The women of the Tiwi tribe in the South Pacific are married at birth.
When Albert Einstein died, his final words died with him. The nurse at his side didn't understand German.
St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was not Irish.
The lance ceased to be an official battle weapon in the British Army in 1927.
St. John was the only one of the 12 Apostles to die a natural death.
Many sailors used to wear gold earrings so that they could afford a proper burial when they died.
Some very Orthodox Jew refuse to speak Hebrew, believing it to be a language reserved only for the Prophets.
A South African monkey was once awarded a medal and promoted to the rank of corporal during World War I.
Born 4 January 1838, General Tom Thumb's growth slowed at the age of 6 months, at 5 years he was signed to the
circus by P.T. Barnum, and at adulthood reached a height of only 1 metre.
Because they had no proper rubbish disposal system, the streets of ancient Mesopotamia became literally knee-deep in
The Toltecs, Seventh-century native Mexicans, went into battle with wooden swords so as not to kill their enemies.
China banned the pigtail in 1911 as it was seen as a symbol of feudalism.
The Amayra guides of Bolivia are said to be able to keep pace with a trotting horse for a distance of 100 kilometres.
Sliced bread was patented by a jeweller, Otto Rohwedder, in 1928. He had been working on it for 16 years, having
started in 1912.
Before it was stopped by the British, it was the not uncommon for women in some areas of India to choose to be burnt
alive on their husband's funeral pyre.
Ivan the terrible claimed to have 'deflowered thousands of virgins and butchered a similar number of resulting offspring'.
Before the Second World War, it was considered a sacrilege to even touch an Emperor of Japan.
An American aircraft in Vietnam shot itself down with one of its own missiles.
The Anglo-Saxons believed Friday to be such an unlucky day that they ritually slaughtered any child unfortunate
enough to be born on that day.
During the eighteenth century, laws had to be brought in to curb the seemingly insatiable appetite for gin amongst the
poor. Their annual intake was as much as five million gallons.
Ancient drinkers warded off the devil by clinking their cups
Here is Dave the Stumbler's correction:
"Ancient drinkers warded off the devil by clinking their cups" is slightly inaccurate. The actual reason it was done was
out of trust and respect. One of the most common ways to assassinate someone long ago was by poisoning. Few had
any ideas of the workings of the body and thus made it hard to discern from say a heart attack, cardiac embolism,
aneurysm or anything that struck and left little visible injury.
What they would do then, to protect themselves when being around someone new or unproven, was to pour a little of
each others drink into the others cup, thus proving the persons lack of guilt by their willingness to drink what they were
suspected of poisoning. In the same way that men stopped bowing and removing their hats and instead tipped them
downward like cowboys do, people stopped pouring the contents back and forth and instead just clinked them together
The Nobel Prize resulted form a late change in the will of Alfred Nobel, who did not want to be remembered after his
death as a propagator of violence - he invented dynamite.
The cost of the first pay-toilets installed in England was tuppence.
Pogonophobia is the fear of beards.
In 1647 the English Parliament abolished Christmas.
Mao Rse-Tang, the first chairman of the Chinese Communist Party, was born 26 December 1893. Before his rise to
power, he occupied the humble position of Assistant Librarian at the University of Peking.
Coffee is the second largest item of international commerce in the world. The largest is petrol.
King George III was declared violently insane in 1811, 9 years before he died.
In Ancient Peru, when a woman found an 'ugly' potato, it was the custom for her to push it into the face of the nearest
For Roman Catholics, 5 January is St Simeon Stylites' Day. He was a fifth-century hermit who showed his devotion to
God by spending literally years sitting on top of a huge flagpole.
When George I became King of England in 1714, his wife did not become Queen. He placed her under house arrest for
The richest 10 per cent of the French people are approximately fifty times better off than the poorest 10 per cent.
Henry VII was the only British King to be crowned on the field of battle
During World War One, the future Pope John XXIII was a sergeant in the Italian Army.
Richard II died aged 33 in 1400. A hole was left in the side of his tomb so people could touch his royal head, but 376
years later some took advantage of this and stole his jawbone.
The magic word "Abracadabra" was originally intended for the specific purpose of curing hay fever.
The Puritans forbade the singing of Christmas Carols, judging them to be out of keeping with the true spirit of Christmas.
Albert Einstein was once offered the Presidency of Israel. He declined saying he had no head for problems.
Uri Geller, the professional psychic was born on December 20 1946. As to the origin of his alleged powers, Mr Geller
maintains that they come from the distant planet of Hoova.
Ralph and Carolyn Cummins had 5 children between 1952 and 1966, all were born on the 20 February.
John D. Rockefeller gave away over US$ 500,000,000 during his lifetime.
Only 1 child in 20 are born on the day predicted by the doctor.
In the 1970's, the Rhode Island Legislature in the US entertained a proposal that there be a $2 tax on every act of
sexual intercourse in the State.
Widows in equatorial Africa actually wear sackcloth and ashes when attending a funeral.
The 'Hundred Years War' lasted 116 years.
The British did not release the body of Napoleon Bonaparte to the French until twenty days after his death.
Admiral Lord Nelson was less than 1.6 metres tall.
John Glenn, the American who first orbited the Earth, was showered with 3,529 tonnes of ticker tape when he got back.
Native American Indians used to name their children after the first thing they saw as they left their tepees subsequent to
the birth. Hence such strange names as Sitting Bull and Running Water.
Catherine the First of Russia, made a rule that no man was allowed to get drunk at one of her parties before nine
Queen Elizabeth I passed a law which forced everyone except for the rich to wear a flat cap on Sundays.
In 1969 the shares of the Australian company 'Poseidon' were worth $1, one year later they were worth $280 each.
Julius Caesar wore a laurel wreath to cover the onset of baldness.
Ernest Bevin, Minister of Labour during World War II, left school at the age of eleven.
At the age of 12, Martin Luther King became so depressed he tried committing suicide twice, by jumping out of his
It is illegal to be a prostitute in Siena, Italy, if your name is Mary.
The Turk's consider it considered unlucky to step on a piece of bread.
The authorities do not allow tourists to take pictures of Pygmies in Zambia.
The Dutch in general prefer their french fries with mayonnaise.
Upon the death of F.D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman became the President of America on 12 April 1945. The initial S in
the middle of his name doesn't in fact mean anything. Both his grandfathers had names beginning with 'S', and so
Truman's mother didn't want to disappoint either of them.
Sir Isaac Newton was obsessed with the occult and the supernatural.
One of Queen Victoria's wedding gifts was a 3 metre diameter, half tonne cheese.
Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, never phoned his wife or his mother, they were both deaf.
It was considered unfashionable for Venetian women, during the Renaissance to have anything but silvery-blonde hair.
Queen Victoria was one of the first women ever to use chloroform to combat pain during childbirth.
Peter the Great had the head of his wife's lover cut off and put into a jar of preserving alcohol, which he then ordered to
be placed by her bed.
The car manufacturer Henry Ford was awarded Hitler's Grand Cross of the Supreme Order of the German Eagle. Henry
Ford was the inventor of the assembly line, and Hitler used this knowledge of the assembly line to speed up production,
and to create better and interchangeable products.
Atilla the Hun is thought to have been a dwarf.
The warriors tribes of Ethiopia used to hang the testicles of those they killed in battle on the ends of their spears.
On 15 April 1912 the SS Titanic sunk on her maiden voyage and over 1,500 people died. Fourteen years earlier a novel
was published by Morgan Robertson which seemed to foretell the disaster. The book described a ship the same size as
the Titanic which crashes into an iceberg on its maiden voyage on a misty April night. The name of Robertson's fictional
ship was the Titan.
There are over 200 religious denominations in the United States.
Eau de Cologne was originally marketed as a way of protecting yourself against the plague.
Charles the Simple was the grandson of Charles the Bald, both were rulers of France.
Theodor Herzi, the Zionist leader who was born on May 2 1860, once had the astonishing idea of converting Jews to
Christianity as a way of combating anti-Semitism.
The women of an African tribe make themselves more attractive by permanently scaring their faces.
Augustus II, the Elector of Saxony and King of Poland seemed to have a prodigious sexual appetite, and fathered
hundreds of illegitimate children during his lifetime.
Some moral purists in the Middle Ages believed that women's ears ought to be covered up because the Virgin May had
conceived a child through them.
Hindus don't like dying in bed, they prefer to die beside a rive
[edit on 7/18/2008 by mrmonsoon]