We get it, most of the times in high school history seemed boring. How many of you actually wanted to learn about things that happened in the past century or, even worse, millenniums ago? Although we must conclude that the way historical facts are usually taught in school is not the most appealing, history itself could prove quite fascinating.

So, whether you’re passionate about past events or simply want to outsmart your friends with your knowledge, here are 5 interesting facts from history that weren’t taught in school.

 

Wars

Wars existed ever since the beginning of times, but do you know which was the longest and which was the shortest ever recorded?

According to historians, the longest war in our history was between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly. It lasted over 300 years, from 1651 to 1986 but there weren’t any casualties.

At the opposite pole, the shortest war ever recorded was between England and Zanzibar, in 1896. It only lasted 38 minutes.

Also, during the American Civil War, from 1861 to 1865, approximately 750,000 people died, which counted for approximately 2.5% of the total American population back then.

 

Ancient history

The life of the Romans was always fascinating. Apart from the constant scheming and plotting, some emperors managed to remain in the history for more bizarre things. For instances, Emperor Gaius (Caligula) became famous for making his beloved horse a senator.

Another interesting historical fact is that in ancient Egypt, pharaohs were often sealed into their tombs alongside their concubines, servants, and material possessions. It was believed that this practice will also bring a wealthy afterlife.

Human sacrifices were also quite common back in the days. Mayans and Aztecs were the leading civilizations where human sacrifices played an important role in their relationship with the divinity.

 

Religion

In the Medieval times, the Catholic Church was the second most powerful institution of a state, and everything that went against its views was considered “heretic” and was punished accordingly.  It is approximated that over 600,000 people died by stones or fire because they were publicly accused and convicted of witchcraft.

In 1233, Pope Gregory IX issued his first papal bull where black cats were associated with devil worship. This allegedly led to large numbers of cats being exterminated in the following years.

Some hypothesize that, due to the sudden disappearance of so many cats, infested rats were able to run free, spreading hundreds of diseases. The most devastating was the Bubonic Plague which may have killed over 100 million people.

 

World War II

There are also numerous intriguing historical facts about the World War II. For instance, during the war, the American soldiers used to call the hamburger a “Liberty Steak” in order to avoid the pronunciation of a German-derived word.