World’s Strangest

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Napoleon Wasn’t Short, Vikings Didn’t Wear Horned Helmets, and 3 More Historical Misconceptions

There’s nothing a history geek likes more than saying, “Actually, everything you think you know about [insert historical event here] is wrong. And here’s why.” In this four-minute video, C.G.P. Grey tackles five historical misconceptions, contrasting the commonly accepted stories with what the historical record actually shows. My favorite is his explanation of Napoleon [...]

France Plans ‘Napoleonland’ — A Napoleon Theme Park

Park visitors won’t get forty shillings on a drum, but if French politician Yves Jégo has his way, they will get to experience the life and times of Napoleon Bonaparte. He plans to build, at a projected cost of $280 million, a theme park inspired by the French emperor: The plan is to build the unlikely [...]

Top Ten Bizarre Wars

A lot of wars get left out of our history books because they left no changes in maps or the balance of power. However, some of these lesser-known wars lasted for hundred of years! There are also declared wars in which no one was killed, and, in the case of the Paraguayan War, hundreds of [...]

Preserving Smelly History

We can preserve and experience historical sights and sounds. But how do we know what, for example, Eighteenth Century Manhattan smelled like? Thanks to technologies developed by the perfume industry, there are now ways to preserve smells so that future generations can experience them: A pioneer of this approach is Roman Kaiser, a Swiss fragrance chemist [...]

The Suburban Life of Napoleon’s Brother

Being the older brother of Napoleon Bonaparte wasn’t an easy job. Joseph wanted to be a writer, but instead had to rule Naples and then Spain. When Napoleon was defeated, Joseph set sail for the United States, where he eventually settled in …New Jersey! Bonaparte may have been dethroned, but he was still royalty. He built [...]

The Last King of New Jersey: The Suburban Life of Napoleon’s Brother

As Napoleon Bonaparte expanded his new French Empire and conquered much of Western Europe, he doled out the spoils of war to his friends and family, whether they wanted it or not. Napoleon’s older brother Joseph, described by historians as “idealist, mild mannered, and lacking in vigor,” had wanted to be a writer, but was [...]

Napoleon VS. Napoleon

Epic Rap Battle time! Who do you think would win in a match between Napoleon Bonaparte and Napoleon Dynamite? [Warning: Adult language at the very beginning of the video] As always, these great rap battles are brought to you by NicePeter.

Get Out! How 8 Dictators Spent Their Exile Years

As civil war rages in Libya, many observers are calling for Qaddafi to step down and go into exile. This wouldn’t be the first time an oppressive leader has stepped aside in exchange for a relatively comfortable retirement abroad. We’ve compiled this handy list of famous exiled emperors and dictators for reference. 1. Napoleon Bonaparte (Elba [...]

Guard Tower from the Napoleonic Wars Refurbished into Modern Home

To protect the country from an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte, Britain built 103 towers along its southern shore to spot and slow down a French invasion force. The Martello towers, as they were called, had walls 30 feet tall and 13 feet thick. Some survive to this day, and industrial designer Duncan Jackson decided to [...]

Les Invalides: The Haunted Home of Napoleon’s Tomb

One of the most glorious sites in France is the Les Invalides, a complex of buildings featuring a hospital, museum, and mausoleum where the spirits of soldiers and the turbulent past of France make this site a memorable experience. The Église St. Louis des Invalides was the grand initiative of Bruant and his successor Mansart. On [...]