Between 1746 and 1792, seventeen students of Carl Linnaeus set out across the globe to collect plant and animal samples for his new taxonomy. Seven of these apostles died on the trip, and one would betray Linnaeus.
The loneliest tree in the world was knocked over by a drunk driver in 1978. The new loneliest tree in the world is very close to the southernmost point of New Zealand.
On August 21, 1986, seventeen hundred people who lived around Lake Nyos in Cameroon suffocated overnight – victims of an extremely rare and silent natural disaster.
The Anglo-Zanzibar War of 1896 lasted around forty-five minutes, making it the shortest war in history.
Where do black diamonds come from? We don’t actually know.
The quagga became extinct in 1883. Since 1987, the Quagga Project has been trying to bring them back.
What do long distance runners do when they want a real challenge? Run 251km across the Sahara Desert, of course.
Dr. Oguntola Sapara suspected skulduggery from the influential priests of Sopona, the Yoruba god of smallpox. He was right.
The heart symbol may have originated with an ancient Roman form of birth control, a plant that is probably now extinct.
When the British colonise your country and exile your king, what do you do? If you’re a queen mother of the Ashanti Empire, you start a war.
Goods carried by hand over the border from Morocco to Melilla and Ceuta are duty-free, so a cottage industry of porters carry goods worth billions of Euros across the border every year.
We’ve all heard of the Dead Sea, so salty that people naturally float in it. But the Gaet’ale Pond in Ethiopia is saltier, and the Don Juan Pond in Antarctica is so salty that it doesn’t freeze, even at -50°C.
Around five million years ago, the Strait of Gibraltar closed and the Mediterranean dried up. When it reopened, the sea refilled in less than two years.
There are a lot of pseudo-Hollywoods making films: Bollywood, Dhallywood, Mollywood, and Wellywood. My favourites are the hyper-violent action films of Uganda’s Wakaliwood.
In 1959, a block of glacier ice was carried – without refrigeration – from the Arctic Circle, through Europe, across the Sahara, and all the way to the Equator. It was perhaps the greatest publicity stunt in history.