Welcome to HistoryWow

Why ‘Wow’? Because history has a ‘Wow’ factor. History is rich in fascinating and inspirational incidents and events. Stories of heroism, self-sacrifice, humor, arrogance, foolishness, victory against the odds, the cruel hand of fate, irony and nobility.

History’s got the lot. Since 2012, HistoryWow’s aim, using only the finest historical reference material, has been to bring you some of these fascinating and inspirational incidents and events, in a short, sharp format. A little bit of history every day. But not enough to overload your busy lifestyles. We hope you enjoy HistoryWow!

History Question of the Day

Who became known as ‘The Chef of Kings and the King of Chefs’?

The answer tomorrow.

Yesterday's question and answer:

What is the fascinating story behind London’s ancient and near venerated London Bridge?

Answer: Nursery rhymes sung down the ages often have their origin in real historical events. ‘Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of posies, we all fall down’ referred to the effects of the bubonic plague. Likewise, ‘London Bridge is falling down’ is no mere whimsical observation. Indeed, the famous structure across the Thames was partially or fully destroyed many times after its initial construction in 975.

It was first pulled down by the Vikings, in 1010, to ease their access past English soldiers. Six years later, King Canute of Denmark didn’t bother to demolish the bridge when he wanted to invade, but simply dug a canal around it and sailed past. Until there was a second bridge, London Bridge was so crucial to residents that Londoners sometimes bequeathed their money ‘to God and the bridge’.

The first stone bridge was finished in about 1290 and was soon lined with shops, chapels and taverns but it was constantly in need of repairs to prevent its collapse. A fortune was spent on its repair because it was an important source of revenue through the collection of tolls.

The heads of rebels and traitors were boiled and placed on iron spikes on the bridge; in 1661 a German traveller counted nineteen such heads. Remarkably, it remained the only bridge over the Thames until 1750.

Source: Ways of the World: a history of the world’s roads and of the vehicles that used them by M G Lay; London – The Biography by Peter Ackroyd; The Plantagenet Encyclopedia by Elizabeth Hallam

More at: History

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The HistoryWow Research Team

The HistoryWow research team is led by principal researcher Benjamin S V Bray, who has a first class honours degree in history from Edinburgh University and a masters degree in philosophy majoring in history from Cambridge University.

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History Question of the Week

Who invented the first sophisticated water saving flush system for the toilet in 1860?

The answer on Thursday.

Submit Answer

The first correct answer to each week's question will receive a US$30 voucher to buy a history book of their choice.

Last week's question and answer:

Which European monarch declared “I am the state”?

Answer: King Louis XIV of France (1638-1715).

Source: The Modern World by Sarolta Takacs
More at: History

HistoryWow’s Golden List of Great History Books

There are many great history books, on a range of interesting topics. These are some of the ones we at HistoryWow think are especially good.

These excellent books are available at: History

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The HistoryWow Forum


The fascinating thing about history is that there are a variety of different opinions and views on historical questions. Here is your chance to tell us what you think about a particular history question.


If one of the many assassination attempts on Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had have succeeded, there would not have been World War Two and today’s European Union would never have come into existence. What do you think?

More at: History


What Business Can Learn from the Lessons of History

A unique business conference and corporate presentation.

Tell us Your Favorite History Anecdote

History lovers have their own special history stories, incidents and episodes. Stories of heroism, self-sacrifice, victory against the odds, arrogance, the cruel hand of fate, irony and nobility. Tell us here what your favorite anecdote is.

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The HistoryWow App

The HistoryWow App. Seventy fascinating and inspirational incidents and events from history - in a short, sharp format. Each great story is different and each one is a terrific read. A nice-sized, compact, mini history book of around 15,000 words, complete with pictures. And it's free.


HistoryWow’s Featured Historical Figure of Note

Count Hans Karl Friedrich Diebitsch (1785-1831)

German-born Russian soldier, born in Silesia. He joined the Russian army in 1801, and was a major-general in the campaigns of 1805 and 1812-14. In the Russo-Turkish war of1928-29, he won the surname of Sabalkanski (crosser of the Balkans), and was promoted field marshal. He died of cholera while suppressing the Polish insurrection of 1830-31.

More at: History