Hey, let’s talk about the past. Cool history facts, interesting stories and news that makes us rethink what we thought we knew! Do you have a period you find fascinating?
I’m sure I’ll be back when I think of some specific ones, but in the mean time, may I recommend Richard Shenkman’s fun series of books about historical legends, lies and myths.
Oh, I can think of something, specifically because I once did research on it with the intent of writing a film script I never wrote (and I forgot most of the research):
In 1859, the U.S. and Britain almost went to war over a pig.
San Juan Island is an island near Seattle and the border between the U.S. and Canada (still part of Britain) went straight through it, so the island was shared between American settlers and the British East India Company.
At one point, a pig, who had done this several times before, escaped his American owner’s sty and went into the potato patch of the East India Company’s representative on the island and started eating the potatoes. The man responded by shooting and killing the pig.
This escalated into a bigger and bigger crisis and the two fleets of the two countries ended up being called in and facing each other off and they were about to start warring when-
Washington and London found out about it, said, “what the hell are you doing?! Knock it off!” and that was it.
Because of the year and the U.S. military being involved, many of the same people ended up being involved in the U.S. Civil War, including Henry Martyn Robert, who apparently was more affected by his time on the island than he was in the real war, because he’s best known for writing Robert’s Rules of Order, which he got the idea for while watching the islanders fight each other at a community meeting.
My major in college was History and my minor was Geology. I didn’t just study the history from the dawn of man but also from the dawn of time. Cool shtuff
I loved Geology, and was blown away with the time spans involved, like the Pre-Cambrian era is waaay longer than the rest of geologic history.
As far as history goes, I used to love telling my middle school students that Santa Claus was real, he had just passed away long ago (and there was more than one!).
As a teacher I would often find myself combining subjects to cover educational requirements. History is/ was the easiest to integrate, because all the subjects have it.
I love C. Wright Mills’ way of intersecting biography with history; using personal biographies to get a better sense of the social scene during their life.
I really enjoy reading about the histories of the various religions, sects, and cults that have and still do occupy our world. The history of religion is very interesting to me, and I have a great fondness for the ascetic history of monks, saints, and other holy people.