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History Trivia

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Queen Liliuokalani of the Hawaiian Islands was America's only queen.

The symbols + (addition) and – (subtraction) came into general use in 1489.

Railroad conductors and mailmen in the United States refused to wear uniforms until after the U.S. Civil War. In 1844, policement in New York City staged a strike against their proposed blue uniforms. The reason for their opposition was that they considered uniforms to be symbols of servitude, as maids and butlers wore them in the old country.

The tax imposed on tea that triggered the infamous Boston Tea Party in 1773 was 3 pence per pound.

Red coral became a symbol of immortality to the ancient Greeks, presumably because of its branching shape and vibrant color. The Greeks believed it to be a panacea and protector against gout, poisons, and enchantments. Red and pink corals are still said to bring good luck to their owners.

The Times Square "time ball" is named the "Star of Hope." It was especially made for the Y2K millennium celebration and contains 504 glass crystals cut into triangles, 600 light bulbs, 96 big lights, and 92 mirrors.

Rich King Croesus of Lydians in Asia Minor issued the first money of gold – an oblong piece – in the sixth century. Soon the Greeks began minting money in the shape of discs, striking them with detailed high relief. Romans introduced the familiar serrated edges of today's coins as a way to discourage the practice of shaving off thin slices.

The toe of the metal statue of St. Peter in St. Peter's Cathedral, Rome, is worn down almost to a nub by the great number of pilgrims who have kissed it through the centuries.

Rome was founded in 753 B.C. and hit its peak between 98-117 A.D. In 410 A.D., Rome was raided by Alaric the Goth and the empire began to collapse.

The toga of ancient Rome was won only by freeborn men.

Ronald Reagan appointed the first woman, Sandra Day O'Connor, to the Supreme Court.

Sarah Edmonds was one of many women who fought in the U.S. Civil War in disguise as a boy and a man. She became a Union spy, and later deserted to protect her secret. Edmonds revealed her true identity after the war in an attempt to clear the desertion charges and gain a pension.

Scheduled to be demolished in 1968, Grand Central Station was saved by a campaign led by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and architect Philip Johnson. The station was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

The U.S. Civil War conflict had at least thirty different names during the 1800s: The War Against Northern Aggression, The War for States' Rights, The War for Constitutional Liberty, The War for the Preservation of the Union, The Brothers' War, Mr. Lincoln's War. Many Southerners back then preferred to call it “our Second War of Independence.” Some Southerners today eschew calling it the Civil War, preferring “The War Between the States.“ U.S. Official Records use the term “The War of the Rebellion.”

The U.S. Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 made it more difficult for black slaves to escape to freedom. Prior to the act passing, slaves were free if they could get to a free state or territory. The Fugitive Slave Act required that slaves be returned to their owners.

The U.S. Library of Congress has compiled a 232-source bibliography on the subject of when, properly speaking, centuries roll over. Almost all of the sources agree that the twentieth century will not end until December 31, 2000.

Scholars believe that the nursery rhyme "Humpty Dumpty" is more than 500 years old, and it was originally written to mock a nobleman who fell from favor with England's King Richard III. Why the character is an egg has yet to be explained.

The U.S. Lighthouse Service merged with the U.S. Coast Guard on July 7, 1939.

Seventeenth-century England used ashes, bread, and urine to clean their clothes.

The U.S. Lighthouse Service was founded on August 7, 1789.

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