In World War I, the German navy disguised one of their ships as a British ship, the RMS Carmania, and sent it to ambush British vessels. Unfortunately for the Germans, the very first British ship she encountered was the real RMS Carmania. Who promptly sank its doppelganger.

The Most Deadly War (Until World War II)

Did you make a guess? Okay, here's the answer: maybe the War of the Three Kingdoms, or the Mongol Conquests. Let's explain each of those in turn. First, what was the War of the Three Kingdoms? When the Han Dynasty lost its grip on power in about 184 CE, China was split into three kingdoms: Wei, Shu, and Wu. The three fought continuously from 184 until 280 CE, when the Jin Dynasty conquered Wu. Historians estimate that between 36 and 40 million people died in all the fighting which occurred during that 96-year period.

The Mongol Conquests are probably better-known to those reading this blog post in English. The long version of the Mongol Conquests dates from 1206 when Genghis Khan burst out of Mongolia's steppe heartland to 1368, when the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty of China fell. Historians estimate between 30 million and 40 million people were killed.

But what about the An Lushan Rebellion, some of you are saying? That rebellion against the Tang Dynasty, which dragged on for 7 years and three Tang emperors before it was finally over, cost somewhere between 13 and 36 million. That's a very wide range. On the upper end, that could top the War of the Three Kingdoms and the Mongol Conquests. But that's only if they are in the low end of their possible death tolls, and the An Lushan Rebellion is at the very highest end of its possible death toll. Of course, historical death counts are always guesswork, so it may be that an entirely different war actually takes the top prize!

For those who are curious, World War II killed at minimum 56,125,162 people.

NASA keeps videos of all the falls astronauts have ever taken on the moon. For scientific study, of course: though gravity is much lower on the moon, astronaut's mass stays the same and therefore inertia, which is a body's resistance to changes in motion and is related to mass, also stays the same. Astronauts are having to adjust to a completely different conditions than they're used to. And it makes the astronauts walk a bit like a one-year-old taking their first steps.

What is Volkswagen's Best-Selling Product?

It isn’t a car — it’s sausages. Item number 199 398 500 A in the Volkswagen parts catalog is "currywurst sausage." In the 1940s and 1950s the company owned a pig farm to help feed factory employees, and today a team of butchers in Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg factory still makes 6.5 million 10-inch sausages every year using a secret recipe. Per units sold it is Volkswagen's most popular product! The sausages are sold in 11 countries, too.

Why Are Iraq's Rivers Dying?


A brief geopolitical history that explains why Iraq's famous two rivers are quickly shrinking. And what that means for Iraq's future.

The St. Petersburg–Tampa Airboat Line, which was founded in 1913, is considered the world’s first commercial airline to offer scheduled flights. The airline offered regular flights from St. Petersburg, Florida to Tampa, Florida. It used a two-seat airboat called the Lark of Duluth which flew just 1.5 meters (5 feet) above the water. It was a glorified commuter's ferry.

The St. Petersburg–Tampa Airboat Line was a success because it made the 29-kilometer (18 mi) flight in just 23 minutes. At the time, steamships covered that distance in two hours, trains in 4–12 hours, and cars in 20 hours. Passengers paid $5 (or about $129 in today's money) to save 1.5 hours in travel. The airboat service, unfortunately, lasted just a year before closing.


"Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better."

Harry Truman

The original Sony Walkman, when released in 1979, was called the "Soundabout" in the US, the "Freestyle" in Sweden and Australia, and the "Stowaway" in the UK.

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    HISTORICAL NON-FICTION

    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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