A Brief History of the World
3050 B.C.- A Sumerian invents the wheel. Within the week, the idea is
stolen and duplicated by other Sumerians, thereby establishing the
business ethic for all times.
2900 B.C.-Wondering why the Egyptians call that new thing a Sphinx
the first of the world's Seven Great Wonders.
1850 B.C.-Britons proclaim Operation Stonehenge a success. They've
gotten those boulders arrange in a sufficiently meaningless pattern to
confuse the hell out of scientists for centuries.
1785 B.C.-The first calendar, composed of a year with 354 days, is
introduced by Babylonian scientists.
1768 B.C.-Babylonians realize something is wrong when winter begins in
776 B.C.-The world's first known money appears in Persia, immediately
causing the world's first known counterfeiter to appear in Persia the
525 B.C.-The first Olympics are held, and prove similar to the modern
games, except that the Russians don't try to enter a six-footer with a
mustache in the women's shot put. However, the Egyptians do!
410 B.C.-Rome ends the practice of throwing debtors into slavery, thus
removing the biggest single obstacle to the development of the credit
404 B.C.-The Peloponnesian war has been going on for 27 years now
neither side can find a treaty writer who knows how to spell
214 B.C.-Tens of thousands of Chinese labor for a generation to build
1,500 mile long Great Wall of China. And after all that, it still
keep the neighbor's dog out.
1 B.C.-Calendar manufacturers find themselves in total disagreement
what to call next year.
79 A.D.- Buying property in Pompeii turns out to have been a lousy real
432- St. Patrick introduces Christianity to Ireland, thereby giving the
natives something interesting to fight about for the rest of their
1000-Leif Ericsson discovers America, but decides it's not worth
1043-Lady Godiva finds a means of demonstrating against high taxes that
immediately makes everyone forget what she is demonstrating against.
1125-Arabic numerals are introduced to Europe, enabling peasants to
the most baffling problem that confronts them: How much tax do you owe
MMMDCCCLX Lira when you're in the XXXVI percent bracket?
1233-The Inquisition is set up to torture and kill anyone who disagrees
with the Law of the Church. However, the practice is so un-Christian
it is permitted to continue for only 600 years.
1297-The world's first stock exchange opens, but no one has the
to buy IBM or Xerox.
1433- Portugal launches the African slave trade, which just proves what
small, ambitious country can do with a little bit of ingenuity and a
lot of evil!
1456-An English judge reviews Joan of Arc's case and cancels her death
sentence. Unfortunately for her, she was put to death in 1431.
1492- Columbus proves how lost he really is by landing in the Bahamas,
naming the place San Salvador, and calling the people who live there
1497-Amerigo Vespucci becomes the 7th or 8th explorer to become the new
world, but the first to think of naming it in honor of himself...the
United States of Vespuccia!
1508-Michelangelo finally agrees to paint the ceiling of the Sistine
Chapel, but he still refuses to wash the windows.
1513-Ponce de Leon claims he found the Fountain of youth, but dies of
age trying to remember where it was he found it.
1522-Scientists, who know the world is flat, conclude that Magellan
it all the way around by crawling across the bottom.
1568-Saddened over the slander of his good name, Ivan the Terrible
another 100,000 peasants to make them stop calling him Ivan the
1607-The Indians laugh themselves silly as the first European tourist
visit Virginia tries to register as "John Smith".
1618-Future Generations are doomed as the English execute Sir Walter
Raleigh, but allow his tobacco plants to live.
1642-Nine students receive the first Bachelor of Arts degrees conferred
America, and immediately discover there are no jobs open for a kid with
liberal arts education.
1670-The pilgrims are too busy burning false witches to observe the
anniversary of their winning religious freedom.
1755-Samuel Johnson issues the first English Dictionary, at last
young children with a book they can look up dirty words in.
1758- New Jersey is chosen as the site of America's first Indian
reservation, which should give Indians an idea of the kind of shabby
living conditions they can expect from here on out.
1763-The French and Indian War ends. The French and Indians both lost.
1770-The shooting of three people in the Boston Massacre touches off
Revolution. 200 Years later, three shootings in Boston will be
just about average for a Saturday Night.
1773-Colonists dump tea into Boston Harbor. British call the act
"barbaric", noting that no one added cream.
1776-Napoleon decides to maintain a position of neutrality in the
Revolution, primarily because he is only seven years old.
1779-John Paul Jones notifies the British, "I have just begun to
and then feels pretty foolish when he discovers that his ship is
1793- "Let them eat cake!" becomes the most famous thing Marie
ever said. Also, the least diplomatic thing she ever said. Also, the
thing she ever said.
1799-Translation of the Rosetta Stone finally enables scholars to learn
that Egyptian hieroglyphics don't say anything important. "Dear Ramses,
How are you? I am fine."
1805-Robert Fulton invents the torpedo.
1807-Robert Fulton invents the steamship so he has something to blow up
with his torpedo.
1815-Post Office policy is established as Andrew Jackson wins the
of New Orleans a month after he should have received the letter telling
him the War of 1812 is over.
1840-William Henry Harrison is elected president in a landslide,
that the campaign motto, "Tippecanoe and Tyler too" is so meaningless
very few can disagree with it.
1850-Henry Clay announces, "I'd rather be right than president," which
gets quite a laugh, coming from a guy who has run for president five
1859- Charles Darwin writes "Origin of the Species". It has the same
general plot as "Planet of the Apes", but fails to gross as much money.
1865-Union Soldiers face their greatest challenge of the war: getting
General Grant sober enough to accept Lee's surrender.
1894-Thomas Edison displays the first motion picture, and everybody
it except the movie critics.
1903- The opening of the Trans-Siberian Railway enables passengers from
Moscow to reach Vladivostok in eight days, which is a lot sooner than
of them want to get there.
1910- The founding of the Boy Scouts of America comes as bad news to
ladies who would rather cross the street by themselves.
1911-Roald Amundsen discovers the South Pole and confirms what he's
suspected all along: It looks a helluva lot like the North Pole!
1912-People with Reservations for the voyage of the Titanic get their
1920-The 18th Amendment to the Constitution makes drinking illegal in
U.S. so everyone stops. Except for the 40 million who don't stop!
1924-Hitler is released from prison four years early, after convincing
parole board that he is a changed man who won't cause any more trouble.
1928- Herbert Hoover promises "a chicken in every pot and a car in
garage," but he neglects to add that most Americans will soon be
pots and garages.
1930- Pluto is discovered. Not the dog, stupid; the planet. The dog
discovered until 1938.
1933- German housewives begin to realize why that crazy wallpaper
with the mustache never came back to finish his work.
1933-Hitler establishes the Third Reich, and announces that it will
for a thousand years. As matters develop, he is only 988 years off.
1934- John Dillinger is gunned down by police as he leaves a Chicago
theater. And just to make the evening a complete washout, he didn't
the movie either.
1934-As if the Great Depression weren't giving businessmen enough
headaches, Ralph Nader is born.
1938-Great Britain and Germany sign a peace treaty, thereby averting
possibility of WWII.
1944-Hitler's promise of Volkswagens for all Germans as soon as they've
won the war doesn't prove to be as strong an incentive as he had hoped.