Trivia

People Share Their Best Mind Blowing Facts And Stories Pulled From History

Most of us have some general history knowledge, some of the most incredible and fascinating things that have happened in history somehow manage to slip right under our noses!

Below are 26 mind blowing facts that aren't as widely known. Check them out!


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Napoleon once took a heavily fortified city by having his men casually walk across the bridge as if peace was just declared and Napoleons troops were just trying to pass through.

Submitted by: Fredfredbug4
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(2/26)

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Sunglasses were invented by the Chinese. They were not used to block out the sun however but instead they were used by judges in courtrooms to hide their emotions.

Submitted by: josserg
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During the 1916 Easter Rising (a battle to end British rule over Ireland), there was a ceasefire each day to allow the park-keeper of St. Stephen's Green to feed the ducks in the park.

Submitted by: daveyb86

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(4/26)

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During World War II, the Japanese outfitted special planes (some were designed to be launched from submarines) with enough range to reach the west coast of the United States. The goal was to use incendiary bombs to start wildfires in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. One pilot, Nobuo Fujita, successfully dropped his bombs over the forest near Brookings, Oregon. Fortunately, a storm the night before had dampened the forest, and the fire started by Fujita's bomb was quickly controlled by the Forest Service.

Eighteen years later, in 1962, Fujita returned to Brookings. He brought with him his family's heirloom, a katana that was over 400 years old. Fujita apologized to the townspeople for his actions during the war, and revealed that if the townspeople demanded it, he would ceremoniously commit seppuku with the sword to make reparations for his actions.

The townspeople would have none of it. Fujita was made an honorary citizen of the town and returned to visit it several times during his life, including one trip to plant trees in the forest he had bombed decades before. After his death in 1997, his daughter returned to Brookings and scattered some of his ashes there. The Fujita family katana is on display in Brookings, after being given to the town by Fujita as a token of friendship.

Submitted by: MrFuxIt

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(5/26)

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Albert Einstein was offered the role of Israel's second president in 1952, but declined stating that he had "neither the natural ability nor the experience to deal with human beings."

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Before he was president, Andrew Jackson rose to national fame for his victory in the Battle of New Orleans during the war of 1812. His "decisive victory against the British" occurred after the war was over, though the combatants didn't know that yet, and the victory would have been impossible had it not been for the support of a French pirate named Jean Lafitte, who was only siding with the Americans in exchange for a pardon from a number of war crimes he was accused of.

Submitted by: DanHam117

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Adolph Hitler's remaining relatives made a pact to never have children, so that the family dies out forever.

Submitted by: karmanaut

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The man who was to protect Abraham Lincoln on that fateful night shirked his duties to go drink at a nearby saloon. Ironically, the man who would shoot the president was drinking at that saloon probably getting up the courage.

Submitted by: waiting_for_rain
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(9/26)

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The word 'Kamikaze' means 'divine wind' in Japanese. The original Kamikaze was when the Mongols sent a huge invasion force to Japan. The Japanese would have been thoroughly defeated, but both times the Mongols tried to invade, a hurricane swept down and destroyed the Mongol fleet. The Japanese named this wind, 'Kamikaze.'

Submitted by: thestrongestduck

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(10/26)

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A plan to attack American cities to justify war with Cuba was approved by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1962. Rejected by President Kennedy, Operation Northwoods remained classified for 35 years.

Submitted by: PittsburghJon

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(11/26)

John Tyler's (the 10th president of the USA) grandson is still alive.

John Tyler was born in 1790 and had a son when he was 63. That son had his son when he was 75. Meaning John Tyler's grandson was born in 1928.

Submitted by: [deleted]

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(12/26)

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Julius Wagner-Jauregg won the Nobel Prize for curing syphilis by giving people malaria.

Submitted by: illibhau

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(13/26)

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Benjamin Franklin once played a practical joke that put England and France on the verge of war.


He was stuck in England as ambassador for some time and was bored. He wrote a letter to the biggest newspaper under a fictitious name, complaining that France needs to stop sending over all their prisoners, and England needs to stop accepting them. The British were outraged to learn this was happening, but of course it wasn't. At some point the French caught wind of the rumor, and took on the attitude that they could do that if they wanted to. "You think your country is too good for our prisoners?" It escalated through both governments and the military until leaders on both sides had to unilaterally convince the populations that none of this was true.


The only person who enjoyed the whole thing from beginning to end was Ben Franklin.

Submitted by: Scrappy_Larue

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(14/26)

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Despite the terrible nature of and damage caused by the 1666 Great Fire of London, only six people were killed. This is despite the fire destroying at least 13,500 houses.

Submitted by: Eloquentdyslexic

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(15/26)

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When the Allies stormed the beach in Normandy, Hitler was asleep. No general would make a move without him, and no one dared to wake him up.

Submitted by: xPlicitMike

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(16/26)

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Martha Washington rated Thomas Jefferson's visit to Mount Vernon as the second worst day of her life, being surpassed only by the death of George Washington. Now, bear in mind that George was Marthas second husband, so her list of painful occurrences went: 1. Second husband dying 2. Having Thomas Jefferson in her house 3. First husband dying.

Also: Thomas Jefferson and John Adams vandalized one of William Shakespeare's chairs to take bits of it home as souvenirs, and John Adams had a dog named Satan.

Submitted by: gcbriel

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(17/26)

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Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr, and Barbara Walters were born the same year: 1929.

Submitted by: thegoldeneel

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(18/26)

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Alan Shepard (the first American man in space), entered the atmosphere with wet pants. Knowing he was about to be a major part of American space history, Shepard drank coffee that morning, to try and keep himself calm. About three cups or so and barely anything else.

When astronauts are launched, often they sit at a 90 degree angle backwards, whilst experiencing intense vibrations. Also important to note, the crew don't just jump into their shuttle and immediately off they go. Often, crew sit and wait for a minimum of two to three hours on the launchpad, as final checks go through.

Back to Shepard, who is sitting on the launchpad, tilted backwards 90 degrees with a stomach filled with coffee. He mentioned his issue with MOCR, (ground control) and they pretty much told him that he can go to the loo and not do the launch, or try to hold it and become a part of history. Shepard chose the latter.

Submitted by: louise_sophie

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(19/26)

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In 1972, the Buffalo Sabres drafted Taro Tsujimito as the NHL's first Japanese player. Unfortunately, he didn't make much of a splash because the Japanese style of play didn't translate to the North American style and the fact that Taro Tsujimoto was completely made up. Turns out the team was annoyed with the length and complexity of the draft and this was their protest.

Submitted by: awsears25

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(20/26)

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The Star that the Three Wise Men followed that led them to Jesus actually existed, but as a rare moment of aligned planets.

Submitted by: Mr_Sarcasum

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(21/26)

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Oxford University predates the Aztec Empire by 250 years.

Submitted by: adeadhead

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(22/26)

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Alexander the Great literally changed the world. Permanently.

Tyre used to be a city on a island surrounded with giant walls which reached 200m 200 feet high (some of which are still there today). Alexander wanted to go worship at the temple of Ajax there (and for them to swear fealty to him) but they refused and locked the gates. Since he didn't have a navy they thought they were safe.

How wrong they were. He sent one half of his army down the coast all the way into Egypt to capture every port they could find and raise a small fleet, and the other half he had build a causeway a mile out into the Mediterranean to reach the island to assault it, and capture it. And slaughter the inhabitants of course, and sold 20,000 into slavery.

And permanently altered the geography of the region, creating what longshore drift turned into a tombolo which still connects the "island" to the mainland today. In building it, he also altered the flora of the region, deforesting the lowlands of the Lebanon to such an extent that thousands of years later it's still bare (of course their upland areas are still thickly forested in cedar Trees).

Submitted by: johnydarko

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(23/26)

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The last American Civil War veteran lived until 1956. From muskets and cavalry to jets and tanks.

Submitted by: paradoxpolitics

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(24/26)

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During World War II, the men of the 442nd unit scaled a 4000 foot cliff at the dead of night in order to launch a ambush on the German emplacement known as the Gothic Line.

Men would fall during this climb but none would let out a scream, they just silently plummeted to their deaths, in order to keep their position safe. After getting into position the group laid in wait for dawn to launch their attack. At dawn the attack began and the 442nd won the day and broke the Gothic Line in 34 minutes.

Submitted by: StarPike

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(25/26)

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The United States Air Force accidentally dropped two hydrogen bombs (each with a payload of over four megatons of TNT) over North Carolina in 1961, one of which was armed and battle ready. All trigger mechanisms worked as designed expect one basic low voltage switch which didn't move and prevented a nuclear catastrophe.

Submitted by: stevenmchill001
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(26/26)

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The United States of America was founded in 1776. About 150 years later, they were pretty much the number one power in the world. Men who fought in World War II had grandpas who fought in the Civil War. Men who fought in the Civil War had grandpas who fought in the the Revolutionary War.

In such a short time period, a somewhat small group of people grew into the most powerful nation in the world.

It also blows my mind that since North America was pretty much the last frontier that was conquered, it is so untouched by human hands. There are areas of the wild that have barely seen humans.

Submitted by: forman98

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There are some things that sound too good to be true (spoiler alert: they usually are), but there are also plenty of things that sound too ridiculous to be true. These facts that just plain sound like lies were the subject of a recent popular AskReddit thread.

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Unbreakable. It's a miracle.

The nation fell in love with Ellie Goulding as the starry-eyed, spunky Kimmy Schmidt who began a new life in the Big Apple after spending the better part of her adult life locked underground in a bunker.

Along the way, we met (and loved) several other inhabitants of the big city, such as Titus Andromedon, our favorite performer/Times Square costume character; Lillian Kaushtupper, the eccentric landlord of Kimmy and Titus's apartment; and of course Jacqueline Voorhees, the completely out of touch rich socialite from whom Kimmy gets her first job.

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Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Hulu

The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood's searing novel, was written at the height of the Reagan administration and satirized political, social, and religious trends of the 1980s. It's also a hit television series on Hulu that returns on June 5.

While we still have a long way to go before we can find out what's next for June/Offred in the Republic of Gilead, we can, at the very least, regale you with some cool facts about one of the most enduring stories of the last three decades.

The Trailer for Season 3 Plays Off a Slogan from the Reagan Era

Perhaps the best thing that came out of the Super Bowl––aside from the memes haggling Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, that is––was the trailer for the third season of the Hulu series.

The trailer lampoons former President Ronald Regan's 1984 "Morning in America" political campaign television commercial.

"It's morning again in America," you hear over a soundtrack and images that resound with boundless optimism. Things turn dark from there. Soon the camera freezes on Elisabeth Moss's face: "Wake up, America," she says.

Margaret Atwood's Follow-Up Will Be Released Later This Year

Margaret Atwood will release a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale titled The Testaments in September 2019. The Testaments is unconnected to Hulu's adaptation and will feature the testimonials of three female narrators from Gilead.

This literary device keeps with the metafictional epilogue that follows Offred's story in the original novel. The novel ends much in the way Season 1 ends: with Offred entering the van at Nick's insistence. The epilogue explains how the events of the novel were recorded onto cassette tapes after the beginning of what scholars have come to describe as "The Gilead Period." An interview with a noted academic implies that a more equitable society, one with full rights for women and freedom of religion restored, emerged following the collapse of the Republic of Gilead.

Serena Joy Waterford Is Likely Based On A Noted Conservative Activist

As the series goes on, we learn more about Serena Joy Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski) and her beginnings.

Serena was a conservative activist who, along with her husband Fred, spearheaded the Puritan movement that ultimately gave rise to Gilead. Inspired by women whom she perceives to have "abandoned" their families in the name of female autonomy, Serena Joy delivers impassioned speeches at venues around the nation calling for policies that would place women back in the home. She even wrote a bestselling book, A Woman's Place, that served as the vessel for much of her conservative dogma and inspired many of the Commander's Wives who become her friends and neighbors.

Serena was likely based on conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, who established herself over many years as one of the fiercest antifeminist and anti-abortion advocates in the United States. Schlafly was also a vociferous opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment, which she considered an attack against traditional gender roles.

The 1990 Film Adaptation Had a Messy Production

A film version of The Handmaid's Tale was released in 1990. It starred Natasha Richardson as Offred, Faye Dunaway as Serena Joy, Robert Duvall as Commander Waterford, Aidan Quinn as Nick, Victoria Tennant as Aunt Lydia, and Elizabeth McGovern as Moira.

The film was not well received and had a messy production. Director Volker Schlöndorff replaced original director Karel Reisz amid internal bickering over a screenplay by Harold Pinter. Schlöndorff asked for rewrites, and Pinter, who was reluctant to do them, directed him to author Margaret Atwood, who was one of several who ended up making changes to Pinter's screenplay.

Pinter told his biographer years later [as quoted in Harold Printer, p. 304] that:

It became … a hotchpotch. The whole thing fell between several shoots. I worked with Karel Reisz on it for about a year. There are big public scenes in the story and Karel wanted to do them with thousands of people. The film company wouldn't sanction that so he withdrew. At which point Volker Schlondorff came into it as director. He wanted to work with me on the script, but I said I was absolutely exhausted. I more or less said, 'Do what you like. There's the script. Why not go back to the original author if you want to fiddle about?' He did go to the original author. And then the actors came into it. I left my name on the film because there was enough there to warrant it—just about. But it's not mine'.

Star Natasha Richardson reportedly felt "cast adrift" when much of Offred's interior monologue was sacrificed as a result of cuts made to the screenplay.

The Film and TV Series Aren't The Only Adaptations of This Seminal Work

There are several different adaptations of Atwood's seminal work, including, but not limited to:

  • an audiobook read by Homeland actress Claire Danes that won the 2013 Audie Award for Fiction
  • a concept album by Canadian band Lakes of Canada
  • a radio adaptation produced in 2000 for BBC Radio 4
  • an operatic adaptation that premiered in 2000 and was the opening production of the 2004–2005 season of the Canadian Opera Company.

Elisabeth Moss, the Star of the Hulu Series, is a Scientologist

Between The West Wing, Mad Men, Top of the Lake, and The Handmaid's Tale, Elisabeth Moss has a reputation for starring in critically acclaimed television shows.

Much has been made, however, of her casting as Offred. Moss was born into the Scientologist belief system, which the German government has classified as an "anti-constitutional sect," the French government has classified as a cult, and the American government has allowed individuals to practice freely though not without considerable contention. Moss also identifies as a feminist.

Asked by a fan about the parallels between Gilead and Scientology (namely the belief that "outside forces" are inherently "evil") Moss responded:

"That's actually not true at all about Scientology. Religious freedom and tolerance and understanding the truth and equal rights for every race, religion and creed are extremely important to me. The most important things to me probably. And so Gilead and THT hit me on a very personal level."

An Episode During Season 2 Highlighted President Donald Trump's Border Crisis

Last summer, President Donald Trump and his administration created a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border when he and Jeff Sessions, his former attorney general, announced their "zero tolerance" family separations policy. The president blamed Democrats for the policy, imploring them to "start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration."

As images and stories of children ripped away from their parents at the border began to circulate, the Season 2 episode "The Last Ceremony" showed just how timely the show really is: After Offred is raped by the Waterfords, Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) allows June/Offred (Elisabeth Moss) to visit her daughter, Hannah, in an undisclosed location. June is given 10 minutes with her daughter before a guard forcibly separates them again.

The episode, written well before the crisis was initiated, premiered just as Homeland Security admitted that more than 2,300 children had been separated from their parents.

Another Episode During Season 2 Appeared to Predict Canada-U.S. Relations

The fallout between the United States and Canada during the G7 summit appeared to have reached its peak once President Donald Trump refused to sign a joint statement with America's allies and threatened to escalate a trade war between America's neighbors. He also referred to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as "weak."

The Season 2 episode "Smart Power"––in which Canadian diplomats ban Gilead's representatives from the country and choose to stand with the women imprisoned in the totalitarian nation in a nod to the #MeToo movement––was written and premiered before the G7 blowup, but is no less prophetic.

In Season 2, Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" Becomes an Ode to Female Resilience

"This Woman's Work," a ballad written by singer Kate Bush that is also one of the tracks on her 1989 album The Sensual World, serves as an ode to female power and resistance in the horrifying Season 2 opener, where June and the other handmaids realize they're about to be executed. The women are forced to summon strength at a moment of debilitating weakness. As the camera pans over the bleak environs of Fenway Stadium, Bush starts to sing:

Pray God you can cope
I'll stand outside
This woman's work
This woman's world
Ooooh it's hard on a man
Now his part is over
Now starts the craft of the FatherI
know you've got a little life in you left
I know you've got a lot of strength left
I know you've got a little life in you yet
I know you've got a lot of strength left
I should be crying but I just can't let it show
I should be hoping but I can't stop thinking
All the things we should've said that I never said
All the things we should have done that we never did
All the things we should have given but I didn't
Oh darling make it go
Make it go away
















"It was shattering and perfect," said Bruce Miller, who created the Hulu Handmaid's Tale adaptation. "One of the things I really like about the song is that on its face, there's a bit of very interesting lyrical play. It's nice that that's going on while you're watching."

"The Handmaid's Tale" Was the First Streamed Series to Win the Best Drama Series Emmy

Hulu beat out Netflix and Amazon to become the first streaming service to win an Emmy for Best Drama. Unfortunately, because the third season doesn't premiere until June 5, it's ineligible for the 2019 Emmys. Guess we'll see the show back onstage in 2020!

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