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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.


Iceland has no army, and it has been recognized as the world's most peaceful country.

If you’re looking for a nice, peaceful place to live, you should look into Iceland.

Iceland has claimed the top spot in the Global Peace Index for more than five years straight, making it the most peaceful country in the whole world.

It’s the smallest NATO member state and doesn’t even have a standing army!

This might be a little misleading, though. Back in 2008, Iceland actually went bankrupt, causing public riots throughout the nation.

Who was ranked number one that year on the Global Peace Index? Iceland. This is probably due to its general reputation of being a “pleasant liberal paradise."

The top spots on this index generally stay the same, with some variations of position. Denmark and New Zealand are often in the top 5. On the lower end, Somalia is the least peaceful nation in the world.

Some Middle Eastern countries such as Syria have dropped substantially since the start of the Arab Spring. Still, in 2012 the world became a more peaceful place overall for the first time since 2009.


There's a Lightning storm in Venezuela that's been going on since at least the 16th century!

Relámpago del Catatumbo (Catatumbo Lightning) is an atmospheric phenomenon that occurs where the Catatumbo River meets the Lake Maracaibo, in Venezuela.

How do they happen? The winds blowing accross the Maracaibo lake and other swampy plains around the area meet with the Andes mountain ridges. These winds carry a lot of heat and moisture, which are perfect for creating electric charges. The result? Lightning for 280 times an hour, 10 hours a day for 160 nights a year!

It is believed that the phenomenon has been going around since at least the 16th century (and most likely, even more than that). The first time this storm was reported in writing was an epic poem called "la Dragontea," by Lope de Vega in 1597, which told of the defeat of Sir Francis Drake at this site. Drake tried to attack the city of Maracaibo, but the lightning gave away his position and the city was able to respond in time.

All the electric activity makes the Catatumbo Lightning the largest single generator of Ozone in the planet. The lightning is visible up to 400 km away! Because of this, it's also called as the Maracaibo Beacon.


During a government shut down in 1995, 5 bikes road their mountain bikes down to the very bottom of the Grand Canyon.

The National Park service has a regulation banning the riding of bikes in certain national park wilderness areas.

One of these places is everything below the rim of the Grand Canyon, much to the dismay of mountain bikers.

When the federal government fails to reach a budget in time, everything non-essential is shut down.

The National Park Service falls under this, so when it happened in 1995, some were there to take advantage—or at least try.

On November 19th, five mountain bikers, now known as “The Sedona 5,” snuck their way over to the start of the 14-mile downhill slope to the bottom of the Canyon. They made it down after passing around a marijuana pipe and eating psychedelic mushrooms only minutes before taking off.

The five even got a helicopter ride back up the canyon—although it was a police helicopter on its way to a federal prison. The Canyon may have been shut down, but what they did was still illegal and there were people to see it.

For this, the five received folk-hero status among mountain bikers.

If you think a helicopter escort back up is a little bit extreme for five bikers riding in a prohibited area, you're probably right. But what the police were reacting to was a little more than that. The ranger in charge had called in the helicopter as backup.

They found 18 grams of marijuana and 15 grams of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Plus two of the five turned up in the national law enforcement database with warrants for their arrest, although it was later found out that this was a case of mistaken identity.

The Sedona 5 weren’t the only ones to ride down the canyon during the closure, but their story and media attention has given them the fame they now have. What was their punishment? They made a plea bargain and only had to pay fines and forfeit their (expensive) bikes.


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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