British Chronicles: 78 Essential Insights into the History and Culture of England

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1Anglo-Portuguese alliance

Anglo-Portuguese alliance

The oldest unbroken alliance in the world is between England and Portugal dating back to 1373


2. The intense rationing in England during WWII actually reduced infant mortality by guaranteeing nutrition to everyone.


3. “Gropecunt Lane” was once a common street name in England, indicating probable historical centers of prostitution.


4. In England and Wales, it’s legal to consume alcohol on private premises from the age of 5.


5. There’s an annual lying competition in England, and competitors from around the world have five minutes to tell the biggest and most convincing lie they can. Politicians and lawyers are banned from entering because they’re thought to be too good at it.


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6Great Pyramid of Giza

Great Pyramid of Giza

The Great Pyramid of Giza was the tallest man-made structure on Earth for 3,871 years until the Lincoln Cathedral in England was finished in 1311.


7. After a ride on England’s first escalator, customers were offered a brandy to revive them of their ordeal.


8. The body of Richard III, infamous king of England, was lost for over 500 years before being found beneath a parking lot in 2012.


9. In 2012, an Australian named Nathan Grindal was kicked out of a televised darts match in England because of fears his appearance could distract the players after the crowd started chanting ‘Jesus’ at him, due to him looking like ‘Jesus.’


10. In 1355 in Oxford, England a dispute between two students and a Pub Landlord over the quality of their drinks resulted in a two-day riot (St Scholastica Day riot), which left 63 scholars and 30 locals dead.


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11Gravesend town

Gravesend town

In Gravesend, England, there is a whole fake town used by police to simulate dangerous situations. Fake streets, houses, parks, nightclubs, estates, aircraft, trains and tube stations are used to stage riots, robberies, hostage situations and terrorist attacks.


12. The Norman Invasion of England 1066 caused many English noblemen to flee England for the Byzantine Empire (modern day Turkey and Greece). There, the English diaspora founded the town, New York, 600 years before “New York” in America existed.


13. The Queen owns all unmarked swans in open water and she is the “officially appointed ‘Swan Keeper’ of England.”


14. There is a garden named Alnwick Garden in England devoted entirely to plants that can kill. The creator, the Duchess of Northumberland, felt that people ‘would be more interested in hearing how a plant killed, how long it would take you to die if you ate it and how gruesome and painful the death might be.’


15. The first known illegal act on the internet was committed in 1973 by one of the first ARPANET engineers (Leonard Kleinrock). He sent a request for the return of his electric razor following a conference in England. At that time, personal use of the internet was unlawful.


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16Chocolate milk

Chocolate milk

Chocolate milk was invented by an Irishman named Hans Sloane while visiting Jamaica in the 1680s. Locals mixed cocoa with water which Hans Sloane found nauseating. So instead he mixed it with milk to make it more pleasant. He brought the recipe to England, where it was made and sold by pharmacists as medicine.


17. In 1885, a man named John Babbacombe Lee was to be hanged for murder in England. After 3 attempts to hang him all failed, his sentence was commuted to life in prison. He was eventually released and died an old man in Wisconsin in 1945.


18. Ancient Greeks invented the modern shower using piped water. Rich and poor used large locker-room showers with bars to hang up clothing. Ancient Romans did the same, bringing showers to as far as England. The systems and habits of bathing every day disappeared after the fall of Rome.


19. In 2002, a car was reported running off the road in Surrey, England by multiple witnesses. Police arrive and found no signs of a crash. After a careful search, the car and the decomposed body of the driver were finally found, but it was determined that the accident occurred five months earlier than the witness reports.


20. Wembley Stadium in England has the most toilets of any one building, at 2618


21Operation Tiger

Operation Tiger

Operation Tiger was the code name for one in a series of large-scale rehearsals for the D-Day invasion of Normandy, which took place on Slapton Beach in Devon, England. Coordination and communication problems resulted in friendly fire deaths during the exercise, and an Allied convoy positioning itself for the landing was attacked by E-boats of Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine, resulting in the deaths of 946 American servicemen. The government didn't inform the families until after D-day and reported that that's where they died.


22. In 955 A.D., Bishop Dunstan went to bring back King Eadwig from his bedroom after his coronation as he failed to attend a meeting of noble. Dunstan found the young king in bed with two women, a mother, and her daughter. Infuriated by this, Dunstan dragged Eadwig back. Later realizing that he had provoked the king, Dunstan fled England and refused to return until after Eadwig's death.


23. In the 1600s, a man named Edward de Vere who worked for Queen Elizabeth was so embarrassed after an accidental fart, that he left England for 7 years. When he returned, the Queen greeted him by saying "My Lord, I had forgotten the Fart."


24. Sir Walter Raleigh, English aristocrat and explorer, captured a Portuguese ship for England. The ship was estimated to be worth half the size of England’s national treasury at the time. When the captured ship docked, people from all over England came to loot it.


25. The oldest operating school in the world is The King's School in Canterbury, England, at 1,420 years old. It was founded in AD 597 during the Late Antiquity era, 100 years after the fall of Rome.

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