40 Interesting Facts From History About Great Britain

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26British Crown Jewels

During WWII, the British crown jewels were stored in a biscuit tin and kept in a chamber under Windsor Castle. During the construction, they covered it at night with a tarp so German airplanes couldn't tell what's going on. It was so secretive that not even then-Princess Elizabeth was told.


27. The British Empire was the largest empire the world has ever seen, claiming 23% of the world's land area with a population of 458 million.


28. British colonizers infected Tasmanian Aboriginal women with venereal diseases that left a significant percentage of the population unable to reproduce. This was one of several factors leading to the complete eradication of the Tasmanian Aboriginal people.


29. 40% of British government expenditure in 1833 was compensation paid to slave owners following abolition. The amount borrowed to fund this wasn’t paid of until 2015.


30. The British government in the 1960s feared that their control of Gibraltar was at risk from monkey lesbianism.


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31British Suffragettes

British suffragettes used toffee hammers to break windows as part of their successful protests for women voting.


32. Britain is responsible for 63 Independence Day celebrations around the world. That is, on average, 1 Independence Day celebration from U.K. every 6 days throughout the year.


33. Britain removed all their road signs during World War II so that if the Germans invaded, they would get lost. These defensive preparations included the removal of signposts, milestones, and railway station signs. Gas pumps were also removed from service stations near their coast.


34. In 2005, the Republic of Fiji lost its declaration of independence from Britain. After five long years of searching, Fiji’s government finally turned to Britain, who provided them with a photocopy.


35. British built a 1,100-mile hedge through the middle of India. With parts 12 feet tall and 14 feet across, the hedge was constructed along part of the Inland Customs Line, a barrier that the British created to impose a high salt tax on people living on the relatively saltless side of the line.


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36Indian Pale Ales

Most beers couldn’t withstand the 6 month trip from Great Britain to the British colonies in India, where the climate was too hot to brew. In response, a brewer heavily hopped and aged their beers, making them pale, and able to survive the journey. That’s how IPAs or “Indian Pale Ales” got their name.


37. When the island nation of Vanuatu was a colony, it was ruled jointly by Britain and France and called the Condominium. Because of the duplication of government bureaucracies and the officially stateless status of the Melanesians, it was informally called the Pandemonium.


38. During World War 1, British newspapers falsely claimed that the Germans rendered down soldiers’ corpses to make soap, candles, and nitroglycerin. As a result, when news of the Holocaust reached Britain during World War 2, the government assumed it was another made-up atrocity story.


39. Out of the almost 200 countries in the world, only 22 have never been invaded by Great Britain.


40. The first female doctor in Britain spent 56 years disguised as a man. It wasn’t until after her death in 1865, that the doctor’s secret was finally discovered.

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