20 Outlandish Historical Facts That Actually Exist
20 Outlandish Historical Facts That Actually Exist

20 Outlandish Historical Facts That Actually Exist

Khalid Elhassan - August 12, 2019

20 Outlandish Historical Facts That Actually Exist
Tootsie Rolls. Military ID

2. American Troops Were Saved by Tootsie Rolls

During the Korean War, American troops in the Chosin Reservoir had it bad. They were outnumbered 8 to 1, supplies were running low, temperatures plummeted to minus 25 degrees, and food was almost impossible to warm up. They were also running low on mortar shells. In ordering mortar shell resupplies, they used a codename established for the munitions: Tootsie Rolls. Somebody took that literally, however, and airdropped the beleaguered troops crates of the candy, instead.

It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Tootsie Rolls were among the few food items that were actually edible when frozen, and the sugar boost gave the weary fighters a needed jolt. Additionally, the troops soon found innovative uses for the candy. Chewed up Tootsie Rolls became like putty in the mouth, but froze solid when exposed in the frigid conditions of the Chosin Reservoir. So using Tootsie Rolls as improvised epoxy, the troops patched up bullet holes in equipment, and repaired broken tools. Then, on a sugar high and with their equipment fixed, the American forces broke out of the Chosin Reservoir, and fought their way to safety.

20 Outlandish Historical Facts That Actually Exist
Cobras. Pintrest

1. The Snake Eradication Plan That Disastrously Backfired

British India’s rulers were worried when Delhi became infested with venomous cobras, so they offered a bounty for dead cobras, payable upon delivery of their skin to designated officials. Before long, natives were thronging to the drop off points, whose store rooms were soon bulging with cobra skins. However, the city’s cobra population remained unchanged, no matter how many cobra skins were delivered to the authorities. Officials eventually figured out why: many locals had turned to farming cobras. Since the bounty on the snake skin was greater than the cost of raising a cobra, the British had unintentionally created a new cash crop.

So the authorities cancelled the plan, and stopped paying out bounties for cobra skins. That made things worse. Without the bounties, cobra skins and captive cobras became worthless. So Delhi’s cobra farmers did the economically sensible thing, and released the snakes back into the wild – the “wild” in this case being the city of Delhi. The infestation grew by orders of magnitude, and Delhi wound up with many times more cobras than it had possessed before the authorities launched their ill advised plan.


Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Ancient History Encyclopedia – Vespasian

Ancient Origins – Sarah Wilson: The Trickster Who Rose From Convict to Princess

Atlas Obscura – The Great French Moustache Strike of 1907

Bakewell, Michael and Melissa – Augusta Leigh: Byron‘s Half Sister (2000)

Civil War Saga – Child Soldiers in the Civil War

Cracked – 5 Forgotten Historical Facts That Prove the Past‘s Crazy AF

Encyclopedia Britannica – John of Bohemia

Epoch Times, October 5th, 2013 – Chinese Idioms: Borrowing Arrows With Thatched Boats

Esoterx – Bad Habits: The 15th Century Biting Nun Mania

Irish Times, September 12th, 2017 – Fake Smiles and False Teeth: A History of Dental Pain

Mad Monarchs – Farouk of Egypt

New York Times Magazine, January 15th, 1995 – The Great Ivy League Nude Photo Posture Scandal

Orkneyjar – Sigurd the Mighty: The First Earl of Orkney

Sadler, John, and Fisch, Silvie – Spy of the Century: Alfred Redl and the Betrayal of Austria Hungary (2017)

Sword Forum – 1796 Spadroon

ThoughtCo. – The Death of Catherine the Great

Vice – Bizarre Vintage Photos of Nazis Posing With Men in Polar Bear Costumes

We Are the Mighty – Marines Were Once Saved by Candy From the Sky

We Are the Mighty – The Union Saved an Ironclad by Deploying a $9 Trash Decoy

Wikipedia – Cobra Effect

Wikipedia – Ludwig II of Bavaria