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History fast facts

The 16th century Escorial palace of King Phillip II of Spain had 1,200 doors.

The world’s first travel agencies were Cox & Kings, founded in 1758, and Thomas Cook, founded in 1850.

A dog was the first in space and a sheep, a duck and a rooster the first to fly in a hot air balloon.

Music was sent down a telephone line for the first time in 1876, the year the phone was invented.

Beer was the first trademarked product – British beer Bass Pale Ale received its trademark in 1876.

Playing-cards were known in Persia and India as far back as the 12th century. A pack then consisted of 48 instead of 52 cards.

Excavations from Egyptian tombs dating to 5,000 BC show that the ancient Egyptian kids played with toy hedgehogs.

Accounts from Holland and Spain suggest that during the 1500s and 1600s urine was commonly used as a tooth-cleaning agent.

Julius Caesar was the first to encode communications, using what has become known as the Caesar Cipher.

The first mention of soap was on Sumerian clay tablets dating about 2,500 BC. The soap was made of water, alkali and cassia oil.

The first animal in space was the female Samoyed husky named Laika, launched by the Soviets in 1957.

In 1958, the US sent two mice called Laska and Benjy into space.

In 1961. the US launched a male chimpanzee called Ham into space.

In 1963, the French launched a cat called Feliette into space.

Great Britain was the first county to issue postage stamps, on 1 May 1840. Hence, UK stamps are the only stamps in the world not to bear the name of the country of origin.

Napoleon‘s christening name was Italian: Napoleone Buonaparte. He was born on the island of Corsica one year after it became French property. As a boy, Napoleon hated the French.

John Rolfe married Pocahontas the Red Indian Princess in 1613.

Only one of the Seven Wonders of the World still survives: the Great Pyramid of Giza.

The first parachute jump from an airplane was made by Captain Berry at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1912.

On 21 June 1913, over Los Angeles, Georgia Broadwick became the first women to parachute from an airplane.

The first written account of the Loch Ness Monster, or Nessie, was made in 565AD.

The world’s first skyscraper was the 10-storey Home Insurance office, built in Chicago in 1885. (During Roman times buildings were up to 8 stories high.)

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