We’re living in a world that feels increasingly chaotic, increasingly hopeless, and increasingly dark. The times we live in today are among the most uncertain that the human race has ever experienced and many have given up hope in humanity. Many countries are bitterly divided, there are constant threats of war coming from the US President, and the UK is stuck in perpetual constitutional crisis over its exit from the European Union.
With such darkness prevailing at the moment, it can be extremely hard to forget the lighter side of humanity. The truth is, that all hope is not lost, things are not all terrible, and the human race is not fundamentally bad. For every evil tyrant, there were those who wanted to stop them. For every dark event there are stories of heroism. And for modern struggle, there are great stories from history to inspire, inform, and entertain.
Human history is one of the most fascinating things you can study. It is instructional, thrilling, devastating, and hilarious in equal measure, and tells us a lot about who we are and how we got here. History is not boring but it also doesn’t have to focus on the darkest elements. Sometimes, you can find lighter moments that make you stop with surprise and excitement, without glossing over the worst elements of the past.
In case your day is in need of something to distract you or cheer you up, here are three very different stories from history with three purposes: the first to shock you; the second to amuse you; and the third to intrigue you. With three distinct true tales from the history books, there will be surely be something of interest to you if you read on!
While Amazon boss Jeff Bezos is currently on track to be the world’s first ever trillionaire by 2030, he is far from being the richest man in history - which might surprise you. In fact, the richest man in history is thought to be King Mansa Musa who ruled the Kingdom of Mali and lived from 1280 - 1337. When his wealth is adjusted for inflation, it is thought that he had a whopping $400bn fortune, amassed through his country’s production of gold and salt. He was so wealthy he caused a currency crisis by overspending during his pilgrimage to Mecca.
The tiny European principality of Liechtenstein hasn’t exactly been central in global politics during its history, however it is the subject of one of history’s funniest stories. The last time Liechtenstein was involved in a military operation was in 1867 when 80 soldiers were sent to guard the Tyrolean border during the Austro-Prussian war. When they returned, they had suffered no casualties but actually brought back 81 soldiers, having befriended an Italian who joined them and returned to Liechtenstein with them.
Immortality has long been a scientific dream, but if you listen to some, European nobleman the Count of St Germain was in fact an immortal who was skilled in alchemy and created the elixir of life. Throughout his life, he had odd ticks, habits and skills that made some believe that he was much older than he seemed, and even after his purported death in 1784 there continued to be sightings of him. In 1972 a man named Richard Chanfray announced he was the legendary count on French television and apparently turned lead into gold on a camp stove before the cameras. Chanfray later committed suicide in 1983. Some suggest the Count is still alive today and residing in Tibet.