50 Remarkable Tales of Dispute Resolution Across History

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26Viking Thing Assembly

Viking Thing Assembly

The Thing was a crucial institution during the Viking Age, serving as both a legislative and judicial assembly where free men gathered to make laws, settle disputes, and decide cases within the framework of Norse society. Led by a law speaker who recited laws from memory and often influenced by powerful local families, the Thing met regularly at various levels, from local community gatherings to national assemblies in Iceland.

27. George Washington averted a potential military coup over unpaid wages by donning a pair of glasses to read a letter from Congress. His admission of near blindness from his service moved his officers to tears, who later compromised.

28. Queen Victoria's selection of Ottawa as Canada's capital in 1857 was a political compromise, chosen for its location between Toronto and Montreal. This decision aimed to appease both English-speaking and French-speaking Canadians.

29. The location of Washington, DC, in the southern region resulted from a compromise known as the "dinner table bargain" between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison from Virginia and Alexander Hamilton from New York. This agreement stipulated that the national government would assume the states' debts in exchange for placing the capital in a central location.

30. During debates over census representation, the South advocated for slaves to be counted as full persons, while the North pushed for the 3/5 compromise. This compromise settled the contentious issue of how slaves would be counted for both taxation and representation purposes.

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31Gang Truce Mediation

Gang Truce Mediation

On April 29th, 1992, amidst the unrest following the acquittal of four LAPD officers in the beating of Rodney King, leaders of L.A.'s Bloods and Crips gangs brokered a peace agreement. Facilitated by football Hall of Famer Jim Brown, this historic truce aimed to quell violence and promote community healing.

32. During the 2000s, major tech companies, including Google, Apple, Adobe, and Intel, engaged in a mutual agreement not to poach each other's employees, effectively suppressing salary competition. This collusion led to a class-action lawsuit amounting to $400 million.

33. The owner of windows2000.com was named Bob, and Microsoft, which owned Bob.com, reached a unique agreement to trade domain names.

34. In Jerusalem, a centuries-old "immovable ladder" rests beneath the window of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Installed in 1757, it requires unanimous consent from the six church clerics to move. Once a chair was moved 20 cm, which resulted in a fistfight, so now nobody dares to alter the ladder.

35. Due to their striking resemblance, actors Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg have an agreement to embrace fans' confusion between them.

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36Diplomatic Border Exchange

Diplomatic Border Exchange

In January 2018, Belgium and the Netherlands peacefully exchanged land to adjust their national borders. Belgium's foreign minister emphasized that "the agreement shows that borders can also be exchanged peacefully," highlighting the significance of diplomatic solutions in resolving territorial disputes.

37. The field of probability was born out of a gambling dispute in 1654, when French nobleman Antoine Gombaud sought to settle a question about a gambling game. This conundrum spurred the development of probability theory by mathematicians Blaise Pascal and Pierre de Fermat.

38. Franklin D. Roosevelt's paralysis was kept largely hidden from the public, with a "gentleman's agreement" between him and the press to refrain from photographing him in his wheelchair.

39. During the Second Liberian Civil War, women staged innovative protests by withholding sex until men laid down their weapons. They further threatened to disrobe during peace talks unless agreements were reached, using their bodies as a potent tool for peace.

40. In 2000, major motorcycle manufacturers reached a "gentlemen's agreement" to cease escalating speed competition for the world's fastest production bike. Concerned about safety, they imposed a speed limit of 186 mph to prevent extremely dangerous speeds.

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41Post-War Girlfriend Relocation

Post-War Girlfriend Relocation

After World War II, foreign soldiers arranged for their girlfriends to join them, prompting the Dutch government to make an agreement with Canada. Canada sent a ship to transport the Dutch girlfriends and Dutch-Canadian babies of their soldiers to Canada.

42. In 1985, amidst Cold War tensions, US President Ronald Reagan and USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev made a pact to set aside their countries' differences and unite their militaries in the event of an alien invasion.

43. The US and the EU engaged in a "banana war" over the EU's preferential trade agreements with its former colonies. Initially designed to assist developing countries, these agreements became contentious as they forced the countries to abandon them.

44. Despite the end of the Peloponnesian War in 404 B.C., a formal peace treaty was not signed until 2400 years later, in 1996, when the mayors of modern-day Athens and Sparta signed a symbolic agreement to officially end the ancient conflict.

45. Feudal agreements varied widely in their terms, with some requiring unusual obligations, such as one where a man had to visit the king every Christmas to whistle, jump, and fart for the king.

46Horsepower Cap Agreement

Horsepower Cap Agreement

Until 2005, Japanese car manufacturers adhered to a "gentlemen's agreement" not to produce cars exceeding 276 horsepower.

47. Despite playing a significant role in shaping international ocean boundary agreements, the US has yet to sign the international agreement that defines these boundaries, reflecting complexities and reservations within its maritime policies.

48. During World War II, Poland declared war on Japan, but the Japanese government rejected the declaration, resulting in the only war declaration ever rejected. The state of war between Poland and Japan endured until 1957, when an agreement was finally reached to restore relations between the two countries.

49. The copyright battle between the owners of Hello Kitty and Miffy was resolved after the Japanese Tsunami, when they agreed to settle the case immediately and donate their anticipated legal fees to the Tsunami Relief Effort.

50. In 2002, Leon Humphreys, an Englishman from Suffolk, contested a £25 traffic ticket in court and invoked Trial by Combat, proposing to face any champion nominated by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in a battle with samurai swords, knives, or hammers. The town recorded his unconventional request as a not guilty plea and adjourned his case.

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