History occurs every day all over the world but keeping a tab on every single event is a nerve-wracking job. While one part world might be reeling from a political scandal, the other part might be rejoicing in a scientific achievement. But we might not know that most of these are occurring simultaneously. Some of these simultaneous historical events are so amazing that it will leave you with your head spinning time and again. Here are twenty-four such historical date comparisons to change your perception of time.
1. Charles Darwin’s pet tortoise, Harriet, died in 2006 yet Darwin died in 1882. Steve Irwin owned the same tortoise from 1987 until her end.
Harriet was collected from the Galapagos Islands in 1835 by Sir Charles Darwin when she was just the size of a dinner plate. She spent a short time in England with Darwin. Then Harriet was brought to Australia by Darwin’s friend John Wickham.
In 1987 Steve Irwin acquired her from the Queensland reptile and fauna park. She remained with Irwin family until June 23, 2006, when she died.(source)
2. J. R.R Tolkien, Adolf Hitler, and Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank, were all present as foot soldiers at the battle of the Somme.
The Battle of the Somme which was fought between 1 July and 18 November 1916 was a battle of the First World War. It was fought by the armies of the British and French empires against the German Empire. During this time, two well-known persons who fought side by side in the German army were Adolf Hitler and Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank. Twenty-eight years later, Hitler’s army arrested Otto Frank and his family and sent them to a concentration camp.
Another well-known person who fought in the same war but on the opposite side was J.R.R. Tolkien, the author of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. He was an officer in the 11th Battalion, Lancashire Fusiliers.(1,2)
3. Pablo Picasso died the year Pink Floyd released Dark Side of the Moon (1973), one year after the birth of Eminem (1972).
The period from 1972-73 was a memorable one in the field of painting and music. On 1 March 1973, Pink Floyd released their eighth album, The Dark Side of the Moon. The album was an immediate commercial and critical success. It topped the Billboard Top LPs & Tapes chart for a week. One month and seven days later world renowned Spanish painter and sculptor, Pablo Picasso, died while he and his wife Jacqueline were entertaining their friends for dinner. Picasso was 92 years old at that time.
About six months earlier on 17 October 1972. Marshall Bruce Mathers III was born whom we know today as Eminem, the famous American rapper. Basically, these six months were a period when all three legends Picasso, Pink Floyd, and Eminem were alive at the same time.(1,2,3)
4. Some of the rings and moons of Saturn are younger than the dinosaurs by approximately 350 million years.
Saturn formed 4.5 billion years ago and first discovered in the 1600s. It was initially believed that Saturn’s rings had existed for as long as the planet. But researchers from the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence Institute (SETI) used data collected by NASA’s Cassini mission to analyse the orbits of Saturn’s moons. This was done in order to find out when the satellites were born. SETI’s researchers have found out that Saturn’s distinctive rings and inner moons were formed a mere 100 million years ago. So, basically, the rings and inner moons of Saturn are younger than most dinosaurs which inhabited our planet 230 to 66 million years ago.(source)
5. Galileo died the same year Newton was born.
Galileo Galilei was an Italian polymath – astronomer, physicist, engineer, philosopher, and mathematician. He is also known as the “father of observational astronomy”, the “father of modern physics”, the “father of the scientific method”, and the “father of science”. His scientific conquests came to an end on 8 January 1642 when he died. Coincidently the same year, just 11 months later, Sir Issac Newton was born. He later became famous for his mathematical description of gravity and numerous other scientific discoveries.(1,2)
6. The Eastern Roman Empire fell only forty years before Columbus discovered America. So, even people who called themselves Romans have heard the news of the discovery of a new continent.
The Byzantine Empire started falling in 476 when the western half of the Roman Empire crumbled. The eastern half survived for 1,000 more years. The Byzantine Empire finally fell in 1453 after an Ottoman army stormed Constantinople during the reign of Constantine XI.
Just about forty years later, Christopher Columbus encountered a new continent – America. It was previously unknown in Europe. But Columbus’s expedition and discovery in 1492 revealed a whole new continent. So, basically, the people who used to call themselves Romans before the fall of Byzantine Empire must have heard about America.(1,2)
7. While Hannibal was crossing the Alps into the Roman Empire in the year 218 BC, the Great Wall of China was in its initial phases of being built.
Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps in 218 BC was one of the major events of the Second Punic War. Also, it is one of the most celebrated achievements of any military force in ancient warfare.By this crossing, Hannibal achieved the of bypassing Roman and allied land garrisons and Roman naval dominance. He managed to lead his Carthaginian army over the Alps and into Italy to take the war directly to the Roman Republic.
At the same time on the other side of the world, a historical border was being created which we now know as the Great Wall of China. This wall was being created by King Zheng of Qin who unified China as the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty in 221 BC. After unifying China, he ordered the destruction of the sections of the walls that divided his empire among the former states. Then he ordered the building of new walls to connect the remaining fortifications along the empire’s northern frontier. There are no surviving historical records indicating the exact length and course of the Qin walls. Most of the ancient walls have eroded away over the centuries and very few sections remain today.(1,2)
8. Prisoners began to arrive in Auschwitz in the same year McDonald’s began serving food.
Nazi Germany invaded Poland in September 1939. On 21 September, the head of Gestapo ordered Polish Jews to be rounded up and concentrated into cities with good rail links. In April 1940, the head of the Schutzstaffel (SS) approved a more permanent site and Auschwitz I started to function as a concentration camp. In the same year, around 300 Jewish residents of Oświęcim were brought in to lay foundations.
While the Gestapo was making new plans of how to starve and kill Jews in Poland, America was watching the initial phase of an iconic fast-food chain, McDonald’s. It was founded in 1940 as a barbeque restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald at 1398 North E Street near West 14th Street in San Bernardino, California.(1,2)
9. John F. Kennedy, C.S. Lewis, and Aldous Huxley all died on the same day on 2 November 1963.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy was an American politician and the 35th President of the United States.
Clive Staples Lewis was a British novelist, poet, and academic who had held academic positions at both Oxford and Cambridge University. He is best known for his works of fiction, especially The Chronicles of Narnia.
Aldous Leonard Huxley was an English writer, novelist, and philosopher. He is best known for his novels such as Brave New Worl,; non-fiction books, such as The Doors of Perception, and a wide-ranging output of essays. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in seven different years.
One day that is common to all three men is their date of death. All three of them died on 22 November 1963. JFK was assassinated; CS Lewis died from renal failure; Aldous Huxley succumbed to laryngeal cancer.(1,2,3)
10. When the USA was founded, the last political vestige of the Genghis Khan’s empire (the Crimean Khanate) was still around.
On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, declared the independence of “the United States of America” in the Declaration of Independence. During this time the Genghis Khan empire was gradually moving towards its end and was known as the Crimean Khanate.(1,2)
11. Coca-Cola(1892) is only thirty-one years younger than Italy (17 March 1861).
The Sardinian government led by the Count of Cavour declared a united Italian kingdom on 17 March 1861, and thus the modern map of Italy was born. Just thirty-one years later the first Coca-Cola soft drink was produced by the Coca-Cola Company.(1,2)
12. The Qing Dynasty in China was founded the same year as Harvard University.
Harvard, the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, was established in 1636. In the same year, the Qing dynasty was established in 1636 by the Manchus to designate their regime in Manchuria, which is now the Northeast region of China).(1,2)
13. Marilyn Monroe and Queen Elizabeth II were born in the same year.
Elizabeth II, the present Queen of the United Kingdom, was born on 21 April 1926. Just two months later in the same year, June 1, 1926, the iconic American actress and model, Marilyn Monroe was born.(1,2)
14. The moon landing was only sixty-six years after the first manned aircraft flight.
At 10:35 a.m. on December 17, 1903, Wilbur Wright released the restraining wire and his brother Orville Wright left the ground on their aircraft. The flight lasted twelve seconds and covered a distance of 120 feet, becoming the first manned aircraft flight.
Just sixty-six years later on July 20, 1969, Apollo II landed on the surface of the moon at 20:17:40 UTC. Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin became the first person to step on the surface of the moon. It’s wonderful how, within a lifetime, mankind went from not having flight technology to sending men 239,000 miles from the Earth.(1,2)
15. The Republic of Venice existed at the same time as the United States, at least for the first twenty-one years of the formation of USA.
The U.S.A. was formed on July 4, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. The Republic of Venice witnessed the formation of the U.S.A. and its first twenty-one years. But on April 18, 1797, France and Austria partitioned and dissolved the Republic of Venice ending its 1100 year history as a sovereign nation.(1,2)
16. The Ottoman Empire collapsed two years after the U.S. commissioned its first aircraft carrier.
The USS Langley (CV-1/AV-3) was the United States Navy’s first aircraft carrier. It had been converted in 1920 from the collier USS Jupiter. At that time, the Ottoman Empire still existed but was also gradually declining.The sultanate was abolished on 1 November 1922. The last sultan of the Empire, Mehmed VI, left the country on 17 November 1922.(1,2)
17. The equals sign was first invented in 1557 by Robert Recorde, just seven years before Galileo was born.
The famous Italian astronomer and physicist, Galileo Galilei, was born on 15 February 1564. Surprisingly, the symbol “is equal to” was first used only seven years before his birth. It was invented by a Welshman named Robert Recorde who was also the man who first introduced algebra to England. While writing his book, The Whetstone of Witte, he was tired of having to write ‘is equal to’ over and over again. So, he settled on parallel lines as a perfect symbol for equality, and thus the “equal to” symbol was born.(1,2)
18. Adolf Hitler, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Tito, Sigmund Freud, and Joseph Stalin all lived in Vienna in January 1913.
More than a century ago, a section of Vienna played host to Adolf Hitler, Leon Trotsky, Joseph Tito, Sigmund Freud, and Joseph Stalin. In 1913 the two revolutionaries, Stalin and Trotsky, were on the run and were residing in Vienna. Sigmund Freud was a well-established psychoanalyst who was living and practising on the city’s Berggasse. At the same time, the young Marshal Tito was working at the Daimler automobile factory in Wiener Neustadt, a town south of Vienna.
Then there was the twenty-four-year-old from the north-west of Austria whose dreams of studying painting at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts had been twice dashed. So, he was lodged in a doss-house in Meldermannstrasse near the Danube and whom later the world came to know as Adolf Hitler.(source)
19. Orville Wright, one of the Wright brothers, died when Neil Armstrong was eighteen years old.
Orville Wright, one of the Wright brothers who piloted the first manned aircraft flight, died on January 30, 1948, due to a heart attack. At the time of his death, Neil Armstrong was eighteen years old. Twenty-one years later he became the first man to step on the surface of moon.(1,2)
20. Oxford University is older than Machu Picchu.
Oxford University located in Oxford, England is one of the oldest universities in the English-speaking world. It has no known date of foundation, but there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096 making it the world’s second-oldest university in continuous operation.
21. Irish Neolithic burial sites, such as Newgrange, predate the Egyptian Pyramids by about 500 years.
When we think about ancient structures, Egyptian pyramids automatically come to mind. The earliest known Egyptian pyramids are found at Saqqara, north-west of Memphis. The earliest among these is the Pyramid of Djoser which was constructed between 2630 BC and 2611 BC.
But there are prehistoric monuments which were constructed even before the pyramid. These are the Irish Neolithic burial sites such as Newgrange. Newgrange was built during the Neolithic period, around 3200 BC, making it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids.(1,2)
22. The Founding Fathers of America didn’t know about dinosaurs because science didn’t prove the existence of dinosaurs until 1841.
The first person to describe a dinosaur in a scientific journal was the Rev. William Buckland a professor of geology at Oxford. But at that time there was no term coined for these “great fossil lizards”. The term “dinosaur” was coined in 1842 by the English palaeontologist Richard Owen, and hence the world woke up to a new extinct creature.
Abraham Lincon was in his thirties when this term was coined. Before this time, he along with the founding fathers of the United States of America and the rest of the world were oblivious to the existence a creature which roamed the earth millions of years ago.(source)
23. France was still using the guillotine when the first Star Wars came out.
Star Wars is an American epic space opera franchise. The franchise began in 1977 with the release of the film Star Wars. On the other side of the Atlantic, France was still using the guillotine as their official method of execution. France stopped using the guillotine on September 11, 1977, the same day Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope celebrated its French premiere.(1,2,3)
24. Alaska was sold to the U.S. the same year Canada became a nation.
On March 30, 1867, Secretary of State William Seward agreed to a proposal from the Russian minister in Washington, Edouard de Stoeckl, to purchase Alaska for $7.2 million. The Senate approved the treaty of purchase on April 9th. President Andrew Johnson signed the treaty on May 28th, and Alaska was formally transferred to the United States on October 18, 1867.
Three months later on July 1, 18, 7 the Constitution Act officially proclaimed the Canadian Confederation. On that day Canada became a nation, initially with four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.(1,2)