In 1795, nearly one-sixth of the entire United States federal budget was sent to Algeria as a ransom for 115 American sailors captured by Barbary pirates. The federal government had just been formed in 1790.

This is the first African team in history, men or women, to qualify for the Olympics in bobsledding! They hold a second “first” too: driver Seun Adigun and brakemen Ngozi Onwumere and Akuoma Omeoga are the first winter Olympic athletes from Nigeria -- ever.

Cameroon's national soccer/football team, the Indomitable Lions, has qualified for FIFA competitions six times, more than any other African team. In 1990, they became the first team in Africa to make it to the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup. They went on to win the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

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!

Cleopatra remains fascinating, 2,047 years after her death. To date, she has been the subject of five ballets, seven films, forty-five operas, seventy-seven plays, and innumerable paintings.

In the 1880s, a baboon named Jack worked as the assistant to a paraplegic signalman for nine years on a South African railroad. Jack was paid in brandy and never made a mistake.

The first free Muslim in the Americas might have been Anthony Janszoon van Salee. He was Muslim because his father, Jan Janszoon, was a successful Dutch Barbary Corsair who converted to Islam and ended up running a small city-state for pirates in today’s Morocco.

Anthony, his fourth son, for some reason decided to immigrate to Dutch New Amsterdam in 1630. He became quite wealthy in what is today New York, but always remained a Muslim. And he used his position to support other religious minorities -- Anthony  once was fined for housing an English Quaker at his home

The Bamileke of Cameroon exhume and honor the skulls of their ancestors with singing and dancing two years after the initial burial. They believe the skulls hold the ancestral spirit. And the ancestral spirit has the power to bring good or bad fortune. So the exhumed skulls are often kept close to family members, such as inside the floor of the home.

The conflict between Sudan and South Sudan is Africa's longest civil war. It raged from 1955 to 1972, and after a ten-year break, the civil war restarted in 1983 and lasted until 2005. In total, the civil war lasted 39 years. It left over 2.5 million Sudanese dead, and more than 4 million displaced.

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    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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