No matter how much we think we know of history, there’s always some new, interesting fact that we’ve never heard about. When we stumble on these fascinating pieces of history, we cheer and smile because they are indeed exciting. Some are thought-provoking, and some just leave us in awe. History is littered with moments like these, waiting to be discovered and shared with the world. While some are elaborate and wild, some are calm and quiet, almost unnoticed by the world.
Here are ten such memorable moments from history that will leave your mind blown. Though some may seem like fiction, they’re all factual.
1. Sumo Wrestlers Weren’t Overweight
The typical sumo wrestler today is an obese man with traditional cloth diapers tied around his waist. They might not even be Japanese, maybe Samoan or Eastern European. But they weren’t always like this. When they started out, they used to be buff, at least six feet tall, and confident. Sumo wrestlers were like sports stars back in the 1920s – 1930s in Japan, and they often got the attention of many women. It was common to find them walking the streets with girls clinging to both arms. They took the sport like a serious art. Today, it is still entertaining to many, but it has lost touch with its original meaning.
2. Lord of the Flies?
A real-life event that seems straight out of the pages of a novel is the case of a group of teenage boys between the ages of 13 and 16 who went on an adventure at sea. In 1965, a group of adolescents stole a fisherman’s boat to go sailing for a few hours. They had an accident at sea and drifted for several days before finally reaching an uninhabited island. When they were found a year and three months later, they had been surviving on fish, drank water from coconuts, built a gym with weights, established rules and enforced punishments, and were generally in good health. Sounds like the plot of a novel.
3. Waist Chop
In ancient times, there used to be a method of execution that involved severing a victim in half from the waist. This method was also known as sawing because that was exactly what the executioners did to the victims. It existed in many cultures. This form of punishment was mostly reserved for the worst form of criminals and was eventually abolished in many regions for being too cruel.
4. Sewer Heist
The Bank of England prides itself as a bank that has never been robbed before, but in 1836, it had been breached by one man. A sewer worker was doing his rounds beneath the city streets when he found a tunnel that led straight to the heart of the vault where gold bars were stored. He kept the discovery quiet but began sending a series of anonymous letters to the bank’s directors. They ignored him for a long time, thinking he was some rambling crackpot. He told the directors in a final letter that he’d meet them in the vault at any time of their choosing. They were intrigued and decided to indulge him. On the day of their choosing, there he was, in the bank. The directors felt embarrassed and rewarded him £800 for his honesty.
5. No Purple Flags
There’s a reason almost 95% of the world’s flags don’t have the color purple in them. Purple used to be very difficult to produce and was, in most cases, the exclusive reserve of kings and queens. It used to be synthesized from a particular species of snail native to Lebanon, requiring more than 10,000 of them just to produce one gram of purple dye. This happened until 1856 when William Henry Perkin accidentally created purple dye while trying to find a cure for malaria. It became ubiquitous from then on, earning William a lot of money. But, by then, most of the world’s flags had already been created without the purple color.
War is a phenomenon that has been part of human history for ages. We have brutalized ourselves in some of the most horrendous ways across human history. But interestingly, three of the five deadliest wars in human history have happened in a single region: China.
The Taiping rebellion happened between 1851-1864, killing 20-30 million people. The Qing Dynasty War happened between 1616-1662, and around 25 million people died. The Lushan Rebellion was from 755-763, with 36 million people dying.
7. Bunny Attack
In July 1807, Napoleon Bonaparte was out on a rabbit hunt with the Russian emperor. Napoleon had asked his chief of staff, Sir Alexandre Berthier, to organize the hunt, but Berthier, being barely knowledgeable about rabbits, brought in domesticated ones that weren’t scared of humans. So when the cages were opened for the rabbits to scramble out for hunting, they ran straight for the world’s most powerful man. Napoleon was swamped by the rabbits and had to be rescued because the rabbits thought he was a farmer bringing them food.
8. Why Toilet Papers?
Toilet papers were barely used when they were invented in the 1800s. People saw no reason why anyone should use special papers to wipe themself when they could easily use an old newspaper or catalog. In the late 1800s, people used old pages of the Sears catalog the most. When the catalog changed the texture of their pages to shinier, slicker surfaces, the company got a barrage of complaints about the “wipe-ability” of their pages.
From 1918-1919, New Orleans was terrorized by an unidentified serial killer known as “The Axeman.” In 1919, he supposedly sent a letter to the police stating that he would kill anyone who didn’t play jazz music in their home or establishment on March 20 by 12:15 p.m. People threw jazz parties at home that night. Nola dance halls were packed full, and windows were kept open so jazz could be heard playing from people’s houses. The Axeman was never apprehended.
10. Silent Film
In 1903, the silent film The Gay Shoe Clerk became the first film to depict a woman’s bare ankle on-screen. It featured a scene where a woman while being fitted for shoes, exposes her legs to the salesman, who becomes fascinated. The movie sparked a lot of outrage from society which deemed it immoral.
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18 Everyday Things From the 90s That Are Now Luxuries
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10 Destinations That Have Been Ruined By Rich People
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10 Fashion Trends From the 90s People Are Still Obsessed With
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10 Outdated Things Boomers Always Keep in Their House and Use
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As time passes and technology advances, certain generations hold on to the familiar relics of the past. One such generation is the Baby Boomers, who often have a penchant for keeping and using outdated items in their homes. From landline phones to fax machines, vinyl records to VHS tapes, Boomers embrace these relics as a reminder of simpler times and a nod to their personal preferences.