Historical Nonfiction

fun facts, quotes, and pictures from history

Wait, What?

The US and the USSR mutually decided on Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). How? There is a treaty between them, limiting their defensive anti-ballistic missile systems. In other words, each could built bigger and bigger bombs, but they couldn’t build the defense systems to stop the bombs. Destruction was assured. And that’s how they avoided destruction! The Cold War was crazy, man.

(Source: Wikipedia)

"Obey Your Air Raid Warden" a fun song about what to do during an air raid, from 1942

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) is the only U.S. president who was also a licensed bartender. He was co-owner of Berry and Lincoln, a saloon in Springfield, Illinois.

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) is the only U.S. president who was also a licensed bartender. He was co-owner of Berry and Lincoln, a saloon in Springfield, Illinois.

Therefore, to stop the rumor [that he had set Rome on fire], he [Emperor Nero] falsely charged with guilt, and punished with the most fearful tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were [generally] hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of that name, was put to death as a criminal by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea, in the reign of Tiberius, but the pernicious superstition - repressed for a time, broke out yet again, not only through Judea, - where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, whither all things horrible and disgraceful flow from all quarters, as to a common receptacle, and where they are encouraged. Accordingly first those were arrested who confessed they were Christians; next on their information, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much on the charge of burning the city, as of “hating the human race.

In their very deaths they were made the subjects of sport: for they were covered with the hides of wild beasts, and worried to death by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set fire to, and when the day waned, burned to serve for the evening lights. Nero offered his own garden players for the spectacle, and exhibited a Circensian game, indiscriminately mingling with the common people in the dress of a charioteer, or else standing in his chariot. For this cause a feeling of compassion arose towards the sufferers, though guilty and deserving of exemplary capital punishment, because they seemed not to be cut off for the public good, but were victims of the ferocity of one man.

—Roman historian Tacitus’ account of Nero’s persecution of Christians, from his book Annals, published a few years after the event. At the time, Tacitus was a young man from an equestrian family (roughly equal to a knight’s family) living in Rome.

(Source: eyewitnesstohistory.com)

Hyderabad was founded in 1591 by the Sultan of Golkonda. He was a man in love, and so naturally named an entire city after his beloved — his wife Bhagamati. He had bestowed on her the title Hyder Mahal, hence the name of the city. The city was even built on the site of her childhood village. So romantic!

Hyderabad was founded in 1591 by the Sultan of Golkonda. He was a man in love, and so naturally named an entire city after his beloved — his wife Bhagamati. He had bestowed on her the title Hyder Mahal, hence the name of the city. The city was even built on the site of her childhood village. So romantic!

Mysterious Marine Threat Neutralized By Silly Name

Submarine crews in the Arctic and Atlantic have reported hearing strange noises similar to the sound a frog makes while submerged. Nicknamed the “Quacker” by Soviet crews, these sounds manifested only when the submarines would pass certain areas. It was discovered during the Cold War thanks to new technology made to pick up suspicious signals emerging from the depths of the ocean. Since the Americans and Russians took great pains to hide their submarines from each other, it was assumed the noise was coming from some type of hidden submarine detection technology. However, the evidence showed otherwise.

The truly bizarre thing about the quacker was that the sound would actually react to the submarines. It would avoid the submarines, move and circle around them, and elude sonar. It was concluded that the origin of the quacker couldn’t be another vessel as the speed of the quacker was around 200 km/h. These sounds faded in the 1980s, and while theories ranging from unidentified marine animals to aliens to secret military technology have been proposed, none have offered a solid explanation.

(Source: toptenz.net)

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I’m interested in creating my own website, with historical-nonfiction content plus interesting history things I come across that do not fit my usual tumblr format. If you are or would like to recommend a web designer, please send me a message!

The word “cappuccino” was invented in 1948. It was supposedly inspired by the color of the Capuchin monk’s brown robes

The word “cappuccino” was invented in 1948. It was supposedly inspired by the color of the Capuchin monk’s brown robes

Meet Snorri Sturluson, a renowned 13th century Icelander.
he was born a commoner, but raised by a relative of the Norwegian family
Snorri received a good education and when the time was right married into a cheftainship and estate
by this time, he had gained some renown as a gifted poet
Snorri  was elected lawspeaker for the Althing, the only public office in Iceland — and a position with considerable respect
by royal invitation, Snorri traveled to Norway. King Haakon piled the man with gifts,  and Snorri thanked him by writing poems glorifying the young king’s reign
when he returned he was re-elected lawspeaker, mainly due to his fame as a poet
King Haakon wanted to join with Iceland, and as a chieftain Snorri initially favored the idea. But he changed his mind, famously telling Hakon “I will go home”
Snorri’s“Heimskringla” the best-known of the Old Norse sagas, tells the stories of Norwegian kings and in the 1900s became seen in Norway as establishing an ancient national identity

Meet Snorri Sturluson, a renowned 13th century Icelander.

  • he was born a commoner, but raised by a relative of the Norwegian family
  • Snorri received a good education and when the time was right married into a cheftainship and estate
  • by this time, he had gained some renown as a gifted poet
  • Snorri  was elected lawspeaker for the Althing, the only public office in Iceland — and a position with considerable respect
  • by royal invitation, Snorri traveled to Norway. King Haakon piled the man with gifts,  and Snorri thanked him by writing poems glorifying the young king’s reign
  • when he returned he was re-elected lawspeaker, mainly due to his fame as a poet
  • King Haakon wanted to join with Iceland, and as a chieftain Snorri initially favored the idea. But he changed his mind, famously telling Hakon “I will go home”
  • Snorri’s“Heimskringla” the best-known of the Old Norse sagas, tells the stories of Norwegian kings and in the 1900s became seen in Norway as establishing an ancient national identity

The Most Famous Arm Wrestling Match In History

In 1992, the two CEOs of Southwest Airlines and Stevens Aviatons had a problem: their slogans were too damn similar. Both had thought up their own slogans, no one thought plagiarism was involved. But they couldn’t just keep on using the almost-same slogan. So the two CEOS decided to settle the issue like men. They had an arm-wrestling contest.

The two CEOs publicized the event and a big crowd turned out to watch “Malice in Dallas” in person. Southwest lost to Stevens, but in a sign of good faith they let the loser use the slogan anyway. It had saved both companies a lot of money and time in litigation and generated millions in publicity! I, for one, would love to see this become standard. X-Box versus Playstation? Thumb wars! Apple versus Android? Rock-paper-scissors! The world would be a happier (and more entertaining) place

(Source: opposingviews.com)

What we now call Iran has, in the past, been called Persia, Parthia, or Media, depending on the ethnic group ruling it.

What we now call Iran has, in the past, been called Persia, Parthia, or Media, depending on the ethnic group ruling it.

STERCULIUS: Roman god of fertilizer. Or, to be blunt, god of poop.

Romans had gods for everything. Now, they might not have beaten the ancient Egyptians (who had a god of the sun, the sun’s rays, and the sun disk) but the Romans still approached ludicrousness with their large and continually-expanding pantheon. Take Stericulius, for instance. A god of poop? Really, who needs that? Well farmers for one. Manure is and was essential for agriculture. And in an empire where the majority of the population worked the land, they took manure very very seriously. (I suspect certain invalids with … unfortunate bowel problems … also gave heartfelt prayers and offerings to Stericulius.)

(Source: godchecker.com)

A Massive Archive Of Pre-WWII, Eastern European Jewish Photos Is Now Available

The International Center of Photography in New York and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday announced the joint creation of a digital database to facilitate access to photographer Roman Vishniac’s archive.

image

Vishniac was a Russian-born Jew who moved to Berlin in 1920. He documented the rise of Nazi power and its effect on Jewish life in Central and Eastern Europe. He is one of the only known photographers working exclusively with Jews, and his collection is the largest known of Jewish life before the war. Most of his 9,000 negatives have never before been seen. 

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The museum and photography center are asking scholars and the public to help with identifying the people and places in the photos. And of course, this will help make a major and under-appreciated 20th-century photographer more widely known.

(Source: vishniac.icp.org)

Hillary Rodham began using her married name in the early 1980s, seven-ish years after she married and four-ish years after her husband became governor of Arkansas. “Hillary Clinton” appealed to Arkansas voters more for obvious reasons..

(Source: facts.randomhistory.com)

Bela Lugosi’s (1882-1956) face was used as a model for Satan in Walt Disney’s production Fantasia (1940). Lugosi was famous for playing Count Dracula on the stage and on screen.

(Source: facts.randomhistory.com)