Ishikawa Goemon was a 16th-century legendary Japanese outlaw hero, who stole gold and other valuables from the rich to give it to poor, for which he was sentenced to death. He and his son were boiled alive in public in an iron cauldron, but he was able to save his son by holding him above his head. His son was later forgiven.
2. In 1589, English pamphleteer named John Stubbs was sentenced by Queen Elizabeth to have his hand severed for seditious writing, and before the ax fell, he cried out, "My calamity is at hand!" - thus becoming the only known victim of Elizabeth to incorporate a pun at his dismemberment. He then fainted.
3. The traditional Japanese dish of Tempura was actually introduced to them by Portuguese missionaries in the 16th Century.
4. The deadliest earthquake in recorded history struck in the Shensi province of China in 1556, which killed about 830,000 people.
5. The equals sign was invented in 1557 by a Welsh mathematician named Robert Recorde. He only invented it because he was fed up with the ‘tedious repetition’ of the phrase is ‘is equal to.’
In 1599, Andrew Báthory, Prince of Transylvania, was killed and his head cut off. The head was then painted by a Greek artist and sewn back onto his body, before his burial.
7. In 1517, a nobleman offered to pay a corrupt Catholic monk named Johann Tetzel for an indulgence in order to forgive him of a future sin. The monk quickly agreed and granted it, but as he rode out of town the nobleman attacked and beat him. He then told the monk that was the future sin he had in mind.
8. In 1567, Hans Steininger, the man said to have the longest beard in the world, died after he tripped over his beard and broke his neck running away from a fire. He usually bundled up his beard in a leather pouch, but that day he hadn't.
9. The first example of wearable computing was a ring with a usable Abacus in 16th century China.
10. In the 16th century, prestigious mathematics professorships could be "won" by defeating the current professor in a public algebra competition.
In 1599, a Spanish governor in early colonial Ecuador was executed by having molten gold poured down his throat. Native Indians of the Jivaro tribe believed that they were unfairly taxed in their gold trade and as a result, attacked the settlement of Logrono and executed the governor.
12. When the Portuguese introduced chili peppers to Japan in the 16th century, rather than being eaten they were commonly put into socks to keep toes warm.
13. The Cagayan Battles of 1582 in the Philippines was the only recorded battle in the history to be fought between European infantry and samurai.
14. The expression "Yo" has been in use since the 16th century.
15. During the 16th century, Western Ireland was under the control of Pirate Gráinne Ní Mháille. After years of fighting against England, Queen Elizabeth agreed to personally meet with her. Gráinne showed up with a dagger, refused to bow, and threw a noblewoman's handkerchief into a fire
Whilst being burnt alive at the stake in 1556, a woman gave birth to a live baby who the executioner then threw back into the flames.
17. One of the earliest weapons of mass destruction was used during the Siege of Antwerp in 1585. A Dutch explosive fire ship containing 4 tons of explosive rammed a fortified Spanish bridge, killing 800 Spaniards, causing a small tsunami, and vibrating windows 22 miles away.
18. The bread did not exist in Japan prior to 1543 until Portuguese sailors brought it to their shores.
19. There is a "prophecy" written in 1595 that predicts the future Popes. The next Pope to be corresponds with the last one on the list.
20. In the 16th century the Pope declared Capybara's as “fish” so that his followers could eat it.
The Aztec capital of Tenochtitlán was the largest city in the Americas that was inhabited by over 200,000 people. It was built on a man-made island in the middle of a lake that was connected to shore by 3 causeways. The city had huge pyramids, floating gardens, aqueducts, and canals. It was destroyed by the Spanish in 1521.
22. One of the oldest chess strategy books, from 1561, recommends playing with your back to the sun to blind your opponent. If playing at night by a fire, it advises you to cast a shadow over the board with your hand, so your opponent "will not be able to see where to play his pieces."
23. In 1586, a pregnant widow wrote a letter to her partner named Eung-Tae-Lee, who had died at the age of 30. This was found by archaeologists in South Korea in 1998, intact with the man's mummified body and a pair of sandals woven from hemp and the woman's hair.
24. In 1550's France, the Queen of France, Catherine de Medici was so disgusted by women with “thick waists” that she enforced a ban on them from her court. This led to the widespread use of the corset throughout western civilization for the next 350 years.
25. Tomatoes are native to the Americas and weren’t introduced to Italy until the 1540s.