Weird History
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Biggest Badasses In History We Can’t Believe We Were Just Now Learning About

March 8, 2021 25.4k votes 3.7k voters 69.5k views11 items

List RulesVote up the historical figures that definitely qualify as "bad*ss."

Sometimes, being a bad*ss is something to be proud of, and there have been a lot of proud people that could claim that title throughout history. There are, of course, the ones you learn about in textbooks but there are also people you didn't learn in school. These are a special kind of person, the type of person who did something insane or notable without much public recognition at all. 

Imagine being a top sniper who wiped out 300 German soldiers in WWI, or a mime who also rescued people during the Holocaust, and never being talked about in the history books. There are so many people who deserve more recognition for being the absolute best, coolest, and baddest. These are just a few.

  • 1

    Leo Major Liberated An Entire Town By Himself

    Leo Major was a bad*ss in the greatest sense of the word. The Canadian WWII soldier single-handedly liberated the Dutch town of Zwolle in the spring of 1945. Major entered the German-occupied city on a reconnaissance mission accompanied only by one other soldier, Cpl. Willie Arsenault. Once spotted, Arsenault was slain in a firefight with the Germans. Major took out the shooter and then set off into town where he was able to get a German officer to surrender to him. 

    Speaking in French, Major convinced the officer that the city was surrounded and would be taken the next morning but he would allow them to escape if they evacuated immediately. He let the officer go then made a show in the streets, firing off his machine gun, setting off grenades, and taking a few more German prisoners. When he met local resistance fighters, they set a Gestapo headquarters on fire. He returned to his unit at 9 AM the next morning and announced the town had been liberated.

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  • 2

    Sniper Francis Pegahmagabow Took Out 378 German Soldiers In WWI

    Indigenous Canadian soldier Francis Pegahmagabow will forever be known as a legendary sniper, and trailblazer. Before World War I started, the Canadian government had discouraged Indigenous people from joining the military. Increasingly desperate for soldiers, however, they began accepting and encouraging applications. Pegahmagabow was eager to volunteer and did so right away after war was declared.

    Pegahmagabow developed a reputation as a deadly sniper, responsible for 378 kills. Not only that he is also credited with the capture of approximately 300 prisoners over the course of the war. His military medal with two bars puts him in league with only 38 other soldiers in Canadian military history.

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  • The great Sir Christopher Lee, who passed in June of 2015, was a celebrated actor but also had a pretty amazing background. As it turned out, he fought for the SAS (Special Air Service) in the British Army during WWII. Lee wasn't shy about it either, talking in depth about his experiences in interviews prior to his passing.

    "I’d seen dreadful, dreadful things, without saying a word," he recalled in an interview.

    "I've seen many men die right in front of me - so many in fact that I've become almost hardened to it. Having seen the worst that human beings can do to each other, the results of torture, mutilation and seeing someone blown to pieces by a bomb, you develop a kind of shell. But you had to. You had to. Otherwise we would never have won."

    Lee has also had a long fascination with heavy metal music, releasing several albums featuring his unique, deep voice, speak-singing ominous lyrics.

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  • 4

    Boudicca Led An Uprising Against The Roman Empire

    Boudicca was a Celtic queen who was born around A.D. 30 and was trained as a warrior. When her husband Prasutagus perished he he left his wealth to his two daughters and emperor Nero, in an attempt to win imperial favor for his family, Instead, the Romans annexed all his kingdom and humiliated his family. Seeking revenge, Boudicca led an uprising against the empire that massacred 70,000 Romans. 

    Boudicca is considered a national hero of England. 

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