Fun Facts about History
Napoleon took 14,000 French decrees and simplified them into a unified set of 7 laws. This was the first time in modern history that a nation's laws applied equally to all citizens. Napoleon's 7 laws are so impressive that by 1960 more than 70 governments had patterned their own laws after them or used them verbatim. Nevada was the first state to sanction the use of the gas chamber, and the first execution by lethal gas took place in February, 1924. New Orleans' first Mardi Gras celebration was held in February, 1826. New York's first St. Patrick's day parade was held on March 17, 1762. Of the 262 men who have held the title of pope, 33 have died by violence. On April 12, 1938, the state of New York passed a law requiring medical tests for marriage license applicants, the first state to do so. On August sixth, 1945, during World War Two, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan, killing an estimated 140,000 people in the first use of a nuclear weapon in warfare. On Dec. 10th 1901 the 1st Nobel prizes were awarded. Literature - Rene Sully-Prudhomme; Physiology - Emil von Behring; Chemistry - Jacobus van't Hoff; Physics - Wilhelm Roentgen; Peace - Jean Henri Dunant Frederic Passy. On December 20, 1860, South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union. On June 26th, 1945, the charter of the United Nations was signed by 50 countries in San Francisco. (The text of the charter was in five languages: Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.) President George Washington created the Order of the Purple Heart in 1782. It's a decoration to recognize merit in enlisted men and non-commissioned officers. President Lincoln proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving Day in 1863. Richard Nixon was the 1st US president to visit China in February, 1972. Seven of the eight US Presidents who have died in office - either through illness or assassination - were elected at precisely 20-year intervals. The "Spruce Goose" flew on November 2, 1947, for one mile, at a maximum altitude of 70 feet. Built by Howard Hughes, it is the largest aircraft ever built, the 140-ton eight-engine seaplane, made of birch, has a wingspan of 320 feet. It was built as a prototype troop transport. Rejected by the Pentagon, Hughes put the plane into storage, never to be flown again. The 1st 20 African slaves were brought to the US, to the colony of Virginia in 1619, by a Dutch ship. The 1st nuclear-powered submarine, the Nautilus, commissioned by the United States Navy in 1954, made her maiden voyage on Jan. 17, 1955. The 1st US federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. was in 1986. The 1st US federal legislation prohibiting narcotics (opium) was enacted in 1909. The 1st US federal penitentiary building was completed at Leavenworth, Kansas in 1906. The 1st US Minimum Wage Law was instituted in 1938. The minimum wage was 25 cents per hour. The ancient Egyptians slept on pillows made of stone. The Black Death reduced the population of Europe by one third in the period from 1347 to 1351. The dollar was established as the official currency of the US in 1785. The first coin minted in the United States was a silver dollar. It was issued on October 15, 1794. The first country to abolish capital punishment was Austria in 1787.