(9 Stupid Things That Actually Happened In History) We often study history and treat the people in it with reverence or disdain but always acknowledging the magnitude of their impact on the course of human civilization. We don’t expect these people to be stupid or do absurd things. But if there is one thing we can trust about humankind: we always find ways to mess things up. And the people in our history books are not any different.
Here is a list of some of the most stupid things that actually happened in History!
1. The Austrian Army accidentally attacked itself and lost 10,000 men
Did you know that a German commander shouting ‘Halt’could apparently sound like someone yelling ‘Allah and this how the Austrians attacked themselves? In 1778, The Austrians were at war with the Turks. Now, they divided into two groups in order to hunt down these Turks. But instead met a group of gypsies and bought copious amounts of alcohol. The spent the night drinking, as one does on the eve of a major battle, and ended up being completely drunk.
That’s when someone yelled about Turks arriving and the army ran skelter. They started attacking everyone who was deflecting and when a German commander yelled ‘Halt”, they heard it as ‘Allah” and further confirmed that it was the Turks indeed. Turns out, the Turks never did invade them that night.
2. The Liechtenstein Army went to war with 80 men and returned with 81
In what seems like a premise to a war time horror story, the Liechtenstein Army seemed to have quite an eager recruitment policy. During the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, Prince Johan II unwilling to fight deployed a contingent to defend the Italian Border. Not only did they not kill anyone, they also returned with a converted enemy in the fray. Turns out the Austrian was desperately in need of a job!
3. The United States went to war over a Pig
In San Juan National Park is a monument that was erected in memory of a war that almost happened due to a pig. In the present day, USA and UK are strong allies. But it wasn’t always so. In the early 1800s, just preceding the American Civil war, tensions were fought between the two nations. Borders were still being marked after the American Revolution and the question of what belonged to the newly independent America and what belonged to colonial Canada was widely debated.
One particular island was caught in between and was equally occupied by both with a line to demarcate territories. On June 22, 1859, American farmer Lyman Cutler found one of the British pigs wandering on his farm and eating his crops. Losing his temper, Cutler grabbed his musket and shot the hog.
Cutler then refused to pay for the pig and summon American authorities. Things escalated quite quickly from there. The British Governor of nearby Vancouver Island, James Douglas, dispatched three British Navy warships and a group of Royal Marines. By August, the Americans, under the command of Lt Col Silas Casey, had 460 men and 14 artillery cannons holed up in a fort they hastily constructed.
The British fleet was joined by more ships and Royal Marines under the command of Admiral Lambert Baynes. He quickly assessed the situation and declared that he was not about to start a shooting war over a pig. Meanwhile, the seriousness of this strange event reached the American President who was then immersed in handling the imminent Civil War.
Thus, there were many diplomatic talks involving many high ranking officers to prevent the two countries from going to war over a British Pig.
4. Three men declared themselves Pope at the same time and excommunicated each other
In 1378 following Pope Gregory XI’s death, an event now touted as the ‘Western Schism” took place. And in midst of an unsettling riot, Urban VI was hastily chosen as pope. Due to his cruelty towards the clergy, the Cardinals regathered and elected a second pope Clement VII among themselves. Both took up the charge at the same spot simultaneously and both refused to back off. Neither pope being able to dislodge the other, and neither is willing to relinquish his claim, there began the most serious schism ever to disrupt the unity of the Latin Church.
Many attempts were made to end the schism, yet the most promising had led only to the addition (at Pisa) in 1410 of yet another line of claimants to the papal title. Finally, a new council had o be set up to sort out the differences and ensure that a rightful person occupied the holy position.
5. Poland and Sweden trolled Russia by constantly marrying in rulers who were named Dmitri
Marriages between royal families of different countries in order to expand power and relationships in not a new concept. But Poland and Sweden took this old tradition to new levels by trolling rival Russia by only in stating rulers called Dmitri to their throne. It took Three Tsars named Dmitri before the Russians suspected anything. Maria Mnizech who was married to two of the False Dmitri allegedly ‘never met a False Dmitri she didn’t like”. Luckily, both the Poles and the Russians look back at this period fondly.
6. The murderous Roman emperor who dressed as a woman and danced for his ministers
Elagabalus had a monstrous reputation. So when his subjects were invited to a feast, they sat around the table extremely nervous and anxious about what would happen. This man was known for his notorious feats where he had let snakes loose on the diners or even leopards and tigers! That’s when the emperor himself turned up beautifully dressed as a woman: tiara and all. He danced and performed elegantly for his guests and then left without any explanation.
7. Hitler got rejected from Art University
Here’s a fact that could have seriously changed the course of History. Hitler wanted to be an artist and applied twice, and was rejected, from the Vienna Academy of Art. The next time, he wasn’t even invited to take up the exam. The modern day professor reviewed Hitler’s portfolio and claimed: “There’s no latent genius here, and not much beyond a moderate GCSE. Probably if the artist was at school today you wouldn’t encourage him to keep the subject up at A Level”. Many claims that this rejection played a role in shaping his personality and contributed in making him heartless. It is even rumored that the Professor who rejected his art might have been Jewish.
But it is important to note that none of these can be considered as valid reasons or explanations for his unforgivable deeds.
8. Egyptian servants were smothered with honey to attract flies away from the Pharaoh
We all hate that pesky fly that refuses to leave. But when you’re an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh, you don’t have the time to wield a swatter. So instead, they had their servants moisturized in honey so that they could attract the flies away from the rulers.
9. Yellow pages cataloged a Funeral Home under ‘Frozen Foods’
Taking place in the 1980s, this can be categorized as a modern day horror event. A yellow page unwittingly named a Funeral Home under the category of Frozen foods. Now whether this was done as an over sight or a crude joke was not established. But it leads to a lot of confusion followed by indignation among the people.
Well, it’s safe to conclude that eccentricities have always existed and will continue to do so as they are an inherent part of human civilization. But we can take solace in the fact that even our ”wise” ancestors messed up- that too, at a greater magnitude.
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