History has so many different aspects for people to study. You could focus on a culture or a religious movement. You could look at conflicts, wars, or instead, learn about day-to-day life during times of peace. Or, you could just look for the pettiest moments possible. And believe us: history has plenty "screw you" moments to laugh about.
After all, people act petty all the time! So who's to say an act of extreme spite can't go down in the history books? Then again, "screw you" moments aren't really a focus in school, so you may also be surprised by the stories in this list! Keep reading to see history's most vindictive "screw you" moments!
"Tag, you're it."A pirate known as Jean Lefitte had a bounty of $500 put on him by a governor. So he put a $5000 bounty on the governor. -The-big-ouch
Jean Lefitte knew what he was about.
That’s not even Jean Laffitte’s best F-you moment in my opinion. He was propositioned by the British, basically “hey show us how to navigate the swamps around New Orleans so we can launch a sneak attack. And the king will pardon you and make you a privateer." And he was like “give me a fortnight to consider it."
So he snuck over to the governor's mansion, scaled the outside wall and was waiting for him on his office. Told the governor and Andrew Jackson the British plan and offer and how he wouldn’t betray New Orleans because he loved her. So all he asked was for a pardon and he’d give them everything they needed to win the war. And he did.-incogneatolady
This is absolutely nuts!When Otto von Bismarck was about 50, he was walking down a street when a man ran up to him and shot him five times. Otto then turned around and began to beat the absolute crap out of him until some armed guards come to help him. When they inspected Otto for wounds, they found that all 5 hits, but they all either just grazed him or bounced off his ribs. Literally the iron chancellor. -BrittleBandit
Ah, yes...Napoleon.Napoleon invited his brother in law to speak with him before his coronation as emperor to remind the brother in law that he objected to Napoleon marrying Josephine because Napoleon would "amount to nothing." -InFin0819
Napoleon has plenty of these moments in his life.So when France exiles Napoleon Bonaparte (the first time), they didn’t think to change out military personnel. So he basically rolls up to the first French outpost he gets to, says “‘sup" and begins reassembling an army. By the time he gets to Paris, he’s got enough forces that France is like “well. Welcome back." -Mr_Henslee
IN AD 37 the new Roman Emperor Gaius, better known by the nickname Caligula, built a bridge across the sea.
It stretched three miles across the deep blue waters of the Bay of Naples at ancient Rome’s most fashionable seaside resort of Baiae.
But Caligula’s was no ordinary bridge. It was a temporary, floating structure built on wooden pontoons, a costly and impressive feat of engineering. It served a single purpose before being dismantled.-guy_fawkes6
And what was that singular purpose, you ask?
On a day of boiling heat watched by crowds of spectators, Caligula rode across the bridge. His armor glinted in the sunlight, for the 24-year-old emperor had dressed in the golden breastplate of the legendary Greek hero Alexander The Great.
On the following day, Caligula made the journey in reverse, this time riding in a chariot, followed by soldiers of his personal guard.-guy_fawkes6
...Cool bridge, bro?
It was a pointless piece of showmanship, lost on the majority of the crowd, several of whom fell drunkenly to their deaths in the sea after two days’ partying.
One historian claimed Caligula pulled the stunt to disprove a prophecy that he had no more chance of becoming emperor than of riding a horse across the Bay of Baiae.-guy_fawkes6
And then there's that time Caligula made his horse a senator!Threatening to make his horse a consul was also in the same vein. It wasn't a serious consideration borne out of madness but rather an insult to the senate. Either 'My horse can do a better job than any of you' or 'I can make my horse consul and you can't do anything about it.' -Plastastic
In the 1970s the small town of Vulcan, West Virginia asked for state funding to replace a bridge into town. The state legislature refused to grant Vulcan the funding they needed. Instead the town appealed to the Soviet Union for aid. After hearing about the request, the state legislature immediately granted over $1 million for the town to build a new bridge.
If a small town in WV asking for soviet funding in the middle of the Cold War isn’t a big middle finger to the state government, then I don’t know what is.-NuggetBiscuits69
Make a mental note: embarrassing the government into action works.The funny part is that two Soviet representatives at the US embassy actually came over to look at the broken bridge, and seriously considered funding the rebuilding to piss off the Americans. -Mild-Sauce
Always insult Nazis.British prisoner of war in Nazi Germany stitches a quilt. The Nazis put it out for show. Hidden in Morse code stitched in were the words “F-Hitler" and “God saves the King." -ShivasKratom3
This is Sparta!This requires some background: the Spartans were famously blunt. They were trained to "get to the point" when speaking (instead of using artsy and beautiful language that would have been common at the time) by being bitten on the thumb if they became long-winded. -emaniace
Don't mince words with a Spartan!Now to the meat. Phillip the second of Macedon (Alexander the Great's father) sent the Spartans a letter saying "Would you like me to enter your land as friend or foe?" The Spartans responded with one word. "Neither." Phillip was irate. He then sent another long-winded message. "If once I enter into your territories, I will destroy ye all, never to rise again." The Spartans then sent back one word. "If". It was like putting your head in a lion's mouth and I love it. -emaniace
I pledge allegiance...
I would say the moment that Rollo swore allegiance to the French king:
"The bishops present suggested that Rollo kiss the king’s foot, as a sign of submission. It was probably an idea intended to humiliate Rollo and was not taken very well.
After some discussion, it was agreed that one of Rollo’s men would do it. However, the person chosen lifted the king’s foot, and, without bending down, brought it up to his mouth. Not surprisingly the king fell over, amid general laughter in the court. Following this amusing scene, the king and his men swore to honor the concession to Rollo."-gonatt
It's real-life Edward Scissorhands!
This is already one of my favorite threads in Reddit history...
Galvarino: Chilean warrior who had both his hands cut off by the conquistadors for raising arms against the Spanish. Instead of letting himself serve as a message of helplessness in the face of the invaders the crazy bastard strapped swords to his stumps and went on the warpath.--Inaros
It's a posthumous kind of petty.After the Restoration, the English dug up the body of Oliver Cromwell and hung, drawn and quartered the body, sticking the head on London Bridge. -_Happy_Camper
Nicely played, Henry.On the crowning of King Henry VII, he backdated his own reign to before the date of the Battle of Bosworth, meaning anyone who was loyal to him now but had shown any sign of opposition at Bosworth was now a traitor and an enemy to the realm. Justice served. -chungatok
President Taft's friends had a laugh or two at his expense:This is more petty, but when Taft bragged to his friends via telegram about scaling a mountain on horseback, that it was a few thousand feet, clear weather, all in all not too difficult, his friend replied, "HOW IS HORSE?" -JitteryBug
Wow. Just wow.The first cell phone. The first call ever made from a cell phone was to a competitor's landline. Big dick energy. --Solarsoul-
Now I feel bad for the Welsh.
When Germanic tribes invaded Britain after the Romans left, they named the native Celts Welisc, meaning "foreigner" (even though they themselves were the foreigners). That later became the word Welsh, which the English promptly adopted for phrases like welch on a bet.
TL;DR: all of history has been one giant etymological middle finger to the Welsh.-etymologynerd
This story is full of twists and turns.
My personal favorite: the beginning of the Battle of Stamford Bridge, in England, 1066. England's been invaded by a Norwegian army led by Harald Hardrada, king of Norway, and Tostig Godwinson, exiled English earl and estranged brother to the English king. They've already fought one battle, they've captured York. Things are looking good for them.
They're chilling, enjoying their success, waiting at Stamford Bridge for the hostages they demanded. It's a hot day. They're not expecting any trouble. But wait- an English army shows up. That's practically impossible. The battle of Fulford Gate had taken place only five days ago, and the Norwegians had completely routed the forces of the northern earls. The rest of the English army was known to be in the south, awaiting a Norman invasion.
Turns out the English had ridden all the way up North in FOUR DAYS.-shoelesshistorian
Those are fighting words!
The Norwegians were, understandably, a bit unhappy. They form into a circle. They don't have their armor with them- it's at the ships. It's too hot to be hanging around in the mail. They've got helmets and shields and weaponry, and that's it.
The English send a rider to negotiate. He tells Tostig that his brother the King is willing to offer him his earldom back and part of the rule of England if he gives up now. Tostig asks what his buddy Harald Hardrada gets for his trouble.
"Six feet of English ground, or as much more as he needs, being taller than other men."-shoelesshistorian
Here's how everything turns out:
Tostig says they're done here. The rider rides away. Harald Hardrada asks who that dude was because if it had been him talking, he'd have just killed the bastard there. Tostig says oh, that's my brother. That's Harold Godwinson, the king.
Harold Godwinson rode up to an enemy army personally and told the king of Norway, known to be a great warrior and general, that all he'd get from this invasion was a grave.
Battle commences. Norwegians lose. Tostig and Harald Hardrada both die. A huge bloody mess. English army is crippled. And then three days later the Normans land in the south. Harold's in it. He still marches his army back, gathers as much force as he can, and engages three weeks later. He's killed at Hastings. Normans conquer England.
Basically a very personal f-you moment that snowballed quite intensely.-shoelesshistorian
Can you hear the people sing?
This was played in besieged Leningrad. And it was broadcasted on the radio, so Nazi soldiers could hear it.
Imagine hearing "F-YOU" from a city that you thought was already dead.-ComBlockWither
This story is a little more recentIn the late 1980s, Nintendo and Sony developed a CD add-on for the Super Nintendo. Nintendo then pulled out of the partnership and opted to work with Phillips instead and released the CD-i. This move was highly frowned upon because Nintendo had decided to ditch a fellow Japanese company over a foreign one. So Sony picked up the pieces of the project and tried to partner with Sega. The board of directors turned the idea down saying "that’s a stupid idea, Sony doesn’t know how to make hardware. They don’t know how to make software either. Why would we want to do this?" In the end, Sony released a game system by the name of Playstation in 1994 to compete with the Nintendo 64 and outsold their former partners nearly 3:1 plus it marked the first time that Nintendo wasn't top dog since they released the NES. -akiba305
Morocco and its ulterior motives:Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the United States, which was very nice of them, but the reason they did it was that they had a treaty with England which prevented them from tolerating or engaging in piracy against English ships. No such prohibition on American shipping. -CardboardSoyuz
You tell 'em, Brigadier.
Not the biggest, probably, but the first that came to mind:
Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe's response to the Nazi demand that Bastogne surrenders: "nuts."-NacreousFink
Ever heard of Saint Olga?
Olga of Kiev. When her husband died, the country that killed him assumed they’d just take over and force her into marriage.
She straight up killed the dignitaries that were sent to tell her she had to marry - multiple times, in the most intense way possible.
She then traveled to where her husband had been killed and basically burnt the place to the ground - again, in the most hardcore, amazing way.
They made her a freaking saint. Worth the read on Wikipedia!-TeAforempires
"Thank u, next."The second defenestration of Prague. The Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia sends representatives to the Protestant city of Prague telling them to convert to Catholicism. The representatives get thrown out a window and allegedly landed in a pile of manure. -Korlac11
Now that's just overkill.The construction and use of the Warwolf, supposedly the largest trebuchet ever built. When it was disassembled it would fill up 30 wagons. So anyways, King Edward the first built this to siege a Scottish castle. But before it was even built the Scottish people tried to surrender. To which Edward responded with a prompt no (in actuality he responded with “You do not deserve any grace, but must surrender to my will" in other words, I built this trebuchet over 40 days and I am most definitely going to use it) and proceeded to use the trebuchet anyways. -razartech
A "screw you" from no man's land:I’m not a historian, but I know this WW1 fact: in 1918 during the battle of Villers-Bretonneux, Major James Robertson made a plan to steal a german tank stuck in no man’s land. There was no point in getting it because it was dangerous going out there and the tank wasn’t a threat to anyone. Not giving a crap about that he grouped with 12 other men to retrieve that tank, under machine-gun fire and inside mustard gas, just to say to the German army “f-you, look what we got here." Thanks to him and the other men, today that tank is the only original WW1 tank we have and it’s called “Mephisto." -BootFromUsb
Know anything about sports cars?Ferruccio Lamborghini was a rich man owning his company that built tractors, he talked to Ferrari about the imperfections of his car and how to improve them and they basically laughed at a young tractor mechanic trying to tell them about sport cars, so he decided to start making luxury sport cars to compete with Ferrari and thus, the rivalry was born. So I'd say the middle finger of this guy to Ferrari was pretty noticeable. -Billyjeter
Ouch!Julius Caesar's death. At least he died surrounded by friends. -Dankestcat69
From LBJ to Charles DeGaulle:
Not the biggest, but definitely one to note. In 1966, Charles DeGaulle ordered all U.S. Troops out of France, as he said the country was leaving NATO, LBJ's first words were to his Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, "Ask him about the cemeteries, Dean!"
When Dean Rusk mentioned whether or not the 60,000+ US soldiers buried in France were to be removed, DeGaulle simply stood up and left the room, embarrassed.-InternationalAgency
This battle is a wild ride!The battle of Alesia. Julius Caesar's attacking some Gauls in modern-day France, and they go hide in a castle on top of a hill. Caesar's army isn't big enough to take them all at once, and the Gauls have reinforcements coming so a siege is impossible. So Caesar just builds a bigger castle around the one he's attacking. He literally just built two walls back to back in a ring around the castle. The first Gaul army was already too small to defeat Caesar, and his fortifications only gave him a greater advantage. -Krazy-Kat15
There's a reason for Julius Caesar's reputation:The reinforcements were also unable to defeat Caesar's army now that he was behind several layers of spike pits and both earthen and wooden walls. Plus the Gauls inside had no way to communicate with the reinforcements outside, so they couldn't coordinate attacks. Both Gallic armies were defeated as they attacked Caesar's newly built fortifications, and Caesar emerged victoriously. It's probably my favorite battle of all time. -Krazy-Kat15
They made Paul Bunyan proud.
It’s in 1976. Some Americans at the Korean DMZ are cutting down a tree that obscures their vision to the North Korean side. A couple of North Koreans come out and kill a few Americans with their own axe. The Americans and South Koreans come back with such a massive show of force it’s not even funny.
Bombers, jet planes, 27 helicopters, a full aircraft carrier moved off the coast. Thousands of troops, troop carriers, commandos, all just to send in a squad of army engineers with chainsaws to cut down that god damn tree. I would highly recommend giving the forces used part of the Wikipedia article a read. It’s riveting and hilarious.-SnowboardBen
This is one way to win a battle...
The Achaemenid Empire had trouble conquering Egypt in the early part of their War so they decided to use the very embodiment of their holy figure against them. They literally had soldiers carry cats with them and painted cat heads on their shields so the Egyptians couldn't fight back due to their beliefs and surrendered.
They literally pulled a "your god is our frontline."
This is known as the Battle of Pelusium.-JazzPhobic
Okay, this is pretty extra.
Khosreau Anushirawan was a shah of Iran in the 500's ACE. He took over a town (Antioch) that used to belong to the Byzantine Empire (ran by emperor Justinian), but before he burned it to the ground, he had architects and a bunch of other people go through and record EXACTLY what the city and its buildings looked like. He then built a new town that looked EXACTLY the same and named it Weh Antioch Khosreau, which translates roughly to "Kohsreau's Better Version of Antioch."
And that's not even all of the ways Khosreau trolled Justinian. I recommend watching Extra Credit's series on this dude, it's nuts.-atglobe
China's defense strategy was...disturbing.
One of my favorites was during the Opium War when the British tried to attack China via sea. The Chinese knew that the British navy was going win, and they couldn't respond fast enough, so they decided that being absolutely crazy would work best.
They got their catapults ready, and when the British were close enough, the Chinese took monkeys, lit them on fire, and launched them at the British ships. The British were horrified when flaming monkey corpses landed on their boat and were like, f-the opium, they were out.
TLDR: The British tried to invade China. China threw flame-doused monkeys at them.-CircusMasterKlaus
NICE.Upon receiving his certificate as the first black PhD in Harvard history, W.E.B. DuBois allegedly remarked that "the honor, I assure you, was all Harvard's." -Chicomogie
Alcibiades was an Athenian politician during the Peloponnesian War.When Alcibiades slept with the Spartan king's wife, then fled to Persia, became a high command and made it back to Athens where he once started as a politician and became one again. Then he said f-you to Athens (he betrayed them), Sparta and Persia and got away with it because he looked so damn good. -Livingdonut123
The US has no patience, really.
In 1941 the US requested Panama grant a 999-year long lease to build over 100 military bases within their country, the Panama government asked for compensation in return which the US felt was too high.
The US responded by overthrowing their government by orchestrating a coup. They then signed an agreement with the new one.-SecondAccount404
Alexander the Great ain't got time for that.The Siege of Tyre: Basically, Alexander the Great was unable to capture the city because it was on an island, so he made it into a peninsula to be able to properly attack.
It is said that Alexander was so enraged at the Tyrians' defense of their city and the loss of his men that he destroyed half the city.--eDgAR- Share these crazy stories with fellow history buffs!