5 Historical Events That Weren’t Taught in School

The average American student spends over one thousand hours in a classroom in a year.

Teaching Historical Events

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And though some of that time is dedicated to learning about historical phenomena, it would be impossible to cover the thousands of years worth of recorded history within that time.

Overlooked Historical Events

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World history is peppered with weird, curious and outright strange happenings, many of which have been tucked away in preference for more meaningful events.

And while the Roman Empire may be a viral topic of conversation, here are a handful of events that are equally interesting, if not as world-changing. 

1. The Micronation That Didn’t Make It

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In 1961, the movie Atlantis: The Lost Continent was released, garnering popularity for the mythical city of Atlantis.

1. The Micronation That Didn’t Make It

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Four years later, Leicester Hemingway, younger brother of iconic writer Ernest Hemingway, had his own moment of Atlantis-related history.

Inspired by the story of Atlantis and enabled by capital made from his own work as a writer, Leicester set out off the coast of Jamaica to international waters.

At that point, he established New Atlantis on a raft constructed of bamboo and rusted pipe.

1. The Micronation That Didn’t Make It

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While his micronation had stamps and even a flag sewn by his wife, Leicester’s presidency – and he did acknowledge himself as the president – was short-lived.

Within a year of establishing the legally recognized nation, a tropical storm sent the raft to demise, ending with the short term of New Atlantis

2. Napoleon the Romance Author

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Napoleon Boneparte rose to prominence around the time of the French Revolution. He was a military commander first, a politician later.

And while he may have published some political pamphlets in his time, the hairpin turn into romance authorship was unexpected.

2. Napoleon the Romance Author

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Clisson et Eugénie (Clissen and Eugenie) is a novella written by Boneparte. The story entails a doomed relationship between a soldier and his lover. It is widely accepted to be a fictionalized version of Boneparte’s own romantic relationship with a woman named Eugénie. 

2. Napoleon the Romance Author

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Napoleon’s softer work was not intended for publication and only became so in 2007 and 2009 when two historians gathered together his notes for viewing. 

3. A Truly Silent Night: the Nationwide Christmas Ban

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It may seem like the stuff of children’s tales to ban Christmas, but in the late 1600s, that very thing occurred in England.

3. A Truly Silent Night: the Nationwide Christmas Ban

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Though Christmas, or winter celebrations as some knew it, had been a common occurrence for over a hundred years, the tone of the holiday was vastly different from what we know today.

Spirituality held no place, nor were children a focal point for the fun. Instead, the festival focused on drinking, eating, and sex.

3. A Truly Silent Night: the Nationwide Christmas Ban

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So, as out of control as the celebrations became, in 1647, the Puritan government banned the event, claiming it was simply an excuse for promiscuity, gambling, and drunkenness.

Shops were forced to remain open on the day, and churches were barred to prevent Christmas services.

3. A Truly Silent Night: the Nationwide Christmas Ban

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The ban induced what became a civil war, and it was 20 long years before people could celebrate December 25th legally.

4. Einstein’s Brain Stolen

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Perhaps one of the most intelligent individuals in history, Albert Einstein’s death was an immense loss to the scientific community.

Known for developing the theory of relativity, which revolutionized the way humans understand physics, Einstein was renowned for his ingenious approach to sciences.

4. Einstein’s Brain Stolen

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After he died in 1955, the physicist was sent for autopsy. Thomas Stoltz Harvey, an American pathologist, was tasked with the job.

The following day, Einstein was cremated without fanfare, while his son, Hans, was alerted to the fact that the body had not entirely been intact.

4. Einstein’s Brain Stolen

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Harvey, without permission or instruction, had removed the brain that had brought enlightenment and wonder to the scientific community and stored it for his own possession and research. 

Though Einstein’s family was initially outraged, they ultimately relented to the promised studies, allowing the brain to be scrutinized by minds worldwide.

4. Einstein’s Brain Stolen

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And, for what it was worth, no research ever indicated that Einstein’s brain was any different from any other male human, making the thievery almost entirely pointless. 

5. Unfulfilled Treasure Hunt: The Civil War Gold

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The Confederate gold is a well-known lure to those in treasure hunting spheres. It was a large sum provided by wealthy citizens during the American Civil War.

5. Unfulfilled Treasure Hunt: The Civil War Gold

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When the Union Army was aggressing, Jefferson Davis – then the president of the Confederate States of America – went on the run, taking a sum estimated to be worth one million dollars.

5. Unfulfilled Treasure Hunt: The Civil War Gold

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Though Davis was later arrested, the money had vanished without a trace. While a small amount is accounted for, the rest has remained a mystery, with thousands of theories flocking to the internet.

To this day, nobody quite knows what became of it.

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This article was produced by TPR Teaching.

Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.

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