What do you think of when you hear the word “history”? Maybe it brings to mind images of ancient Greece or Rome, or maybe it makes you think of the Civil War or World War II. But did you know that there are many other historical events that might surprise you? Here are 10 historical events that may surprise you.
1: The Great Emu War
We all know that a lot of things in Australia are weird. But did you know that in 1932, the Australian government declared war on emus? In 1932, the Australian government declared war on emus. Why? Because they were destroying crops. And it’s not like they could just go to a store and buy more food—they had to be resourceful.
So, they started shooting them with machine guns! But then… something happened. The emus kept coming back. They wouldn’t quit! They just kept coming back and destroying crops, so the government decided to end the war by making an official peace treaty with the emus and offering them free passage through all of Australia’s farming land. That’s right: even though they were using military weapons against each other, the emus won the war.
2: The Dancing Plague of 1518 (Historical Events that May Surprise You)
The Dancing Plague of 1518 was a phenomenon that took place in Strasbourg, France, when hundreds of people began dancing uncontrollably in the streets for days. The cause of this phenomenon is still unknown, but it’s believed to have been caused by a combination of stress and exhaustion.
According to historical accounts, the first case of dancing occurred on July 14th when a woman named Frau Troffea began dancing continuously until she collapsed from exhaustion. Her neighbors then joined her, and within hours they were joined by others who had heard about their dancing. By the next morning, hundreds of people had taken up residence in the streets outside of their houses and continued to dance until they were too exhausted to move any longer.
The plague lasted for several days before finally dying down, but there were several casualties along the way—people who died from exhaustion or heart failure as a result of their prolonged exertion. The exact cause remains unknown, but many believe that poor hygiene conditions may have played a role. Others speculate that it could have been caused by mass hysteria or even some type of hallucinogenic substance ingested by those involved in the event.
3: The Battle of Schrute Farms
Lately, Americans have been remembering the Civil War—and it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement. The Battle of Schrute Farms is one of the most famous battles from this time period. It took place at a beet farm owned by the fictional character Dwight Schrute from the television show “The Office.” In this battle, a group of Confederate soldiers attempted to attack a Union Army supply train at Schrute Farms. They were unsuccessful because they did not know how to operate their weapons properly and they were attacked by bees.
4: The Christmas Truce of 1914 (10Historical Events that May Surprise You)
The Christmas Truce of 1914 – During World War I, soldiers from opposing sides called a truce on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and exchanged gifts and played soccer together. In the midst of the horrors of war, love still managed to find its way through. The Christmas Truce was a brief pause in battle that occurred between German and British troops on December 24th, 1914. It started when German soldiers began singing “Stille Nacht” (Silent Night). Their British counterparts then joined in, until both sides were singing together in harmony.
Afterward, they played football together and even shared cigarettes with each other before returning to their trenches. The next day, however, hostilities resumed as if nothing had happened. The event has been commemorated every year since then—and it’s easy to see why: It reminds us of all that we have more in common than we do differences—and that peace is possible!
5: The Tokaimura Nuclear Accident
The Tokaimura nuclear accident was a criticality accident that occurred at a uranium processing plant in Tokaimura, Japan, on 30 September 1999. The accident killed two workers and contaminated several others. Tokaimura is a small town in the eastern part of Japan, located between Tokyo and the Tohoku region. It’s known for high levels of natural radiation, which has made it a popular tourist destination for people who believe that this will improve their health (or just want to show off how much they can tolerate). The town is also home to a nuclear power plant that supplies electricity to the surrounding area.
In 1999, workers at this plant were conducting an experiment on uranium enrichment when things went wrong. They accidentally created an uncontrolled nuclear chain reaction—a criticality accident—which resulted in an explosion and fire that killed two people and contaminated several others with radiation poisoning.
6: The Cod Wars (Historical Events that May Surprise You)
The Cod Wars were a series of disputes over fishing rights in the North Atlantic, which resulted in the use of naval vessels and the imposition of trade sanctions. The disputes started in the 1950s when Iceland claimed that its waters included those around the island of Rockall, which was located about 300 miles off the coast of Scotland. Iceland asserted that its coastal waters extended 200 miles from its coast, while Britain claimed it did not.
In 1958, Iceland expanded its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) and Britain responded by imposing a 100-mile (160-kilometer) exclusion zone around Rockall. This led to a series of confrontations between Icelandic gunboats and British trawlers over access to fishing grounds. The conflict escalated in 1972 when Iceland declared an additional 200-mile (320-kilometer) exclusion zone around its coast and threatened ships entering these waters with force if they failed to comply with orders from Icelandic patrol boats. The British responded by deploying warships off Iceland’s coast. In 1975, Iceland joined NATO and became a member of the European Economic Community (EEC), which gave it access to greater resources for defending its territory against British encroachment on its fishing grounds.
7: The Boston Molasses Disaster
The Boston Molasses Disaster – In 1919, a tank containing over 2 million gallons of molasses burst in Boston, causing a wave of molasses to flood the streets and resulting in the deaths of 21 people. This may sound like something out of a disaster movie, but it actually happened… and it’s one of the strangest stories in American history. On January 15th, 1919, around 12:30pm, workers at the Purity Distilling Company on Commercial Street heard an explosion from one of their storage tanks. They rushed outside to see that a 20-foot-high wave of molasses had spilled onto Commercial Street, destroying everything in its path—buildings, cars and people alike.
Within moments after this initial explosion, another one occurred which caused even more damage. The second blast was so powerful that it caused several buildings to collapse and killed 21 people instantly while injuring many others who were unable to escape their collapsing homes and businesses quickly enough due to their slowed movements due to being covered by sticky molasses (which is heavier than water).
8: The Tunguska Event (Historical Events that May Surprise You)
In 1908, a massive explosion occurred over a remote region of Siberia, Russia. The cause of the explosion is still debated, but it remains one of the most mysterious events in history. The event was so large and so unusual that it was thought to be an extraterrestrial event by some people at the time. Astronomers around the world were alerted to what could have been an asteroid impact in Siberia. However, after investigating they found no evidence of a crater and no fragments of an object.
Some scientists believe that it was caused by an asteroid or comet fragment that disintegrated in the atmosphere before reaching Earth’s surface; however, others disagree with this theory and think it was caused by a meteorite hitting Earth’s surface. The area where this event took place is called Tunguska today because it is located near Lake Tunguska (a small lake) which makes up part of the Yenisei River basin along with many other rivers flowing from Siberia into Europe via Russia and Norway (mostly).
9: The Cuyahoga River Fire
The Cuyahoga River fire – In 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio caught fire due to pollution from industrial waste, leading to the creation of the Clean Water Act. On June 22nd, 1969, a river fire broke out in Cleveland. The Cuyahoga River was polluted with oil and other chemicals that were dumped into it by factories and businesses surrounding it. The fire was so severe that it could be seen from outer space by NASA astronauts.
This led to a huge outcry from citizens and environmental activists who demanded that something be done about this pollution problem. It also led to the creation of the Clean Water Act in 1972 which required all states to set up water quality standards for their rivers and streams. This act is still in effect today and has had a significant impact on our nation’s waterways.
10: The Miracle of Dunkirk (Historical Events that May Surprise You)
The Miracle of Dunkirk was a miraculous rescue of British and French soldiers from German forces during World War II. During the Battle of France, the British and French armies were surrounded by German forces on the beaches of Dunkirk, France. With no hope for reinforcements or supplies, it seemed as though they would be forced to surrender—or perish.
But then something incredible happened: A flotilla of civilian boats came to their rescue. The people of Britain were asked to donate all their private boats, and they responded in droves. In just nine days, over 300,000 soldiers were evacuated with very little loss of life. The Miracle of Dunkirk was one of the most important military events in history because it helped turn the tide in World War II and allowed Britain to continue fighting until its eventual victory over Germany in 1945.