Page 5 - History Facts

Ranked by geographic size, the Roman Empire was only the nineteenth biggest ever


The Roman Empire is legendary.

From emperor Augustus to Julius Caesar, the power and reach of this Italian empire is well known. The name conjures up images of Roman soldiers spreading across the world and conquering all lands in the name of Rome.

However, when compared with other historical empires, the Roman Empire is pretty small.

In fact, when ranking all the empires in the history of the world by geographic size, the Roman Empires comes in at number 19.

Its maximum land area was 2.51 million square miles, and its maximum population was somewhere between 65 and 88 million people.

By comparison, the number one ranked empire is the British Empire with a geographic area of 13.01 million square miles and a population of 458 million people.

Other empires that surpass the Roman Empire in geographic area include the Mongol Empire, the Russian Empire, the Spanish Empire, the Qing Dynasty, and the Japanese Empire.

While these empires may have not been quite as famous as the Roman Empire (at least not in the Western world), they were more powerful in many ways.

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We could have had the steam engine thousands of years ago, but slavery was the reason for the historical delay.


Without the creation of the steam engine we wouldn't have had the industrial revolution that catapulted us into the modern times full of assembly lines, factories, and cheap goods.

Thank goodness for those brainiacs back in the 1800s. Too bad they didn't come up with steam power—you can thank the ancient Romans for that!

The earliest known notation of using steam as a power source was when Heron of Alexandria described steam powering devices used to open and close gates, doors and blow horns.

However, the use of the machines was just used as a spectacle or novelty. Though we used it for many practical reasons, the Romans had a different, cheaper power source: slavery.

It's very possible that the development of things like the steam engine and other scientific discoveries were hindered due to slave labor. Without the need for quicker, easier, and cost effective labor there was no need to develop anything new.

Just count this as yet another notch in the “bad” column for slavery! It's a shame it took so long for miraculous breakthroughs due to nefarious reasons.

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Annie Taylor was the first person to successfully descend Niagara Falls...on her 63rd birthday!


It’s a pretty crazy stunt to go over Niagara falls. The number of people who have done so and survived isn’t very high.

One of the ways people choose to try it is in a barrel. This is the way that the very first person went over the Falls. That was Annie Edson Taylor, who would do so in 1902.

There were several delays in the launching of Taylor’s barrel, as not many people were interested in being part of what would likely end up being literal suicide.

The barrel itself was custom made for her trip, constructed of oak and iron and padded with a mattress.

To help ease the nerves of some, a cat was sent over the falls in Taylor’s barrel.

Despite rumors otherwise, the car survived, and there are pictures of Taylor and the cat after its trip.

Two days later Taylor became the first person to ever successfully travel down Niagara Falls. It was her 63rd birthday.

Taylor's main motivation for the stunt was that she wanted to secure her later years financially, and avoid the poorhouse.

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Some awesome lists!

van Gogh actually only lost his earlobe, not his whole ear.


Vincent van Gogh is one of the most famous artists to ever live.

Unfortunately for him, he only gained fame after his death, selling only one painting his entire life!

Van Gogh was a pretty emotionally tortured person. He went through fits of extreme depression and anxiety, and even tried to kill himself by drinking lead paint.

Perhaps what sets him apart from other artists, more than anything, is the story about cutting off his own ear.

The story goes that van Gogh cut off his own ear and gave it to a prostitute at a brothel for safe-keeping.

This was all after a fight he had with his friend and fellow artists Paul Gauguin, where van Gogh went after him with a razor. But the story has been somewhat exaggerated throughout the years.

Van Gogh only lost his earlobe, and now people aren’t even sure he did it himself. It’s likely that the ear was injured by Gauguin during their fight, perhaps by fencing sword, and van Gogh lied to protect his friend.

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Shakespeare may have smoked pot!


Some of his metaphors are starting to make a lot more sense now, aren’t they?

The clay pipe fragments from Shakespeare’s Startford-upon-Avon home were inspected by Inspector Tommie van der Merwe of the South African Police Service’s Forensic Laboratory. In them, there were trace amounts of cocaine and myristic acid-a hallucinogentic derived from plants like nutmeg, and cannabis.

Shakespeare may not have been a closeted druggie either. Several of his more personal poems reference drugs. For example, his Sonnet #76 is known as the “noted weed” sonnet. Other historical treasures that may have gotten high at one point or another: George Washington and Queen Victoria.

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