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History Trivia

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The Coliseum received its name not for its size, but for a colossal statue of Nero that stood close by, placed there after the destruction of his palace.

In 1778, fashionable women of Paris never went out in blustery weather without a lightning rod attached to their hats.

In Northern parts of China it was once a common practice to shave pigs. When the evenings got cold the Chinese would take a pig to bed with them for warmth and found it more comfortable if the pig was clean-shaven.

Until 1796, there was a state in the United States called Franklin. Today it's known as Tennessee.

The traditional symbol of the pawnbroker—three golden balls—is thought to be derived from the coat of the arms of the Medici family, who ruled Italian city of Florence between the 15th and 16th centuries. The symbol was spread by the Lombards—Italian bankers, goldsmiths, and moneylenders who set up businesses in medieval London.

When the U.S. War Department was established in 1789, there were 840 soldiers in the regular army. Their job was to supervise public lands and guard the indian frontier.

In 1907 the first taxicab took to the streets of New York City.

WWI flying ace Jean Navarre attacked a zeppelin armed with only a kitchen knife.

Catherine the Great relaxed by being tickled.

Despite his great scientific and artistic achievement, Leonardo Da Vinci was most proud of his ability to bend iron with his bare hands.

Louisa May Alcott, author of the classic "Little Women," hated kids. She only wrote the book because her publisher asked her to.

Soldiers arrived to fight the Battle of Marne in World War I - not on foot or by military airplane or military vehicle - but by taxi cabs. France took over all the taxi cabs in Paris to get soldiers to the front.

The U.S. Automobile Association was formed in 1905 for the purpose or providing "scouts" who could warn motorists of hidden police traps.

On June 8, 1959, in a move a postal official heralded as "of historic significance to the peoples of the entire world," the Navy submarine U.S.S. Barbero fired a guided missile carrying 3,000 letters at the Naval Auxiliary Air Station in Mayport, Florida. "Before man reaches the moon," the official was quoted as saying, "mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to Britain, to India or Australia by guided missiles." History proved differently, but this experiment with missile mail exemplifies the pioneering spirit of the Post Office Department when it came to developing faster, better ways of moving the mail.... however, they don't mention if the 3,000 letters were ever delivered.

Chrysler built B-29's that bombed Japan, Mitsubishi built Zeros that tried to shoot them down. Both companies now build cars in a joint plant called Diamond Star.

New Zealand was the first place in the world to allow women to vote. The state of South Australia was next, in 1894, and it was also the first place to allow women to stand for parliament.

The Taj Mahal complex in India was built between 1631 and 1634 at a cost of about 40-million rupees.

The first telephone exchange opened on January 28, 1878, in New Haven, Connecticut.

In the late 30's, a man named Abe Pickens of Cleveland, Ohio, attempted to promote world peace by placing personal calls to various country leaders. He managed to contact Mussolini, Hirohito, Franco and Hitler (Hitler, who didn't understand English, transferred him to an aide). He spent$10,000 to "give peace a chance."

A female pharaoh was unknown in Egypt before Hatshepsut, who had herself portrayed in male costume, with a beard and without breasts.

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