A dozen random historical facts...
The first man to fly a plane and the first man to walk on the moon were alive at the same time. Orville Wright (1871-1948) and Neil Armstrong (1930-2012).
Oxford University predates the Aztec Empire.
The Metropolitan Police Act of 1839 criminalised a range of nuisances. Knocking on a door and running away, flying kites, singing obscene ballads, sliding on ice in the street. Technically all of these activities are still offences within the Metropolitan police area of London. You can be given a fine of up to £500.
The world’s biggest city in 1AD was Alexandria; 500: Nanjing; 1000: Cordoba; 1500: Beijing; 2000: Tokyo.
From 1933 to 1942 the Civilian Conservation Corps planted 3 billion trees in the United States.
The record for a vaccine to be developed and licensed was four years. The record holder was the mumps vaccine which was licensed in 1967. Following the UK government approval of the Pfizer vaccine for Covid19 in early December 2020, that record is now just under 11 months.
The word “quarantine” comes from quarantena, meaning “forty days” in 14th century Venetian. The Venetians imposed a 40-day isolation of ships and people arriving in their lagoon during the Black Death.
Lt Hiroo Onoda served with Japan’s army in the Philippines during World War Two. He was ordered not to surrender, so he didn’t, until 1974. His wartime boss was sent to get him. He returned home a hero.
Albert Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel on November 17, 1952, following the death of Israel's first President, Chaim Weizman. He declined, saying he lacked "the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people" to do the job.
Rome's most tyrannical emperor, Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, also known as Caligula, made one of his favorite horses a senator.
Suffragist life partners, Flora Murray and Louisa Garrett Anderson, both qualified doctors, attempted to join the armed forces medical services on the outbreak of war in 1914 but were not allowed to serve because of their sex. So they set up an independent hospital to treat wounded soldiers, with all-female staff, surgeons, anaesthesiologists and nurses. It rapidly became regarded as the best in the UK.
President Ronald Reagan was also a prolific lifeguard who saved 77 people from drowning.
Today's OGN Sunday Magazine articles: