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History Trivia

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New York's Central Park opened in 1876.

Minna Braun, a nurse in Berlin, Germany, was pronounced dead from an overdose of sleeping pills and, as was customary in suicides, was buried in an open grave (The next day the coffin's nailed lid was opened to permit identification of the body), and the girl was found to be alive. She recovered and returned to her nursing duties. (Oct. 28, 1919)

What would eventually become one of the world's most prestigious museums, the Louvre Museum opened in Paris in 1793. Until the French Revolution, the King's art collection had been strictly for the private pleasure of the Court, but revolutionary leaders decided to open the collection to the public. Among some of its most famous art pieces, the Louvre houses, the Joconde (Mona Lisa), Venus de Milo, the Winged Victory of Samothrace, and the Liberty Leading the People.

Ishi had made it very clear before he died that he did not want to be autopsied. However, his wishes were ignored and his body was autopsied and the brain removed and sent to the Smithsonian, where scientists were collecting brains for a study of brain size and race. After 83 years, the Smithsonian is finally returning the brain of Ishi to his closest relatives so they can bury his remains.

Ishi's remains will be given to representative of the Redding Rancheria and the Pit River Tribe, two Native American groups from Northern California. Ishi was actually a Yahi-Yana Indian. Smithsonian officials decided that the two tribes were the closest living relatives and truly represented the Yana descendants.

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.

Spartacus led the revolt of the Roman slaves and gladiators in 73 A.D.

Seat belts became mandatory on U.S. cars on March 1, 1968.

There were 57 countries involved in World War II.

Socrates committed suicide by drinking poison hemlock.

The Korean War began on June 25, 1950.

A B-25 bomber airplane crashed into the 79th floor of the Empire State Building on July 28, 1945.

India tested its first nuclear bomb in 1974.

After the great fire of Rome in A.D. 64, the emperor Nero ostensibly decided to lay the blame on Christians residing in the city of Rome. These he gathered together, crucified, covered in pitch (tar), and burnt alive. He walked around his gardens admiring the view.

Most people know that the reign of Czar Nicholas II of Russia ended in tragedy, but few know that's how it started as well. At his coronation, presents were given to all the people who attended. As the gifts were being handed out, a rumor started that there weren't enough to go around and a stampede started. Hundreds of women and children were killed.

The first known item made from aluminum was a rattle—made for Napoleon III in the 1850s. Napoleon also provided his most honored guests with knives and forks made of pure aluminum. At the time the newly discovered metal was so rare, it was considered more valuable than gold.

General Henry Heth (1825-1888) leading a confederate division in the Battle of Gettysburg, was hit in the head by a Union bullet, but his life was saved because he was wearing a hat two sizes too large, with newspaper folded inside the sweatband. The paper deflected the bullet, and the general, unconscious for 30 hours, recovered and lived another 25 years.

During the American revolution, more inhabitants of the American colonies fought for the British than for the Continental Army.

During the Crimean War, the British Army lost ten times more troops to dysentery than to battle wounds.

During the Renaissance blond hair became so much de rigueur in Venice that a brunette was not to be seen except among the working classes. Venetian women spent hours dyeing and burnishing their hair until they achieved the harsh metallic glitter that was considered a necessity.

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