I tend to think I have a pretty good grasp on history. That is, until I come across historical facts that challenge or confuse what I thought I knew. There are so many historical facts that are just never mentioned or taught in school. Some are coincidences, some are just bizarre, and others change the way you look at certain historic events.
These facts don”t completely change what we were taught, but in some ways they make history even more exciting and interesting than it already is.
1. On July 4th, 1826, the day marking the 50th anniversary of The Declaration of Independence, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died.
2. A pirate was hired by a man in New Orleans to go to St. Helena and free Napoleon from his prison.
3. Swedish King Gustav I, actually founded Helsinki, the capital of Finland.
4. Talk about confusing…Great Britain”s King George I was German.
5. The first president of the Republic of Chile was Bernardo O”Higgins. He was Irish.
6. At the start of the Civil War, Ulysses S. Grant still owned slaves. Robert E. Lee, the Confederate commander, however, did not.
7. Political theorist Karl Marx served as a correspondent for The New York Daily Tribune.
8. The slave trade was banned by the American Confederacy”s Constitution.
9. Ancient Egyptians actually made beer.
10. Also the main character of a renowned Shakespeare play, there really was a King Macbeth of Scotland.
11. Early on in his life, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin studied to enter the priesthood.
12. On his first voyage, Abel Tasman discovered New Zealand, Tasmania, and Fiji. Somehow, though, he missed Australia.
13. You”ve got the Tea Party all wrong – the British government actually lowered taxes before the famous Boston protest.
14. Yasser Arafat and Henry Kissinger, who are often associated with violence, war, and crimes against humanity, have both received the Nobel Peace Prize. Mahatma Gandhi never did.
15. “D” stands for “Day” in the code name for the allied invasion of France in WWII, “D-Day.”
16. Fought because of a border dispute, the “War of Pork and Beans” was a bloodless conflict between Britain and the United States.
17. Co-authored by U.S. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg, the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact made war illegal.
There”s nothing like learning facts that are stranger than fiction to make you appreciate how much history we know nothing about.