Historical Nonfiction

fun facts, quotes, and pictures from history

Mary was the most popular girls’ name in the United States for sixty-seven consecutive years. It reigned from 1879 to 1946, until it was finally dethroned by Linda in 1947.

(Source: todayifoundout.com)

poorchoicesweremade:

historical-nonfiction:

When London Bridge was shipped to Arizona in 1968, it was classified by United States Customs as a “large antique”

The guy who bought it actually thought it was the Tower Bridge he was buying.

I do not know the sources on this, but if it were true, wouldn’t it be cool?

poorchoicesweremade:

historical-nonfiction:

When London Bridge was shipped to Arizona in 1968, it was classified by United States Customs as a “large antique”

The guy who bought it actually thought it was the Tower Bridge he was buying.

I do not know the sources on this, but if it were true, wouldn’t it be cool?

(Source: BuzzFeed)

When London Bridge was shipped to Arizona in 1968, it was classified by United States Customs as a “large antique”

When London Bridge was shipped to Arizona in 1968, it was classified by United States Customs as a “large antique”

(Source: BuzzFeed)

Want of care does us more damage than want of knowledge

—Benjamin Franklin, in his Poor Richard’s Almanac

(Source: futilitycloset.com)

To the ancient Romans, a “circus” meant a racetrack and its stadium, not clowns and elephants. 

The Great Pyramids of Giza, as you’ve never seen them before — at the edge of a sprawling metropolis and the vast desert.

The Great Pyramids of Giza, as you’ve never seen them before — at the edge of a sprawling metropolis and the vast desert.

(Source: demilked.com)

Harvard University was founded before calculus was derived by Newton and Leibniz

(Source: Wikipedia)

The Varangians were the elite forces of the Byzantine army- much like the Praetorian Guard of ancient Rome or the Ottoman Janissaries.  They were originally made up exclusively of Vikings (which the empire had been hiring as mercenaries since the 800s), but after the Norman Conquest of England a bunch of exiled Anglo-Saxons were added to the mix.  By the 1100s there were so many English that it was commonly being referred to as the ‘Anglo-Varangian’ Guard.  As the empire declined, the Varangians also fell on hard times.  By the middle of the 1300s they had largely ceased to function and the last mention of them is in the first decade of the 1400s.

The Varangians were the elite forces of the Byzantine army- much like the Praetorian Guard of ancient Rome or the Ottoman Janissaries.  They were originally made up exclusively of Vikings (which the empire had been hiring as mercenaries since the 800s), but after the Norman Conquest of England a bunch of exiled Anglo-Saxons were added to the mix.  By the 1100s there were so many English that it was commonly being referred to as the ‘Anglo-Varangian’ Guard.  As the empire declined, the Varangians also fell on hard times.  By the middle of the 1300s they had largely ceased to function and the last mention of them is in the first decade of the 1400s.

(Source: larsbrownworth.com)

Canola oil was originally called rapeseed oil, but rechristened by the Canadian oil industry in 1978 because it was hard to sell something with rape in the name. “Canola” is short for “Canadian oil.”

(Source: BuzzFeed)

Tomoe Gozen, female samurai and badass. 
lived from around 1157 to 1247
fought in the Genpei War (1180–1185)
the only historical account of her is the The Tale of Heike, an epic retelling of the struggle for supremacy between the Taira and Minamoto clans in the war
however, her grave and one of her handmaiden’s graves exist today, so she was probably real
Tomoe was described as extremely beautiful (of course)
a superb archer and swordswoman, both riding and on foot
was “a warrior worth a thousand”
she also rode unbroken horses down cliffs!

Tomoe Gozen, female samurai and badass. 

  • lived from around 1157 to 1247
  • fought in the Genpei War (1180–1185)
  • the only historical account of her is the The Tale of Heike, an epic retelling of the struggle for supremacy between the Taira and Minamoto clans in the war
  • however, her grave and one of her handmaiden’s graves exist today, so she was probably real
  • Tomoe was described as extremely beautiful (of course)
  • a superb archer and swordswoman, both riding and on foot
  • was “a warrior worth a thousand”
  • she also rode unbroken horses down cliffs!

(Source: Wikipedia)

Shakespeare’s Lost Work

The History of Cardenio. A mysterious play written by Shakespeare and John Fletcher, a man he also collaborated with on Henry VIII and Two Noble Kinsmen. The piece was centered on a character in Miguel de Cervantes’ epic novel Don Quixote. Evidence of the play exists in a few places, including a list of the plays to be performed by the King’s Men (Shakespeare’s acting company) in May 1613. So The History of Cardenio was written, performed, and then lost to time.

Or was it? In the 1700s, Lewis Theobald, a Shakespeare editor and playwright, claimed to have found a copy of the manuscript. He “improved” on it, turning it into another play called Double Falsehood. The manuscript Theobald claimed to have was placed in London’s Covent Garden Playhouse, which burned to the ground in the early 1800s. Whether or not Theobald was telling the truth (and some scholars maintain that he was), we still don’t have the unadulterated version from the greatest playwright who ever lived.

(Source: listverse.com)

My Life Is A Lie

Etymologically speaking, the words “isle” and “island” are unrelated. “Isle” comes from the Latin īnsula, and “island” comes from the Old English īegland.

(Source: BuzzFeed)

Lectors, today meaning anyone who reads, used to a be a profitable job. Manual laborers would pool their money and hire a lector to read while they worked, keeping them entertained

Lectors, today meaning anyone who reads, used to a be a profitable job. Manual laborers would pool their money and hire a lector to read while they worked, keeping them entertained

(Source: dailynewsdig.com)