Meme-worthy moments in History

Dawn Farrer, Staff Writer

Often when learning about history, we learn only about large events such as wars, or about large groups of people. This makes it very easy to forget that these were actual people, and they weren’t so different from us. All people make mistakes, and so did they, but some of the mistakes they made had very large consequences. 

  1. Qin Shi Huang born as Ying Zheng or Zhao Zheng in 259 B.C. was the son of Zhuangxiang, who was installed on the throne of Qin, even though he wasn’t the original successor. Zheng was crowned emperor when he was only thirteen years old, but he didn’t gain power until eight years later. By 221 B.C. Zheng had conquered the other six states, and had officially united all seven states of the Chinese empire. After this accomplishment Zheng renamed himself Qin Shi Huang meaning “First Sovereign Emperor.” Britannica says that he “claimed that his dynasty would last 10,000 generations.” He also laid the foundation for the Great Wall of China. During this time he had traveled around the world, and while doing so, he had been searching for an ‘elixir to immortality.’ Confucian Scholars strongly opposed his rule, and at least 460 of them were executed. Following his grand councillor’s suggestion QIn Shi Huang began to burn all books and records that were not about medicine, prognostication, agriculture,or himself. And it is believed that he died from mercury poisoning. Apparently,  while searching for his ‘elixir to immortality’ there was an alchemist that claimed to have found this elixir. He took the ‘elixir’ which turned out to contain large amounts of mercury, and he died because of this. After all his many accomplishments, he died from ingesting some strange concoction that he believed to be a cure for immortality. 
  2. In Picoaza, Ecuador. A brand of foot  powder known as Pulvapies took the opportunity to use the Slogan “Vote for any candidate, but if you want well-being and hygiene, vote for Pulvapies.” They also put up posters of the exact dimensions of the actual posters, that said “Vote for Pulvapies!” Unfortunately, the citizens of this Picoaza didn’t realize that this was simply an advertisement for foot powder, and thought that it was an actual candidate. Surprisingly, Pulvapies won the election! There were many other candidates that threatened to sue the company that did this. Sadly, there was no information about what did happen to Pulvapies, but we do know that more than half of the population voted for foot powder. 
  3. In the middle ages a common war tactic was to invade your enemies when they were weakened, possibly when they were going through a drought, having trouble getting food, when they were having an internal conflict, or when they were being ravaged by a disease. In the Autumn of 1349 when England was in the midst of the plague. After several conflicts between the scots and the british, the scots saw this as an opportunity. They invaded England, not realizing the consequences of this decision. The soldiers caught the plague, and then decided to return to Scotland. Half of the population died from the plague, after the soldiers returned. 

How we are taught history in school, tends to make us alienate ourselves, from the people of the past. Even though we may act different, speak different languages, and be from different times, one simple fact remains: we are all people, and each one of us makes mistakes. Some mistakes may be on a much larger scale, but we can look at our past mistakes and learn from them.