The Wright Brothers Fly to the Moon

The first airplane flight covered a mere 852 feet, but a part of that plane ultimately flew nearly half a million miles. When Neil Armstrong and his crew of Apollo 11 landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, they made history. They were also aware that they were standing on the shoulders of giants... Continue Reading →

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The Accidental Invasions of Liechtenstein

Switzerland has a long-standing tradition of neutrality and rarely gets involved in military confrontation. It may, therefore, surprise you to learn that Switzerland has invaded its neighboring country Liechtenstein, not once, but three times in a 22-year period -- each time by accident! On December 5, 1985, the Swiss Army fired rockets as part of... Continue Reading →

The Great Tootsie Roll Battle of the Korean War

On Veteran's Day we honor and celebrate those who have served their country in the armed forces. These individuals are known for bravery, selflessness, commitment to duty, and innovation in the face of challenges. Few moments in history illustrate all of these characteristics better than the Battle of Chosin Reservoir, when soldiers used a tasty... Continue Reading →

Nothing Says, “I Love You” Like Your Husband’s Severed Head in a Bag

Sir Walter Raleigh’s life came to an end on October 29, 1618. On orders from James I, the executioner took Raleigh’s head from his shoulders (although needing two strikes of the axe to finish the job). It then fell to his wife to bury his body -- well, most of it, anyway. Having removed Raleigh’s... Continue Reading →

Great Strategy. Bad Geography.

When it came to big names in the Viking community, Hastein was certainly a rising star. This 9th century chieftain made his name with raids in the Frankish Empire (notably avoiding Scotland, as Vikings had been warned to do) and joint efforts with Sweden’s King Björn Ironside to raid countries in the Mediterranean. It was... Continue Reading →

The Second Round of the Hamilton/Burr Duel

One of the most famous rivalries in history was between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. It culminated in a duel between the two men, resulting in Hamilton's death  (the rather gory details of which are documented here). What is not as well known is the fact that there was a second round fought between Hamilton and... Continue Reading →

How did Pirates Keep the United States from Going Metric?

Of all the countries in the world, only the United States, Burma, and Liberia have not adopted the International System of Units, more commonly known as the metric system. It may seem odd that the USA, as leader of the free world, has resisted the system that works so well for everyone else. Some chalk... Continue Reading →

Winston Churchill’s Prescription for Prohibition

Winston Churchill was well known for his fondness of alcohol, and he was concerned that his access to his favorite drink would be curtailed during his visits to the United States in its Prohibition days. To make sure he was never without accessible libation, he persuaded his physician to write him a prescription, describing his... Continue Reading →

Et tu, Next Breath?

One of the most famous assassinations in history took place on March 15, 44 BC. Julius Caesar was attacked by a group of Roman senators and stabbed to death. William Shakespeare famously records his last words as, “Et tu, Brute? Then fall Caesar!” (Julius Caesar). Others say his last words were Greek, “Καί σύ, τέκνον.”... Continue Reading →

Horsing Around With Royalty

President Ronald Reagan shared Queen Elizabeth II's love of horses. During a state visit to the United Kingdom, the President accepted the Queen's invitation to go horseback riding together. As the two leaders rode along, the Queen's horse suddenly began expelling gas loudly, in sync with each step. The Queen was mortified and said, "Oh, I am... Continue Reading →

Lincoln’s Dog Followed Him Even in Death

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) knew the value of a faithful friend. Maybe that's why he acquired a yellow mixed-breed dog in 1855 when he lived in Springfield, Illinois. The future President named the dog Fido, and they quickly became inseparable. Their connection would unite them in life -- and in death.  Fido accompanied Lincoln everywhere in... Continue Reading →

Scottish Independence Started with a Broken Axe

History records that Scots won their freedom at the Battle of Bannockburn on June 24, 1314. The battle raged for two days before the heavily outnumbered Scots defeated the professional military of England's Edward II.  The battle could easily have been over before it started. On June 23, as the two armies caught sight of... Continue Reading →

Brief Facts About the Shortest Presidential Term

Pedro Lascuráin held the highest governmental office in Mexico briefly. Very briefly. In fact, he holds the record for the shortest term in history as a nation's president. He was sworn in as Mexico's 34th President on February 19, 1913. Less than one hour later, his term of office was over. His administration was not... Continue Reading →

The Getty Kidnapping: How Much is a Grandson’s Life Worth?

  Jean Paul Getty (1892-1976) was one of the wealthiest man in the world. In 1966 the Guinness Book of Records named him as the wealthiest man on the planet with a fortune of $1.2 billion ($9.1 billion in 2017). He earned his fortune in the oil business, and in 1996 The Wealthy 100 ranked him as the 67th... Continue Reading →

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