Page 194 - History Facts

Miners didn’t realize that the blue pebbles in the Yogo Gulch streams were sapphires for 16 years!


People had been mining the Yogo Gulch for gold for years before people realized there were highly valuable and high quality sapphires in the streams. Mining in the area had been popular, faded, and then become more common again in the area. For years, miners had noticed the blue pebbles in the stream, but never recognized them as precious stones. It wasn’t until 1895 when the sapphires were recognized for what they were officially. 

Jake Hoover thought the blue stones might actually be jewels and so he sent them to be looked at. Eventually, they were sent in a cigar box by uninsured mail to Tiffany’s in New York. Dr. George Frederick Kunz examined them and responded saying that they were in fact sapphires, and not only that, they were sapphires of very high quality! There are also some stories of other locals figuring out about the sapphires, though not officially as Hoover did. 

According to one story, a miner sent some gold and blue pebbles to a school teacher in Maine who recognized them as sapphires. There is also another story crediting S.S. Hobbs as recognizing the precious stones. 



A Roman merchant who sold fake jewels was punished with a fake gladiator match.

The reign of Roman Emperor Gallienus lasted from 253 to 268. His reign took place during a time when the Roman Empire was in a great crisis. Historians say he didn't handle the crisis well, and as a result, much of the empire seceded.

During his reign and for a good portion of time before and after, there was a popular hypogeum in use during the Coliseum’s games. A hypogeum is essentially a series of underground tunnels that were used to keep audiences entertained and surprised by not being able to see what was coming next. 

Sometimes, it was used for comedic effect, as was the case with one merchant. This merchant had sold a fake, glass made jewel to the empress, and Gallienus decreed his punishment was to face a ferocious lion in the arena. 

When he was prepared to face certain death, a chicken walked out instead of a lion (the audience absolutely loved it). Gallienus had his herald proclaim that “He practiced deceit and then had it practiced on him.” The merchant’s punishment then was just being sent home.


A single 4th century Bishop’s actions ended the Christian persecution by the Sassanid Emperor!

Bishop Acacius was over Amida, Mesopotamia during the reign of Roman Emperor Theodosius in 400-425 AD. The Romans had captured 7,000 Persians and were holding them in Amida at the time. Acacius saw that the prisoners of war were starving and in utter misery, and decided to do something about it.

He brought his clergymen together and told them “Our God, my brethren, needs neither dishes nor cups; for He neither eats nor drinks, nor is in want of anything.” He went on to tell them that they would sell the church’s sacred silver and gold vessels and use the money to help the Persians. 

The Bishop used the money to free, feed, and clothe the Persian prisoners and send them back to Persia. When they got there and told their Sassanid Emperor Bahram V what the Bishop had done for them, he was extremely impressed. He ordered for the persecution of the Christians to cease and asked to meet Acacius. 

The Bishop’s kindness and charity ended the hostility between the Eastern Roman Empire and the Sassanid Empire. Christianity was allowed to flourish in the Persian Empire, as well.


Some awesome lists!

Russia and Japan have still not signed a peace treaty to end World War II.

Nearly 70 years on, two countries that never fought each other on the level that the Soviet Union did with Germany, or the level that Japan did with the United States continue to have a dispute over four islands. Though today, Germany and Russia as well as Japan and the US have fairly good relationships, the four Southern Kurile islands remain an issue of conflict between Japan and Russia. 

As World War II drew to a close, Soviet forces had occupied these islands, but today both countries consider these islands to be theirs. In September 1951, the Soviet Union declined to sign the San Francisco Peace Treaty because Japan believed the four islands were theirs. It has been a source of conflict ever since. Japan still considers the islands theirs, and Russia still considers them theirs. 

There have been countless attempts to remedy the problem over the years, but none have proved successful. Perhaps, like the German Chancellor, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda also has a fear of dogs that Vladimir Putin can use to put an end to the issue. 


Monks in northern Japan once practiced self-mummification.

Sokushinbutsu were Buddhist monks who caused their own deaths in a way that resulted in their mummification. If is believed that many monks in northern Japan attempted the act, but only between 16 and 24 mummifications have been discovered to date. 

For 1000 days, a monk would eat a special diet consisting only of nuts and seeds while taking part in a rigorous physical regimen; this stripped him of his body fat. For another 1000 days, he ate only bark and root and began drinking a poisonous tea which caused vomiting, a rapid loss of bodily fluids, and made the body too poisonous to be eaten by maggots. 

Finally, he would lock himself in a stone tomb no larger than his body where he would not budge from the lotus position. There was a bell within the tomb, and ringing it would alert everyone outside that the monk was still alive. Once the bell stopped ringing however, the tomb would be sealed. 

The other monks would wait another 1000 days and open the tomb to see if the mummification was successful. If so, the monk was immediately seen as a Buddha and put in the temple for viewing. If not, he wasn’t considered a Buddha but he was still admired for his dedication and spirit. Today, the practice has been outlawed by all Buddhist sects and the entire country of Japan.



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