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Coincidence is God's Way of Remaining Anonymous

Created by McAngus

Fun Trivia : Quizzes : World History
Coincidence is Gods Way of Remaining Anonymous game quiz
"That was Einstein's perhaps very apt comment on coincidence. History can sometimes turn on coincidences or just produce some amazing stories. Let's take a look at some of history's more interesting happenstances."

15 Points Per Correct Answer - No time limit  

1. Let's start with a rather famous one.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams are two of the most respected figures in American history. Both were also instrumental in crafting the Declaration of Independence. It is well-known that these two men happened to pass away on the same day, July 4, 1826. However, this date holds another significance connecting the two men. What is it?
    Both men were also born on July 4
    July 4 is also when both men's sons were born
    Jefferson and Adams held their weddings on the same day
    July 4 was also the day that the Declaration of Independence was first ratified

2. The first proper battle of the Civil War took place at Bull Run in Prince William County, Virginia on July 18, 1861. The nearby Yorkshire Plantation served as Confederate General Beauregard's headquarters. On April 9, 1865, General Robert E. Lee Surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant at a place called Appomattox Courthouse in Appomattox County, Virginia, effectively ending the war.

What coincidence connects these two events?
    Yorkshire Plantation and Appomattox Courthouse were home to the same man, Wilmer McLean, at the time of the events
    Both General Lee and Grant spent time in those two places as children
    The armies present were exactly the same units both times and with the exact same proportion of strength both times
    Before the war, Lee owned Appomattox Courthouse and sold it to one of Grant's friends while Grant owned the Yorkshire Plantation and sold it to Lee's cousin

3. Hernan Cortes, a Spanish Conquistador, arrived in Mexico in 1519. At the time, the land was home to the powerful Aztec Empire. Cortes's arrival would signal the fall of this empire with the eventual capture of their capital city of Tenochtitlan. By strange coincidence, the Mayan calendar predicted that the pale-faced god Quetzalcoatl would return to reclaim Tenochtitlan in that very year, 1519.

Did the Mayan calendar actually make such a prediction for that year?

4. Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria was assassinated on June 28, 1914 by Gavrilo Princip, a young Serbian nationalist. This event was the spark that ignited World War I. However, the Archduke had already escaped one assassination attempt (a bomb) that day and that failure had convinced Princip to abandon his own plans. By coincidence, Princip and the Archduke ended up in the same location. Princip, already having given up, saw the opportunity and decided to go through with the assassination.

What was the coincidence that brought the two men together?
    The Archduke's driver took a wrong turn and stopped the car just outside the café where Princip happened to be eating
    The Archduke saw a man he thought he recognized and ordered the driver to turn; that man turned out to be Princip
    Princip was diverted from his planned route when one of the Archduke's guards waved him toward another street, bringing him straight to his target
    Both men enjoyed a particular type of treat that was only available in one shop. They met when both decided to pick some up on the way

5. One popular story is that of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Sir Alexander Fleming, the inventor of penicillin. As the story goes, Fleming's father, a poor farmer, saved young Churchill from drowning. To repay the farmer, Churchill's father offered a reward but the farmer declined. Churchill's father insisted and the farmer finally accepted when Churchill senior offered the farmer's own son, Alexander, a chance at a good education. Alexander eventually graduated from medical school and went on to invent penicillin. The coincidence comes when Winston, as an adult, was stricken by pneumonia. As it turns out, penicillin was what saved Churchill from the illness. He was saved by the Flemings once as a child and again, because of his father's gratitude, as an adult. A wonderful story to be sure.

Did this actually happen?

6. One day, President Abraham Lincoln's son, Robert, was standing on a crowded platform waiting for a train when he lost his footing and fell on to the tracks. Before any injury befell Robert, a man pulled him to safety. When Robert went to thank the man, he was surprised to discover that he was a well-known actor. There is another astonishing coincidence about that incident and the man who saved Robert.

What was it?
    The man was Edwin Booth, John Wilkes Booth's brother
    The man had been Robert's good friend at school with whom he had lost touch
    The man had also saved Robert's mother years earlier and in almost the same circumstances
    They discovered that they were both never-nudes, an extremely rare and tragic condition

7. King Louis XVI of France was once warned by an astrologer to always be on his guard in regards to a certain something. Louis dutifully obeyed but alas, it seems that even kings are unable to elude fate.

In June 1791, during the French Revolution, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were arrested while attempting to escape. In September 1792, the revolutionaries proclaimed the new French Republic, effectively ending a millennium of continuous rule by the French monarchy. In January 1793, Louis XVI was executed by guillotine. It turns out that the astrologer knew what he was talking about.

What specific thing ties these three unfortunate (for Louis XVI anyway) events together?
    The astrologer warned Louis XVI to always wear his family ring which he did not during those events
    They all occurred on the 21st of the month, the day that the astrologer had warned of
    On those days, Louis XVI had not said his prayers the night before
    Weather predictions forecasted cloudy with a chance of rain for those days but Louis XVI neglected to bring an umbrella even though the astrologer said to never forget an umbrella

8. The Japanese word "kamikaze" means "divine wind". As many of you may already know, the word comes from the typhoon that destroyed the Mongolian (Yuan dynasty) invasion fleet in the spring of 1281. It was almost certain that the Japanese would have been defeated had the Mongolians made landfall.

However, the Mongolians had attacked Japan once before in 1274 and defeated the Japanese at the Battle of Hakata Bay. The first fleet was also formidable but they did not follow through with the invasion.

What caused the Mongolians to turn around in their first invasion?
    The first fleet was also destroyed by a severe storm, as it would be years later
    The local lord just happened to be marching his troops that day and the Mongolians assumed that Japanese defenses were much stronger than anticipated
    The Mongolians had mistaken a large festival held by the local residents for a large army and decided to turn back. The festival just happened to be at the right place at the right time
    The selected landing site just happened to be the one place unsuitable for the task on that entire coastline

9. There is a popular list floating around which details the amazing coincidences between John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln. It cites many coinciding dates, similar circumstances of the assassinations and other similarities between the two.

Which one of the following is NOT among the coincidences often associated with the two presidents?
    Booth ran from the theater and was caught in a warehouse while Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theater
    Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy and Kennedy's secretary was named Lincoln, both warned their presidents not to make the trips on those fateful days
    Kennedy's favorite horse as a child was named Ford and Lincoln's favorite horse was named Dallas
    Booth and Oswald were both born in years ending in 39, 1839 and 1939 respectively

10. In the weeks preceding the invasion of Normandy in WWII a strange coincidence occurred involving a number of crossword puzzles created by a retired school teacher. So worried were the planners of the invasion that they detained the teacher on suspicion of espionage.

What was so suspicious about the crossword puzzles?
    They included the names of several high-ranking officers involved in the invasion
    The puzzles, when printed on see through material and layered on top of each other, formed an accurate depiction of the landing beaches
    The titles of a few of the puzzles were "Never in Calais", "The Non-Existent First" and "Return of the Normans"
    They happened to contain a good number of D-Day code words such as Utah, Omaha, Mulberry, Juno and Overlord

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Compiled Jun 28 12