Blast From the Past – 86 Royal Facts About Kings

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51Jai Singh

When Jai Singh, Maharaja of a princely state of India, visited the Rolls-Royce showroom in London, he was offended when the salesman implied that he couldn't afford to purchase the car. He purchased ten, shipped them to India, and ordered to use them for collecting and transporting garbage.


52. Roland The Farter was a professional flatulist who was given a manor and 30-acres of land in exchange for entertaining King Henry II.


53. King Herod "The Great" was so concerned that no one would mourn his death that he ordered a large group of distinguished men be killed at the time of his death to cause more widespread grief. His son and sister never carried out his request.


54. Upon his second defeat to Alexander the Great, King Darius III of Persia offered Alexander 30,000 talents (780 tons of silver, worth around £500,000,000 today) as part of an unconditional surrender. Alexander refused and proceeded to conquer Persia and rule all the way up to the Himalayas.


55. King Tutankhamun's penis was mummified while erect.


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56King George III statue

In 1776, a lead statue of King George III located in Boston was torn down by revolutionaries. The lead from the statue was then melted down and cast into musket balls to be used against the British.


57. Aztec kings wore cloaks made entirely of hummingbird skins. It would take about 8,000 hummingbirds to create an adult-size cloak.


58. A commonly-repeated anecdote claims that the word Sirlion is derived from an occasion when King James I of England, while being entertained at Hoghton Tower during his return from Scotland in 1617, was so impressed by the quality of his steak that he knighted the loin of beef, which was referred to thereafter as "Sir loin". There is no reliable evidence for this explanation and scholars generally hold it to be a myth.


59. When Columbus first sailed to America his ship's captain (Rodrigo de Triana) spotted land first but Columbus later claimed he had already seen it a few hours earlier, thereby claiming for himself the lifetime pension that had been promised by King Ferdinand to the first person to sight land.


60. Why the ancient Greek civilization of Sparta had no walls:"'The Spartan king Agesilaus simply pointed to his fellow citizens, armed to the teeth, the most formidable soldiers in Greece: 'Here are the walls of the Spartans.'"


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61Olympic Games

Alexander the Great once organized an Olympic Games to honor a dead religious leader in India. However, since the Indians weren't familiar with Greek sport, he opted for a wine-drinking contest instead. 41 contestants died and the winner lived for just four days after his victory.


62. The last king of Greece, Constantine II, won Greece's first Olympic gold medal since 1912 in the 1960 Summer Olympics. He also lived in exile for 40 years.


63. George Washington had the public support to become king of America, gave up the power to congress, and was called the greatest man in the world by King George III for doing so.


64. Abuse of the smoke signal is known to have contributed to the fall of the Western Zhou Dynasty during 8th century BC. King You of Zhou had a habit of fooling his warlords with false warning beacons in order to amuse his queen. When an actual rebellion occurred, no one came to the aid of the king.


65. During World War 2, King Christian X of Denmark was one of the only rulers of an occupied country who refused to go into exile for his own safety. He took daily rides through Copenhagen unattended to show he was not afraid.


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66King Mithridates

King Mithridates of Pontus had a flock of ducks who consumed poisonous plants and didn't die (thus making them useful for creating antidotes); however, their blood, meat, and eggs could kill you if you ingested them


67. In 1315, a small change in climate caused a great famine in Northern Europe which was so grim that one day even the king of England was left without bread


68. King Cambyses II of Persia used cats to invade Egypt. Knowing that cats held a high place in Egyptian society, the king brought hundreds of cats into his front lines. As a result, Egyptian archers refused to fire on his felines, fearing that they would injure the animals.


69. King Ingjald in honor of his ascension to the throne, invited the neighboring kings to a feast then vowed to enlarge his kingdom by half or else die. When the other leaders were drunk, Ingjald burned down the building and claimed their domains for himself, fulfilling his vow overnight.


70. The concept of a zombie apocalypse is four thousand years old. In the heroic epic about him, Gilgamesh, the mythical king of Uruk spurned the advances of Ishtar, the goddess of fertility. She became enraged and threatened to "Raise the dead who will outnumber the living and devour them."


71Edward Jenner

Just 5 years after its invention, the smallpox vaccine was sent throughout the world by the King of Spain, stored in 22 orphans. The developer himself, Edward Jenner wrote, "I don’t imagine the annals of history furnish an example of philanthropy so noble, so extensive as this."


72. When Alexander the Great asked the philosopher Diogenes why he was sifting through the garbage, Diogenes responded,"I am looking for the bones of your father but I cannot distinguish them from the bones of his slaves."


73. According to legend, Canute, the 11th Century Viking King of England, Denmark and Norway, once commanded the tide to halt. His intent was to prove a point to members of his privy council that no man is all-powerful, and we all must bend to forces beyond our control, such as the tides.


74. Charles VI of France suffered from such debilitating mental illness that he forgot his own name, his children, his wife and his identity as king. He periodically believed that he was made of glass and tried to prevent himself from breaking.


75. French revolutionary soldier Jean Bernadotte had "Death to Kings!" tattooed on his chest. He later went on to become King of Sweden and Norway.

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