History is one big time warp. We just found some wild facts that really change our perception of time, and honestly, they aren’t sitting right with us. Let’s take a look at some crazy historical facts that will alter your perception of time. Keep reading to learn more!
1. Jimmy Carter was the first president to be born in a hospital
Jimmy Carter was the 39th President of the United States, but the first president to be born in a hospital. On October 1, 1924, James Earl Carter Jr. was born at the Wise Sanitarium (now the Lillian G. Carter Nursing Center). Surprisingly, not all of Carter’s successors were born in hospitals. Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were not born in a hospital. At least seven American presidents were born in log cabins, meaning that more presidents have been born in log cabins than in hospitals!
2. Harriet Tubman was born in Thomas Jefferson’s lifetime and died in Ronald Reagan’s
Harriet Tubman was born into slavery in March 1822, and died on March 10, 1913, meaning she was alive in the same eras as both Thomas Jefferson and Ronald Reagan. Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, and died on July 4, 1826. Ronald Reagan was born on February 6, 1911, and died on June 5, 2004. This fact just puts into perspective how much history truly happened in a short period of time.
3. Theoretically, Count Dracula could have tasted Coca-Cola, owned a Nintendo product, and worn Levi’s Jeans.
Count Dracula was the main character in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, published in 1897. By 1897, the Coca-Cola Company, Levi Strauss & Co., and Nintendo had already been established. Coca-Cola was originated in 1886, Levi Strauss & Co. invented the blue jean in 1873, and in 1889, the Nintendo company was born (but obviously not in the same capacity that we know today).
4. The last Mayan City-State fell after most of America’s 13 colonies had been founded
The Mayan Civilization is often thought of as an ancient civilization, but in reality, the “ancient” Mayan Civilization was also around during the formation of most of the 13 American colonies. In 1697, the Mayan City-State of NojpetÃ©n fell. To put this date in perspective, all the American 13 colonies except for Georgia had been established by the time the Mayan civilization fell. Virginia was the first American colony to be established in 1607, and Georgia was the last American colony, established in 1732.
5. When Harvard was founded, calculus had yet to be invented
Harvard University is known as being one of the most respected universities in the world, yet when it was first established it didn’t teach its students calculus. Harvard is America’s oldest university, founded in 1636. However, calculus wasn’t invented by Isaac Newton until 1665. This meant that Harvard was around for almost 30 years before calculus was invented.
6. George Washington never knew dinosaurs existed
The first American president, George Washington, was unaware of the existence of dinosaurs. Washington died on December 14, 1799 – 25 years before the first dinosaur was scientifically named by William Buckland in 1824.
Dinosaur fossils had been found for thousands of years before people discovered what they actually were, so it is possible that Washington was aware of these huge fossils. Originally, people thought the bones came from a species of gigantic humans or extremely large reptiles.
7. The London Underground opened during the American Civil War
This fact seems completely unbelievable to us – the Civil War was fought over backward philosophies while the London Underground seems like a feat of modern engineering. On January 10, 1863, the world’s first underground railway opened in London, England. The line operated between Paddington and Farringdon, and used gas-lit wooden carriages hauled by steam locomotives. On the other hand, in January of 1863 in America, the Civil War was still being fought and the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared all slaves were free, had just been passed.
8. There were still woolly mammoths alive when the Pyramids of Egypt were built
From what scientists can tell, the last woolly mammoths died as late as 1650 BCE on Russia’s Wrangle Island. By this time the last woolly mammoths disappeared, the Great Pyramid of Giza had already been in existence for 1,000 years. (It’s worth noting, however, that most populations of woolly mammoths disappeared during the late Pleistocene and early Holocene periods, but some survived on islands in present-day Alaska and Russia.)
9. The last known survivor of a slave ship died in 1940
Matilda McCrear, who was brought over to America through the transatlantic slave trade on the ship Clotilda, died in 1940. Matilda was born in 1857 in Nigeria and was brought to Mobile, Alabama, at the age of two.
According to historian Hannah Durkin, McCrear belonged to the Yoruba people of West Africa. She had received traditional facial scars which were visible for the rest of her life. After the abolition of slavery in 1865, she continued to work in Alabama as a sharecropper with her mother and sister. She passed away in January 1940 when she was 83 years old.
10. France was still using the guillotine when Star Wars was released
The guillotine is a French execution method that is perhaps most famous for beheading Marie Antoinette during the French Revolution. This execution method seems violent and medieval, and yet it was last used to behead someone in 1977 – the same year that Star Wars was released.
On September 10, 1977, Hamida Djandoubi was beheaded by guillotine in a Marseilles prison for killing his former lover, Elisabeth Bousquet. The next day, on September 11, 1977, Star Wars: Episode IV€”A New Hope was celebrating its French premiere at the Deauville Film Festival. Djandoubi was the last person to be lawfully executed by beheading in the Western World.
11. Pablo Picasso could have listened to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon
We don’t typically associate artist Pablo Picasso with Pink Floyd, but there is a chance that Picasso heard tracks from the band’s Dark Side of the Moon before he passed away. Dark Side of the Moon was released on March 1, 1973, and Picasso passed away a little over a month later on April 8, 1973. Dark Side of the Moon was an instant hit, so perhaps Picasso heard a track or two before he died.
12. Tupac’s musical debut was longer ago than his entire lifespan
Tupac Shakur was one of the most revolutionary rappers of the ’90s, making albums that we still love today. In 1991 (or 30 years ago), Tupac released his debut album, 2Pacalypse Now. However, Tupac’s life was cut short when he was killed in a drive-by shooting on September 13, 1996, when he was 25 years old. This means that Tupac’s musical debut was longer ago than his entire lifespan – a fact that just doesn’t sit right with us.
13. Ruby Bridges (the little girl being escorted into her elementary school) has an Instagram account
Ruby Bridges was the first African American student to desegregate an elementary school in the Deep South. She was famously photographed with four U.S. Marshals escorting her to and from school, and she was the subject of the 1960 Norman Rockwell painting titled The Problem We All Live With. Ruby Bridges works as an activist today, and even has a social media presence, which really helps put into perspective how recent segregation really was in the United States.
14. Technically, there is a 22-year window in which a samurai could have sent a fax to Abraham Lincoln
This claim certainly encompasses a lot of different historical facts and figures, but believe it or not, it’s the truth. The Samurai, who were members of the Japanese warrior caste, rose to power in the 12th century and were eventually abolished during the Meiji Restoration in 1868. On the other hand, the first ever fax machine was invented in 1843. The “Electric Printing Telegraph” which was invented by Alexander Bain was the precursor to the modern fax machine we still use today. Finally, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre in Washington on April 15, 1865.
When we put this all together, it becomes clear that for 22 years, a Samurai could have sent a fax to Abraham Lincoln. Although this (sadly) never happened, it is a good way to get a sense of three different historical events and their time relation to each other.
15. Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of Little House on the Prairie, died in the Nuclear Age
Little House on the Prairie is a popular book series (and eventual television series) that chronicles the life of author Laura Ingalls Wilder. She was born on February 7, 1867, when the horse and buggy was still a common mode of transportation. She died on February 10, 1957, in the middle of the nuclear age. This fact helps us realize how much history and advancement happened in such a short period of time!
16. Oxford University is older than America, the English language, the Aztec Civilization, and the Magna Carta
Oxford University is the oldest university in the English-speaking world. We don’t know exactly when the University was established, but classes were being taught in some form by 1096. This means that Oxford University is nearly 700 years older than America, 400 years older than the English language, 200 years older than the Aztec civilization, and 100 years older than the Magna Carta.
17. Betty White was older than sliced bread
We often said that Betty White was the greatest thing since sliced bread, but actually sliced bread is the greatest thing since Betty White. On July 7, 1928, a bakery in Chillicothe, Missouri was the first bakery to sell pre-cut bread.
To do this, the bakery used the automatic bread-slicing machine that had been invented by Otto Frederick Rohwedder. Betty White was born on January 17, 1922, making her technically six years older than sliced bread.