Weird History
243 voters

Answers To 12 Questions About History We're Glad We Finally Asked

May 19, 2021 1.2k votes 243 voters 50.4k views12 items

List RulesVote up the answers that finally scratched that historical itch.

Do you ever read about history and ask yourself questions that might not seem all that important? You may write them down in hopes of returning to them later or try to forget about them, but in the end, you just can't shake them. You really want to know.

A lot of questions about history are out there - from the mundane to the essential - that we always wanted to ask but never did - until now.

The answers to our questions about ancient traffic jams, historical pizza deliveries, and even where sperm whales get their names are oh-so-satisfying. They've finally quieted that voice in our heads and scratched that historical itch once and for all. Take a look and vote up the ones that do the same for you. 

  • Photo: Gabriel Barathieu / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA 2.0

    How Did Sperm Whales Get Their Name?

    While the name of sperm whales may seem unusual - if not a bit risqué - it has nothing to do with actual sperm. Sperm whales, also called cachalot, achieved the former moniker thanks to the spermaceti in their heads.

    Spermaceti is a white, wax-like substance (although it's close to an oil when at room temperature) produced by the organ of the same name.

    Used as fuel and to make candles and medical salves throughout history, it's believed spermaceti either helps keep the massive creatures bouyant or aids in echolocation. Either way, as many as 2,000 liters of spermaceti can be inside the head of a sperm whale. 

    Historical conundrum solved?
  • Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    When Was The First Pizza Delivery In History?

    In 1889, the king of Italy, Umberto I, and his wife, Margherita of Savoy, reportedly made the first order for pizza delivery in history. As the story goes, the queen wanted to try local foods when the couple visited Naples, calling on Raffaele Esposito to make them one of his signature dishes - a pizza.

    He made them as many as three pies. As soon as they were out of the oven, the pizzas were quickly taken to the royals. Not only is this the first pizza delivery, but it's where the Margherita pizza gets its name. The pizza with simple sauce, cheese, and basil was reportedly their favorite - with the ingredients purported to represent the colors found on the Italian flag (red, white, and green).

    Historical conundrum solved?
  • Photo: USSR Post / Wikimedia Commons / No copyright

    Has Anyone Ever Perished In Space?

    Numerous deaths are associated with space exploration, including animals sent into orbit in early testing and crews who lost their lives during space missions.

    Eighteen astronauts and cosmonauts have perished during training exercises and space missions. This includes events like the Challenger explosion shortly after takeoff in 1986 and the fatal re-entry of the Columbia shuttle in 2003. Only three people have actually perished in space, however.

    All three were male cosmonauts sent into orbit aboard the Soyuz 11 mission, sent to rendezvous with the Salyut 1 space station. Georgi Dobrovolski, Vladislav Volkov, and Viktor Patsayev were the first individuals to live aboard that (or any) station - spending 23 days there.

    On their trip back to Earth, a valve broke and the spacecraft depressurized - resulting in the passing of all three. 

    Historical conundrum solved?
  • Photo: Jimmy Carter / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Who Was The First US President Born In A Hospital?

    The first president of the United States born in a hospital was Jimmy Carter. The Georgia native was born at the hospital in Plains, GA, in 1924. Before this, all other commanders in chief had been born at home.

    The institution where Carter was born - then called the Wise Sanitarium - is now named for his mother, Lillian Carter. Lillian worked as a nurse and later for the Peace Corps. She championed working women and felt "so strongly that a child is better off not to have the mother every minute of the time."

    Historical conundrum solved?