Vlad the Impaler, the inspiration for Dracula, was so feared in his nation of Wallachia (present-day Romania) that it is said he placed a golden cup in the central square of the capital city of Târgovite ostensibly for travelers to get a drink, and it remained in that exact spot for six years—the duration of his reign.
Annie Moore, an Irish teenager, was the first official immigrant processed at Ellis Island on January 1, 1892. Her fate in the New World is unknown.
The Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider at LI’s own Brookhaven National Laboratory recently set the record for highest manmade temperature: 4 trillion degrees Celsius, far hotter than the core of the sun.
The 1982 biopic Gandhi holds the record for most extras in a scene. The depiction of the funeral of the titular character contained 300,000 mourners.
In 1972, Serbian flight attendant Vesna Vulovi? set a record when she survived a fall of 33,330 feet without a parachute when a bomb destroyed the DC-9 airliner in which she was working. Seat padding, angle of impact and depth of snow most likely contributed to her survival.
The first big battle of the Crusades was not fought in The Holy Land, but in Hungary in 1096, when French troops felt entitled to their fellow Christians’ crops and supplies. More than 4,000 were killed.
The Great Pyramid of Giza, at 481 feet, was the tallest structure in the world for more than 4,000 years until the completion of Germany’s Cologne Cathedral in 1880.
Columbus’ ships are known as Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. These are actually nicknames by the crew, the last two named after Spanish prostitutes.
Woodrow Wilson is the only President of the United States who could use the formal title “Dr.” He earned a PhD in history and political science from Johns Hopkins University in 1886 with a dissertation entitled Congressional Government: A Study in American Politics.
We all know Hitler’s Third Reich, but what of the First and Second Reichs? The first was the Holy Roman Empire which existed from about 800 to 1806 and the second was Hohenzollern Germany, which lasted from 1870 to 1919.
“Loo,” British slang for “toilet” comes from the French phrase “Gardez l’eau,” which means, “watch out for the water.” This was yelled just before a homeowner tossed the contents of their chamber pot onto the street.
An interesting reversal. St. Francis of Assisi: “An unwashed body is a stinking badge of piety.” John Wesley, founder of the Methodist church: “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”