My Top Twenty Tales

So, recently I asked my mom if I could start a book blog; because I absolutely love books.  I can't live without them.  Her response was:

"Honey, you can do whatever you want on your blog! Do a couple book reviews if you want." So I paused, looked at her, then asked:

"So....if I wanted to do a topic on random, obscure facts in history, I can do it?" Needless to say, she agreed, and that is what this blog post is about, just because I'm a history geek.

When I was homeschooled, history was my favorite subject.  It was always fascinating. But, the coolest part was learning obscure things that not many history classes teach!

So, here it is, without further ado: My Top Twenty Tales

1) Otto Frank, father of Anne Frank, fought in the Imperial German Army during WWI.  Later, his entire family was killed for being Jewish during WWII by the same country he had previously defended.

2) The author of Dracula, Bram Stoker, was inspired by the 15th century Romanian ruler, Vlad the Impaler, who impaled around 20,000 Ottoman Turks, and then proceeded to drink their blood.

3) Ever wondered why the Pharaoh who enslaved the Israelites couldn't remember Joseph and his family? The Egyptians wrote down all their stories and records, unlike some cultures that passed stories down orally from one generation to the next. How did Pharaoh forget the man that saved the country?
What the Bible does not record is the Hyksos' invasion of Egypt.  They burned the scrolls, tried to wipe out their history and ruled over the nation for quite a long time before an Egyptian prince managed to take back over.  By that time, everyone had forgotten the great famine and Joseph.

 4) The emperor who was reigning while Jesus Christ was crucified was Tiberius. He was away in his own private "palace" far away from Rome.  If he would have been present, Jesus Christ would have been shipped off to him for a proper trial and would most likely not have been crucified in Jerusalem, thus not fulfilling the prophesies.

5) Incestuous marriages in Egypt were common, especially within the royal family.  DNA tests done to King Tut's parents show that they are siblings, possibly explaining his deformities and his early death.

6) Ok, this one really isn't history but it's really funny.  Humans that have lived throughout the past century have been 50% heavier than in all of history.

7) Columbus was not the first European to discover the Americas. No, it was Leif Erikson...almost 500 years before Columbus sailed.

8) Napoleon wasn't actually short. He was 5"7, which, in fact, was taller than the average height for a Frenchman, that being about 5"5.  When Napoleon died, he was recorded at being 5" French units. In modern universal units, he was just shy of 5"7.

9) From 1815-1830, the French flag was pure white.  Nothing else.  Now that is pure ingenuity and originality.  Not so much creativity.

10) For how large and prosperous the Roman Empire was, it was actually not the largest empire in history.  It was actually 28th on the list.  The largest empire was the British Empire in 1920, which covered 23.84% of the world. The Roman Empire covered 3.36% of the world.

11) There are more slaves in captivity today around the world today than ever before in history.

12) Benjamin Franklin wrote a scientific essay on farts, called "Fart Proudly".  This is not one I would recommend to teenage boys.  (Or anyone really)

13) Alexander the Great is known for his amazingly successful military career...and his amazingly large ego as well.  Out of the 70 cities that Alexander the Great founded, he named 20 after himself...and one after his beloved horse, Bucephalus, which meant ox-head.  Can you imagine living in a city named that?

14) Do you know what ailurophobia is?  It is the fear of cats.  Do you know what famous people in history were afraid of cats? Hitler, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and Mussolini.  Now, those are fearless leaders!

15) Abraham Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.  However, Abraham Lincoln's son was saved from a train accident by John Booth's brother, Edwin Booth.

16) College degrees are important right? Well, for those of you who worry about them day and night, Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, and Thomas Edison had no degree. (Now, I'm not saying don't get one. They can be helpful)

17) Do you know anyone with sideburns? Well, next time you see them tell them that the term 'sideburns' comes from a Civil War general named Ambrose Burnsides.

18) Pope Gregory IX declared cats to be evil, leading to thousands of cats being killed, thus allowing rats to run rampant....and spreading what is known as the bubonic plague, killing almost a third of Europe.  Ain't that a good example of "think before you speak"?

19) Mustard gas, a terrible weapon used WWI, was also instrumental in the discovery of chemotherapy.  Mustard gas was seen to destroy normal white blood cells, so some doctors though that it could possibly destroy abnormal (AKA- cancerous ones) as well.  It worked.

20) For this last one, I have literally found the Chuck Norris of WWI. His name was Anibal Augusto Milhais, a Dutch soldier.  Twice, he stood by himself and fought back an entire German regiment with his Lewis machine gun.  Twice, he convinced the regiment that they were shooting at much more than one man.  Twice, did he allow his Belgian unit to retreat safely behind the trenches with no casualties.  His nickname? Soldier Millions.

As a missionary family, we have been given many opportunities to travel, and to learn about the history surrounding those areas.  It adds a whole new dynamic to the areas we visit.  Traveling has increased our love of history as we see how it has shaped the world we live in today.

So, here's my challenge to you, whether or not you travel often, to find out more about the history behind where you are.  Look things up, learn something new.  Even if the only benefit you can find is being the interesting person at the dinner table with all the weird or unbelievable facts, take it!  If you learn something new every'll end with 365 things to talk about at the dinner table by the end of the year, and 365 things that you never would have known.


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