Factoid – a small fact, sometimes called trivia, factlet or even mini-fact. Dictionaries call a factoid either an insignificant bit of trivia or an urban legend turned accepted truth over time. Lists o’ Plenty calls a factoid an interesting bit of information that may come up somewhere over coffee or in cocktail talk.
10. In 1771 the kingdom of Poland was larger in area than any other European country and had a bigger population than any other European nation but France. Poland had flourished politically from the 14th c. to the 16th c. but in the 17th c. and 18th c. declined progressively into something approaching anarchy. Taking advantage of this, its neighbours Austria, Russia, and Prussia divided Poland among themselves in what are known as the First, Second, and Third Partitions.
9. As of Dec. 31, 2000, the number of climbers summiting Mt. Everest reached 1314, and the number of deaths on the mountain reached 167. Of the successful climbers, Apa Sherpa, climbed Everest 11 times. The famed mountain is located on the border between Nepal and Tibet, where all of the worlds 14 Eight thousand meter plus peaks are found.
8. Devon is the only county in Great Britain to have two coasts. The county (in red) shares borders with Cornwall to the west and Dorset and Somerset to the east. Its south coast abuts the English Channel and its north coast the Bristol Channel.
7. French was the official language of England for over 600 years. After the Norman conquest of England in 1066 AD. French was the official language of the gentry and educated. That is how the English language got its Latin roots greatly re-enforced.
6. The smallest island with country status is Pitcairn in Polynesia, at just 1.75 square miles. The island is best known as home of the British and Tahitian descendants of the well known story of the mutiny on the ship Bounty, which is still evident in the surnames of many of the islanders. The United Nations Committee on Decolonisation includes the Pitcairn Islands on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories (countries that, according to the United Nations, are non-decolonized).
5. The Vatican’s Swiss Guard still wears a uniform designed by Michelangelo in the early 16th century – or was it? Swiss Guards is the name given to the Swiss soldiers who have served as bodyguards, ceremonial guards, and palace guards at foreign European courts since the late 15th century. In contemporary usage it refers to the Pontifical Swiss Guard of Vatican City. A lot of people are under the impression that the uniforms were designed by Michelangelo. But the official Vatican City Holy See website recently said “It is commonly thought that the uniform was designed by Michelangelo, but it would seem rather that he had nothing to do with it. However, Raffaello(Raphael) certainly did influence its development, as he indeed influenced fashion in general in Italy in the Renaissance, through his painting”. This seems to suggest that the uniforms were designed by Raphael and not Michelangelo, yet remains inconclusive.
4. City with the most Rolls Royce cars per capita: Hong Kong.
3. Mt. Everest grows about 4 millimeters every year: the two tectonic plates of Asia and India, which collided millions of years ago to form the Himalayas, continue to press against each other, causing the Himalyan peaks to grow slightly each year.
2. Earth is the only planet not named after a god.
1. The glue on Israeli postage stamps is certified kosher.