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Blue’s Dumb History Tales

Hello, everybody! Welcome to a new video segment called “I didn’t realize until very recently that March has five Fridays in it”. So my perfectly calculated four-per-month upload schedule disintegrated before my eyes just a couple days ago. Brought to you by basic arithmetic! It’s not that hard. I’m just stupid! Yeah, so I may not be the sharpest knife in the Caesar when it comes to planning stuff, But I’m really good at talking about dumb things in history So today I bring you: top five hilarious, dumb or otherwise interesting history stories to impress your friends. These are all bite-sized tales that are all mostly probably true. But history does tend to embellish itself with time so, grain of salt. Let’s begin with number five : The Legend of Lapsang Souchong Tea Now this story has about a dozen different iterations, depending on who you ask, figures. Why should history ever be clear-cut? That’d be too easy and then I wouldn’t have a job. So an army of bandits happens to be wandering around during the Qing Dynasty in China looting, pillaging and generally burninading the countryside of the peasants. And in particular they stumbled onto a tea farm and had the impulse to ransack it, as you do. Unsurprisingly, as bandits aren’t usually known for their foresight They sacked the place before the tea was dry and ready to be moved or sold, so our resident geniuses had stuck themselves with a bunch of damp, heavy and useless leaves. They then did the only logical thing and set it on fire. Well, to their credit, they actually roasted the tea over a Pinewood fire to dry it out. The dried leaves all, unsurprisingly, smelled like smoke, because that is how fire works, dummies. So they thought they had knackered their yield and they booked it to the market to get it off their hands as fast as possible A Dutch guy at the market asked to try it first before buying a crate and to everyone’s total shock, he remarked that it was the most unique tea that he had ever had in his life. He bought the whole stock and brought it back with him to Amsterdam and Lapsang Souchong has maintained a dedicated Club of Enthusiasts for centuries. And as it happens, this story has actually inspired a song from the legendary musician Snoop Dogg Don’t believe me just, listen to this: (Hope you’re ready for the next episode) (Heeeey) (Smoke) TEA (Everyday) We now move on to number four: The Elegy of the Elephants So basically Hannibal had a bunch of elephants at his disposal, with which he used to give the Romans a bad time. Uh… First, he carded them across the Straits of Gibraltar into Carthaginian owned Spain and then in order to get them across a bunch of rivers in France, such as the Rhone River, he had to make a bunch of rafts covered with dirt and grass, to trick the elephants into thinking that it was land when they actually had to cross the river in the middle of a battle. Some elephants bought it, but a lot of them didn’t trust like that, so they jumped off and swam across Luckily, none died. A lot could have, and in the coming weeks a lot would. So the next stop in the journey was crossing the Alps, which you may just know off the top of your head is not really elephant accessible. It’s not even people accessible most of the time so… Perhaps not a surprise that a bunch of elephants fell to their deaths between Gosh, Let’s see the narrow cliff faces, the seemingly endless ravines, the very steep craggy slopes Uh, bad place in-in elephant history, the Alps are. But the one thing that makes it all worth it is the look on the face of the guy who’s stationed at a Roman Watchtower looking up north at the Alps. Probably hasn’t seen anything come over there his entire life. Suddenly, there’s a giant army and a bunch of big grey stampeding monsters with spears on their face And he would have been-he would have been pretty freaked out. I think that would have been hilarious to see. It’s like an Abbott and Costello routine But with a lot more murder… Uhhh… Anyway, next story. On the subject of fantastical beasts, let’s stay in Italy, but wind the clock forward a couple thousand years: Number three: The Unicorn Conundrum. To understand the world that the people of the Renaissance were living in, medicine is a tough deal. People die, for seemingly no reason; Leeches don’t quite seem all they’re cracked up to be. Maybe cause more problems than they solve. Ehh, just a theory. Good medical solutions are hard to come by So when you think you got something that works, Even if it sounds a little ridiculous you run with it. One of these things was using unicorn horns as basically a cure-all. They would get poison out of water, could cure illnesses, Little bit fantastical but it’s honestly better than what people are poaching rhinos for nowadays So I digress. In Florence in the 1500’s, Cosimo I (not the banker from the show, the the other guy, the Grand Duke of Tuscany) decided that he wanted to get his hands on a unicorn horn, and there are documents that show a correspondence between him and one of his many informants advisors out and about in the rest of Italy that says, “Send word to the man who sold us the last unicorn horn and ask him to send us another one, Because I don’t think the last one was real” Which is a fascinating insight into the psychology of the Renaissance man, because the the thought process isn’t; “Oh,” “Unicorns aren’t real.” It’s not “Oh, this guy’s a fraud.” It’s “This asshole is keeping the good stuff to himself” ‘Cuz honestly, at the end of the day, still probably beats leeches. Most things do. Jumping back to China, We come to number 2 on our list: ‘The Fable of the Empty Fort’ This pair of stories takes place during the Three Kingdoms Period. And I’ll save the context for next week’s video, but suffice to say that since China prized strategic thinking above all else, Sometimes you get some unorthodox solutions to problems. Like, the problem of “They have a way bigger army than we do and we’re definitely screwed if we fight them in an open battle, “so let me spin you a yarn of unrivaled tactical brilliance.” I won’t get into the names and the who’s- who ‘cuz it’s probably a little more trouble than it’s worth, but Basically, a very small army has one fort to defend against a very much larger, better equipped army What they do is instead of closing the main gate and trying to defend it like you would defend anything, They just leave the main gate wide open! So when the big army comes in and wanders around and says “Heh, that’s that’s certainly peculiar…” A giant ambush descends to Massacre all of them in the confusion. It worked! (What can I say, it worked.) On the other side of that, sometimes you have to defend a city with no army at all. Not even, like, an ambush army. So what this one guy did in ‘The Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ (probably a fictional story, but at least attested in the literature) Is that he sat on top of the main gate, the main entryway to the city Just playing his little zither, kind of quasi-guitar-ish type thing, Possibly sipping tea, just playing this tune Like he’s the chillest dude on planet earth. The invading general, Sumaya (The one name I can actually remember off the top of my head) said “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Guys, that dude looks way too confident to let us just walk in there. if we set foot in that fort, we’re totally doomed. Retreat! Get outta here! He’s gonna murder us all if we go anywhere near him.” So this entire giant army turns around and books it cuz this guy was just playing a tune on top of the main entryway to the city. That, ladies and gentlemen is rolling, like, six natural 20s in a row on your deception checks. This last story, possibly the most ridiculous of them all, is the tale of the South Sea Company. Ummm… *L i p s m a c k* Essentially, Without reliving the nightmares that were my economics minor, England had a lot of debt in the early 1700s. So a couple guys got together to form essentially a privatized version of the Bank of England called the South Sea company that could exchange government debt for stock in the company. And, The whole deal was that they would go and trade, they’d go and, you know, do all this stuff like what the East India Company was doing, but in the South Sea instead. It would be a good time! Everyone would have fun. The South Sea Company, having some pretty substantial government support, started doing really well on the English stock market. Its value almost consistently rose throughout its [Spoiler alert] brief history, and it became the manager of the assets of the king. It basically bribed all of Parliament into letting it have more economic power to do more things, and it essentially bought out England’s debt-all of England because the valuation of the company Was more than there were pounds sterling in England to go around. At its peak valuation, the South Sea Company was worth a quarter of the GDP of the British Empire *L i p s m a c k 2* Here’s the thing, the South Sea, unlike the East Indian Ocean was not actually a monopoly on English Trade. Because the South Sea, being the Eastern Atlantic coast of South America and Central America, Were all owned by Spain. So the South Sea Company didn’t even have the rights to trade in the South Sea. So the South Sea company had, basically, no profits…ever. But somehow, they were worth a lot of money, because people just kept putting money in, and the stock kept going up, so people kept putting money in and the stock kept going up, So people kept putting money in! And, eventually the stock stopped going up. And then the whole thing came crashing down, very swiftly. Basically, all of Parliament was implicated in it, because they were the ones who took bribes and gave the South Sea Company way more rights than any company ever should have had. So that’s the South Sea Bubble, the company that was worth more than England and didn’t actually make a single pound of revenue in its entire lifespan. In conclusion, always max out your charisma stats, and thank you for coming to my TED talk. Thanks for watching And before we go, I wanted to let you know about a channel that you’ve probably known before by a different name: The great smiths over at Baltimore Knife and Sword, previously The Men At Arms Reforged Team, now have a new channel called That Works. Links are on screen and in the description. If you knew them before, they’re still making some of the most impressive content around, and even going more in-depth about the blacksmithing process, too, which is really great to see, so again, Highly recommend you go check out That Works if you’re interested in seeing people be really good at making super cool swords.
Video source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P5NNwQk53w

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