Historical Facts

Not Many Know About

History is basically about the past but not all interesting and historical facts are found in history textbooks or have been taught to you by your history teachers.

History is a very broad subject. Often, we only get to learn and read about what are considered to be the more important events of the past. But there are many interesting stories worth reading that you won’t find in school textbooks or heard from your teachers.

Below are 12 interesting historic facts that your teacher may not have told you.

12. Jean Lafitte to rescue Napoleon

Nicholas Girod was a French merchant and the sixth mayor of New Orleans. He was a supporter of Napoleon Bonaparte. Girod allegedly plan to rescue Napoleon from his prison on St. Helena. The man he hired to rescue Napoleon was none other than, French pirate and privateer, Jean Lafitte.

11. Paris Orphanage Raffle

In 1912, a Paris orphanage held a raffle to raise money, the prizes were live babies. That’s right, in an effort to raise money and find homes for orphaned children, a Paris foundling hospital held a raffle of live babies.

10. Knocker-up Alarm

Before Alarm clocks - Knocker-ups (sometimes called a knocker-upper) were hired to shoot peas at workers' windows to wake them up so they can get to work on time. It was a profession in Britain and Ireland during the Industrial Revolution before alarm clocks were affordable or reliable.

9. Full Military Leg Burial

General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the flamboyant political and military ruler might be best known for ruthlessly wiping out the Texas rebels at the Battle of the Alamo in 1836. Against French forces who had invaded Veracruz, Mexico in the 'Pastry War,' he was severely wounded and had his leg amputated after his ankle was destroyed by canon-fire. He ordered an elaborate full military state funeral for his leg, buried beneath a cemetery monument.

8. Arabic Number Origins

Arabic numerals (the ones used in English) were not invented by the Arabs at all. The Hindu-Arabic numerals were invented by mathematicians in India. Perso-Arabic mathematicians called them 'Hindu numerals.' Later they came to be called "Arabic numerals" in Europe, because they were introduced to the West by Arab merchants.

7. Separate Fingerprints

The unusual case of two men, both prisoners at the same prison at Leavenworth Penitentiary in Kansas caused considerable confusion. The two men looked virtually identical, same name, same measurements, almost identical facial features, but to much surprise to prison officials, two completely different individuals. One man was called Will West, the other man was William West. So ring in the era of fingerprint identification. It was the case that ushered in the age of positive fingerprinting.

6. Recycled Dentures

Before dentures were invented, teeth were pulled from the mouths of dead soldiers for use as prosthetics. In 1815, dentistry was in its infancy, and the mouths of the rich were rotten. So they took teeth for their dentures from the bodies of tens of thousands of dead soldiers on the battlefield at Waterloo.

5. Giant Mushroom

There’s a giant mushroom in Oregon’s Malheur National Forest with a root system that covers over 2,200 acres, making it the largest living organism in the world.

4. Lord Byron's Pet

The famous Romantic poet and scandal-prone aristocrat Lord Byron was a great lover of animals, but his choice of pet while he was a student was more than a little unorthodox. In 1805, when he became a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, the college authorities told him that pet dogs were banned. He was so annoyed by the draconian rules that he brought a tame bear instead and kept the bear in his college dorm room.

3. Live Cat Phone

What do a cat and a telephone have in common? They were the same thing in an experiment conducted in 1929 by Professor Ernest Glen Wever and his research assistant Charles William Bray at Princeton University. They successfully turned a live cat into a functioning telephone.

2. Kim Jong Il - Hidden talent

The late North Korean dictator, Kim Jong II was an interesting person. Besides being an excellent golf player, a cognac lover and a movie enthusiast, Kim Jong-il was a composer as well. Kim Jong Il wrote six operas. One of his plays, 'Sea of Blood' has been staged over 1,500 times, and Korea News Service has called it an 'immortal classical masterpiece.'

1. Daniel Boone's Hat

Contrary to popular belief, the legendary American frontiersman, Daniel Boone who was often portrayed wearing a coonskin fur cap, did not actually wear one. His son Nathan wrote, he 'always despised the raccoon fur caps and did not wear one himself.' Instead, Boone actually wore a felt cap.

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