History Facts

As a kid, Vlad the Impaler was an Ottoman hostage. Later, he used what he learned to decimate them!

Throughout history, few men have inspired as much fear in their enemies as Vlad the Impaler. Known for his namesake move of impaling his foes, Vlad was so feared that his name eventually inspired the creation of Bram Stoker’s nightmarish creature Dracula.

At one point, however, Vlad was not the captor, but the captured.

During his teenage years, Vlad was held hostage by the Ottoman Turkish Sultan as part of a political deal between the Sultan and Vlad’s father. During this time, young Vlad learned a lot about Turkey, including their language, and developed into the adult many would soon fear.

Eventually, Vlad put this Turkish knowledge and new attitude to use by laying siege to the Ottomans. Using a scorched earth tactic, Vlad did everything in his power to decimate his former captors. This included poisoning waters, blocking off rivers, digging pit traps, and sending people infected with leprosy, syphilis, tuberculosis, and the bubonic plague to infect his opponents.

In the end, even with an army over twice as small in size, Vlad and his forces took the lives of 15,000 Ottomans.


This Irish family was wiped out by the police, just for being Catholic!

On March 24, 1922, horror and tragedy struck the McMahon family, when police raided a home in Belfast, killing six people and injuring two.

All but one of the victims were members of the McMahon family.

The shootings took place during a time of great unrest in Ireland. It is believed to have been a revenge attack for the killing of two policemen the day before, believed to have been carried out by the Irish Republican Army, better known as the IRA. The Irish War of Independence resulted in great violence and also gave rise to a force which opposed the IRA. The unionist authorities established the Ulster Special Constabulary, known as the USC.

The day before the McMahon killings, two USC constables were patrolling the city centre and were shot dead by a group of IRA members. None of the McMahon’s was involved in the shooting of the policemen and Owen McMahon was actually known to be a supporter of those who rejected Irish republican violence.

Only 2 McMahon’s survived the revenge attack and the killing went on to spark public outrage, with 10,000 people attending the funerals. To this day, nobody was ever prosecuted for the McMahon killings, merely adding to the notion that this period will forever be known as one of the darkest of Ireland’s history.


The United States is 238 years old...that's pretty old. But the British Museum is even older!

The British Museum in London was established in 1753, making it 24 years older than the United States, which was found in 1776.

That alone is quite a feat, however, it boasts some 8 million works which makes it one of the largest and most comprehensive museums in existence today.

The museum is dedicated to human history and culture and was established largely on the collections of Sir Hans Sloane, who was a physician and scientist. The museum is still based on the same site which was opened to the public in 1759.

Over time, several branch institutions have opened to accommodate more works as a result of Britain’s widespread footprint, the first of these being the Natural History Museum.

Imagine the sheer body of work that must be housed at this institution. The paperwork trail required to keep track of every item and its origin. Despite this, the museum remains a non-departmental public body and is sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Simply put, the museum has the same admission fee as every other national museum in the UK: free.


Some awesome lists!

A handkerchief saved George Bush from a grenade!

By now, George Bush is probably an expert on having stuff thrown at him. On May 10th 2005, Vladimir Arutyunian stood for hours in Freedom Square in the centre of Tbilisi waiting for USA President George Bush and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to speak. 

When Bush began speaking, he threw a Soviet-made RGD-5 hand grenade, wrapped in a plain red handkerchief at him. It landed 18.6 meters from the podium, near Saakashvili, his wife, Laura Bush, and other officials. 

However, it failed to detonate because as Arutyunian pulled the pin, it hit a girl, cushioning its impact and the red handkerchief prevented the striker lever from releasing. 

A security guard quickly removed it, and the two presidents learned of the incident at the next rally. Arutyunian was arrested later arrested and sentenced to life in prison.


The USA and USSR were supposed to go to space together, but the plan collapsed when JFK was killed!

Most people know about the Space Race, the famous battle between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to be the first country to reach the moon.

But very few know that at one point, the two countries were going to work together to do it.

Two years after announcing his goal of reaching the moon, President John F. Kennedy gave a speech in front of the United Nations General Assembly.

In it, he suggested that the United States and the USSR work together in order to get to the moon.

Though initially opposed, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev eventually accepted Kennedy’s offer, believing it would lower potential costs and yield a number of technological gains.

However, when Kennedy was assassinated two months later, the plan fell through.

While Khrushchev had developed a bond of trust with Kennedy, he had no personal connection with his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson. Because of this, he struck down the agreement.

Still, the United States trudged forward and, on July 20, 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to step foot on the moon.



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