Upon reading the names in this article, you might already have preconceived ideas about who they are. These people shaped world history as known today, but they are all worth learning beyond their names. If you think you know them, then these people facts might make you think twice.
- Mahatma Gandhi’s ability to go 21 days without food caught the concern of government nutritionists.
- Queen Victoria became the first sovereign ruler from Buckingham Palace.
- Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, Ltd., was dyslexic.
- Independent India’s first Prime Minister was Jawaharlal Nehru.
- His child, Indira Gandhi, became the first lady Prime Minister of India.
- Oprah Winfrey was the world’s richest African-American woman – the first black woman billionaire.
- Argentine ex-First Woman Eva Peron was an icon due to her many charitable work and feminist causes.
- Pope Francis was the first Pope from the U.S. and was the first Jesuit elected to the post.
- Polio paralyzed Franklin D. Roosevelt, but modern studies think it might have been Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
- Over 15 golf courses across the world are under the management of 45th U.S. President Donald Trump.
- The Oxford Union had Benazir Bhutto as the first Asian woman elected president.
- English journalist and novelist George Orwell wrote 3 non-fictions and 6 novels, 2 of which were made into movies.
- In 1984, Desmond Tutu became the 2nd South African Nobel Peace Prize winner for his apartheid abolition efforts.
- Before his film breakthrough, Peter Sellers made 2 comedy albums produced by George Martin.
- Reigned in 1930-1974, Haile Selassie I was the last emperor to rule Ethiopia.
- Norma Jeane Baker would often refer to “Marilyn Monroe” in the third person.
- To make his brown hair appear black, Elvis Presley used shoe polish.
- Walt Disney was a dropout from high school.
- American track and field athlete Jesse Owens set 3 world records while still in university.
- After playing 15 NBA seasons, Michael Jordan was 5-time NBA MVP and 6-time NBA Finals MVP.
King Tut's mother was possibly his sister who was impregnated by his father.
Tutankhamun was only 9 years old when he became the ‘Boy King.’ Hence, he was not able to rule Egypt by himself. King Tut had Horemheb as his chief adviser and Ay as his vizier.
23-year-old Cleopatra became mistress to Julius Caesar with whom she had 2 children.
When her brother Ptolemy XIII exiled her, she allied with Caesar as his lover. Cleopatra bore Caesarion just 9 months after they met. Then, Julius Caesar backed her claim to the throne.
King Arthur was one of the Nine Worthies.
This group consists of legendary and historical personalities, embodying the ideals of Middle Age chivalry. Aside from King Arthur, the list also includes Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, David, Godfrey of Bouillon, Hector, Joshua, Judas Maccabeus, and Julius Caesar.
In 530 BC, Pythagoras moved to Italy where he formed a cult.
The Pythagoreans are a religious group that is naturally secretive. Little known facts about the Pythagoras cult is that they are vegetarians and do not own any possessions.
Confucius was not only a scholar but an educator and a politician as well.
His extensive studies included literature, society, ethics, philosophy, history, and politics. Confucius had a Golden Rule stating “Do not impose on others what you do not wish for yourself.”
Leonardo Fibonacci introduced a number system that could be seen in daily living.
For one, the Fibonacci sequence is present in the pattern of a bee family tree. Two consecutive numbers from this series like 13 and 21 appear in the conversion of 13 miles and 21 kilometers, likewise with 55 and 34. We sure have to thank Leonardo Fibonacci for this number system, don’t we?
Contrary to what he is known for today, Leonardo da Vinci was a recognized engineer in his lifetime.
His letter to Italian Renaissance prince Ludovico il Moro contained his vision of building various machines for the protection and siege of the town. However, the weapons, tanks, and planes in his sketches only became a reality some centuries later. Another name for Leonardo da Vinci is ‘The Renaissance Man.’
When he was born, Picasso was thought to be stillborn.
Due to his mother’s difficult delivery, Pablo Picasso looked too weak when he came out. The midwife left him lying on the table. If it was not for his uncle Don Salvador, the writer/painter/sculptor would not have birthed his masterpieces for the world to see.
Vincent van Gogh was a self-taught artist.
Starting at 27 years old, van Gogh created over 2,000 pieces in his lifetime. 860 of those are oil paintings. Sadly, his paintings only started gaining attention 11 years after his death.
William Shakespeare invented more than 1,700 words, most of them still used today.
The word list includes arouse, bedroom, bet, gossip and grovel. Moreover, Shakespeare also coined some phrases. Some of them are all that glitters is not gold, all’s well that ends well, bated breath, break the ice.
Ludwig van Beethoven was only 12 when he published his first composition.
What makes the composition more amazing was that it is in C minor. It is challenging to play and is also a strange choice for the child genius for that time.
J.K. Rowling was the first US-dollar billionaire from mainly book writing.
Before reaching where she is right now, Rowling experienced 12 rejections from publishers for her first Harry Potter manuscript. Today’s Potterheads must thank Bloomsbury for recognizing Rowling’s potential.
Until 2003, the record for the most patent for an individual goes to Thomas Edison.
Thomas Edison had Nikola Tesla as an apprentice and Henry Ford as a friend. His total recorded patents with the U.S. Patent Office was 1,093. However, Shunpei Yamazaki surpassed his record in 2003.
Christopher Columbus was responsible for why the Native Americans have 'Indians' as a nickname.
Upon landing in the Indies, the Italian explorer assumed that they were ‘Indians.’ Columbus had no idea that his reference was to last even over 500 years after his voyage.
Despite having a museum recognizing her experience, Anne Frank received opposition from parents.
They believe that her accounts would only promote obscenity if schools continue to teach it in school. Anne Frank wrote about body and sexuality curiosities in her diary. Still, her father Otto omitted those parts in the first edition.
Even after all that he has done, Adolf Hitler is a hypochondriac.
It means that he greatly fears diseases and certain conditions. His routine includes self-diagnosis, mostly on having intestinal disorders. He would then treat these conditions with dangerous solutions. Adolf Hitler was also a vegetarian, and another fear he had is dental phobia.
Vladimir Lenin led the toppling of the Bolsheviks.
His attempts against the provisional government later became known as the ‘October Revolution.’ Unfortunately for him, the Bolsheviks won most of the civil war.
Joseph Stalin was the Hitler of the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
During his reign in 1929-1953, Stalin forced the Soviet Union to be an atomic superpower despite being underdeveloped. He ended up murdering people by the tens of millions.
40-year-old R.S.S. Baden-Powell was the youngest Army Colonel during his time.
Aside from his promotion in 1897, he also gained fame when he successfully led the winning defense against a 217-day siege. Baden-Powell eventually rose to Major-General.
Albert Einstein's brain lived on until 20 years after his death.
Pathologist Thomas Harvey performed the autopsy on the genius’s body when he stole the brain. Later, researchers discovered that Einstein had a 1.5-times greater brain than an average human, along with thicker fibers and ridges.
Contrary to popular belief, Charles Darwin’s theory was not Evolution, but Natural Selection instead.
Among his important works are the ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection’ and ‘The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life.’ Charles Darwin specified an evolution mechanism as a process, a concept now widely accepted in science.
Aside from his automobile manufacturing, Henry Ford also became known to invent mass production.
The concept he used in his motor company dramatically minimized the automobile ownership costs in America at that time.
Louis Pasteur was the man behind the discovery of the notion of left- and right-handedness.
He demonstrated its function among the general population. Moreover, Louis Pasteur found the living body molecules that are responsible for twisting in directions, which then links to the ‘dominant hand’ used in daily tasks.
Mother Teresa received the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize.
With her good heart, she asked that the $192,000 banquet budget be sent to help the poor in India instead.
8th US President Martin Van Buren was only the First US-Born President.
However, his record turned to shambles when he turned into Martin Van Ruin in 1837. He was a good politician, but not a good economist. People held him accountable for The Panic of 1837 despite the fact that he was not the root cause of it.
12th US President Zachary Taylor had no idea about his Presidential nomination until weeks later.
The Whig Party representative later then became the Hero of the Second Seminole War and was a Mexican War Hero as well. Tragically, Zachary Taylor died on the 4th of July, presumably due to excessive consumption of cherries and milk which made him ill.
16th US President Abraham Lincoln had a premonition regarding his murder.
Around 2 weeks prior to his death, Abraham Lincoln expressed his anticipation for the assassination that killed him. Even on the day before the tragic event, he told his bodyguard that he dreamt about the unfateful event for 3 nights in a row.
The tragic death of 20th US President James Garfield became a turning point in American medical history.
In the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, a forum discussed the development of the national standards among American nursing schools. It all started when James Garfield died partly due to the lack of trained nursing care in the country.
Grover Cleveland was the US’s first overweight President.
As the 22nd and 24th President of the country, Grover Cleaveland regulated the roads and railways in the 1887 Interstate Commerce Commission. His projects led to the modernization of America’s naval ships and public infrastructure.
23rd US President Benjamin Harrison was also the ‘Centennial President’ in 1889.
Benjamin Harrison‘s records include being the Last President With A Full Beard and the First President to Have His Voice Recorded.
35th US President John F. Kennedy was only 22 years old when he wrote his first book.
Its title was ‘Why England Slept.’ Moreover, he won the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for his biography entitled ‘Profiles of Courage.’
36th US President Lyndon B. Johnson was the youngest to ever serve as a Senate Minority Leader.
He was also 1 of 4 people who had been a US Representative, Senate Majority Leader, Vice President, and the President of the United States.
44th US President Barack Obama won 2 Grammy Awards.
Both of them are for the Spoken Word Album of the Year. Barack Obama received the award for Dreams from My Father. Again, he won the same award for The Audacity of Hope audiobook in 2008.
Pope John Paul II broke a 455-year-old streak by being the first Non-Italian Pope after the period.
Upon his 1978 election, he earned the official title of ‘Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Western Church, Patriarch of the West, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Province of Rome, Sovereign of the State of Vatican City.’
Winston Churchill was the only British Prime Minister who received a Nobel Prize in Literature.
After 52 years of the award’s inception, Churchill won it in 1953 due to “his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.”
Jackie Robinson became the first African-American player in a major team sport.
He signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, causing criticism upon team owner Branch Rickey. When Jackie Robinson helped the team win the World Series, he became a key figure early in the Civil Rights Movement.
Brazilian football legend Pele was only 15 when he started playing professionally.
By the age of 17, he won his first World Cup. Pele had 10 as his jersey number while sticking to his position as a striker, inside left forward. In 1956-1974, he plated for the Santos Football Club.
Muhammad Ali was arrested for refusing to serve in the US military for the Vietnam War.
The American professional boxer held onto his religious beliefs when the war broke out in 1967. However, the New York State Athletic Commission stripped Ali of his title and suspended his boxing title apart from his arrest for the same reasons.
Rosa Parks is the Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement.
Her ordeals started in 1955 when she refused to give up her seat to a white man. Eventually, it provoked a boycott against the Montgomery bus system. Rosa Parks, along with over a hundred others, was arrested for the violation of the organized boycotting state law.
Margaret Thatcher was Great Britain’s First Female Prime Minister.
She earned the title ‘Iron Lady’ due to her toughness both in the personal and political aspects. Moreover, Thatcher was the only 20th-century British prime minister who won for 3 years in a row. The Iron lady highlighted the moral absolutism and nationalism during her term.
Imprisoned Malcolm X sent a letter to President Harry Truman.
In it, he expressed his condemn towards the Korean War and even declared himself as a Communist. The government then continued to track the civil rights activist, recording his phone conversations, hearing death threats against him until his assassination.
At 35, Martin Luther King, Jr. was the youngest person to receive a Nobel Peace Prize.
The organization recognized how he bravely fought racial inequality in a non-violent way. He was also the first African-American named Time Magazine’s Man of the Year. Moreover, Martin Luther King won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album posthumous for “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam.”
Nelson Mandela took office as the First African-American President of South Africa.
His instrumental role in ousting the oppressive government and instilling democracy in the country earned him the name ‘Father of Modern South Africa.’ Further, Mandela won the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize and at least 200 other awards in his peaceful approach to the Apartheid regime.
American astronaut Neil Armstrong knew how to fly way before he got his license.
He was only 6 when his father brought him on board a Ford Trimotor airplane. By the time he was 15, Armstrong has already acquired flying lessons enough to be able to command a cockpit.
The board of directors of Apple fired Steve Jobs when they fell with the rise of Microsoft.
They thought that he was too focused on ‘changing the world’ when their main goal was to sell computers. Right after that, Steve Jobs founded his own company NeXT, Inc. Still, Apple did not do any better without him so they asked Jobs to come back.
Bill Gates held the top spot on the World’s Billionaires List by Forbes for 12 years in a row.
After dropping out of Harvard, he co-founded Microsoft Corp. with Paul Allen. It was the largest software company in the world, complementing Bill Gates’ billionaire reign from 1995-2007.
Queen Elizabeth II was the only Royal Family female member to serve in the Armed Forces.
Now, she stands as the only surviving head of state who served in WWII. The Queen was only 18 years old when she joined the women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service where she trained as a mechanic and a truck driver.
Queen Elizabeth named Angelina Jolie an Honorary Dame in 2014.
The Queen recognized the actress’s long-running humanitarian work dedication. Among Jolie’s remarkable acts is her work in the UK foreign policy and her petition for ending sexual violence in warzones.
Paul McCartney received a total of 78 nominations and 18 Grammy Awards.
It includes all his solo work, as well as those with the Beatles and Wings. The bassist-vocalist also received 2 honorary Lifetime Achievement awards, one as a solo artist and another as part of the Beatles.
World-renowned singer John Lennon hated his own voice.
Due to the distaste of his own voice, Lennon would often double-track his records. He was even dissatisfied with all the records that The Beatles made despite being part of the band himself.