After Brazil joined World War II on the side of the allies in 1942, there were riots against German-Brazilians and their businesses in almost every major city. Brazil is home to the second-largest population of German-Austrians outside of Germany and Austria. The largest population is in the United States.

After Lyndon Johnson died 1973, there were zero ex-presidents still living. This had not happened since 1933, and has not happened since.

Beware The Dancing Girls!

The Tuyuhun were a nomadic people who created a powerful kingdom in the northern part of the Himalayan plateau. The Tuyuhun were unsurprisingly interested in their rich neighbor to the east, and invaded the Tang Dynasty in 623 CE. The Tuyuhun regularly raided Chinese settlements along the western Tang frontier. This was just another of a long line of incursions by nomads into China. So in 623, the Tuyuhun departed from their homeland, and invaded Gansu, in northwest China. The Tang general Chai Shao was dispatched to defeat them. The problem for him was the Tuyuhun army controlled the high ground, having arrived at a strong position and refused to abandon it. Their archers easily held off any approach by the Tang army, so why should they move? All pretty standard so far.

Chai Shao was an unorthodox man, though, and he thought of an unorthodox solution: erotic dancers. He sent two dancing girls and a group of musicians to a small hill near the Tuyuhun camp. The girls performed an erotic dance, accompanied by the musicians, just where they could be seen by the Tuyuhun army. Discipline fell apart completely as soldiers rushed to get a better view of the dancing.

Meanwhile, Chai Shao and the Tang cavalry snuck around behind the Tuyuhun, while everyone was distracted by the ladies. When they attacked, the Tuyuhun were completely defeated: they lost over 500 men, and were forced to retreat out of Gansu. Hostilities continued, but now the Tang were attacking the Tuyuhun, instead of fending off invasions.

Papias the Lombard wrote the first fully recognizable dictionary in the 1040s. It was monolingual, defining Latin words in Latin.

It takes about 5,000 years (give or take) for photons to escape the sun’s core. Once they are out, though, it takes just 8.3 minutes for them to reach Earth. The sunlight we see is thousands of years old!

When oxygen was first discovered by British clergyman Joseph Priestley, in 1774, he called it “dephlogisticated air.” Imagine trying to spell that on a science test!

Airbags only became mandatory, in all vehicles sold in the United States, in 1998.

A curious creature from Bulgarian folklore is the Torbalan. Its name means "man with a sack." The creature carries away misbehaving children, dismembers them, and bakes them into bread. The Torbalan appears to come from prehistoric (ie pre-writing) folklore, and is unsurprisingly a favorite with parents.

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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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