unknown language, with drawings that show unidentified things, and that nobody has ever been able to understand it. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voy…
Iceland has a genealogy book containing details of every Icelander going back as far as the 9th century en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3…
The Black Plague solved the overpopulation problem in the 14th century. In the aftermath, there was more land available, more food for better dietary habits, more money due to an increase in wages and an increase in life expectancy. americanscientist.org/art…
The queen piece in chess used to only move one square at a time. Later on, this was changed to the movement we know today thanks to the 15th century Queen Isabella of Spain. newyorker.com/magazine/20…
The reason purple was so highly valued in the ancient world for centuries, is because the only known dye was extracted from a very rare type of sea snail. In fact, there was only one place in the world it was harvested; the Phoenician city of Tyre. history.com/news/why-is-p…
In the 17th century, a man named Lazarus Colloredo was convicted of murder. Lazuras had a parasitic conjoined twin, and successfully argued his death would kill his twin, an innocent man. He was pardoned wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazaru…
The 'Cowboy Load' - in the Wild West, it was most common for 6-shot revolvers to only be loaded with 5 rounds. A live bullet in the chamber below the hammer of a 19th century single-action revolver can be set off with a sharp knock, hence it was not desirable to carry one fully loaded en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Col…
In the US in the late 19th Century it was briefly fashionable for people to form "13 Clubs" where they would dine in groups of 13, walk under ladders, spill salt at the table, etc. to demonstrate their lack of superstition. Several future US Presidents participated. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tri…
The Arikara, not the Lakota, were the original inhabitants of what is now Mount Rushmore (The Black Hills). The Lakota (hailing from what is now Minnesota) settled the region in the 18th century, driving out the native inhabitants. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ari…
Due to its isolated location, the Icelandic language has changed very little from its original roots. Modern Icelandics can still read texts written in the 10th Century with relative ease. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice…
When buttons were invented in the 13th century, wealthy women did not dress themselves β€” their lady’s maid did. As most people are right-handed, it was easier for maids to fasten with the buttons on the left. And that's why men's and women's buttons are on opposite sides. today.com/today/amp/tdna1…
In 18th century during the Russian occupation tens of thousands of Finns were killed or sold to slavery. The total population of Finland was only 400,000 at the time. This period is known as 'The Great Hatred' (Isoviha). en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fin…
A "Baker's Dozen" is a result of a 13th century English law saying that selling a dozen units that failed to meet a certain average weight could result in a fine. Bakers got around the law by selling by the "13" instead. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doz…
The common cultivated strawberry does not occur in nature. It is a hybrid of the Virginia wild strawberry and the Chilean beach strawberry, invented in France in the 18th century. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Str…
Cavemen didn’t live in caves. But the only places where their culture survived the centuries are caves. history.howstuffworks.com…
Coffee was so important in Turkish culture that under 15th-century law, a woman had the freedom to divorce her husband if he did not provide her with enough coffee didyouknowdaily.com/story…
Today I learned of the Jumping Frenchmen of Maine, a group of 19th century lumberjacks who suffered a rare disorder. They had an exaggerated startle reflex and would immediately obey any sudden command and repeat the words. Modern studies have concluded it was a psychological condition rather than a tic. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jum…
Today I learned of the 1937 Fox vault fire, in which 40,000 films were destroyed. 75% of all 20th Century Fox films from before 1930 were lost. There are actors for whom not a single copy of a single one of their films survive. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/193…
The first recorded mention of trawling was from a petition to stop its use as a fishing method to King Edward III in the 14th century. The petitioner raised concerns about its effect on the environment. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bot…
The word Geek was originally an early 20th-century term for a carnival worker who was so unskilled that the only thing they could do at a carnival to attract a crowd was to bite off the heads of live animals such as chickens, snakes and rats and swallow them britannica.com/story/wher…
Until the mid-twentieth century, golf clubs were not numbered, but had wonderfully funny names: brassies, niblicks, baffies, mashies, jiggers, spoons, and cleeks. hickorygolfers.com/how-to…
In the 13th century, a Muslim polymath named Ibn al-Nafis discovered the circulation of blood 300 years before William Harvey ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/arti…
A cockatoo, an Australian bird, was kept by the Holy Roman Emperor in the 13th century, 4 centuries before Australia was discovered by white Europeans. pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/ar…
The earliest known vending machine was invented in 1st century Rome by Hero of Alexandria. Customers could insert a coin into his machine, and the coin's weight would depress a lever and open a valve to dispense holy water. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Her…
Presidents since 1929 have generally been wealthier than presidents of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. With the exception of Harry S. Truman, all presidents since this time have been millionaires. wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o…
The term "Chinese fire drill" actually refers to both a fire drill and a confused Chinese crew on a British ship in the 20th century. Instructions were mis-translated and chaos reigned mentalfloss.com/article/5…
The coat evolved from padding known as the doublet that protected the skin of knights from chafing by armor or chainmail. Around the 14th Century, it became fashionable for nobles to wear the doublet as an outer garment as if perhaps they had just come from the battlefield. fashion-history.lovetokno…
The historical Buddha is not known to have been obese. The "chubby Buddha" or "laughing Buddha" is a 10th-century Chinese folk hero by the name of Budai. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lis…
A woman from the turn of the 20th century would sell people the time by letting them look at her watch wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_B…
Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II had young infants raised without speaking to them in the 13th century to determine if there was a "natural" language imparted by God. His experiments proven unsuccessful because all the children raised this way died. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fre…
A toothpaste was sold in early 20th century Germany which was slightly radioactive because it contained small amounts of thorium. Its radioactivity was promoted as imparting health benefits and the product is exemplary of the radioactive quackery which thrived in those times en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rad…
The term 'Slapstick' arises from a device developed for use in a physical comedy style in 16th-century Italy. The "slap stick" consists of two thin slats of wood, which make a "slap" when striking another actor. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sla…
The term "dude" was first used in the 19th century to mock men who were overly concerned with keeping up with the latest fashion trends mentalfloss.com/article/5…
Cincinnati Built a Subway System a Century Ago but It Wasn't Used atlasobscura.com/articles…
To deal with periods, β€œUntil the turn of the 20th century, women simply bled into their clothes or, where they could afford it, shaped scraps of cloth or other absorbents like bark or hay into a pad or tampon-like object” theconversation.com/thous…
17th century Vatican librarian Leo Allatius wrote a treatise entitled De Praeputio Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Diatriba (A Discussion of the Foreskin of Our Lord Jesus Christ), claiming that the Holy Prepuce ascended , like Jesus himself, and was transformed into the rings of Saturn. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hol…
The Lenape tribe were the original inhabitants of Manhattan, New York and were forced to leave 300 years ago. Tribes from across the country returned to New York last year for the first Pow Wow in centuries to celebrate their origin. youtu.be/NChFWyOhFUY
Today I learned of the Wanggongchang explosion in 17th century China. It killed 20,000 people, released roughly the same amount of energy as the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and contributed to the eventual fall of the Ming dynasty. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wan…
The Sahara Desert was once green 5000-11000 years ago due to Earth's orbital movement as it created the Humid period, which lasted a few centuries. eos.org/articles/podcast-…
Today I learned that Soccer was actually coined and originally used by the English for over a century and they are the reason that Americans call Football Soccer today. time.com/5335799/soccer-w…
That the movie β€œThe Hills have eyes”, is loosely based on the exploits of The Bean clan of 16th century Scotland, whom murdered and cannibalised over 1000 people, with estimates of up to over 5000 in just a 25 year period. historic-uk.com/HistoryUK…
The Catalina Islands, located off of California's coast, has a wild Bison herd thats existed for nearly a century. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat…
Amber Room. A chamber in Catherine Palace (near St Petersburg) with amber panels backed with gold leaf and mirrors. Constructed in the 18th century, disappeared in WW2. It was considered an "Eighth Wonder of the World". A reconstruction was installed in the Catherine Palace between 1979 and 2003 en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amb…
In the past century, every year at least one Belgian has died from World War 1 or World War 2 ordinance being accidentally detonated producer.com/2019/11/iron…
The shape of bagels came from Europe centuries ago. One theory is that Jews in 13th century Poland were allowed to boil (but not bake) bread, and the shape distinguished the bread. But that's not the whole story, modern food science proves the shape increases cooking surface area and chewiness. mashed.com/151894/the-rea…
The first recorded instance of a person living in three centuries was that of Margaret Ann Neve, a woman from the British island of Guernsey who lived from 1792 to 1903. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mar…
There is no known Chinese art depicting the panda bear that predates the 20th century. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gia…
The Queen piece in chess was originally a Visier, akin to prime minister. In Europe, according to one theory, it changed to a queen during the 13th century as prominent European Queens (Eleanor of Aquitaine/Blanche of Castile) better reflected the role of a King's source of power and influence. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Que…
Today I learned about the Bay of Jars. A collection of ancient Roman ceramic jars found in the waters outside Rio de Janeiro suggesting that the ancient Romans visited Brazil centuries before the Portuguese. italoamericano.org/story/…
Chinese billionaires are trying to "return" China's lost cultural artefacts that were looted from the country by colonial powers in the 19th Century. Their efforts range from "buying back" said artefacts to hiring thieves to steal them away from museums and private collections. telegraph.co.uk/news/2018…
Unlike knives and spoons which have been around since antiquity, forks only appeared in the Middle Ages. They did not see common use for centuries, with records of British sailors ars recently as 1897 refusing to use forks as they considered them effeminate and unmanly. slate.com/articles/arts/d…
There is an elite private prep school in NYC called the Horace Mann school, named after the 19th Century American educational reformer Horace Mann, who advocated for quality public education. Tuition is more than $52,000/year en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hor…
Tempura, one of Japan's national dishes, was brought over by Portuguese traders in the 16th century. bbc.com/travel/story/2017…
King Tutankhamun (14th Century BC Pharaoh) was entombed with a dagger of "extraterrestrial origin." Advanced spectrometry tests strongly suggest the iron, nickel, and cobalt contained in the blade are from a meteorite that crashed near the the Kharga Oasis about 200 km west of the Nile. history.com/news/research…
The Aztecs did not build Aztec Ruins National Monument, a World Heritage Site in the American state of New Mexico; it was actually built by the Pueblo natives. The name is a misattribution from 19th century settlers. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azt…
There are still dry counties in the USA where the sale of any kind of alcohol is prohibited. Some of these, like Moore Country, Tennessee, date back to the passage of state prohibition laws in the early 20th century. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry…
Today I learned of the He-gassen, a 17th-century Japanese art scroll depicting people having "Fart competitions". The author is unknown. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/He-…
Today I learned of James Tilly Matthews, an 18th-century peace activist who fell under the delusion that his thoughts were being remotely controlled by an apparatus he called the β€œAir Loom”. His case is considered to be an early example of paranoid schizophrenia. publicdomainreview.org/es…
There is a 180 ft (55 metres) high sculpture of a nude male figure with a prominent erection carved into a hillside in England. The origin of the figure is unclear and, although it is assumed to be ancient, the earliest recorded mention of it is in the late 17th century. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cer…
The countries of Liechtenstein and Haiti used the same flag for nearly century, a fact that was only discovered when the two nations met during the 1937 Summer Olympics. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lie…
That the United States National Anthem uses the melody of an 18th century British gentlemen's club song mentioning the Greek gods, getting drunk, and having sex. youtube.com/watch?v=8KcHg…
Between the 16th and 18th centuries, the Catholic church exhumed skeletons from catacombs and decorated them with gold and precious stones to serve as relics for saints. While some of the corpses may have been early martyrs, most actually did not belong to anybody with religious significance. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat…
, premature babies in incubators were a sideshow along the boardwalk at Coney Island in the late 19th and early 20th century. Incubators wouldn't be widely used in hospitals for several more decades. history.com/news/baby-inc…
Today I learned about the 18th century folk song Maggie May. A prostitute in Liverpool who robs sailors after spending the night with them, Maggie is eventually caught and sent to the Botany Bay penal colony in Australia. It's possible the song's story is of a real woman, Nellie Ray, a prostitute and thief. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mag…
In the 19th Century the US Army experimented in using camels instead of horses to traverse the American South West en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uni…
Antarctica was originally called Terra Australis, sometimes shortened to Australia, but in the 19th century the colonial authorities in Sydney took the name Australia, leaving Antarctica without a name for eighty years en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ant…
In the 16th century a Ruthenian/Ukrainian woman was taken captive and brought to Istanbul as a slave. Her joyful spirit earned her a name Hurrem - "the Cheerful One”. She rose to become Suleiman's legal wife and "Queen of the Ottoman Empire" known in history as Hurrem Sultan or Roxelana en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hur…
Today I learned of Seki Takakazu, a mathematician described as "Japan's Newton", who independently discovered many results attributed to his European contemporaries, some of which were rediscovered only centuries later. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sek…
Orwell's 1984 title likely came from a poem his wife Eileen wrote in HS called End of the Century, 1984 unbound.com/books/eileen/…
Human hair can be used to accurately measure relative humidity in the air. Human hair hygrometers have been in use since the 18th century. belfortinstrument.com/acc…
The prototype of the chain saw was pioneered in the late 18th century by two Scottish doctors, John Aitken and James Jeffray, for symphysiotomy, a surgical procedure whereby the cartilage of the pubic symphysis is divided to widen the pelvis allowing childbirth when there is a mechanical problem en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cha…
21st century humans grow taller, and reach sexual maturity earlier than ever before in recorded history en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acc…
Today I learned of "Mexican Divorce", a practice in the mid 20th century where Americans would divorce in Mexico since it was easier, quicker, and only required the spouses to send in lawyers to the hearings instead of attending themselves. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mex…
Edward Rulloff, a 19th-century serial killer, doctor, philologist, and inventor, was deemed so intelligent that even after his conviction for murder, some believed he was too valuable to be hanged. Even Mark Twain jokingly offered to find a replacement to take his place at the gallows. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edw…
The best-selling English translations of Rumi, the famous 13th Century Persian poet, were done by a woefully underqualified man who doesn't know Persian; never studied Islam or Sufism; took extreme liberties with the original texts; and omitted much of the Islamic references and context newyorker.com/books/page-…
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania at its greatest extent was the largest state in Europe in the 15th century en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gra…
Coffee was SO important in Turkish Culture that under 15th century law, a woman could divorce her husband if he didn’t provide her with enough coffee! icytales.com/coffee-centu…
The word 'abracadabra" dates as far back as the 2nd century AD worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-…
Today I learned that the last individual to hold the title of Tsar was Simeon II of Bulgaria, who ruled the country during WW2, and again in the 21st century as Prime Minister. He's sl alive today. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sim…
The Draft Eisenhower movement was the only successful political draft of the 20th century to take a private citizen to the Oval Office. It was a widespread American grassroots political movement that eventually persuaded Dwight D. Eisenhower to run for President. enacademic.com/dic.nsf/en…
The rise of disposable cups came in the early 20th century to stop the outbreak of communicable disease spread by the practice of sharing water dippers and communal cups in public places. Because the cups are meant for a single person to use and discard, people started to call them 'solo' cups. smithsonianmag.com/smart-…
The Canadian government spent $28 million centuries after the War of 1812 to promote Americans as invaders in β€œa war of independence” for Canada, which became a country in 1867. post-gazette.com/news/nat…
There was a pandemic in the early 20th century that caused life-long stupor and Parkinsonism in survivors, with many sleeping during the day and waking at night. It resulted in the deaths of millions of people worldwide. Called "Sleeping Sickness", the causative agent has never been found. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enc…
Liverpool was a major slaving port and its ships and merchants dominated the transatlantic slave trade in the second half of the 18th century. The town and its inhabitants derived great civic and personal wealth from the trade which laid the foundations for the port's future growth. liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/h…
Castrato, also called Evirato, male soprano or contralto voice of great range, flexibility, and power, produced as a result of castration before puberty. The castrato voice was introduced in the 16th century, when women were banned from church choirs and the stage. britannica.com/art/castra…
The music artist Prince had enough unreleased music written in his vault that he could make an album every year for the next century. consequenceofsound.net/20…
In 1867, a jar was found in a Paris pharmacy with the inscription "Remains found under the stake of Joan of Arc, virgin of Orleans." Carbon14 tests and various spectroscopic analyses were performed, and the results determined that the remains come from an Egyptian mummy from the 6th century BC. wikipedia.org/wiki/Joan_o…
A coal fire has been burning in a mine in Centralia, Pennsylvania for over fifty years and that, if left uncontrolled, could burn for at least another century. history.com/.amp/news/min…
The average human body temperature has decreased over the last century and is likely due to improved health. Temperature of men born in the early to mid-1990s is on average 1.06 F lower than that of men born in the early 1800s. med.stanford.edu/news/all…
Today I learned about St. Chad, who was instrumental in bringing Christianity to England in the 7th century AD. As he lived during a politically troubled time and 'chads' refers to holes from punched ballot papers, he was called the patron saint of botched elections in the 2002 US presidential elections. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cha…
The Solar eclipse of April 8, 2024 will be the only total solar eclipse in the 21st century where totality is visible in Mexico, the United States of America, and Canada. wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_…
In 1997 Steven Seagal was declared a tulku, the reincarnation of Chungdrag Dorje, a 17th-century treasure revealer from the oldest sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Seagal was not enthronement as it would require extended study and practice. Helen Tworkov suggested that Seagal bought his Buddhahood. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ste…
There are "Neomexicanos" of New Mexico that identify themselves as Spanish/Europeans in America since they are derived from Spanish settlers that arrived in New Mexico before the 16th century en.wikipedia.org/wiki/His…

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