In March 1940 two physicists wrote a top secret memo describing, for the first time, just how to make an atom bomb.
In 1947, the British navy set off one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history in an attempt to destroy German military fortifications on Heligoland.
Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse led a French scientific expedition around the Pacific; in 1788 it disappeared without a trace. A young Napoléon Bonaparte almost went with him.
In 1917 Bolsheviks stormed the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. Three years later, more than a thousand actors, circus performers, and ballet dancers stormed it again.
The Mimizuka monument in Kyoto, Japan, is full of Korean noses. It is a hanazuka, a nose tomb.
Almost the entire population of Whittier, Alaska, lives in a single building.
During World War II, around 7000 Allied pilots and soldiers stranded behind enemy lines were smuggled back to the United Kingdom via a secret network of escape routes. [2 of 2]
The Vikings may not have worn horned helmets, but the ancient Greeks had helmets covered in boar tusks and the Dayak of Borneo had helmets covered in fish or pangolin scales.
The new terminal building of Ottowa’s international airport was supposed to open in 1959. After one pass by a US air force jet the day before the opening ceremony, it could not open until 1960.
The He-Gassen scroll of Edo period Japan depicts an epic battle… of farts.
Julius Caesar won the Siege of Alesia with a military tactic known as investment: build walls around the besieged settlement’s own walls, and and then build another layer of walls around those ones.
In 1969, Honduras and El Salvador went to war while their football teams faced off in a World Cup qualifier.
In the mid-20th century, several countries had plans to construct a flying submarine.
The French mercenary Bob Denard overthrew the government of the Comoros four times: in 1975, 1978, 1989, and 1995.
The USS Triton was the first submarine to circumnavigate the world completely underwater. It was spotted just once, by a Filipino fisherman.
A Portuguese mercenary stole the largest working bell in history from Shwedagon Pagoda, and then lost it in the waters of the Yangon River.