Interesting Facts about USA.
- Over 32% of all the land in the United States is owned by the federal government.
- There was one president that believed the world was flat - Andrew Jackson.
- Gerald Ford was the only man who held both the Presidency and the Vice-Presidency, but who was not elected to either post.
- As of 2009, six of the 25 tallest buildings in the world are in the United States. (12-2009)
- As of 2009, the tallest building in the United States was the Sears Tower, also the 4th highest in the world. (12-2009)
- The Mustard Museum in the United States in in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin. (4-12-2007)
- $12 was the cost of General Electric’s first set of 24 Christmas lights (equaled the average paycheck of one work week in 1903).
- The average number of lights on a Christmas tree is 200 lights.
- In 1882, Thomas Edison’s assistant, Edward Johnson, came up with the idea of electric lights for Christmas trees.
- There are 50,000 lights on the tallest lighted living Christmas tree, located in Blue River, Oregon.
- There are approximately 300,000 Christmas lights on Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah
- The first train robbery in the United States was committed by the Reno brothers in 1866. They hopped the Ohio and Minnesota train as it pulled out of the Seymour, Indiana depot. Their take was $15,000.
- The Greene County (Indiana) viaduct was completed in 1906. Locally known as "Tulip Trestle", it is 180 feet high and 2,295 feet long making it the longest train trestle in the U. S.
- In 1862, Richard Gatling of Indianapolis, Indiana invented the rapid-fire machine gun.
- The tallest person in modern history was Robert Pershing Wadlow, born in Alton, IL. He was 8 feet & 11 inches tall. He was born in 1918. He died in 1940. Submitted by Emily R, Illinois, age 12 (8-20-03)
- America eats approximately 100 acres of pizza every day!! (7-29-03)
- The Lincoln Highway, U.S. Route 30 sparked a country's imagination as the nation's first coast-to-coast highway, running from New York to San Francisco and igniting a wave of automobile tourism in the early 20th century. (5-2001)
- The only time you may fly the U.S. flag upside down is when signaling for distress. (Submitted by April)
- The United States is the most obese society in the world with fully 33% of our population overweight -- over 30% fat by body weight, for women, 25% for men. Compare this fact to the 3% overweight in France!!
- In the early 1800's, a man named John Chapman crossed over and around the state of Ohio planting Apple seeds. We know him better as Johnny Appleseed. He was born and raised in Leominster, Massachusetts and finally settled in Mansfield, OH after his days of traveling were over
Interesting facts about Scotland.
Land & People
Scotland has three officially recognised languages: English, Scots (a relative of English) and Scottish Gaelic (a completely different language). Add to this Scottish English, which is English spoken with a more or less strong Scots accent and the occasional use of words from Scots or Scottish Gaelic.
Scottish surnames are divided in two main categories : Gaelic names (typically starting with "Mac-" or "Mc-") and Germanic names (e.g. Barclay, Blair, Brown, Carmichael, Cumming, Hamilton, Howard, Melville, Menzies, Stewart...).
Scotland is known as "Alba" in Gaelic.
Scotland has only 5 million inhabitants, about 8.5% of the UK's population.
Scotland has about the same land area as the Czech Republic, the United Arab Emirates, Panama, the US state of Maine, or the Japanese island of Hokkaido. This latter (Hokkaido) has the most similar climate and population density.
Scotland has some 790 islands, 130 of which are inhabited.
About 5 million Americans reported Scottish ancestry. The highest concentration of people of Scottish descent are found in New England and in the North-West.
At least 6 US Presidents were of Scottish descent : Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), James Madison (1751-1836), Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), James Knox Polk (1795-1849), William McKinley (1843-1901), Woodrow (Thomas) Wilson (1856-1924)
Other famous Americans with Scottish ancestry include John Paul Jones (father of the American Navy), Thomas Edison (inventor), Ben Affleck (actor), Heather Locklear (actress)
The two first Prime Minister of Canada, John A. Macdonald (1815-1891) and Alexander Mackenzie (1822-1892), were Scottish.
Many Australian Prime Ministers were also of Scottish descent, like George Reid (1845-1918). Andrew Fisher (1862-1928), Stanley Bruce (1883-1967), or Robert Menzies (1894-1978).
Scotland was an independent country until 1603. Then the king of Scotland became king of England (not the other way round), but the two country didn't merge their governments until 1707, to form the Kingdom of Great Britain .
Edinburgh was the first city in the world with its own fire-brigade.
The Bank of Scotland, founded in 1695, is the oldest surviving bank in the UK. It was also the first bank in Europe to print its own banknotes, a function it still performs today.
Skara Brae, on the island of Orkney, is the most complete Neolithic village in Europe. It is also the oldest building in Britain, dating from 3100 BCE.
Government & Politics
Since 1 July 1999, Scotland has its own parliament, for the first time since 1707.
Although Scotland was never part of the Roman Empire, Scots law has a basis derived from Roman law.
One particularity of Scots law is that the criminal trial may end in one of three verdicts: 'guilty', 'not guilty', or 'not proven'. The "not proven" verdict may be referred to as the Scottish Verdict abroad.
Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the UK since 1997, is Scottish, and so is his designated sucessor and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown.
Food & Drinks
Scotland is reputed for its whisky, known outside Scotland as Scotch Whisky. What few people know is that whisky was invented in China, and was first distilled by monks in Ireland in the early 15th century before reaching Scotland 100 years later.
Shortbread is Scotland's most famous biscuit.
The most infamous Scottish dish is haggis, normally made with sheep's 'pluck' (heart, liver, and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally boiled in the animal's stomach for approximately an hour. Haggis may be a very ancient European recipe. Although it is not known where it originated, a similar dish was already mentioned in Greece some 2,500 years ago.
Scottish dishes are well-known for their weird names, like Forfar Bridie (a meat pastry), Cock-a-leekie (soup), Collops (escalope), Crappit heid (fish dish), Finnan haddie (haddock fish), Arbroath Smokie (smoked haddock), Cullen Skink (haddock soup), Partan bree (seafood dish), Mince and tatties (minced meat and potatoes), Rumbledethumps, Skirlie...
Culture & Sciences
Scotland has spawned an amazing number of great thinkers and inventors for its diminutive size : Adam Smith, James Watt, David Hume, John Stuart Mill, Sir Alexander Fleming, Alexander Graham Bell...
Notable Scottish inventions include the method of logarithms (1614), tarmac (1820), the waterproof raincoat (1823) and the pneumatic tyre (1887).
Just like whisky (see above), kilts, tartans and bagpipes aren't Scottish inventions. Kilts originated in Ireland. Tartans were found in Bronze-age or Iron-age Central Europe (Hallstatt culture) and Central Asia (Tocharian culture). Bagpipes might also be an ancient invention from Central Asia. Interestingly, genetic studies are now pointing that the mutation for red hair, which now reaches a world maximum in Western Scotland and Northern Ireland, may have originated in Central Asia too. This means that Scottish people may be (partly) descended from ancient people from Central Asia.
Scottish literature includes such names as Sir Walter Scott, Lord Byron and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Famous Scottish actors include Sean Connery, Gerard Butler and Ewan McGregor.
Edinburgh is Europe's fifth largest financial centre.
Scottish waters have some of Europe's largest oil reserve.
Scotland is a major producer of wool and wool textiles.
Interesting facts about England.
Land & People
England is 74 times smaller than the USA, 59 times smaller than Australia and 3 times smaller than Japan. England is however 2.5 times more populous than Australia, and 1.5 times more populous than California. With 2.5 times less inhabitants than Japan, its density of population is slightly higher than the country of the rising sun.
The highest temperature ever recorded in England was 38.5°C (101.3°F ) in Brogdale, Kent, on 10 August 2003.
English people consume more tea per capita than anybody else in the world (2.5 times more than the Japanese and 22 times more than the Americans or the French).
London used to be the largest and most influential city in the world. With a population of 12 million, it remains the largest city in Europe.
Among the three ghosts said to haunt Athelhampton House, one of them is an ape.
English people have the highest obesity rate in the European Union (22.3% of men and 23% of women). They also have the highest percentage of overweight women (33.6%) and the 6th highest for men (43.9%).
Culture & Language
French was the official language of England for about 300 years, from 1066 till 1362.
Public schools in England are in fact very exclusive and expensive (£13,500/year in average) private schools. Ordinary schools (which are free), are called state schools.
The English class system is not determined by money, but by one's background (family, education, manners, way of speaking...). Many nouveau-riches, like pop-stars or football players, insist on their still belonging to the lower or middle class.
Oxford University once had rules that specifically forbade students from bringing bows and arrows to class.
An official report of the European Union (PDF) surveying universities in all member states ranked the University of London as the top performer in terms of publications and in terms of citations, and the University of Cambridge as top performers in terms of impact.
British police do not carry guns except in emergencies.
The world's largest second-hand book market can be found at Hay-on-Wye, a small village at the border of England and Wales. The village is also famous for proclaiming itself independent from the UK in 1977.
London Heathrow Airport is the world's busiest airports by international passenger traffic, and the third for total traffic.
London is the world's largest financial centre.
Inner London has the highest GDP per capita (€ 88,761) of any European city.
History & Monuments
The world's first modern Olympic Games were not held in Athens in 1896, but in the small town of Much Wenlock (Shropshire) in 1850, which inspired French Baron Pierre Coubertin to launch the Athens Olympics half a century later.
The national anthem of the United States ("The Star-Spangled Banner") was composed by an Englishman, John Stafford Smith (1750-1836) from Gloucester.
Silburry Hill, in the English county of Wiltshire, is the largest man-made earthen mound in Europe. It was built about 4750 years ago.
The first building in the world to overtake the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt was Lincoln Cathedral in 1280. Although its spired was destroyed in 1549, it kept the title of highest construction ever built in the world until 1884, when the Washington Monument was errected.
The world's largest and oldest chained library is in Hereford Cathedral, which also contained the world's best preserved Mappa Mundi.
Windsor castle is the oldest and largest royal residence in the world still in use.
The Rothschild art collection at Waddesdon Manor is one of the world's most important, rivalling with that of the Louvres Museum and New York Metropolitan Museum.
The world's oldest public zoo opened in London in 1828.
It is in England that the first postage stamps appeared. The first Penny Post was invented by entrepreneur William Dockwra in the 1680's for delivery of packets within London. The first nation-wide stamp (and first adhesive stamp) was the Penny Black, introduced in 1840 as part of Rowland Hill's postal reforms. Because Britain was the first country to issue national stamps, British stamps still have the unique distinction of not mentioning the country's name on them.
The world's first drive through safari park opened at Longleat House (Wiltshire) in 1966.
The Caen Hill, a flight of 29 locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal (between Bath and Reading) rising 72 m in 3.2 km, making it the steepest flight of locks in the world. The locks were built in the early 1800s.
During the first three decades of the 19th century, West Cornwall produced two thirds of the world's copper. The smelting of copper ore was subsequently transferred to Swansea, in South Wales, which became the global centre for the trade during most of the century.
The statue of Anteros on Piccadilly Circus (1892) was the world's first statues to be cast in aluminium.
The man behind the construction of the world-famous Sydney Opera House was Sir Eugene Goossens (1893-1962), an English conductor and composer of Belgian origin, who was director of the NSW State Conservatorium of Music at the time.
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