Were you one of those kids totally enamored by each new unit in history class? If so, you're in the right place! Because as interesting as school history is, they just don't tell you everything. On the one hand, there's not enough time; on the other, some topics are sadly overlooked. So we're giving those fascinating and weird historical facts the time to shine here!
Ancient civilizations are full of amazing advances and cool discoveries, but have you learned about all of them? A few on this list are severely underrated! Need a few historical female idols? We've got those, too. And everyone hears about the World Wars at length in school, but some details are glossed over--and they really shouldn't be.
Check out these weird historical facts that everybody should know! Your inner history buff will be utterly intrigued.
President Andrew Jackson was kind of a madman.
via: GettyAndrew Jackson had a pet parrot whom he trained to spew obscenities. -StanzoBrandFedoras This is totally true. The parrot, Poll, was so obnoxious and foul-mouthed that it had to be removed from Jackson's own funeral because of its loud cursing!
Chris Columbus was a tyrannical colonizer, but there's at least some justice.
via: GettyColumbus was arrested for being a terrible governor. -R3DW0LF3942 Basically, he pissed off the Spanish crown so much he was arrested and removed from his post in the Americas in 1500. Thank goodness, right?
Britain apparenty sent criminals to America.
via: GettyBritain didn’t just use Australia as a place to send convicts. The same practice was used in the Americas as well. -Col_Walter_Tits
Heads up, Georgia!
via: GettyThe state of Georgia used to be a penal colony. I think they started sending normal people after a while. -Altazwei
How many ancient Greeks do you know of?
via: GettyAlcibiades, a statesman and student of Socrates, got really drunk and rode around Athens in his chariot knocking the genitals off the hemes statues at all the intersections. He then had to flee the country to avoid being charged with the crime of impiety. He fled to Sparta, where he slept with the king of Sparta's wife, necessitating further fleeing all the way to Persia...where the Persian king kept him around as a sort of curiosity. -alfihar
We should really learn more African history.
via: GettyBasically all of African history. It's shocking how little we are taught- for example, the Second Congo War was the deadliest war since WWII with 5.4 million deaths by 2008. I hadn't even heard of it until recently. -__hey__its__me__
This was an actual law once:
via: GettyIn 1907, Congress passed a law stripping American women of their citizenship if they married a non-American man. Note that men weren't stripped of their citizenship if they married non-American women. -Damn_Dog_Inappropes
The Night Witches deserve their own gritty WW2 movie, honestly.
via: GettyThroughout high school and the entirety of my history degree, not once were we told about the Night Witches. They were a squadron of Soviet female pilots that would bomb German camps in the dead of night during WW2. The fascinating thing is, they had to fly the loudest planes known to man. Basically, whilst flying solo, they would have to shut off the engine in mid-air, cruise low enough to drop the bombs, climb out onto the wing to restart the engine, and get the heck outta dodge. Russian women are bada**. -bessonovafan6454
Because they're so cool, here's some more Night Witch trivia!
Fun fact about the Night Witches- the planes they flew were so outdated that their top speed was actually lower than the stall speed of the German fighters pursuing them. They used this to their advantage to outmaneuver the German planes in combat.
They would often fly in groups of three, with one acting as a decoy to draw AA fire (in a wood and canvas plane, remember) while the other two planes dropped their payloads.
So if you're looking for historical female icons, look no further.
The Night Witches got their name from the Germans because they'd cut their engines when they got close to their targets and glide into their bombing runs. The whoosh of air rushing over their wings was the only warning of their approach, making it seem to the Germans on the ground as though the bombs appeared out of nowhere with nothing but "the whisper of the wind on a broomstick" to warn them. This played havoc on Nazi morale.
They were so hated and feared by German troops that the Nazi high command promised an Iron Cross (the highest possible medal) to anyone who could down one Night Witch. The Night Witches accomplished all this with training planes and repurposed cropdusters.-1-1-19MemeBrigade
Ancient Persia is one of those civilizations you don't really hear about.
Ancient Persia. I could go ON about Persia.
A lot of people only know Persia as that one empire that tried and failed to squish Greece. But they are honestly one of the coolest, most fascinating ancient societies to ever exist.
In ancient Persia, slavery was illegal. Yes illegal. If you were a slave, and Persia invaded the land that you lived in, you would be freed.Religious tolerance! You had every right to worship any religion you wanted. This was a massive rarity at the time. And it also wasn't uncommon for Persian invaders to help rebuild temples they destroyed when they attacked a city. They couldn't care less what gods you worshipped as long as you didn't commit treason and paid your taxes. -Bluefloom
But, as you can see, it's a pretty noteworthy civilization after all!
via: GettyThe "main" religion of Persia was Zoroastrianism, which is one of the first monotheistic religions. A lot of historians actually think the belief system went on to help form modern-day Christianity and Judaism.
They had very rigid class structures, but honestly what ancient nation at the time didn't? However, women and men of the same class were near-equals. Women could be priests, choose their husbands, make legal and financial decisions, and even be soldiers. Reviewing religious texts points towards the possibility of Persia having female rulers as well. Hell. A woman can't expect those rights in some places today.
Persia is neat.-Bluefloom
Julius Caesar is still famous today for a good reason.
via: GettyCaesar's Gallic campaign. The siege at Alesia is one of the most mental military victories ever. -Kill_U_Ricky_Spanish Ever heard of the battle at Alesia? Caesar cornered an army of enemy Gauls in the city of Alesia and proceeded to build two walls around the city--one to keep the trapped Gauls in, and another to shield his own army from Gallic reinforcements. When those reinforcements did come, in far greater numbers than Caesar's own army, he found the perfect chokepoint between walls to do battle and won the war anyway. Say what you will about Julius Caesar, but the man knew how to put up a dang good fight.
A lot happened in the "Dark Ages," but we really only hear about plagues.
The "Dark Ages" were a time of human advancement fueled by Christian philosophy.
Watermills became prevalent. You had the development of brakes for wagons. You had the stirrup for war and better armor. The three-field system was made. In architecture, you had the great Gothic flying buttresses that made the medieval architecture possible. The Romanesque style flourished in the arts. Universities were started. Carolingian minuscule was a standardized writing system. Slavery was ended. Contrary to popular history, the "Dark Ages" were not a time of intellectual decline.-KalegNar
Grab your ouija board!
via: GettyWilliam McKenzie King, former Prime Minister of Canada, was into the occult and held seances with his dead mother. -metallhd
These soldiers faced down overwhelming odds.
via: GettyAt the Battle of Rourke's Drift in South Africa, during the Anglo-Zulu War at the turn of the 20th century, a handful of British soldiers held their own for hours against their Zulu opponents who outnumbered them hundreds to one, and many Victoria Cross medals for bravery were posthumously distributed. -metallhd
This scientist made the ultimate sacrifice.
via: GettyKevin Budden, an amateur Australian herpetologist, gave his life after being bitten by an inland taipan (a fierce snake) so that he could keep the snake captive and it could be milked for antivenin, to benefit others, After he was bitten he held on to it for hours until it could be delivered to a lab. -metallhd
More tales of bravery from WW2:
via: GettyOn several occasions during the Second World War, there are records of men going into Nazi concentration camps deliberately in order to help free other prisoners, some more than once. -metallhd
North American history has a few blank pages due to earthquakes.
via: GettySome 7,000 years ago, a mighty earthquake along the west coast of North America had such a massive impact that the recorded chain of history and human civilization just stops cold for hundreds of years. -metallhd
This is why we have 'danger' signs for radiation, guys.
via: GettyLouis Slotin, a Canadian physicist, was fatally injured along with two other men in a Los Alamos laboratory in which he was handling radioactive substances without protection, essentially showing off, to demonstrate a technique known as 'tickling the dragon's tail'. -metallhd
The Seven Years' war is more significant than you think.
via: GettyThe Seven Years’ War. At my school, we only learned about the war in North America [the Revolutionary War], not the four other continents and why it was so important. It’s one of the reasons English is spoken to some extent on every continent and not French. Some historians actually say it could be the First World War. It’s also why the British taxed America after the war to get money back because a lot of it was spent protecting the 13 colonies. -luke7575
Wanna know why the American Revolution succeeded?
via: GettyIt's also part of why America was able to win independence. England had bigger fish to fry on mainland Europe and couldn't devote the entirety of its forces to the other side of the world to put down a rebellion--a rebellion that would have failed if France didn't take the chance to screw England over and lend America a hand. -1-1-19MemeBrigade
We know there's been unrest in the Middle East for years, but everything has a cause.
via: GettyAfter WW1 the allied nations split up most of the Middle East, disregarding where certain groups of people had over and sparking the last 100 years of chaos in the Middle East -Gr1mm1287
Okay, this is creepy.
That a book was published in 1898 about an ocean liner called the Titan that sank after striking an iceberg with almost all passengers dying due to there being a lack of lifeboats on board.
14 years later, almost the exact thing happened in real life with the Titanic.
Eerie coincidence at the least.-Fred_the_skeleton
Let's hear it for Ancient Greece!
via: GettyGreek culture was the most influential culture in the world. During Alexander the Great's conquest, greek culture entered into any conquered land and had Greek kings even after the Romans. It was obvious for Egypt, but some Hindu kingdoms had Hellenistic kings and money with greeks gods. Also, it's highly probable than Chinese had cultural and diplomatic links with the western world (Alexander invited a Buddhist mission in Macedonia for the detail). Chinese sculptures were small and probably helped by the work of Greek artists. -ItsNotFrancis
Pepsi could have ruled us all...
via: GettyThe Soviet Union sold PepsiCo Soviet warships in exchange for soda. Imagine! A soda company with a Navy...
Here's one war Australia doesn't like to talk about...
via: GettyAustralians fought a war against emus and lost, and I think that's beautiful. -nottotallytara It really is. The Great Emu War was a wildlife management military operation to reduce emu numbers in western Australia. Emus won.
Gotta love Canada!
via: GettyCanada was originally just a railway-building scheme. The colonies of British North America wanted to build a railway from Montreal to Halifax, but they couldn't borrow enough money to do so. Some London bankers told them that if they united, they could borrow more money, so they did. -EnormousPurpleGarden
There's a whole other side to WW2.
via: GettyWhen it comes to the majority of the Pacific war (WWII), all that you're taught about is Pearl Harbor, Midway, Iwo Jima, and the nuclear bomb. The middle gap from Midway to Iwo Jima has a great many battles, like the battles of Guadalcanal and Tarawa. In the Pacific, the environment was an enemy; Japanese malaria was a big problem and at the start of the war we were horrible at amphibious landings to the point that we would mess up the tides and get stuck 500 yards of the beach while getting shot at and our tanks would break down in any water deeper than 2ft. The number of people involved in the invasion of Okinawa surpassed those of D-Day. -GamingSentry
Seriously, learn more about these amazing soldiers.
via: GettyThere was a unit of Japanese-Americans who volunteered to fight for the United States during World War 2 despite being persecuted and incarcerated by the U.S. government. These soldiers went on to be the highest decorated unit in United States Army history. The 442nd Regimental Combat Team. -Creonic There's always more history to learn, so share these little-known facts with other history fans!