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History Trivia

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After being forced to state in public that the earth does not rotate, Galileo is said to have muttered under his breath, "But it does move."

History's first recorded toothpaste was an Egyptian mixture of ground pumice and strong wine. But the early Romans brushed their teeth with human urine, and also used it as a mouthwash. Actually, urine was an active component in toothpaste and mouthwashes until well into the 18th century - the ammonia it contains gave them strong cleansing power.

The 16th century astronomer Tycho Brahe lost his nose in a duel with one of his students over a mathematical computation. He wore a silver replacement nose for the rest of his life.

"Hot cockles" was a popular game at Christmas in medieval times. It was a game in which the other players took turns striking the blindfolded player, who had to guess the name of the person delivering each blow. "Hot cockles" was still a Christmas pastime until the Victorian era.

Civil War General Stonewall Jackson died when he was accidentally hit by fire from his own troop.

When Napoleon wore black silk handkerchiefs around his neck during a battle, he always won. At Waterloo, he wore a white cravat and lost the battle and his kingdom.

Original 'Indian Yellow' was obtained at Monghyr, a town in Benghal, from the urine of cows which had been fed on mango leaves. It was found in the bazaars of Panjab in the form of large balls, having an offensive urinous odor. True Indian yellow has been absent from the market for some time; its production is said to have been prohibited in 1908. Present day Indian yellow colors are made of synthetic pigments, alternatives that are less fugitive and less offensive to the nose.

The steel industry, in 1943, introduced the 5-day, 40 hour work week. Henry Ford adopted it in 1926.

1892 By Presidential Proclamation 1.8 million acres of Crow Indian reservation in Montana were opened to White settlers. The U.S. government had induced the Crow to give up a sizable portion of their land in the mountainous western area of Montana. The Crow received 50 cents per acre for their land.

DaVinci is best remembered as the painter of the Mona Lisa (1504?)and The Last Supper (1495). But he's almost equally famous for his astonishing multiplicity of talents: he dabbled in architecture, sculpture, engineering, geology, hydraulics and the military arts, all with success, and in his spare time doodled parachutes and flying machines that resembled inventions of the 19th and 20th centuries.

DaVinci made detailed drawings of human anatomy, which are still highly regarded today.

DaVinci wrote notebook entries in mirror (backwards) script, a trick that kept many of his observations from being widely known until decades after his death. It is believed that he was hiding his scientific ideas from the powerful Roman Catholic Church, whose teachings sometimes disagreed with what Leonardo observed.

When Gaius Caesar was a boy, Roman soldiers affectionately nicknamed him "little boots" for the boy-sized military footwear he sported.

Although most people think that Napoleon was short, he was actually five feet six inches tall (1.676 meters), an average height for a Frenchman in those days.

The German Kaiser Wilhelm II had a withered arm and often hid the fact by posing with his hand resting on a sword, or by holding gloves.

Napoleon took 14,000 French decrees and simplified them into a unified set of 7 laws. This was the first time in modern history that a nation's laws applied equally to all citizens. Napoleon's 7 laws are so impressive that by 1960 more than 70 governments had patterned their own laws after them or used them verbatim.

More than 5,600 men died while building the Panama Canal. Today, it takes more than 8,000 workers to run and maintain the canal. It takes a ship an average of 33 hours to travel the length of the canal.

Poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was the first American to have plumbing installed in his house, in 1840.

While the world was busy welcoming the arrival of the twentieth century on December 31, 1900, a forceful gale on England's Salisbury Plain blew over one of the ancient monumental stones at Stonehenge.

In 1555, Ivan the Terrible ordered the construction of St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow. He was so thrilled with the work done by the two architects that he had them blinded so they could never be able to build anything else more beautiful.

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