Historical fun facts

The year that was…


It is almost a way of life or on a rather-not-so complicated term, a practice for us to look at the past.  Reminisce once in a while.  Although we do admit that what we have right now in the present is or was largely because of the past.  And that the differences and reality in the present is or were mainly contributed by the past.  Looking closely, the past is inevitable (not to mention in this analysis is the value of time) to all of us. The simple “tick” of a clock or a second gone is considered as “past”.

We only come to admire the grandeur and the wholeness effect of the past when we open our senses to it.  Aside from the fascinating world of science, history perhaps is one of the best things that ever happened to human existence.  And since we’re talking about history, why don’t we flip our old, dusty but reliable thick history books that we use to read during those times when…..nah, lets forget about it, its history anyway.

I was able to shovel up some interesting historical facts amongst the tons of available resources in the internet.  I will try to present this one in a random order (an article on random is also posted here).  Now who says that history is one boring subject?  Read on my co-historians.  Historical facts are unique in such a way that they come in various manners.  Interesting historical facts, weird historical facts, odd and fun historical facts are some.  They are all well-written in the portals of time.  We better start suiting up our Dr. Indiana Jones’ auras and step into our Back to the Future car with Marty Mcfly.

I was watching The Godfather series few days ago.  I was amazed on how the people dressed and lived during those eras.  A question suddenly popped in to my mind.  What does the Mafia mean?  Does it stand for something?  Searches told me that Mafia actually stands for Morte Alla Francia Italia Anela.  Our Italian friends would translate this as “Death to the French Is Italy’s Cry”.

We all know and love the famous playwright and literature icon William Shakespeare.  We’re pretty sure that his parents are so proud of him, as well as his seven (7) brothers and sister.  Yes, Romeo and Juliet lovers, Sir William had that number of siblings.  They are truly indeed, one happy family.

Now we go to war.  It was during World War II that one the famous German dictator’s (Adolf Hitler) head generals, General Goring offered $5,000.00 to anyone who could capture a certain American airman.  And this airman goes by the name of “The king of Hollywood” himself, Clark Gable.

During war days, soldiers are well equipped with certain codes with they have to protect and know by heart.  These codes are used for different reasons such as enemy infiltration.  An example of these codes is “Climb Mt. Nitaka”.  This simple code meant a lot on the Japanese soldiers especially when their planners would read the 7th of December 1941.  It simply orders one to attack the Pearl Harbor.

Let’s move back a bit to the year 1152.  A war broke out between France and England.  King Louie VII of France married the daughter of France’s duke, Eleanor.  With this, a dowry consisting two provinces was received by our gallant king.  He came home one time after his crusades without his beards (must got tired growing those so he shaved it).  His coming home received an unwelcome gesture from his wife saying that he was ugly without the beard and should grow it back.  Our king refused to so he was divorced by Eleanor and eventually married King Henry II of England (with more beards, I suppose).  The ex-wife then demanded that her dowries be returned for her new hubby.  And when King Louie refused to release said dowries, King Henry declared and waged war.  This “beard” wars lasted 301 years and finally ended in 1453.  In time after each one has grown that beard, I suppose.

Now wait till you read this one….. The year was 1704.  It was a war in Europe between again, France and England.  It all started when a certain English woman by the name of Mrs. Mashaur spilled a glass of water on a Frenchman, Marquis de Torey.  Our humble woman apologized and said that it was accidental but to Torey, was an international insult.  This odd incident resulted and stirred deeper meanings that led to an open war.  It was five (5) long war years for spilled water.  And to think they were much “cooler” during those times.

And just like another story on the block, here’s another one….In 1925, a Greek soldier’s dog went astray and ran across the border into Bulgaria.  The Greek soldier went after his canine friend but was killed by a Bulgarian soldier.  The Greeks retaliated by invading Bulgaria leaving 48 wounded and killed Bulgarians.  But before the problem got worse, the United Nations (then League of Nations) arbitrated the rising conflict.  Bulgaria paid an indemnity of 30 million levas.

Wars aren’t about conflicting ideologies per se.  Money also talks loud when an entity is into war with another. Currently (2009), USA allocates a whopping US$515.4 billion on military budget alone.  Since 1958, the US has spent over a trillion dollars on war budgets.  A trillion would simply mean a million million!  These amounts of money according to historians should have been spent on lives and not on deaths.  Hospitals and clinics all around the country could have been brought up.

And who can never forget US’s Zero Factor in history?  It’s quite a chilling fact that no US President elected in a year ending in zero left the White House alive.  This started in 1940 when Henry Harrison had a cold that drastically developed into pneumonia that eventually caused his death only a month after his inauguration.

The year 1860 was Abe’s (Abraham Lincoln) year.  I guess we all know already how he died.  He was shot at a theater in Washington.  1880 was for James Garfield.  He was also shot by a guy named Guiteau.  He hardly reached six (6) months in office when he died.  William Mckinley came to office in 1900. He too suffered that brutal fate when he was shot by an anarchist at an exposition in New York.  US’s 1920 President, Warren Harding also died at a speaking engagement tour in the West.  Speculations about the cause of his illness and death are still unknown up to now.

The US President that was re-elected four (4) times, Franklin Theodore Roosevelt, was elected in 1940.  He died in 1945 after collapsing at his work desk at the summer White House.  The next victim would be JFK (John F. Kennedy).  He was elected in 1960.  JFK was later assassinated.  Presidents Thomas Jefferson (1800) and James Monroe (1820) were the only one who escaped the Zero Factor.  President Ronald Reagan (1980) survived an assassination attempt and George W. Bush (2000) has so far been saved from the “death list”, aside from nearly getting hit by a flying shoe by an Iraqi journalist in Baghdad.

Since extracting various historical facts from our history books and almanacs is in the process, we could also cite facts about books and reading materials as part of the search.

How good is a piece of paper or information contained in a book or other forms largely depends on how wide its distribution is and how many has been sold over a span of time.  The Catholic Bible (1800-1950) stands out with 1½ billion copies.  Webster’s American Spelling Book (1783) is in the 4th place of 50-100 million copies.  The 8th spot belongs to our favorite, the Guinness Book of Records at 24 million copies.  The bottom spot (10th) belongs to American Red Cross First Aid Book with 16 million copies sold and distributed.

When we talk about historical facts, we talk of the facts of the past.  The past would also mean something which is not new.  It’s all about the old things.  Where on earth are the oldest cities, by the way?  It is said that the oldest city is located in Turkey.  Gaziantep is about 3650 B. C. old.  Israel’s Jerusalem, Kirkuk City, Zurich in Switzerland respectively shares the same age (3000 B.C.).

However we look at these historical facts; may it be odd, weird, interesting, creepy or not, they were all good reasons why we are living freely today.  They are considered the very basic mainframe of our society.  It is through the basis of these historical facts that an individual or a society is seen.  More importantly, we should treasure the things that we owe our lives to.  Again, what we are now in the present is because or mainly because of what we were in the past.

Looking back in these historical facts in the past is also an eye-opener of some sort.  Why?  Because it is through these historical facts that we see and realize the greatness, the defeats, the battles, factors and aspects that were looked upon and once ignored.  We also realize what went wrong on the things that mattered most and the possible causes of problems.  That is why sometimes, living in the past cannot be bad at all.