Category: History

5 Surprising Facts About the History of Timekeeping

Time is an abstract concept, but almost all of us around the world adhere to that concept. Despite the fact that we’re small specks on a massive sphere that itself is a small speck in the ever-expanding cosmos, everything seems to be a matter of seconds on Earth. If you’re a few seconds too late or early, it can make all of the difference in your life, from avoiding car accidents to being fired from your job and everything else that happens.

Humans haven’t always kept track of time down to the second, though. It took many generations to get to the current way we perceive and track time. Timekeeping has had a lot of interesting moments throughout its history, resulting in these five surprising facts that you may not have known about.

Using Water

Most people are familiar with the fact that the earliest forms of measuring time came via the sundial, but we also used water to measure time. The low and high tides could tell you what time of the day it was, but specific water clocks were also used, with several regions laying claim to the invention. Mesopotamia, India, and China all have water clock origins that date back as far as 4000 BC.

So how does a water clock operate? There are markings on the clock, and with every drip, you would be closer to measuring one hour. There were two types of water clocks, with inflow and outflow both having somewhat similar designs. To the modern eye, they look more like coffee mugs than clocks, but they got the job done.

The Definition of a Second is More Modern Than You Think

Keeping track of time in an hour is pretty easy once you get the hang of it, as most of us master the art by the time we hit five or six years old. There are 24 hours in a day, 60 minutes in an hour, and 60 seconds in a minute. But what exactly is a second? Most of us simply accepted the second for what it was when it was invented all the way back in 1644 by French mathematician Marin Mersenne.

Mersenne used a pendulum to mark one unit of time, and everyone just adopted it without really asking what it meant. Since then, there have only been a couple of accepted definitions, and the current definition wasn’t defined until 1967. Not 1667…1967. So what is a second? “The time it took the cesium-133 atom to release 9,192,631,770 cycles of microwave radiation when making its ‘hyperfine energy transition.’” Easy enough, right?

The Watch Inventor Killed a Guy

Peter Henlein, a German locksmith, is credited with inventing the portable watch in 1511, changing the world forever as many of us were able to tell the time without needing to rely on a clocktower or the sun (or the cell phone these days). Growing up, Henlein was an apprentice and showed off his new skills as a young adult in the early 16th century.

In 1504, though, Henlein got into an altercation with another locksmith. The locksmith, Georg Glaser, died in the brawl, and Henlein was one of the men accused of his murder. Instead of serving prison time, he was granted asylum, giving him time to focus on creating the portable watch. It turned out that his being granted asylum led to his invention, though poor Glaser isn’t as remembered these days.

12 Hours vs 24 Hours

One thing that all of us can agree on is that there are 24 hours in a day. However, what much of the world is torn on is whether time should be told on a 12-hour basis or a full 24-hour basis. It’s almost right down the middle in terms of which one your country uses. The United States is the largest country that only observes the 12-hour clock while many major nations including Canada, Australia, India, and China observe both clocks.

So why are nations so split between which clock should be used? Simply put, countries that found mechanical clocks easier to use on a 12-hour basis ran with it and made it the standard. Most of these countries are English-speaking or are in North Africa due to the original 24-hour day being set by two 12-hour halves in Egypt. 

On the Same Page

All of us run on the exact same time, no matter what time zone we’re in. It’s important for everyone to have a clock that’s on the exact second, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that this was adopted as Coordinated Universal Time.

You can thank the International Astronomical Union for getting us all set up back in 1928. The first few decades saw a few changes, but on January 1, 1960, every nation linked up times, even staying together during daylight savings and leap years.

5 Surprising Facts About the History of Space Exploration

Space exploration has captured the imagination of people around the world for decades. From the first satellite launches to the latest rover missions on Mars, the history of space exploration is filled with fascinating stories of human ingenuity, perseverance, and discovery. Today, we will explore five surprising facts about the history of space exploration that are sure to impress even the most knowledgeable space enthusiasts.

Fact 1: The first living beings in space were not humans

When most people think about the first living beings in space, they probably imagine astronauts or cosmonauts. However, the first creatures to leave the Earth’s atmosphere were not humans, but a group of dogs named Belka and Strelka. In 1960, these two dogs were sent into orbit by the Soviet Union aboard the Sputnik 5 spacecraft. While the dogs did not go on to explore the cosmos like their human counterparts, their mission was still a significant achievement. The success of the Sputnik 5 mission demonstrated that living organisms could survive in the harsh environment of space, paving the way for human space travel.

Animal testing played an essential role in early space exploration, but it was also a controversial issue. Critics argued that it was unethical to send animals into space, while others believed it was necessary to ensure the safety of human astronauts. Despite the controversy, animal testing continued to play a crucial role in human space travel for many years.

Fact 2: The first artificial satellite was not launched by the United States

When most people think about the first artificial satellite, they probably think of the United States’ launch of Explorer 1 in 1958. However, the first satellite to orbit the Earth was actually the Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1, launched on October 4, 1957. The launch of Sputnik 1 was a significant achievement for the Soviet Union and marked the beginning of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union.

The launch of Sputnik 1 also had a significant impact on the United States. The launch took the country by surprise and caused a sense of panic and fear that the Soviet Union was ahead of the United States in terms of technology and military capabilities. The launch of Sputnik 1 spurred the United States to invest more heavily in science education and research and led to the creation of NASA.

Fact 3: Women played a crucial role in early space exploration

When most people think about the early days of space exploration, they probably imagine a group of male astronauts and engineers. However, women played a crucial role in the history of space exploration, even if they were not always given the credit they deserved.

One example of this is the group of women who worked as “human computers” at NASA in the 1940s and 1950s. These women, who were predominantly African American, performed complex mathematical calculations that were essential to the success of early space missions. Despite their critical role, many of these women faced discrimination and were paid less than their male counterparts.

Another example is the story of Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman to travel to space. Tereshkova was a Soviet cosmonaut who flew aboard the Vostok 6 spacecraft in 1963. Her mission was a significant milestone for women in space, but it would be almost 20 years before another woman, Svetlana Savitskaya, would travel to space.

Fact 4: The moon landing was not the only significant accomplishment of the Apollo program

When most people think about the Apollo program, they probably think of the moon landing in 1969. However, the Apollo program achieved many other significant milestones that are often overlooked.

For example, the Apollo 8 mission in 1968 was the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit and travel to the Moon. While the crew of Apollo 8 did not land on the Moon, their mission was still a significant achievement, and it paved the way for future lunar missions. Additionally, the Apollo program included several missions to explore the Moon’s surface and collect samples, providing valuable information about our closest celestial neighbor.

The Apollo program also played a crucial role in advancing space technology. The technology developed for the Apollo program, such as the Saturn V rocket and the lunar module, laid the groundwork for future space exploration missions, including the Space Shuttle program and the International Space Station.

Fact 5: The Hubble Space Telescope almost did not make it to orbit

The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most iconic scientific instruments ever built, and it has provided astronomers with an unprecedented view of the universe. However, the Hubble almost did not make it to orbit.

The Hubble was launched in 1990, but shortly after its launch, it became clear that there was a problem with its primary mirror. The mirror had been ground to the wrong shape, causing images from the telescope to be blurry. The problem was eventually fixed through a series of spacewalks by astronauts, but it was a close call for the Hubble mission.

Despite the initial setback, the Hubble has gone on to become one of the most productive scientific instruments in history. The telescope has provided astronomers with detailed images of distant galaxies, stars, and other celestial objects, helping us to better understand the universe we live in.

5 Surprising Facts About the History of Dance

Dance has been an integral part of human culture for thousands of years. From ancient ritual dances to modern-day contemporary dance, it has evolved to become one of the most expressive forms of human communication. The history of dance is full of surprising and fascinating facts that shed light on the evolution of human expression. Today we will explore five surprising facts about the history of dance.

Fact 1: Dance has been around for thousands of years

Dance is one of the oldest forms of human expression, dating back thousands of years. Archeological digs have uncovered evidence of dance in prehistoric societies, such as rock paintings and carvings that depict dancing figures. Historical accounts from ancient societies, such as Egypt, Greece, and Rome, describe dance as an integral part of religious rituals, entertainment, and social gatherings.

Over time, dance has evolved in response to changes in society, technology, and cultural exchange. Different styles of dance have emerged, from classical ballet to hip hop, and each has its unique history and cultural significance.

Fact 2: Dance was once considered scandalous

Throughout history, certain types of dance have been viewed as scandalous or inappropriate. In the 19th century, ballroom dancing was seen as a corrupting influence on society, and many conservative societies banned it altogether. Similarly, the Tango was considered scandalous when it first emerged in Argentina and was banned by authorities for its sensuality and suggestive movements.

The reasons for this negative perception of certain dances vary, but they often reflect broader cultural attitudes toward sex, gender, and morality. As social attitudes have changed, so too has the perception of dance. Today, dance is celebrated as a vital form of human expression, and many cultures around the world have their unique dance styles that reflect their unique history and identity.

Fact 3: Dance has been used for political and social purposes

Dance has often been used as a form of political and social expression. Throughout history, dances have been used to express resistance, rebellion, and unity. One famous example of this is the hula, a traditional Hawaiian dance that was used to express Hawaiian cultural identity and resistance to colonialism.

In the 20th century, dance played a crucial role in the civil rights movement in the United States. African American dancers, such as Katherine Dunham and Alvin Ailey, used their art forms to express their struggle for equality and to break down racial barriers.

Today, dance continues to be used as a form of political and social expression. Many contemporary dance forms, such as hip-hop, are rooted in social activism and provide a platform for artists to speak out on issues such as poverty, racism, and social justice.

Fact 4: The development of dance is closely tied to music

The relationship between dance and music has been essential throughout history. Many different styles of dance have evolved in response to changes in music, and the two forms have influenced each other in countless ways.

For example, classical ballet emerged in the 17th century in France and was heavily influenced by the music of the time. Similarly, jazz dance emerged in the early 20th century and was closely linked to the development of jazz music.

The relationship between dance and music is not limited to Western styles, however. Many traditional dances from around the world are closely tied to traditional music and instruments. For example, the Taiko drums of Japan are often used in traditional Japanese dances, and the tabla drums of India are closely linked to classical Indian dance.

Fact 5: The history of dance is filled with innovators and pioneers

Throughout history, dancers have pushed the boundaries of traditional forms of dance and have been instrumental in shaping the art form as we know it today. Some of the most influential dancers in history include Martha Graham, who pioneered modern dance in the early 20th century, and Mikhail Baryshnikov, who helped popularize ballet in the United States.

Many contemporary dancers continue to challenge traditional forms of dance and explore new possibilities for artistic expression. For example, choreographers like Pina Bausch and William Forsythe have developed innovative approaches to movement and stage design that have transformed the world of contemporary dance.

The history of dance is rich and varied, reflecting the diversity of human culture and experience. By understanding the evolution of dance, we can gain a deeper appreciation for the art form and the role it plays in shaping human expression.

5 Surprising Facts about the History of Theater

From ancient Egyptian theater to modern-day performances, theater has been a beloved art form for centuries. Theater has the power to transport audiences to different worlds, to evoke emotions, and to inspire thought and reflection. Studying the history of theater provides insight into the unique cultural contexts in which each period of theater evolved and the societal events that informed the themes and stories of each era. Today we will explore five surprising facts about the history of theater that are sure to deepen your appreciation for this timeless art form.

#1: Ancient Egyptian theater was surprisingly vibrant

When most people think of ancient Egyptian culture, theater is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. However, theater was a beloved art form in ancient Egypt, with plays performed in grand outdoor amphitheaters. The ancient Egyptians performed plays on a wide range of themes, from historical events to everyday life. Perhaps most surprising is that in ancient Egypt, men and women both performed in plays, a practice that was relatively rare in ancient theater cultures.

#2: Greek theater was not all tragedies

Greek theater is often associated with tragedies like Oedipus Rex and Antigone. However, the ancient Greeks also enjoyed comedic plays, known as “Old Comedy.” These plays poked fun at politicians and mocked societal norms. They often included vulgar language and sexual jokes that would not be considered acceptable in modern theater. However, these plays were beloved by the ancient Greeks and provide insight into their political and social views.

#3: Elizabethan stage design was surprisingly advanced

When we think of Shakespearean theater, we often picture a simple stage with minimal design elements. However, Elizabethan stage design was actually quite advanced for its time. The Globe Theater, where Shakespeare’s plays were performed, featured trap doors, specialized stage machinery, and a complex system of ropes and pulleys to create mechanical special effects like thunder and lightning. The stage itself was also highly versatile, with a large inner stage for smaller scenes and a balcony for larger scenes.

#4: Kabuki theater has a surprisingly long history

Kabuki theater is a traditional form of Japanese theater that dates back to the early 17th century. This style of theater is known for its elaborate makeup and costumes, stylized movements, and exaggerated acting. While Kabuki theater may seem relatively modern, it has actually been performed for over 400 years. Today, Kabuki theater remains a popular art form in Japan and is recognized as one of the most unique and visually stunning theater styles in the world.

#5: Modern theater has a surprisingly diverse range of genres

In recent years, modern theater has become increasingly diverse, with a wide range of genres and styles to choose from. From immersive theater experiences like Sleep No More to experimental adaptions of classic works like Hamilton, modern theater is breaking new ground and pushing the boundaries of what we think of as theater. There is truly something for everyone in modern theater, whether you love musicals, dramas, comedies, or experimental performance art.

5 Weird Facts About The History Of Massacheusetts

On February 6, 1788, Massachusetts officially became the sixth member of the United States after having been one of the 13 original colonies. Since then, Massachusetts has been one of the more notable states in the country despite its small size. A lot of that is thanks in part to having the capital city of Boston, which has proven to be a culture and financial hub of the east coast.

Because Massachusetts has a history that’s longer than just about any other state in the country, there have been a lot of weird and wild things to happen over the years. Let’s take a look at the history of Massachusetts, picking out five of the weirdest facts about the state (at least thus far).

There Were No City Parks Before Massachusetts

Almost every city and town in the United States has a park area where there’s a lot of natural beauty with some walkways for people to enjoy. Most of us just assume that parks have been around forever, but that’s actually not the case. The United States didn’t have any official city parks until Massachusetts, with Boston Common being the first designated park.

Boston Common takes up 50 acres right in the heart of the city and went through a few owners during the 17th century. There were multiple uses for Boston Common originally as it changed hands between Episcopalian and Puritan leaders. The park officially opened in 1634, but it wasn’t designated as a public park until the 1830s. In the time between, Boston Common was used for just about everything from public executions to family picnics.

Christmas Used to Be Banned

It’s hard to imagine a large city in the United States having a Christmas celebration, including a massive tree in the downtown area. In Boston and the rest of Massachusetts, there was no Christmas celebration for a brief period during the 17th century. The previously mentioned Puritans had gotten their way a lot during that era of Massachusetts, and back then, they felt that the celebration of Christmas was for fools.

Puritan law was put into place that outlawed any public celebration and instituted a fine of what would now be about $50 for anyone caught doing so. “Whosoever shall be found observing any such day as Christmas or the like, either by forbearing of labor, feasting, or any other way,” was the type of person who was subject to these fines that seem ridiculous now.

The Home of Basketball

When we think about the sport of basketball, the Boston Celtics might be one of the first teams that you think about due to their success in the NBA that’s only matched by the Los Angeles Lakers. However, when it comes to the history of basketball, most people assume that it was invented in a place like Kansas or Indiana.

Much of that is because people know the name James Naismith. Naismith is known as a Canadian immigrant who became the first head coach at the University of Kansas while the state of Indiana saw the biggest boom in the sport. However, it was at a YMCA location that he invented the sport when the weather was too cold for the kids to play outside, launching a multi-billion dollar sport that’s played around the world.

Home of the Chocolate Chip Cookie

The history of the cookie goes all the way back to 7th century AD Persia, so you’d think that the chocolate chip cookie would date back further than 1938. However, that’s when it was invented by Ruth Graves Wakefield in Whitman, Massachusetts. Wakefield was the owner of the Toll House Inn at the time, a popular restaurant in the area.

The chocolate chip cookies became such a hit that Toll House exploded in popularity to the point of becoming a world-recognized brand. The Toll House chocolate chip cookie recipe was published and became known in just about every household in the United States. Eventually, chocolate chip cookies were sold in just about every bakery and made their way overseas, as well.

There Were Other Names to Pick From

English colonist John Smith was the man who said the state should be named Massachusetts, doing so after the Massachuset tribe. The name translates into English as “near the great hill,” but the tribe wasn’t the only one in the region that could have been the namesake for the state. 

The Nauset, Wampanoag, Nipmuck, and Pocumtuc tribes all made up regions of what is now Massachusetts, so why did the Massachusett tribe get selected? They just happened to be the tribe that was in what is now Boston, the eventual capital and most populous city in the state.

The History of Women in Aviation: Celebrating Trailblazers & Innovators

The aviation industry has grown and evolved much over the years since its inception. While the industry has traditionally been dominated by men, women have been making their mark in aviation throughout history, often overcoming social and cultural barriers, and paving the way for future generations of women in aviation. Today we will explore the history of women in aviation, celebrating the trailblazers and innovators who have made major contributions to the field, inspiring women to pursue opportunities in aviation for themselves.

Early Pioneers 

Women have been involved in aviation from early on in its history, and three figures stand out as early pioneers in the field: Harriet Quimby, Bessie Coleman, and Amelia Earhart.

Harriet Quimby was the first American woman to earn a pilot’s license in 1911 and went on to become the first woman to fly across the English Channel. Her daring and fearless spirit inspired women across the country to take up flying.

In 1921, Bessie Coleman became the first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license. Coleman had to travel to France to pursue this dream, as no American flight school would admit her due to her race and gender. She later became a talented stunt pilot, performing at airshows across the country.

Amelia Earhart is perhaps the most well-known early pioneer of aviation. Earhart was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932 and went on to set numerous other flying records. Her mysterious disappearance during a flight in 1937 has captured the public imagination ever since.

World War II 

World War II provided a major opportunity for women to become involved in aviation. The demand for male pilots meant that women were actively recruited to fill various roles previously held only by male pilots. The U.S. government established the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program, which trained over 1,000 women pilots to fly non-combat aircraft. These women played a vital role in the war effort, freeing up male pilots for combat missions.

Jacqueline Cochran was one of the most notable female pilots of this era. She was the first woman to break the sound barrier in 1953 and went on to establish the Women in Aviation International organization in 1955, which aimed to promote the advancement of women in all aspects of aviation.

Post-War Struggles & Breakthroughs 

Although the end of World War II meant the end of the WASP program, women continued to play important roles in aviation. One such woman was Jerrie Mock, who became the first woman to fly solo around the world in 1964. Her accomplishment was a major milestone in the field, inspiring women around the world to explore aviation further.

The 1970s saw major strides being made for women in aviation, with the establishment of Women in Aerospace (WIA), a professional organization with the aim of promoting equal opportunity for women in the field. Also, in 1976, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began to allow women to become commercial pilots, breaking down yet another barrier for women in the industry.

Modern-Day Innovators 

Women continue to make their mark in aviation today, both in civilian and military aviation. Examples include Peggy Whitson, who became the first woman commander of the International Space Station in 2007, and Eileen Collins, who became the first female commander of a Space Shuttle mission in 1999. The contributions of women in the military, such as Stephanie Johnson, the first African-American woman to pilot for Delta Airlines, cannot be overstated.

Challenges & Opportunities 

Despite the impressive achievements of women in aviation, there are still many hurdles to overcome. In 2021, women comprised only 7% of pilots worldwide. This can largely be attributed to the lack of visibility and representation of women in the industry, as well as systemic barriers to entry such as discrimination in hiring practices and a lack of mentorship programs. However, more and more initiatives are being established to provide support and encouragement for women interested in aviation.

The history of the Sandhills region: 5 landmarks to explore

The Sandhills region of the United States is an area of Nebraska and parts of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado that’s characterized by vast expanses of sand dunes and rolling hills. The region has a deep history that stretches back thousands of years, with many landmarks to explore along the way. From iconic roadside attractions to historic sites with Native American roots, here are five must-see landmarks in the Sandhills:

1. Carhenge

Located near the city of Alliance, Nebraska, Carhenge is a replica of Stonehenge constructed from vintage cars. Built in 1987 as a memorial to its creator’s father, it’s become a beloved roadside attraction in the Sandhills. Carhenge is made up of 38 vintage automobiles, including a 1962 Cadillac and a 1974 Chevy Malibu. The cars are welded together and painted gray to mimic the look of Stonehenge’s standing stones. In addition to the main circle, there are several other car sculptures on the site, including a Ford “Carnastoga” wagon and a sculpture of a dinosaur made from car parts.

2. North Platte River Trails

This 80-mile stretch of trails runs through Nebraska’s panhandle and is home to breathtaking views, as well as abundant wildlife like pronghorn antelope and mule deer. The trail also showcases some fascinating historical sites like Fort Sedgwick—a military post established during the Civil War—and Clay Canyon Petroglyphs, where visitors can view ancient Native American carvings in stone walls along the banks of the North Platte River. 

3. The Chimney Rock National Historic Site

This towering spire has been an awe-inspiring landmark for hundreds of years; it was used by both pioneers and Native Americans including the Lakota Sioux as an orientation tool when traversing the Great Plains on their journeys westward across America. It stands at nearly 300 feet tall and offers stunning 360-degree views from its observation deck at the top! 

4. Toadstool Geologic Park

A National Natural Landmark located near Harrison, Nebraska, Toadstool Geologic Park offers a unique glimpse into Earth’s distant past with its rugged badlands terrain featuring rocky hoodoos (tall thin rock formations) and sandstone arches that have been shaped by millions of years of erosion from wind and water sources over time. 

5. Agate Fossil Beds National Monument

Located just over the border in South Dakota, this national monument features two remarkable fossil beds dating back 18 million years ago when rhinos roamed this area! Visitors to Agate Fossil Beds can explore interactive exhibits at its visitor center which highlight some exciting discoveries made there over time—including fossils known as transverse agates formed in ancient riverbeds which give these fossils their unique rainbow hue! 

Get to Know Montreal’s History and Culture with These Must-Visit Sites

Montreal is a city rich in history and culture, with a unique blend of French and English influences. If you’re planning a trip to this vibrant Canadian city, make sure to visit these must-see sites to get a taste of its fascinating past.

Old Montreal

Start your journey through Montreal’s history by exploring Old Montreal. This charming neighborhood dates back to the 17th century and is home to some of the city’s oldest buildings, including the Notre Dame Basilica. Take a stroll along cobblestone streets lined with quaint shops and cafes, or hop on a horse-drawn carriage for a romantic ride through the historic district.

Mount Royal Park

For breathtaking views of the city and an opportunity to connect with nature, head to Mount Royal Park. This expansive green space was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also created New York City’s Central Park. Hike up the mountain for stunning panoramic views of Montreal or enjoy a picnic in one of the park’s many scenic spots.

Museum of Fine Arts

Montreal is home to several world-class museums, but none are more impressive than the Museum of Fine Arts. With over 44,000 works spanning centuries and continents, this museum has something for everyone. From ancient artifacts to contemporary art installations, visitors can explore diverse cultures and artistic movements from around the globe.

Jean-Talon Market

To truly experience Montreal’s culinary culture, head to Jean-Talon Market. This bustling outdoor market offers fresh produce, artisanal cheeses, homemade pastries, and much more. Sample local delights like poutine (fries topped with gravy and cheese curds) or sip on maple syrup-infused coffee while taking in the sights and sounds of this vibrant marketplace.

Pointe-à-Callière Museum

Learn about Montreal’s rich history as a major trading hub at Pointe-à-Callière Museum. Located in Old Montreal on top of an authentic archaeological site, this museum takes visitors on a journey through time from Indigenous settlements to modern-day Quebecois culture.

Montreal is a city that offers endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Whether you’re interested in history, art, or food (or all three!), these must-visit sites will give you an unforgettable glimpse into this vibrant Canadian metropolis.

Where Did The Percent Sign Come From?

The percent sign, %, is a symbol that is ubiquitous in modern society. It appears on price tags, financial reports, and scientific measurements. Despite its widespread use, many people do not know the history of this symbol or where it came from.

The percent sign is a shorthand way of writing “per cent,” which is Latin for “by the hundred.” The idea of expressing ratios as parts per hundred can be traced back to ancient times when traders used a system of 100 units to make calculations easier. This system was eventually adopted by bankers and financiers, who used it to calculate interest rates and other financial calculations. The earliest known use of the percent sign dates back to the early 15th century. 

It appeared in a manuscript called “Liber algorismi de practica arismetrice” by Johannes Widman, a German mathematician. Widman used the symbol “per mille” (‰) to represent fractions of one thousand, similar to the modern-day permille symbol. The symbol was a small circle with a horizontal line through it, which represented the number 1,000. 

Widman’s use of the symbol was limited to specific contexts, such as calculations involving currency exchange rates. The percent sign as we know it today first appeared in the 17th century. It was created by Italian mathematician and astronomer Giovanni Battista Amici, who used the symbol in his work on celestial mechanics. Amici’s symbol was a small circle with a vertical line through it, similar to the modern-day percent sign. 

The symbol quickly caught on among mathematicians and scientists, and it became the standard symbol for expressing percentages in the 18th century. Interestingly, the percent sign is not the only symbol that has been used to represent percentages. In France, the symbol ‱ (pronounced per-mille) is commonly used to represent parts per thousand. 

This symbol is a small circle with two vertical lines through it, similar to the modern-day permille symbol. In some countries, such as Germany and Austria, the symbol %o is used to represent parts per thousand. This symbol is a small circle with a diagonal line through it, similar to the modern-day zero symbol. In addition to its use in mathematics and science, the percent sign has also become a common symbol in everyday life. 

It appears on price tags, advertisements, and in financial reports. In these contexts, the percent sign is used to express the percentage increase or decrease in a price or value. In conclusion, the percent sign has a long and fascinating history that dates back to ancient times. It is a symbol that has evolved over the centuries, and it has become an essential tool for mathematicians, scientists, and everyday people alike. 

Whether you are calculating interest rates, checking the latest stock prices, or simply trying to figure out the best deal on a new purchase, the percent sign is a symbol that you are likely to encounter on a regular basis.

5 Most Significant Dates in Human History

It’s hard to say exactly how long human history really is, but one thing is for sure, and it’s that there have been some very significant moments and days for humanity. Between wars, elections, sporting events, and everything else, there have been countless moments that have made news around the entire world.

Out of these many, many days, which ones have been the most significant? It’s hard to narrow it down to just five, but we’re going to do our best to highlight the key moments. For this list, we wanted to leave out religious dates and save that for a different time. Instead, the focus is on verifiable moments that 100 percent of people can agree with.

The Invention of the Wheel (4500 BCE)

We literally wouldn’t be anywhere close to where we are now in society without the wheel. While the internet, printing press, and air conditioner are all life-changing, none of those would be possible without the simplicity of the wheel. Though the whole trope surrounding the wheel is that it was invented during caveman times, the first documented instances of the wheel are as early as 4500 BCE.

The first uses of the wheel were used for pottery, and transportation wasn’t too far behind. Once humans realized that the wheel could be used along with horses, getting around became much easier. It was right around the same time that humans started domesticating horses, making it so that people no longer had to travel long distances on foot.

The Creation of Currency (3000 B.C.)

There was once a time when you would provide a service in exchange for another service or a tangible good. These days, almost everything that we do is in exchange for money, and that’s why the creation of currency was such a monumental change in human history. There had been some instances in ancient times of people exchanging items for bone chips, but the first actual money was the Lydia.

Used in the Iron Age Kingdom (now Turkey), the Lydia made things much easier for residents who wanted to exchange their services for something that they could exchange for just about anything. No longer did you have to hope that someone who was good at cooking needed their house painted. We still barter a bit these days, but cash is obviously king.

The Invention of Gunpowder (1240 AD)

Combat and war have been part of mankind since the beginning, but warfare changed forever with the advent of gunpowder. Though the first instances of gunpowder came in the second-century AD, it wasn’t until 1240 that the first documented formulas for modern gunpowder were created. This happened in the Middle East and was primarily used for throwing explosives, arrows, and of course, the first cannons.

Gunpowder evolved over the years to work in weapons that could be held by hand. During the 16th century, guns were used in war for the first time, and have been involved in every war since then. Those who have had the best guns have usually come out on top, even if it was a one-shot musket that needed a gunpowder refill.

The Founding of the United States (July 4, 1776)

While there are plenty of country founding dates that were monumental in human history, perhaps none was more world-changing than the United States. After being a large mass of land without a nation for centuries, North America was colonized by the British on the Atlantic coast. The Colonials then fought for independence, establishing the United States on July 4, 1776.

The United States quickly became one of the most powerful nations in the world and its natural resources and location in the western hemisphere made it perfect to establish a new nation. The United States became a global leader in economy, entertainment, military, and much more as the centuries have gone by. Even those outside of the United States know what day America celebrates Independence Day.

The Start of World War II (September 1, 1939)

World War I was a war like nobody had seen before, but it was truly just a sign of what was to come just a couple of decades later. After some time of peace, there were many in Germany who were upset with the result of World War I and the economic impact it had. This is how Adolf Hitler came into power, promising a Third Reich for the German Empire.

September 1, 1939, was the day that changed the world as Germany invaded Poland, causing France and Great Britain to declare war. WWII ended up being the deadliest war in human history, lasting for six years and a majority of the world’s nations. Just one day after the sixth anniversary of the war, it was officially over.