When Worlds Collide: Surprising Historical Overlaps

Krystal DeVille

History is a vast, intricate tapestry woven with events, discoveries, and cultural shifts shaping our world. But sometimes, the threads of this tapestry intersect in ways that might surprise us. While we often study historical events in isolation, the reality is that many of these events occurred simultaneously, sharing the same slice of time despite their disparate contexts. This article delves into some of these fascinating historical overlaps, revealing a side of history that you might not have considered before.

1. Construction of the Great Pyramids and Woolly Mammoths

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While it’s common knowledge that woolly mammoths roamed the earth during the Ice Age, it’s less known that these creatures were still around when the ancient Egyptians were building the Great Pyramids. The last population of woolly mammoths lived on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean and didn’t go extinct until around 1650 BC, nearly a thousand years after the pyramids at Giza were built.

2. The Fax Machine and the Oregon Trail

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The fax machine seems like a relatively modern invention, but it was actually first patented in 1843 by Alexander Bain. This was the same year that the first large wagon train set out for Oregon, marking the beginning of the mass migration known as the Oregon Trail.

3. Nintendo and Jack the Ripper

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Nintendo is often associated with the rise of home video gaming in the 1980s, but the company was actually founded in 1889 as a playing card company. That same year, infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper was still at large in London.

4. Harvard University and Galileo’s Trial

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Harvard University, one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the United States, was founded in 1636. That same year, across the Atlantic, Galileo Galilei was standing trial for heresy for his belief that the Earth revolved around the Sun.

5. The Last Use of the Electric Telegraph and the First iPhone

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The electric telegraph was a revolutionary technology of the 19th century, but it was still in use well into the 21st. Western Union, the last major company to use the telegraph, didn’t discontinue its telegraph services until 2006, the year before the first iPhone was released.

6. Queen Elizabeth II and Marilyn Monroe

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Queen Elizabeth II and Marilyn Monroe were born in the same year, 1926. In 1956, they both attended the premiere of the film “The Battle of the River Plate” in London and were photographed together.

7. The Last Veterans of the Civil War and the Space Age

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The last verified veterans of the American Civil War died in the 1950s, which was also the decade that marked the beginning of the Space Age with the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957.

8. The Founding of Rome and the Olmec Civilization

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The city of Rome was founded in 753 BC, around the same time that the Olmec civilization, considered the first major civilization in the Americas, was flourishing in what is now Mexico.

9. The Invention of the Telephone and the Battle of Little Bighorn

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Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone in 1876, the same year that the Battle of Little Bighorn, also known as Custer’s Last Stand, took place during the Great Sioux War.

10. The First Powered Flight and the First World Series

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The Wright Brothers made their first powered flight in 1903, the same year that the first World Series of baseball was played between the Boston Americans and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

These overlaps highlight the fascinating ways in which different aspects of human history and progress can intersect.

This article was originally published on STEM Education Guide.

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