The world’s first traffic signal was short lived. Installed in London in 1868, it exploded less than a month later, injuring its policeman operator.
The Roman Imperial army created specialized fighting units to capture dangerous wild animals to fight in the Colosseum. They were forbidden from harming the animals and were considered to have one of the most dangerous jobs in the empire.
Life in Puritan New England was so hard that children who were abducted by Native Americans often refused to come back.
In the 19th century China came extremely close to being ruled by the leader of a Christian cult who believed he was the younger brother of Jesus Christ. It took the deadliest civil war in history with 30 million dead to defeat him.
Currency shaped like knives was in circulation in China from 770 to 220 BC.
Former dictator of Equatorial Guinea Francisco Macias Nguema banned the use of lubricants in Malabo city power plant, saying he could run it using magic. The plant exploded.
In 18th century England, umbrellas were strictly taboo and seen as a detestable, effeminate contraption. Cab drivers saw them as a threat to their business and grew violent towards umbrella owners.
In 1894, London and New York were “drowning” in horse poop. It was estimated that within 50 years, London streets would be buried in 9 feet of poop and horse carcasses. But the invention of the automobile resolved the problem.
The world’s oldest paycheck- dating back 5,000 years in Mesopotamia- shows that workers were paid in beer.
An invasion of Canada that would have likely handed control of the Niagara peninsula to the USA was thwarted when one woman overheard the plans, walked 20 miles through wilderness, and warned a British Lieutenant. The invading Americans were ambushed and promptly surrendered.