Sometimes, a chain of events unfolds so dramatically that you have to stop and marvel, "Wow, that escalated quickly!" Historical events are no different - some of them moved from zero to 60 in a relatively short time period. Whether it was a war that started due to a relatively minor issue, a religious transformation that happened thanks to a single text, or a scientific advancement that emerged in a surprisingly short amount of time, many past events began in one place and ended up somewhere completely different.
These history facts demonstrate that nothing is inevitable, and that the past can have twists and turns like an engaging thriller. So read on and discover some events from the past that escalated very, very quickly.
Baker Thomas Farriner - whose bakery was on Pudding Lane in 17th-century London - had a steady source of income producing hard tack for the Royal Navy. But Farriner would be remembered for a far more tragic connection: It was in his bakery that the Great Fire of London began in 1666.
The shop erupted in flames after Farriner did not appropriately douse the fire in his oven, and it quickly spread. The flames leaped hungrily from one street to the next, as London was crowded with timber-clad buildings.
Over the course of three days, more than 13,000 houses were destroyed, as well as St. Paul's Cathedral. Some 100,000 Londoners were left homeless. There was a silver lining, however. Since so much of the city burned away in the flames, London could rebuild itself with wider streets and fire-resistant materials.
Archduke Franz Ferdinand became the heir of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after his uncle, Emperor Franz Joseph, lost his son and brother. The archduke was set to inherit a multinational empire at a time of anxious peace in Europe. The continent had become entangled in a web of alliances of mutual defense that turned Europe into a powder keg ready to explode. All it needed was a spark.
That spark came tragically on June 28, 1914, when Bosnian Serb nationalist Gavrilo Princip assassinated the archduke and his wife Sophie. Austria-Hungary announced it would go to war with Serbia, a move that ultimately dragged other nations and empires into conflict. Despite last-ditch overtures by the leaders of Germany and Russia to find a settled solution to the crisis, war broke out a month after the assassination.
World War I, as it would come to be known, became one of the most cataclysmic struggles in human history.
In January 1905, a priest led a group of 150,000 Russian workers - including men, women, and children - to St. Petersburg's Winter Palace, home of Czar Nicholas II. They came to the palace to show the czar a petition calling for change in Russia. The peaceful protestors believed Nicholas wasn't aware of their suffering; if only he understood it, they felt, he would take care of them.
Ironically, Nicholas wasn't even in St. Petersburg to hear their grievances. Instead, the protestors faced palace guards, who soon fired into the crowd, killing and injuring hundreds, if not thousands.
"Bloody Sunday," as the massacre came to be known, sparked a short-lived revolution, which ultimately paved the way for the transformational Russian Revolution in 1917. In the end, these events reshaped political and social interactions for decades to come.
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In the 1520s, King Henry VIII of England was a man on a mission: He wanted to divorce his first wife Catherine of Aragon. Divorcing in the 16th century was no easy task, since only popes had the right to grant divorces - and the current pope wouldn't give Henry what he wanted.
Instead, Henry's advisers found a path forward: break from the Catholic Church, establish a Protestant Church of England with Henry at its head, and get a divorce that way.
Henry's quest for a divorce thus ushered in the English Reformation, a period of religious, political, and social upheaval in England.