The black top hat-like piece of headwear most commonly seen in depictions of Plymouth Rock-era Pilgrims is known as a capotain, capatain or copotain. It was popular in England and northwestern Europe from the 1590s-1650s. Contrary to popular depiction, it did not have a buckle on the front.
A foul-smelling compound called “Who Me” was developed by the French Resistance during WWII to defile German troops in an olfactory sense. The same basic formula is now used to test air freshener products.
Julius Caesar’s famous quote “Veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered), written in 47 BC, referred to his recent victory over Pharnaces II of Pontus at the Turkish city of Zela.
The concept of the lucky number stems from ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras. He believed that everything in the universe, including the human soul was mathematical, and the soul was a purified number.
From 1946-1952, the United Nations was based in Nassau County at the Sperry Gyroscope Corporation’s facility in Lake Success.
The cravat, ancestor of the necktie and bowtie originating in 17th century Europe, took so long to properly tie into one of its hundreds of different knots that messing up someone’s cravat was a dueling offense.
Presidential religious tallies (some switched faiths, so the numbers don’t add up).
Baptist: 4, Congregationalist: 2, Disciples of Christ: 3, Dutch Reformed: 2, Episcopalian: 12, Methodist: 4, Presbyterian: 8, Quaker: 2, Roman Catholic: 1, Unitarian: 4, United Church of Christ: 1, no affiliation: 6.
No group was given the specific name “Pilgrims” on the voyage of the Mayflower. They went by either “First Comers,” “The Ancient Brethren” or “The Ancient Men.” Those on the voyage who were not religious separatists were called “Strangers.”
Chew on this, conspiracy theorists: The day JFK was shot in Dallas, Richard Nixon was across town at a Pepsi convention—he was the soft drink company’s lawyer.
Origin of the term “bought the farm”— If an Air Force training flight crashed on a farm (wherein the pilot usually died), the owner could sue the government for damages and receive enough money to pay off his mortgage and buy the farm outright.
The word “barbarian” originally applied to foreign peoples who did not speak Greek (“bar-bar-bar” was ancient Greece’s “blah-blah-blah,” representing unintelligible speech). So technically every non-Greek civilization is barbarian.
Sociologists surmise that a typical 10-year-old living before the 20th century was more mature and independent than today’s 25-year-old. In fact, children as young as five were expected to behave like adults then.