William Watts

Written by William Watts

Published: 10 Jun 2024

20-wild-facts-from-history-you-wont-believe
Source: Timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Ever wondered about the quirky, mind-boggling bits of history that textbooks left out? OhMyFacts is here to fill in those blanks with 20 wild facts from history that will have you scratching your head in disbelief. From ancient civilizations' odd habits to unbelievable events that shaped the modern world, history is far from boring. It's packed with stories so strange, you might question their authenticity. But, rest assured, each fact is a testament to the unpredictable nature of human history. Ready to have your view of the past turned upside down? Let's dive into a collection of historical oddities that prove truth really can be stranger than fiction.

Key Takeaways:

  • History is full of mind-blowing facts, like how the Pyramids of Giza were once white and how Cleopatra lived closer to the moon landing than to the pyramid's construction.
  • From ancient inventions to bizarre customs, history is filled with surprising events, like the ancient Roman concrete being more durable than modern concrete and a bear named Wojtek joining the Polish army during WWII.
Table of Contents

Unbelievable Historical Events

History is full of surprises, some of which are so bizarre they seem almost fictional. From ancient times to the not-so-distant past, these facts will leave you amazed.

  1. Pyramids of Giza were originally white. When they were first built, they were covered in polished limestone, reflecting the sun’s rays and making them shine brightly.

  2. Cleopatra lived closer in time to the moon landing than to the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. She reigned from 51-30 BC, while the pyramids were built around 2560 BC, and the moon landing occurred in 1969.

  3. Vikings never wore horned helmets in battle. This misconception comes from the 19th-century Scandinavian artists who added horns to the helmets in their artworks.

Innovations Ahead of Their Time

Some inventions and discoveries were so advanced, they seem misplaced in history, showcasing human ingenuity across ages.

  1. Ancient Roman concrete is more durable than modern concrete. Its ability to withstand seawater makes it superior, and scientists are still trying to replicate the formula.

  2. The Antikythera Mechanism, discovered in a shipwreck off the coast of Greece, is an ancient Greek analog computer used to predict astronomical positions and eclipses for calendrical and astrological purposes, dating back to around 100 BC.

  3. Baghdad Battery, a set of terracotta pots from the Parthian period, suggests that people might have used an early form of battery technology over 2,000 years ago.

Bizarre Laws and Customs

Throughout history, societies have had some pretty strange laws and customs that will make you question the logic behind them.

  1. In ancient Egypt, servants were smeared with honey to attract flies away from the pharaoh.

  2. Victorian-era post-mortem photography was a common practice where families would take photographs with their deceased loved ones, often posing them as if they were still alive.

  3. Trial by ordeal was a judicial practice in medieval Europe, where the accused underwent painful tasks. The belief was that divine intervention would save the innocent.

Unlikely Heroes and Events

History isn't just about the well-known figures; sometimes, the most impactful events and heroes are those least expected.

  1. Julius Caesar was once kidnapped by pirates. He insisted they increase his ransom, then returned to crucify them after his release.

  2. During WWII, a bear named Wojtek joined the Polish army, carrying ammunition and boosting morale. He was officially enlisted as a soldier.

  3. Ching Shih, a prostitute from Canton, became one of history’s most powerful and successful pirates, commanding over 300 ships and 20,000 to 40,000 pirates.

Scientific Discoveries That Changed the World

Some discoveries have had such profound impacts that they've reshaped our understanding of the world and our place within it.

  1. Penicillin, the world's first antibiotic, was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928 by accident when he noticed that a mold had killed the bacteria in a petri dish.

  2. The theory of relativity, proposed by Albert Einstein, revolutionized our understanding of space, time, and gravity, fundamentally changing the field of physics.

  3. DNA’s double helix structure was uncovered by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953, paving the way for modern genetics.

Forgotten Civilizations

Many civilizations have risen and fallen, leaving behind remnants that provide a glimpse into their once-thriving societies.

  1. The Sumerians, one of the earliest known civilizations, developed the world's first writing system, cuneiform, around 3500 BC in Mesopotamia.

  2. The Indus Valley Civilization had advanced urban planning, including the world's first known urban sanitation systems, around 2600 BC.

  3. The Library of Alexandria was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world, holding thousands of scrolls of ancient knowledge. Its destruction remains a mystery and a great loss to historical knowledge.

Oddities in War

War brings out the extremes in innovation, strategy, and sometimes, sheer weirdness.

  1. Operation Acoustic Kitty was a CIA project in the 1960s where cats were trained to spy on the Soviets. The project was abandoned due to the impracticality of training cats.

  2. During the American Civil War, balloons were used for reconnaissance, marking one of the earliest uses of aerial surveillance in combat.

A Look Back at History's Untold Stories

Diving into history's treasure chest, we've unearthed some wild facts that sound more like fiction than reality. From Cleopatra's time-traveling beauty regimen to the Great Emu War of Australia, these stories remind us that truth can be stranger than fiction. History isn't just about dates and treaties; it's a tapestry of human experiences, innovations, and sometimes, outright bizarre happenings. These tales, ranging from the amusing to the awe-inspiring, offer a glimpse into the endless curiosity and resilience of humankind. They challenge our perceptions, inviting us to see the past through a lens of wonder and intrigue. As we journey through time, let's keep our minds open to the endless possibilities that history can teach us about the world and ourselves. Remember, every page of history is a doorway to understanding the incredible journey of humanity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you really trust these wild facts from history?
Absolutely! Each fact has been thoroughly researched and verified for accuracy. History is full of surprises, and sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. So, rest assured, you're getting the real deal here.
Where do these unbelievable historical facts come from?
These facts are gathered from credible sources, including historical documents, academic journals, and expert interviews. History buffs and scholars spend a lot of time digging through archives to uncover these gems for us.
How often do historians discover new facts about history?
New discoveries happen more often than you might think. Archaeological digs, newly found documents, and advanced technology like DNA analysis constantly provide fresh insights into our past. It's what keeps history so exciting and ever-evolving.
Why aren't these wild facts more widely known?
Many reasons play into this. Sometimes, historical records get lost or overlooked. Other times, the sheer volume of information makes it hard for some facts to stand out. Plus, what's taught in schools often just scratches the surface of our rich, complex history.
Can these facts change our understanding of history?
For sure! Every new fact has the potential to add context or alter our perspective on historical events. They can challenge previously held beliefs and encourage us to think critically about the past.
How can I learn more about a specific fact that caught my eye?
Dive into books, documentaries, and reputable online resources focused on that topic. Libraries and museums are also fantastic places to explore. Don't forget, historians and experts in the field can offer invaluable insights, so consider reaching out to them as well.
Are there any common misconceptions about history that these facts address?
Yes, many of these facts shed light on misunderstandings or overlooked aspects of history. They offer a fuller picture of events, cultures, and figures, helping to debunk myths and bring truth to the forefront.

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