When we try to put historical events into perspective, we often simplistically divide things into 'old days' and 'modern times,' because our brains can often struggle with the perception of time, and since most of us don't live to be centenarians, we cannot know what it really means 'a hundred years ago.'
But what happens when some of the history facts that you would consider to belong to the contemporary world are much older than we think or vice versa?
The amazing fact is that it jolts us out of our easy categorization and forces us to reassess our comfortable time perception. That can only be a good thing about these cool facts, right? We here at Bored Panda have compiled a series of interesting facts on historical events that surprisingly took place at more or less the same time, turning them into real and pretty fascinating coincidence, and will make you think twice about how you look at the past. Scroll down below to check these random facts out for yourself, and prepare to have your mind blown!
#1 John Tyler, America's Tenth President, Was Born In 1790. He Has Two Living Grandchildren. So This Means...
#2 Marilyn Monroe And Queen Elizabeth Were Born In The Same Year. Here They (Both 30 At The Time) Meet At A Movie Premier In London In October 1956
The two were both born in 1926 and once met each other, at the premiere of The Battle of the River Plate in London’s Leicester Square. Monroe was there to accompany her then husband Arthur Miller. You can see her here in the receiving line of guests waiting to shake the young Queen’s hand.
#3 Harriet The Tortoise, Who Died In 2006, Had Seen Charles Darwin In Person
Harriet the tortoise was reportedly collected by Charles Darwin during his 1835 visit to the Galápagos Islands as part of his round-the-world survey expedition, transported to England, and then brought to her final home, Australia, by a retiring captain of the Beagle. However, some doubt was cast on this story by the fact that Darwin had never visited the island that Harriet originally came from. She had an estimated age of 175 by the time she finally died at Steve Irwin's zoo!
#4 Woolly Mammoths Were Still Alive While Egyptians Were Building The Pyramids (2660 BCE)
Scientists have determined that wooly mammoths were still roaming the Earth until about 1650 BC, the giant creatures could be found on an island off the coast of eastern Russia at the time. Meanwhile, the oldest of the 'Great Pyramids' in Egypt, the Pyramid of Djoser was constructed between 2630 BC–2611 BC, meaning that while man was busy building some of the most incredible structures ever made, wooly mammoths were still doing their thing.
#5 Oxford University Existed For Hundreds Of Years Before The Aztec Empire Was Founded (1428)
The Aztec Empire, began as an alliance of three Nahua altepetl city-states. These three city-states ruled the area in and around the Valley of Mexico from 1428 until the combined forces of the Spanish conquistadores and their native allies under Hernán Cortés defeated them in 1521. Aztec culture had rich and complex mythological and religious traditions, as well as achieving remarkable architectural and artistic accomplishments.
Meanwhile in England, Oxford University was already well-established. It has no known date of foundation, but there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096, making it the oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's second-oldest university in continuous operation. It grew rapidly from 1167 when Henry II banned English students from attending the University of Paris.
#6 George Washington Died In 1799. The First Dinosaur Fossil Was Discovered In 1824. George Washington Never Knew Dinosaurs Existed
George Washington died peacefully at home on December 14, 1799, aged 67 years old. A soldier, farmer, and statesman, as well as the first President of the United States under the U.S. Constitution, Washington was commonly referred to as the "Father of His Country" by his compatriots. He, like anyone else at the time, didn't know that dinosaurs existed because they were not scientifically recognized as such until 1824, when British naturalist William Buckland first described Megalosaurus, now regarded to be the first dinosaur to be scientifically named.
#7 Nintendo Was Founded When Jack The Ripper Was Still On The Loose (1889)
Nintendo, the Japanese gaming company associated with video game legends such as Mario, Donkey Kong, Zelda and the Pokemon characters is actually much older than the video game era. They originally made playing cards called hanafuda, and the company was founded way back in 1889, when the infamous Jack the Ripper was creating havoc on the streets of London. The true identity of the Ripper has never been discovered, and he was a prime suspect in the murder of the unidentified woman known as 'The Pinchin Street Torso,' because that is all that remained of her. This happened only weeks before Nintendo came into existence.
#8 Anne Frank And Martin Luther King Junior Were Born In The Same Year (1929)
One of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust, Anne Frank gained fame posthumously with the publication of The Diary of a Young Girl, in which she documents her life in hiding from 1942 to 1944, during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. It is one of the world's most widely known books and has been the basis for several plays and films.
Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesperson and leader in the civil rights movement from 1954 until his death in 1968. King is best known for advancing civil rights through nonviolence and civil disobedience, tactics his Christian beliefs and the nonviolent activism of Mahatma Gandhi helped inspire. Both of these symbols of resistance were born in the same year, 1929.
#9 Today's Oldest Living Tree (A Bristlecone Pine) Was Already 1,000 Years Old When The Last Wooly Mammoth Died
Would you like to visit a living thing, still alive today, that was around in the time of wooly mammoths? It turns out that actually you can! The world's oldest tree is a Great Basin bristlecone pine located in White Mountains, California, and is dated at 5067 years old.
To put that into perspective, isolated populations of wooly mammoths on Wrangel Island didn't finally go extinct until 4,000 years ago, with the small island in the Arctic Ocean serving as a santuary for the great beasts, forced from the mainland by humans and climate change long before.
#10 Star Wars Came Out The Same Year As The Last Guillotine Execution In France (1977)
Star Wars premiered in the U.S. on May 25th 1977. At the same time this futuristic sci-fi was wowing audiences around the world, the medieval practice of death by guillotine was still taking place in France, where Hamida "Pimp Killer" Djandoubi was beheaded for the torture and murder of a young woman. This was the last use of the guillotine in France, nobody else has been executed using any means since.
#11 By The Time The Pilgrims Made It To Plymouth Rock, There Was A 'Palace Of The Governors' In New Mexico
People often assume that the first Europeans to settle in the United States came with the landing of the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock, MA, in ships sailed from England in 1620. However Spanish explorers had been in the Southwest for almost a century by that time, and in 1610 began building the 'Palace of the Governers' in Santa Fe, already a thriving settlement. So when people say shit like 'speak English, this is America,' point out this fact!
#12 Swiss Women Got The Right To Vote The Same Year The U.S. Drove A Buggy On The Moon (1971)
Switzerland is often seen as one of the, if not the, most progressive nations on Earth. It comes as a surprise then that women weren't granted the right to vote until 1971, 65 years after Finland become the first European country to do so.
By that time, NASA had already landed on the moon, and were driving a moon buggy around! In the meantime however, Switzerland has caught up massively in terms of women's rights and the gender gap, ranking at number 11, well ahead of the United States at number 45.
#13 The Fax Machine Was Invented The Same Year The First Wagon Crossed The Oregon Trail (1843)
The original fax machine, the "Electric Printing Telegraph" was patented in 1843 by Scottish inventor Alexander Bain, the same year that about 1,000 people set off West for Oregon, forming a huge wagon train on what is now known as the Oregon trail. This set the tone for Westward expansion in the USA, and is the beginning of the 'Great Migration.'
#14 You Could Take The London Underground To The Last Public Hanging In The UK (1868)
Hanging used to be a common punishment in the UK, and wasn't abolished until 1868. Micheal Barrett was the last to be executed in this manner, in Newgate prison, London, in front of a large crowd of people.
5 years earlier in 1863, the first journey of the London Underground took place. With a station in operation close by the Newgate prison, it is entirely feasible that many Londoners would take the tube to go and watch somebody get hanged.
#15 Princess Diana And Mother Teresa Died Days Apart In 1997
Princess Diana and Mother Teresa died just days apart, in 1997. Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris on August 31st, while Mother Teresa died on September 5th after a struggle with declining health. She died in India and received a state funeral from the Indian government, in gratitude for her service to the poor of all religions in the country.
#16 NASA Was Exploring Space By The Time Scientists Could Agree On Plate Tectonics (1967)
While Alfred Wegener proposed his theory of continental drift back in 1912, his ideas were not taken seriously by many geologists, who pointed out that there was no apparent mechanism for continental drift. Specifically, they did not see how continental rock could plow through the much denser rock that makes up oceanic crust. Wegener could not explain the force that drove continental drift, and his vindication did not come until after his death in 1930. It wasn't until 1967 that the theory of plate tectonics was accepted by the scientific community, by which time NASA and the Soviet Union were already exploring well beyond the Earth's crust, they were launching rockets into space and preparing to land on the moon.
#17 Prisoners Arrived At Auschwitz Just Days After Mcdonald's Was Founded (1940)
While McDonald's is traditionally associated with the good times and affluence of 1950's America, the very first restaurant was opened much earlier, on May 15th 1940. Just 5 days later, the first prisoners arrived at the Auschwitz concentration camp in what is now Poland.
#18 The Last Known Widow Of A Civil War Vet, Maudie Hopkins (Seen Here At Her Lexa, Ark., Home In 2004 At 89 Years Old), Died In 2008. That's The Same Year Barack Obama Won His First Presidential Election
Maudie Hopkins married Civil War veteran William M. Cantrell in 1934, when she was 19 years old. She says that it was poverty that drove her to marry the former soldier of the Confederate States Army, who was 86 at the time. Hopkins passed away in 2008 in Lexa, Arkansas aged 93, which meant that a Civil War Veteran's widow was still alive when President Obama became the first African-American to serve as President.
#19 Harvard University Didn't Offer Calculus Classes For The First Few Years After The School Was Established... Because Calculus Hadn't Been Invented Yet
Modern calculus was developed in 17th-century Europe by Isaac Newton and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (independently of each other, first publishing around the same time) but elements of it appeared in ancient Greece, then in China and the Middle East, and still later again in medieval Europe and in India.
Harvard was established in 1636 and named for its first benefactor clergyman John Harvard. Harvard is the United States' oldest institution of higher learning, and its history, influence, and wealth have made it one of the world's most prestigious universities. Calculus was off the curriculum for the first few years for obvious reasons, it hadn't been recognized yet!
#20 Ecstasy Was Invented The Same Year The Titanic Sank (1912)
In the same year pharmaceutical giant Merck was interested in developing substances that stopped abnormal bleeding, and one of its chemists, Anton Köllisch, synthesised MDMA to avoid a patent by rival Bayer. The drug was of no particular interest to Merck at the time, and they only came back to research the substance sporadically over the next few years. It wasn't until 1975 that psychoactive effects of the drug began to be taken seriously, and recreational use spread thereafter through personal networks of psychotherapists, psychiatrists, users of psychedelics, and yuppies.
#21 Orville Wright Was Still Alive When Hiroshima And Nagasaki Were Bombed (1945)
The Wright brothers are rightly credited with inventing what we know as airplanes, and it must have been tremondously difficult for Orville Wright, whose brother Wilbur died back in 1912, to see his life's great acheivement be responsible for the greatest single act of destruction man has ever seen. In 1945 U.S. Airforce planes dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing at least 129,000 people, mainly civilians.
Orville died in 1948 and expressed sadness in an interview about the death and destruction brought about by the bombers of World War II:
"We dared to hope we had invented something that would bring lasting peace to the earth. But we were wrong ... No, I don't have any regrets about my part in the invention of the airplane, though no one could deplore more than I do the destruction it has caused. I feel about the airplane much the same as I do in regard to fire. That is, I regret all the terrible damage caused by fire, but I think it is good for the human race that someone discovered how to start fires and that we have learned how to put fire to thousands of important uses."
#22 Charlie Chaplin And Adolf Hitler Were Both Born In 1889. Interestingly, Chaplin Portrayed Hitler In The 1940 Satire "The Great Dictator"
The Great Dictator is a 1940 American political satire comedy-drama film written, directed, produced, scored by and starring British comedian Charlie Chaplin, following the tradition of many of his other films. Chaplin's film advanced a stirring, controversial condemnation of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, fascism, antisemitism, and the Nazis.
At the time of its first release, the United States was still formally at peace with Nazi Germany. Chaplin plays both leading roles: a ruthless fascist dictator and a persecuted Jewish barber. Coincidentally, Chaplin and Hitler were the same age, both being born in 1889.
#23 Eiffel Tower Was Inaugurated In 1889 For The World's Fair, Which Was The Same Year Van Gogh's 'Starry Night' Was Painted
Regarded as among Van Gogh's finest works, The Starry Night is one of the most recognized paintings in the history of Western culture. One of the most recognized buildings, the Eiffel Tower, was built in the same year that Van Gogh painted his masterpiece, 1889. The tower was only supposed to serve as the entrance for the 'World Fair' in Paris, but as we now know, it has become a permanent and much-loved fixture of the Paris skyline. 1889 was quite the year for iconic works!
#24 The Ottoman Empire Existed The Second To Last Time The Chicago Cubs Won The World Series (1908)
Before the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016, they hadn't won one previously since 1908. That means that the second-to-last time the Cubs tasted victory, the Ottoman Empire still existed, before it was dissolved after defeat in World War 1 and became modern day Turkey.
#25 The Colosseum In Rome, Italy, Was Unveiled In 80 A.D., Around The Same Time The Gospel Of Luke And The Acts Of The Apostles In The Bible Were Written
Luke is the longest of the four gospels and the longest book in the New Testament; together with Acts of the Apostles it makes up a two-volume work from the same author, called Luke–Acts. The most probable date for its composition is around 80–110 AD, and there is evidence that it was still being revised well into the 2nd century.
Meanwhile the Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, was completed in 80AD. It is the largest amphitheatre ever built, and could hold between 50,000 and 80,000 spectators. It was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles , animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology.
#26 The First Underground Line In London Was Opened On January 10, 1863. At That Time, The Civil War Was Still Raging In The United States
The idea for construction of the London Underground appeared in the 1830s, and on January 10th, 1863, the first underground line was opened. At that time the Civil War in the United States was still being fought, and it wasn't until December 1865 that the famous 13th Amendment to the US Constitution was adopted, meaning that slavery was to be abolished.
#27 Charlie Chaplin Died In 1977, The Same Year Apple Was Incorporated
Another surprising link between two vastly different eras, the silent films of Charlie Chaplin and the beginning of the computer age. Chaplin died aged 88 in 1977, in Switzerland after suffering a stroke in his sleep. Apple Computers was incorporated in the same year, showing just how rapidly technology had advanced in the post-war years.
#28 Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Was Published In The Summer Of 2007. The Same Summer First Iphone Model Was Released
The seventh and last book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released in 2007, ending the series that began in 1997 with the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. That same year something came along that has probably done more to kill children's interest in reading more than anything else, the first Iphone.
#29 The Brooklyn Bridge Was Being Built During The Battle Of Little Bighorn (1876)
'Custer’s Last Stand” at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876 took place at the same time that the world's first steel wire suspension bridge, the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, was under construction.
The battle was fought between forces of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes and the United States Army. The defeat of US forces, led by Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer, was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876.
The Brooklyn Bridge still stands proud, having undergone major renovation works between 2011-2015, and carries roughly 150,000 vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians between Manhattan and Brooklyn each day.
#30 Buffalo Bill Cody Was Alive At The Same Time The Germans Were Bombing With Zeppelins (1916)
Two distinctly different eras of warfare are brought together in the life of William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody (1846-1917). The showman was one of the most colorful figures of the American Old West, after he started performing in shows that displayed cowboy themes and episodes from the frontier and Indian Wars. He founded 'Buffalo Bill's Wild West' in 1883, taking his large company on tours in the United States and, beginning in 1887, in Great Britain and continental Europe.
Shortly before his death, the legend of the Wild West will have heard about a horrifying new concept in fighting wars, dropping bombs from the sky. German Zeppelins and planes were doing this over Paris in 1916, signalling a giant technological leap in the killing of fellow human beings, far removed from cowboys and Indians on horseback.
#31 Artist Pablo Picasso Died In 1973, The Same Year Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" Was Released
Pablo Picasso is regarded as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century, he is known for co-founding the Cubist movement, the invention of constructed sculpture, the co-invention of collage, and for the wide variety of styles that he helped develop and explore. Among his most famous works are the proto-Cubist Les Demoiselles d'Avignon (1907), and Guernica (1937), a dramatic portrayal of the bombing of Guernica by the German and Italian airforces during the Spanish Civil War. Unlike some other great artists who died young, Picasso lived a long and full life until he passed away in 1973.
Which was, coincidentally, the same year that one of the most groundbreaking and progressive albums ever was released, Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd. With an estimated 45 million copies sold, it is Pink Floyd's most successful album and one of the best-selling worldwide. It has been remastered and re-released several times, and covered in its entirety by several acts. It produced two singles—"Money" and "Us and Them"—and is often regarded as one of the greatest albums of all time.
#32 Microsoft Was Founded While Spain Was Still A Fascist Dictatorship (1975)
A highly controversial figure within Spain, Franco is seen as a divisive leader. Supporters credit his strong anti-communist and nationalist views, economic policies, preservation of traditional Spanish practices and support of the monarchy of Spain as positive influences over the nation. Critics disparage him as an autocratic dictator who violently suppressed opposition and dissent, banned culture seen as non-Spanish, used concentration camps and forced labour and provided much support to the Axis powers during World War II. Franco ruled Spain as a Fascist state up until his death in 1975, aged 82.
This was the same year that Microsoft was founded by Paul Allen and Bill Gates, and the beginning of a new era in computer technology.
#33 Abraham Lincoln Was Assassinated On April 15, 1865, Just A Few Months Before The Secret Service Was Created
Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 15th, 1865, just months before the Secret Service was founded. The legislation to create the Secret Service was on Lincoln's desk on the night he died, perhaps if they were created a few months earlier they might have foiled the plot to assassinate him.
#34 Prince William And Kate Middleton Were Married On April 29, 2011, Just A Few Days Before Osama Bin Laden Was Killed
The wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton took place on 29 April 2011 at Westminster Abbey in London, United Kingdom. The groom, Prince William, is second in the line of succession to the British throne. The bride, Catherine Middleton, had been his girlfriend since 2004. Days later, Navy SEALs stormed the compound of Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan killing him and ending a nearly ten year search for the Al-Qaeda founder.
#35 Spanish Surrealist Artist Salvador Dali Died In 1989, The Same Year Actor Daniel Radcliffe, Actress Hayden Panettiere And Houston Rapper Kirko Bangz Were Born
Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali was best known for the striking and bizarre images in his surrealist work, and he is also noted for his contributions to theatre, fashion, and photography, among other areas. His painterly skills are often attributed to the influence of Renaissance masters, which is maybe why it's quite surprising to learn that by the time Dali died in 1989, modern celebrities such as Daniel Radcliffe were already here.
#36 The Magna Carta Was Signed In 1215, The Same Year Beijing Was Captured And Burned By The Mongols Under The Direction Of Genghis Khan
The Battle of Zhongdu (present-day Beijing) was a battle in 1215 between the Mongols and the Jurchen Jin dynasty, which controlled northern China. The Jin Dynasty had been able to hold Genghis Khan (Temüjin) and his Mongol army at bay for the first two years of the war, but a decision by Genghis Khan to split his army into three smaller forces saw them overcome the Great Wall of China and advance on Beijing. The battle for Beijing was long and tiresome, but the Mongols proved to be more powerful as they finally took the city on 1 June 1215, massacring its inhabitants.
In the same year the Magna Carta was first drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury. It promised the protection of church rights, protection for the barons from illegal imprisonment, access to swift justice, and limitations on feudal payments to the Crown. Eventually, it became the foundation for the protection of individiual liberty everywhere, a powerful and iconic document that has influenced so much of the legal and constitutional freedoms we enjoy today.
#37 The Last Known Widow Of A Civil War Vet, Maudie Hopkins (Seen Here At Her Lexa, Ark., Home In 2004 At 89 Years Old), Died In 2008. That's The Same Year Barack Obama Won His First Presidential Election
#38 (2) Nasa Was Exploring Space By The Time Scientists Could Agree On Plate Tectonics (1965)
Eugene F. Kranz, flight director, is shown at his console on May 30, 1965, in the Mission Operations Control Room in the Mission Control Center at Houston during a Gemini-Titan IV simulation to prepare for the four-day, 62-orbit flight.
#39 The Brooklyn Bridge Was Being Built During The Battle Of Little Bighorn (1876)
#40 Yellowstone National Park Was Created In 1872, Just One Year After The German States Unified Into Modern-Day Germany
Yellowstone National Park is located in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. It was established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872. Yellowstone was the first national park in the U.S. and is also widely held to be the first national park in the world. The unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on 18 January 1871, when independent German states decided to form a new German Reich under the leadership of Kaiser Wilhelm I.