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13 Timeline Facts That Make Us Marvel At The Concept Of Time Itself

List Rules
Vote up the timeline facts that leave you in awe.

Time - it marches on; it waits for no one; it's not to be wasted; and it's even money - depending on whom you ask. Time is also really hard to wrap your head around.

Some events from the past seem so very long ago. When you look at them on a timeline, however, they're not that far back in history at all. Other times, the gap between historical happenings is much longer than you realized. What you might be left with is a mix of firsts, lasts, and in-betweens that get jumbled up on the timeline you've constructed in your head. 

We've collected a bunch of surprising time spans from history - complete with visuals - that make the marvel of time that much more marvelous. Vote up the ones that amaze you the most. 

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  • 1
    268 VOTES

    Approximately 2,480 Years: The Building Of The Pyramids At Giza Vs. The Birth Of Cleopatra

    Cleopatra was born around 69 BCE and became co-ruler of Egypt with her brother in 51 BCE. As a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, she lived more than 2,000 years after Pharaohs Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure, the rulers responsible for building the pyramid complex at Giza between approximately 2575 and 2465 BCE.

    For perspective, Cleopatra lived closer to the opening of the first Pizza Hut in 1958 than to the Pyramids. 

    268 votes
  • 2
    202 VOTES

    4 Months: The Release Of 'Star Wars' Vs. The Last Use Of The Guillotine

    Star Wars was released on May 25, 1977. The movie went on to earn nearly $800 million worldwide and started a popular culture phenomenon.

    Four months later, on September 10, 1977, in Marseilles, France, convicted killer Hamida Djandoubi became the last person executed by guillotine.

    202 votes
  • 3
    233 VOTES

    58 Years: Man's First Motorized Flight Vs. First Manned Spaceflight

    On December 17, 1903, Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully carried out the first controlled, sustained flight of a motorized aircraft. Their machine reached a speed of 34 miles per hour, traveled 120 feet, and was in the air for 12 seconds. 

    Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space on April 12, 1961. He climbed aboard a Soviet Vostok spacecraft and spent 108 minutes circling the Earth. 

    233 votes
  • 4
    154 VOTES

    148 Years: When The 13th Amendment Went To The States For Ratification Vs. When The Last US State Ratified It

    The 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States was passed by Congress on January 31, 1865, and sent to the states for ratification. On December 6, 1865, when Georgia ratified the amendment, it became law -  officially abolishing slavery in the US.

    At the time, Mississippi rejected the amendment, but finally passed it in 1995. Miscommunication with federal officials, however, kept it from becoming official until 2013. 

    The realization that Mississippi had yet to officially ratify the amendment was the result of two colleagues watching Lincoln. Ranjan Batra and Ken Sullivan saw the movie, got curious about the history of the amendment itself, and discovered the oversight. From there, according to Batra, "[Ken] had the connections and his father knew someone who had actually written the bill for ratification in Mississippi and he knew exactly where to find it." Soon after, Secretary of State Delbert Hoseman sent the paperwork to the appropriate federal officials. 

    154 votes
  • 5
    137 VOTES

    400+ Years: The First Use Of Gunpowder Technology In China Vs. The Arrival Of Gunpowder Technology In Europe

    Gunpowder was developed in China c. 850 CE, and was essentially the result of an experiment conducted by alchemists. Instead of the life-sustaining elixirs they hoped for, the alchemists created a combustible powder that would change the world.

    It wasn't until the 13th century, however, that gunpowder was introduced into Europe. One of the earliest mentions of it in the West comes from a work by Roger Bacon in 1267.

    137 votes
  • 6
    137 VOTES

    19 Months: The Start Of The Pony Express Vs. The End Of The Pony Express

    19 Months: The Start Of The Pony Express Vs. The End Of The Pony Express
    Photo: Ernest and Elaine Hartnagle / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    The first Pony Express rider left St. Joseph, MO on April 3, 1860. The letter he carried was passed along a relay system, ultimately arriving at its destination of Sacramento, CA, 10 days later. The final mail piece to ride along the Pony Express reached its destination in November 1861.

    The courier system would survive far longer in the popular consciousness than it did in actual service, a result of Congress dragging its feet on offering the Pony Express a contract. When it finally came through, the amount was too low to enable the system to continue.

    137 votes