Historical Events That Surprisingly Happened Around the Same Time

The Disney animated feature Frozen was released in 2013. The film became an instant phenomenon because of its story, which subverted traditional fairy tales by saying you don’t need a prince charming to be happy or to be saved. You just need a sister who loves you unconditionally. 

Another notable event that happened in 2013 was that the state of Mississippi finally abolished slavery. This is where the timeline seems quite jumbled: why hadn’t slavery been outlawed in the Magnolia state? 

It turns out that Mississippi did not ratify its Constitution until February 7, 2013. It’s quite shocking that a progressive film like Frozen could become popular in the same year that slavery hadn’t been officially abolished in one state. 

There is more where that came from. Check out these seemingly disparate historical events that happened around the same time. 

Guillotines Out, Video Games In

Execution via guillotine seems like it happened decades before modern society. However, Hamida Djandoubi, a convicted murderer, was the last person guillotined on September 10, 1977, in France—less than 50 years ago.

Long before this, there had been discussions around abandoning the method altogether, though it was still considered more humane than hanging or firing squad. 

The same month of the final execution via guillotine, the Atari 2600 was released. It became widely successful and was the dominant gaming system in America in the 1980s. It spawned the following popular games:

  • Pac-Man
  • Space Invaders
  • Donkey Kong
  • Pitfall!
  • Frogger

This is not the only gaming-related event that is quite shocking in terms of timelines and surprising historical crossovers. 

Nintendo and Jack the Ripper Existed at the Same Time

How could a 19th-century serial killer exist at the same time as a video game? Well, the company founded in 1889 was initially a manufacturer of Japanese playing cards known as Hanafuda.

It wasn’t until 1975 that it launched an entertainment system called the Laser Clay Shooting System. In 1977, Nintendo released its first home video game machine. 

As Nintendo (formerly Hanafuda) prepared for the official launch of the company in Japan, Jack the Ripper was on a rampage in Whitechapel, London. He was given the name because he purportedly sent a letter to the police shortly after his first few attacks and signed it “Jack the Ripper.”

While the authenticity of the letter remains dubious, the name caught on because it succinctly described his methods—he cut his victims’ throats and abdomens. 

Five deaths, all women, were linked to Jack the Ripper. However, he likely had more victims, as there were several other brutal murders with similar methods between 1888 and 1891 in Whitechapel and Spitalfields. Since they couldn’t be tied to Jack the Ripper, they were tagged as separate unsolved murders.

Queen Elizabeth II and Marilyn Monroe Were the Same Age

On April 21, 1926, Elizabeth Alexandra was born to Prince Albert, Duke of York, and Elizabeth, Duchess of York. She was crowned Queen on February 6, 1952. She became the longest-serving monarch and ruled for over six decades until her death on September 8, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II was a picture of grace, strength, and dignity. 

On June 1, 1926, Norma Jeane Mortenson was born in Los Angeles, California. She would be known as Marilyn Monroe and become one of the most popular sex symbols in history.

She was a blond bombshell and was the picture of the sexual revolution in the 1950s and 1960s. Monroe died of a drug overdose in 1962 at the age of 36. 

The two contrasting symbols of feminism met on October 29, 1956, at the Empire Theatre in London. The Queen interacted with many celebrities during this event, but the most notable meeting was undoubtedly with the glittering sex symbol of the same age. 

Monroe was advised to dress conservatively, but she broke protocol and wore a gold lamé gown with a scandalously low neckline. The two were photographed shaking hands and smiling while sharing a brief conversation.

Betty White Intersected with the Ottoman Empire

American actress Betty White was born at the tail end of the Ottoman Empire. The superpower ruled much of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and North Africa for over 600 years.

Its Sultans wielded absolute political and religious authority and expanded through efficient leadership over centuries. 

The Ottoman Empire consisted of the following countries:

  • Bulgaria
  • Egypt
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Macedonia
  • Romania
  • Syria
  • Turkey

The territory also included some parts of Arabia and North Africa. However, as time went by, these territories fought for their independence.

The final blow was the Ottoman Empire’s defeat in World War I, where its territories were divided among Britain, France, Greece, and Russia. It was formally abolished by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on November 1, 1922. 

Betty White was born on January 17, 1922, in Oak Park, Illinois. She died on December 31, 2021, just short of her 100th birthday. She starred in dozens of films and more than 100 TV shows in her lifetime, amassing dozens of awards and millions of adoring fans. 

The Last Execution By Firing Squad Happened the Same Year Toy Story 3 Was Released

Ronnie Lee Gardner was the last person to be executed by firing squad on June 18, 2010. Just six days before, Toy Story 3, the animated feature starring Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, premiered. It was the first animated film to gross $1 billion at the box office

Gardner was convicted for the death of lawyer Michael Burdell while trying to escape from a Salt Lake City courthouse in 1985. Gardner was there for a robbery charge, and during his escape attempt, he also shot and wounded a bailiff. 

Gardner was executed after midnight on June 18, 2010, at the Utah State Prison. It was the first firing squad execution in 50 years. 

Idaho, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and South Carolina still have a firing squad as an option for executions. However, it hasn’t been implemented in more than 60 years. 

Ecstacy and Oreo Were Introduced the Same Year

Two wildly disparate things that give people a happy high were launched in the same year. The famous Nabisco sandwich cookie Oreo was introduced to the public on March 6, 1912.

Since then, dozens of Oreo variants have been released, but the original vanilla filling between two chocolate cookies remains an incredibly popular snack. 

Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, or MMDA, was first synthesized in 1912 by Merck Group. It was designed to be a psychotherapy drug for post-traumatic stress disorder. However, it became a popular street drug in the 1980s. 

Do you know what else happened in 1912? The maiden voyage of the RMS Titanic. It sank in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, killing around 1,500 passengers and crew. 

Harriet the Tortoise Met Charles Darwin

Harriet was the most famous Galapagos tortoise in the world until she died in 2006. She spent her final years at the Australia Zoo, which was owned by an equally renowned legend, the late Steve Irwin. Harriet, the oldest animal in the world at the time, was estimated to be around 175 years old when she died. 

According to the Australia Zoo, Charles Darwin collected Harriet from the Galapagos Islands in 1835. Darwin was a British naturalist who introduced the scientific theory of evolution by natural selection.

In the 1830s, Harriet was just the size of a dinner plate—she was meant to be a pet, not a scientific subject. At the end of her life, she had grown to the size of a table and weighed 330 pounds. 

Martin Luther King Jr. and Anne Frank Were Born in the Same Year

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Martin Luther King Jr. said these words in a 1957 sermon, and it has since become one of the most famous quotes in the world. King was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Anne Frank wrote one of the most-read books in the world, The Diary of a Young Girl, often marketed and published as The Diary of Anne Frank. She was born on June 12, 1929, in Frankfurt, Germany. 

Frank and King had an undeniable gift with words, and they used them to make an impact on the world. Frank gave the rest of the world a poignant account from the perspective of a young Jewish girl hiding from the Nazis during the Holocaust.

King was one of the most prominent leaders of the Civil Rights Movement that abolished segregation in the United States in the 1960s.

Final Thoughts

Human history is rich with milestones, significant events, and renowned personalities who are still revered today. And some of them have intersected in surprising—sometimes seemingly unbelievable—ways. 

The events and crossovers mentioned above are just a few examples. Decades and centuries from now, more of these will occur and will be uncovered by history enthusiasts who will undoubtedly have fresh perspectives about the events currently unfolding all over the world. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top