50 History Fun Facts You Didn't Know

The historical city of Firenze.

 

Do you also feel you don't know too much about History? Or your friends & co-worker has more knowledge than you? Then you are in the right place! You are about to discover our world history through a special collection of 50 interesting facts. 

The things that we know make us feel bombs of emotions, and it is just crazy sometimes to feel so late in knowing them. Hop on. We will be discovering a closet full of history!

Below are 50 interesting history facts about our world history. Let’s see how many funny and amazing facts you know from the list.

 

If you like playing trivia quizzes, you will love our collection of history trivia quiz games.

 

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Weird Fun Facts About History: Things, Animals, and More You Didn’t Know Happened in the Past

Did you know that…

1. Once upon a time, turkeys were worshipped like Gods 

Before all that we believe now, there was this animal that people worshipped like a God! Guess what? It is actually the mighty turkey, and this is actually very coincidental with America’s celebration of Thanksgiving. Around 300 BC, turkeys were believed by the Mayan people to embody the gods. As such, this earned them all the power and prestige, which can be seen in different Maya books.

Turkeys were worshipped like Gods

2. Pieces of Arts Were Once Awarded in the Olympic Games 

The fastest or the strongest Olympic Games winner before did not earn medals. Instead, they took home pieces of art. The winners brought home different forms of art, including literature, songs, painting, or even sculpture. One thing that made the art similar to another is that it must be Olympic-themed. The awarding of arts was made to commemorate what the Greeks loved before, which is doing festivities simultaneous with their games.

The Olympic logo in the Olympic Games

3. A Horde of Bunnies Once Attacked Napoleon Bonaparte 

The famous emperor and conqueror Napoleon Bonaparte entreated a rabbit hunt for him as well as his men. The original plan was to release the rabbits from their cages and start the hunt. However, bunnies attacked the emperor and his men, making it his greatest defeat.

A Horde of Bunnies.

4. Using Forks Was Considered Sacrilegious 

Can you eat spaghetti, or most types of food, without using a fork? A long time ago, this widely-used utensil for eating was once deemed sacrilegious. Using them was seen as an offense to God because they look like artificials.

Old Forks Was Considered Sacrilegious.

5. There Was Once a War On Cats

Do you think the war against cats is possible? Well, this is one of the weird but true facts that happened in the Past. Pope Gregory IV declared the war and took place in the 13th century. He believed that black cats were used by Satan to spread evil. While he ordered to exterminate the cats throughout Europe, the plan was still backfired because it resulted in an increased population of plaque-carrying rats. If you are a cat lover, you will love the amazing collection of 52 cats fun facts.

Grey Cats & kittens

 

 

6. Mary Really Had A Little Lamb 

Who would little did you know that the nursery rhyme was based on a true story. Mary Sawyer is an 11-year old girl who lived in Boston. One day, her pet lamb trailed her to school.

A little lamb.

7. Ketchup Was Sold as Medicine Back in the 1830s

Ketchup was not one of the popular condiments until the late 19th century. Back in the 1830s, it was a popular medicine. It was sold as a cure for indigestion by John Cook, an Ohio physician. Well, at least, you have trouble digesting the next time you eat ketchup.

Ketchup is spilling on a white background.

8. The Very First Light Bulb Was Invented Before Thomas Edison 

When you are asked who invented the very first light bulb, your answer will probably be Thomas Edison. However, it was actually Warren de la Rue who created it forty years before Edison. While Edison has 1,093 patents, most of them were not his own invention.

An old  light bulb.

9. The First American Flag Wasn’t Designed and Sew by Betsy Ross 

If you think it was Betsy Ross who designed and sew the first American flag, think again. The real creator was Francisco Hopkinson, who lived in New Jersey and the one who signed the Declaration of Independence. Besides, he is also the man behind the many US government seals. At least according to William Canby, Ross’s grandson, his grandfather has the idea. 

The American flag on an old building.

10. Cars Were Never Invented in the US 

Do you believe that cars were invented in the US? Well, you got it all wrong. The truth is, the first car was created by European engineers Emile Levassor and Karl Benz, who worked on automobile inventions in the 19th century. In 1886, Benz was the one who patented the first automobile and wasn’t Henry Ford in 1908.

An old black car.

 

11. A Trial Against Tomatoes Happened in 1820

Believe it or not, there was a trial against tomatoes by the entire town. They believe that this tangy red fruit was poisonous and evil. Robert Gibbon wanted to dispel the rumors about the fruit, so he ate a basket full of tomatoes in front of a crowd in New Jersey. In the end, everyone was astonished that nothing happened to him. Oh, don't forget to check our food trivia quizzes.

A cooked tomato on a white background.

12. A Horse Was Once Planned to be a Senator 

Roman emperor Caligula had a favorite horse named Incitatus and was planned to make it a senator of Rome. He loved it so much in a way that he gave Incitatus an ivory manger to sleep in. In the palace, his horse has his own servants. To be honest, his strange relationship with his horse was a normal thing, especially if you hear his other downright bizarre stuff. For more great and unknown facts about Animals, check out the Best 50 Animals Fun Facts.

A statue of Caligula with his horse.

13. Nipple Piercings Were Unexpected Fashion Trend of Victorian England 

It was Queen Isabella of Bavaria who influenced the trend of nipple piercing. She used to wear dresses with necklines going down the waist so that the diamond-encrusted piercings are showed off properly. Aristocrat women attached the piercings using a gold chain and believe that this chain helped them grow their breasts evenly.

A piercing.

14. A Bear Lived with Lord Byron in His Dormitory 

While studying at Cambridge, Lord Byron kept his pet bear in the dormitory. He loved animals and owned some unusual ones, such as two mastiffs, a fox, and two monkeys. Since his favorite dog isn’t allowed in the university, he brings a tame bear on his campus instead.

A bear hugging an important lord.

15. Stale Urine Was Used As Mouthwash 

Oh well, it may sound nasty, but urine is known to contain ammonia, which among the world’s best natural cleaning agents. The stale urine or “liquid gold” became very popular among ancient Roman. In fact, anyone who traded in it needed to pay a tax.

A funny person doing a mouthwash and cleaning his teethes.

Mind-Blowing History Facts About United States Presidents

Did you know that…

16. President Lyndon B. Johnson Used to Give Interviews While Using the Toilet 

Most Americans and other individuals across the world have an idea of who Lyndon B. Johnson is. But, they probably not aware that the president gave interviews from the bathroom. According to Doris Kearn Goodwin, presidential biographer, the president did not want to stop the conversion, so he still gave interviews even while using the toilet. For more great facts - read the 50 American fun facts about the USA.

A person talking on the phone while on the toilet.

17. President Abraham Lincoln Was A Wrestling Hall of Famer 

Of course, everyone knows that Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the united states of America. There’s one thing that you may not still know about him. Well, he was declared as a wrestling champion. Among the 300 contests he joined, he only had one loss. That was dope! He earned a reputation as an elite fighter.

A statue of Abraham Lincoln sitting.

18. President Abraham Lincoln Was A Licensed Bartender As Well 

Another interesting fact about President Lincoln is that he was worked as a bartender, and he had a saloon keeper license. Together with this friend William Berry, they opened up a bar called “Berry and Lincoln” in 1833 in New Salem, Illinois. This shop was closed when Berry consumed most of the supply.

An old picture of Abraham Lincoln.

19. President John Adams Was the First One to Live in the White House 

During Washington’s term, the White House was still under construction, and he never actually lived there. So, it was John Adams who became the first US President to live there. Among the US Presidents, Washington is the only one who didn’t reside in the White House. If you love to discover the world through countries, check out our Top 50 Geography Fun Facts.

The American flag with the presidential white house in the background.

20. President George Washington Was Not the First Face of the $1 Bill 

While George Washington was the first US President, it still does not mean that he was the first face on the $1 bill. During the Civil War in 1862, the very first $1 bill was issued, and the first face appeared on it was Salmon P. Chase. He was the Secretary of Treasury as well as the designer of the first banknotes of the country.

President George Washington on a dollar bill.

21. President George Washington Owned A Whiskey Distiller After His Term 

After his presidency, George Washington opened his own whiskey distiller. The distillery he owned was the largest in the county by 1799. It produces approximately 11,000 gallons of un-aged whiskey. However, after his death, the business also disappeared. At least, he proved that he is a leader of a country and a business.

 A Whiskey Distiller

22. President Ronald Reagan Has A Strong Belief in Astrology

In the same way as ordinary citizens, Ronald Reagan was interested in astrology. He and Nancy were a believer in astrology. He reassured that his policy decisions were not influenced by the cosmos. Well, that could be a breath of relief.

An astrology clock with statues.

23. Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Died on the Same Day 

President Thomas Jefferson and President John Adams both died on July 4th, 1826. It sounds crazy, but true. They used to be fellow patriots and then turned adversaries. Besides, they are also the last surviving American revolutionaries’ original members.

Presidents John Adams

Cool Facts About Historical Events in Medieval, Gregorian, and 20th Century Periods

Did you know that…

24. A One-Legged Man Demonstrated the Safety of Escalator to London’s First Users 

In 1911, the London Underground system’s first escalator operation took place. During the first day of operation, people who see it for the first time went apprehensive. To calm the passengers, William Harris, a one-legged Underground employee, demonstrated its safety.

An Escalator on London.

25. A Best-Seller Novel Was Actually Written by a 9-year Old 

Daisy Ashford was nine years old when she wrote in 1890. At the age of 13, she gave up writing fiction. 28 years later, Daisy and sisters went to their mother’s house and discovered a manuscript in a drawer. The book “The Young Visiters” came out in 1919 after showing the manuscript to a friend who passed it to an acquaintance working on a publishing company. 

A 9 year old girl

26. Horoscopes Were Used to be Linked to a Serial Killer 

On April 16th, 1968, an advertisement was published in a French newspaper that invited the readers to join a special experiment. All they need to do is to send their name, date and place of birth, and address, and they will receive a 10-page personality profile and personalized horoscope. The astrologer made the chart and interpretation for a real person born on January 17th, 1897, in Auxerre at 3 am. That person was Dr. Marcel Petiot, a serial killer who murdered over 60 people. 

A funny person with an ax looking like a serial killer.

27. Women Were Banned from Smoking in Public in 1908

Katie Muchaley from New York was arrested because she strikes a match against a wall to light a cigarette. This act was a violation of The Sullivan Ordinance, a city law banning (only) women from smoking in public. Two weeks later, the ordinance was vetoed by the mayor of New York City.

A smoking woman with a funny angry face.

28. The Duke of Montagu Won A Bet on the Gullibility of the Public 

In 1749, according to the London newspaper, the most amazing magician would be performing at the Theatre Royal. A riot ensued after the crowds were told that the magician would not appear, and they could just get their money back. The Duke of Montague was seen with great pleasure after winning a bet with Lord Chesterfield that he could successfully fill the theater by promising the people the impossible.

An old street.

Crazy Fun Facts About Famous Historical Figures

You can go and try to answer some great history trivia questions, or keep reading and discover if you did you know that…

29. Augustus Caesar Was Once the Wealthiest Man Ever 

Do you want to know who the wealthiest man ever was before Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett? It is Augustus Caesar! He was the nephew and the only heir of Julius Caesar. If we accounted for all the price changes by now, his wealth would amount to 46 trillion. Some would argue that Mansa Musa was the wealthiest, but his riches are very difficult to count, which is very different from that of Augustus Caesar’s.

 A statue of Augustus Caesar.

30. Peter Freuchen Encountered An Avalanche Hurdle During His Expedition 

Did you know that in 1926, Peter Freuchen, an Arctic explorer, faced an avalanche hurdle during his expedition? He was trapped under it. Luckily, he was able to survive, although he lost a part of him. He amputated his foot and fashioned a shiv through the use of his frozen feces. Do you think it is gross? Well, he was able to escape death through that!

An Avalanche Hurdle

31. Paul Revere Never Shouted, “The British Are Coming!”

Have you ever heard the catchphrase, “The British are coming!”? Apparently, it is not Paul Revere that shouted those words. He did not shout this when he was approaching his enemies. Since the British found comfort in their hiding over the countryside, there was not any approach that happened.

An old image of British soldier.

32. Franklin D. Roosevelt Accidentally Found Winston Churchill Naked

Great Britain Prime Minister Winston Churchill visited the White House in December 1941. Roosevelt came into the room of Churchill after having an inspiring call to the world bodies. From there, he found Churchill fresh out of bath and naked.

An old photo of Winston Churchill

33. Nikola Tesla Believed that Being Chased Helped His Scientific Abilities 

Did you ever hear that Nikola Tesla was a life-long bachelor? During the earlier of Tesla, he believed that he never deserved a woman in his life because they were superior in every way. His opinion changed when he felt that women were trying to become dominant and outdo men. 

Nikola Tesla image with electricity power.

34. Walt Disney Rewarded His Housekeeper with Shares of Disney Stocks 

As a bonus every Birthday and Christmas, Walt Disney gave his housekeeper Thelma Howard company’s shares. Howard loved his daughters, so he treated her with generosity through a liberal salary. Disney even called her the real-life “Mary Poppins.” As respect to Disney, she never sold her stocks and died as a multi-millionaire. If you love Disney, check out the article about the Top 50 Disney Fun Facts.

Mickey Mouse on a Piano.

35. Thomas Edison and His Second Wife Communicate with Each Other by Tapping on Each Other’s Arms 

Two years after his first wife Mary died, Thomas Edison met Mina Miller. He was immediately smitten with the eligible young lady and soon married. He taught her second wife to communicate using the Morse code, where they use finger taps when her parents are around. In fact, he proposed to her using the code. 

An old communication of Morse codes.

36. Nikola Tesla Fired His Secretary Because She Was Overweight 

Because of her weight, Nikola Tesla fired his secretary. Even from the start, he is open about his disgust to overweight people. While the people who met Tesla praised him by calling him gentleman, sincere, and refined, he still has a behavior of being very asocial and even secluded himself from others.

An old image looking at the Camera.

37. Albert Einstein Politely Excused Himself from Fans by Saying That He Was Often Mistaken for Professor Einstein 

Albert Einstein became very famous in the US before World War II. After all, these theories of relativity have been an inspiration and subject for many science fiction plays, movies, and books. So many times, he was stopped by his fans in public, and he politely excuses himself by saying, “Pardon me, sorry! I am always mistaken for Professor Einstein.”

Albert Einstein in one of his famous photos.

38. Abraham Lincoln Gave A Captivating Speech That Reporters Forget to Take Notes 

On May 29th, 1856, Abraham Lincoln gave a captivating speech about the condemnation of slavery that reporters did not take any note as if they were hypnotized. The speech was called “Lincoln’s Lost Speech,” and there’s no transcript of that speech. The said speech resulted in the founding of the state Republican Party.

Abraham Lincoln with his traditional hat.

39. Mark Twain Openly Expressed His Hatred for the books of Jane Austen

Mark Twain hated the books of Jane Austen with great ferocity. He even said, “Every time I read Pride and Prejudice, I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” He also complained about how many attempts or how long it took him to read and finish any of Austen’s books. 

Mark Twain sitting and smoking a pipe.

40. Leo Tolstoy Had Sudden Conversion to Vegetarianism 

After Leo Tolstoy had a conversation with William Frey, who talked about vegetarianism's naturalness and inevitability, he became a fierce vegetarian. One day, his aunt requested chicken for dinner. As she arrived at the table, she found a live chicken being tied to her chair. What’s more, there was a butcher’s knife on her placemat.

Leo Tolstoy with his long white beard.

41. Marie Antoinette Once Pretended to Live A Simple Life 

The Queen’s Hamlet or The Hameau de la Reine is a fully functioning peasant village built for Marie Antoinette. She filled this village with animals and brought herdsmen and milkmaid to act like residents. She would then walk around with her friends and children and pretend to live a simple life.

A painting of Marie Antoinette.

42. Henry VIII of England Had People Whose Job Was to Wipe His Bottom 

The people who were responsible for assisting Henry VIII of England in his bodily functions were called “The Grooms of Stool.” He had four of them and became his intimate confidants when it comes to his personal life. Over time, their roles became more important and powerful enough to set national financial policies.

Henry VII the king of England.

43. Napoleon Bonaparte Wrote A Romantic Novel “Clisson et Eugenie”

The romantic novel called “Clisson et Eugenie” was written by Napoleon Bonaparte. The novel was about a soldier and his lover. The interesting thing is that his one-time fiancée influenced his relationship with Eugenie Desiree Clary. 

Napoleon Bonaparte in a colorful image with his blue hat.

44. French Philosopher Had A Habit of Living Near Borders 

After Voltaire published the “The English Letters” or “Philosophic Letters”, he was forced to run away to Paris, and in 1734, he takes refuge in Cirey. He used to live in an asylum at one of his friends’ chateau. He can easily cross the border is his writings angered the authorities. He continued making a habit of living near the borders after he left Cirey. 

A statue of Voltaire, the French philosopher.

45. Charlie Chaplin Won 20th Place In A Charlie Chaplin Lookalike Contest 

Who would have thought that Charlie Chaplin got interested in joining a Charlie Chaplin lookalike contest? The funny thing is that they came in 20th place. He didn’t have his famous boots and mustache while performing his trademark walk to be fair.

Charlie Chaplin looking up and thinking in a funny look.

46. Aristotle Believed that a Brain is A Place for the Spirits to Reside 

Many ancient practitioners associated the brain with conflicting ideas. In the 14th century B.C., Aristotle believed the brain was merely a place for the spirit and a cooling organ for the heart. However, Roman physician Galen concluded that the brain is where all mental activities occurred and not in the heart, as Aristotle believed.

An image of a brain with electric thunders.

47. Poet William Shakespeare Wrote His Own Epitaph 

On April 23rd, 1616, William Shakespeare died, and his grave was covered by a stone slab with the epitaph he wrote himself. The epitaph served as a curse to anyone who would move his bones. The epitaph says, “Good friend for Jesus’ sake forebear, to dig the dust enclosed here. Blessed be the man that spares these stones, and cursed be he that moves my bones.”

William Shakespeare in an old painting with his earring.

48. Amelia Earhart Told George Putnam that They Would Not Bind Each Other to the Medieval Code of Faithfulness 

Amelia Earhart is the first female to fly solo through the Atlantic Ocean, and she loved her freedom so much. During the 1920s, she met George Putnam and proposed to her six times before she agreed to get married. On their wedding day, she told her groom that she wanted an open marriage.

Amelia Earhart standing close to her airplane.

49. Elvis Presley Suffered from Chronic Constipation and Obesity 

While doctors tried to treat chronic constipation and even suggested colostomy, Elvis Presley still refused. According to George Nichopoulos, his doctor, constipation upset the singer a lot. It was untreated constipation that causes his death. 

An actor dressed like Elvis Presley  with Las Vegas sign in the background.

50. Alan Tuning Ran 11 Minutes Longer than The Year’s Winning Olympic Time 

Alan Tuning is not only known as the father of artificial intelligence and computer science; he is also an average runner. As part of his training, we would run a 50-kilometer route between Ely and Cambridge, and back. He joined a marathon in 1949 and ran 2 hours and 46.03 minutes, which was only 11 minutes longer than the winning Olympic time.

 A funny man is running on the running court like he won the Olympics.

 

Do you know other cool fun facts? Let us know.  

Oh, and there are many more interesting historical facts you can discover.

 

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