10 Legendary and Mysterious Libraries of the Ancient World


It is often said that knowledge is wealth and in the ancient world it is something that is well guarded more than gold or jewels. The colossal libraries ancient civilizations like the Greeks and the Egyptians built are testaments to the fact that all the riches of the world will always pale in comparison with knowledge and learning.

These days, when information comes to us lightning-quick at the touch of a button, we tend to underestimate and undervalue the privilege we have of unfettered access to almost anything that we want to know and learn. It is a little bit tragic that the sense of appreciation that we have for information and learning is eclipsed by our continuously shortening attention spans because of all the media we consume on a daily basis.

In today’s list, we take a step back thousands of years to days when information and knowledge are stored and jealously guarded in giant libraries that are often the first monuments to be destroyed and sacked in times of war or invasion. Libraries that have shaped the world we now know of and the civilizations that have walked the earth, each contributing to humanity’s progress.

So here are 10 legendary and mysterious libraries of the ancient world!

Number Ten: The House of Wisdom


Called by historians as the Cradle of Civilization, ancient Mesopotamia – now modern day Iraq – was once one of the world’s centers for learning. Alongside Greece, Egypt, and Rome, Mesopotamia had one of the largest institutions of learning built in the 9 AD at the heart of the city of Baghdad.

Known as The House of Wisdom, it was built during the reign of the Abbasids. The House of Wisdom’s “collections” revolved around literature from Persia, Greece, and India. Also, among the library’s collection are manuscripts on mathematics, philosophy, science, medicine, and astronomy.

The books alone were enough to serve as lures to scholars from neighboring regions in the Middle East and among them are the mathematician and one of the fathers of Algebra, al-Khawarizmi; and the philosopher al-Kindi.

The House of Wisdom was the epicentre of Islamic intellectualism and academia for hundreds of years until it was sacked by the Mongols in 1258, tossing many of its extremely valuable manuscripts and books into the Tigris. Legend even has it that the famed river turned black due to ink dissolving into its waters.

Number Nine: The Twin Libraries at Trajan’s Forum


The ancient Romans are no strangers to accumulating codices and scrolls filled with anything from mathematics to philosophy. Knowledge and information are cornerstones of their empire that lasted centuries.

A Roman emperor’s love of monuments has helped erect one – or two – of the ancient world’s largest libraries.

Around 112 AD Emperor Trajan completed the construction of a wide, multi-use complex at the heart of Rome. Within the bounds of this Forum are plazas, markets, and temples. However, its crown jewel is one of the Roman Empire’s famous libraries.

Split in two, the twin structures housed numerous works and texts in Latin and Greek – separately housed – and were built on opposite sides of Trajan’s column, a massive monument to celebrate the emperor’s military victories.  Containing a collection of about 20,000 scrolls in rooms made of elegantly crafted marble and granite, historians are still debating when the twin libraries ceased to exist. With only texts referencing them until the fifth century AD, experts can only assume that it stood for at least three centuries.

Number Eight: Villa of the Papyri

Villa of the Papyri - Paul Getty Museum.JPG

One of the last ancient libraries to have survived well into the modern day, the Villa of the Papyri has withstood catastrophes including the devastating eruption of Mt Vesuvius in 79 AD.

Located in Herculaneum, Italy, the ruins of the Villa was buried deep in the ashes of Vesuvius that miraculously kept at least 1,785 of its scrolls preserved when the library was unearthed by archaeologists in 1752.

Technically the Villa was a house and not a library by any definition. Supposedly owned by Lucius Calpurnius Piso Caesonius, Julius Caesar’s father-in-law, the massive home – aside from its impressive private library of texts on philosophy – boasted a collection of bronze sculptures and the most stylish and impressive architecture of that century.

Number Seven: The Library of Pergamum


Constructed by the Attalid Dynasty in the third century BC in what is now the country of Turkey, the Library of Pergamum was home to an impressive collection of 200,000 scrolls on varying subjects.

Located within a temple complex devoted to the Greek goddess Athena, the Library was considered to have become the “competition” of the Library of Alexandria according to the ancient chronicler, Pliny the Elder.

Apparently, both libraries sought to amass large collections of texts as well as establish rival schools of thought.

The rivalry between the two libraries allegedly reached fever pitch that Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt halted the exportation of papyrus to Pergamum hoping that it would cripple the library. Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan and only turned the city of Pergamum as one of the leading producers of parchment paper.

Number Six: Nalanda University

Destruction of Nalanda University by Bakhtiyar Khilji - Ruins.jpg

Moving further south of Asia, the Nalanda University in Bahir, India, is considered to be oldest university in the entire world as the first European university only popped up in 1088, a whole six centuries later.

What is even more exceptional about Nalanda is that the university provided education to thousands of students all across Asia.

Its nine-storey library was nicknamed “Dharmaganja” or Treasury of Truth and “Dharma Gunj” or Mountain of Truth because it was highly praised for the largest collection of Buddhist texts among other writings and literature. Helping spread philosophy and the Buddhist faith, Nalanda has nurtured thousands of followers until it was destroyed by Turk invaders in 1193. Due to the university’s immense size, legend tells that it took the Turks months before they could completely reduce its foundations to rubble.

Number Five: The Theological Library of Caesarea Maritima


Before it was destroyed around 638 AD by invading Arabs, the Theological Library of Caesarea Maritima or simply the Library of Caesarea, had the largest collection of ecclesiastical and theological texts of the Ancient Christian and Jewish world.

As the center of Christian education and scholarship, the library was also home to a large collection of literature from Greece and other neighboring regions. Mostly the texts are primarily historical and philosophical but nonetheless valuable as the place was frequently visited by important historical personalities such as Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazareth.

The church father Origen was mainly responsible for the library’s inventory of 30,000 manuscripts but during the purge initiated by Emperor Diocletian, the library and many of its contents were destroyed. Afterwards, it was rebuilt by the bishops of Caesarea only to be completely torn down, brick by brick, by Arab invaders.

Unfortunately, not a single manuscript from the library’s collection survived.

Number Four: The Library of Aristotle


Built in the first century BC, the library of Aristotle was part of a larger structure called the Lyceum where he was sought by many of his students and spent time learning from one of history’s most influential philosophers.

300 years after Aristotle’s death, a geographer named Strabo chronicled one of the most detailed accounts of the philosopher’s magnificent collection in his Geographia XIII, 1, 54-55, saying that Aristotle was “the first man, so far as I know, to have collected books and to have taught the kings in Egypt hwo to arrage a library.”

Upon Aristotle’s death, the Lyceum was bequeathed to Theoprastus. Even before his death, Aristotle heard of the jealousy of the Attalid empire of his library and desired to covet it for the Library of Pergamum. When Aristotle died and the Lyceum passed on to a new owner, it was then decided that the library’s entire collection be hidden and kept safe underground.

Unfortunately, despite this noble effort, many of the books were damaged by moisture and the remainder of the collection were sold to a man named Apellicon of Teos.

Number Three: The Imperial Library of Constantinople


Most of the history of the Imperial Library of Constantinople is shrouded in mystery. Many would point out that it was built out of necessity to preserve texts that were already in danger because of deterioration.

It was in 357 AD when Byzantine Emperor Constantius II decided to build the imperial library where many of the deteriorating Judeo-Christian scriptures could be copied onto vellum, a material that lasts longer than papyrus. Although Constantius II was only mostly interested in religious texts, the Imperial Library still managed to salvage many other books and scrolls that housed the knowledge of the Greeks and Romans.

In fact, many of the surviving texts from the ancient Grecian world that survives today were copies from the original manuscripts of the Imperial Library of Constantinople.

Number Two: The Library of Alexandria

Built by Ptolemy I in 295 BC, the Great Library of Alexandria holds a prestigious title in history as a “Universal” library where scholars from all over the world would visit, share ideas, and study from over thousands of texts that it offers.

It was, in fact, the intellectual crown jewel of the ancient world. Texts and scriptures on subjects like history, law, science, and mathematics can be browsed among its collection of 500,000 scrolls.

Many visiting scholars that decided to remain and live in the library complex received stipends from the Egyptian government just for conducting their studies and copying texts. Among its visitors were Euclid and Archimedes.

Its demise is still a question that seeks answers. Supposedly, the library burned down in 48 BC when Julius Caesar set fire to Alexandria’s harbor when he was at war with Ptolemy XIII. However, many historians believe that a blaze could not have easily destroyed the library and it may have still survived for a few more centuries. Some scholars, on the other hand, argue that the library met its end during the reign of Roman emperor Aurelian in 270 AD while other experts place its obliteration somewhere around the Fourth Century AD.

Whatever the case and however it fell, the Library of Alexandria remains to be one of history’s greatest achievements both architecturally and academically.

Number One: The Library of Ashurbanipal


Known as the world’s oldest library, it was built and founded for the “royal contemplation” of the Assyrian ruler Ashurbanipal in the 7th Century. Basically, it was one massive private study.

Constructed in Nineveh in modern-day Iraq, the library had a collection of around 30,000 stone tablets written in cuneiform. What’s even more impressive is that the tablets were organized according to subject matter. Most of them being archival documents of the royal court, the collection also included a number of literary works including the 4000-year old Epic of Gilgamesh.

Ashurbanipal was a known book-lover and obtained many of them through looting from conquered territories including Babylonia.

Today, most of the surviving tablets are housed and cared for in the British Museum in London.

While the Library of Ashurbanipal may not be as glamorous as the Library of Alexandria, it is most interesting to note that his collection helped pave the way to the history of the written word through cuneiform.



10 Mind Blowing Space Stories that We Were Never Told in School

Number 10: The Smuggled Sandwich

NASA equips its astronauts with the most sophisticated gear that is intended to keep them safe in space as well as help them perform their jobs comfortably while floating around in zero gravity. Coupled with that, they are also provided with food items that are suitable for space travel and would not damage any on-board equipment that could potentially cause a disaster. It goes without saying that taking ordinary “earth food” with you in a space shuttle while you are hurtling through the atmosphere is greatly discouraged and prohibited by NASA because small things like crumbs can get into tiny crevices in equipment and spark a fire.

However, in one mission, an extremely curious astronaut named John Young was able to smuggle a sandwich in his suit and bring it with him to space, even offering a bite to his co-pilot. The amusement turned to terror when they both realized the destructive potential of the sandwich crumbs floating around in a weightless environment. Fortunately for them, they were able to complete their mission and came home in one piece. Because of this stunt, NASA had to assure the public – and Congress – that they will be tightening their security measures and screening so that no stunt like this can ever be pulled again, placing billions of taxpayer dollars and the lives of the crew at risk.

Number 9: The Flatulence Configuration


In another story, the same astronaut, John Young, went on a mission to the moon in 1972 and have made one of history’s lesser known utterances in outer space.

While having a casual conversation with a team member, Young casually mentions some gassy digestive problems he had been experiencing and, right at that moment, let one rip while he was completely unaware that his suit’s microphone was recording everything. Luckily, the mic was not sensitive enough to record the actual “release” of his flatulence but Young was kind enough to give a colorful description of it along with a few “F” words to accompany his adjectives.

Number 8: The Diamond Denomination


You would think that this next one is all Science Fiction and could have come from the mind of an absolutely imaginative writer. However, the existence of this so-called Diamond Planet has been proven by real scientists who have been observing it with much interest.

Called PSR J1719-1438 b, the planet was said to have once been a star and that the debris it produced after it dies has managed to turn into a dwarf planet. Part of a twin-star, this diamond planet managed to survive after its brother exploded into a supernova. Managing to stabilize far enough from being obliterated, it was able to keep its carbon core that now is a colossal chunk of bling.

A pretty impressive discovery after we have all been told that Pluto has been declassified as a planet, shattering our schoolyard belief that it was.

Number 7: The Multiverse Multiplier

The debate on whether or not there are other universes outside our own is a controversial debate that has kept scientists, physicists, and astronomers on their toes and at each other’s throats for years. On one side, experts believe that there is no scientific and mathematical law that allows the existence of another universe, let alone several more.

However, on the other hand, believers of the theory have countered that neither is there evidence that disproves the theory of a multiverse that’s just waiting to be discovered.

Many have held this belief as mere fantasy and something that only happens in speculative fiction and comic books, the fact of the matter is that until scientific advancements can be made that will allow humans to explore outside the known universe, this debate will not soon be put to bed.

Number 6: The Deletion Dilemma

We are all familiar with the iconic broadcast of the first moon landing. The moment Neil Armstrong took his first step and uttered those words that are now deeply etched in human history, it was a completely new ballgame for science and the entire human civilization.

However, in 2006, a shocking twist to the story came to the public eye when NASA half-heartedly admitted that they have lost track of the recordings of the historic Apollo 11 mission but assured everyone that it was simply buried somewhere in their archives. Later, NASA announced that they have found the tapes pertaining to Apollo 11 but revealed that the recordings were “accidentally” erased.

Luckily for NASA, news agencies such as CBS who managed to record the event were able to supply a decent amount of recordings and footage from the Apollo 11 moon landing. A courtesy that was able to save NASA from disgrace.

Number 5: The Shotgun Syntax


A particularly lesser known story from the Space Race was that the USSR armed their cosmonauts with shotguns while American astronauts were busy smuggling Big Macs into space.

Modifying a TP-82 shotgun, Soviet engineers packed these firearms as they flew into space. The reason for packing some heat in the void of space, however, was not to fend off hostile aliens wanting to board their ship or in case they have to fight off space pirates. The modified shotguns were more for the trip home.

The difference between NASA and Soviet re-entry protocol was that NASA chose a much more practical approach to have their astronauts land in the Pacific region where they will then be picked up. The Soviets, on the other hand, chose the vast landscape of Siberia as their landing point. Unfortunately, when Soviet capsules re-entered the planet’s atmosphere, their capsule would sometimes fly off course and land in a different region that were mostly grizzly bear territory.

Number 4: The Giant Sun Complex


The most difficult part of understanding space is grasping the idea of how large it really is. So far, the only information we know about scale is from mock-ups of the solar system with the sun being the largest body in the universe.

Speaking of scale, let us put the sun as an example. We all know that it is a massive star that the planets revolve around on and it has different effects on each planetary body. However, a recent discovery has been made that the sun, which is 109 times larger than the Earth, is dwarfed by an even bigger star called VY Canis Majoris: a hyper-gigantic star that is, roughly, 1.7 billion – yes, BILLION – miles in diameter.

Also, bigger means brighter and hotter. Simply put, if we were to place this hyper-giant star to replace out own sun, chances are, every single planet and moon within its reach will instantly be obliterated. Fortunately for our solar system, VY Canis Majoris is 4900 lightyears away – a distance that makes it difficult for scientists to study. However, experts predict that in about 100,000 years, this star will explode and die and – probably, take a few systems with it along the way. A literal Death Star.

Number 3: The Problematic Pee Postulation

NASA engineers make sure that before they send someone off to space they have covered all the bases from suits to ships – and one of these bases involve getting rid of human waste while in outer space.

To the layman, the answer may be as simple as cracking open a chute and just let things all and float freely out of the ship. However, the solution is much, much more complicated than that. Engineers have to consider, on top of comfort and hygiene, scenarios that can possibly damage a craft or any part of it during the process of waste elimination.

One example posed an almost catastrophic scenario. In 1984, the crew of the space shuttle Discovery was stunned to discover a large icicle made of urine sticking out of the urinal discharge unit. The way it is done, in layman’s terms, is that astronauts would urinate in receptacles that are then ejected into space rather than spray it freely. Due to the technology at that time, a technical problem occurred and resulted in a bright yellow icicle. While it was hilarious to look at, the astronauts had to find a way to remove the shard of iced pee as it could cause serious problems upon re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere. The solution, after trying different ways to get rid of it, was using the shuttle’s mechanical arm grabbing the icicle and breaking it off.

Number 2: The Dark Matter Mystery


We have somehow heard of this mysterious Dark Matter from science shows and movies. With a name that sounds like it was lifted directly from a Space Opera, it is one of the most mysterious anomalies in space and physics.

Dark Matter occurs when Einstein’s famous equation of E=MC^2 is applied to space. Using the equation, scientists are able to determine just how much matter exists in the universe. Surprisingly, however, scientists have only found 4% of matter and are boggled about where the 96% are.

Some theorists believe that the 96% of missing matter is present but comes in the form of the so-called Dark Matter; a form of matter that exists wherever no visible matter is found.

To this very day, scientists and experts are debating if in fact Dark Matter is a real thing since no conclusive evidence is pointing them in the right direction. What is even more frustrating is that Dark Matter, upholding its namesake, cannot be seen or touched; light and radio waves also pass through it seamlessly.

Since it is a fundamental scientific fact that matter – in this case, Dark or otherwise – cannot be created or destroyed, who knows? Maybe it’s right in front of us, staring at us straight in the face.

Number 1: The White Hole Conjecture


Speaking of Einstein, we know that he became famous for proving the existence of Black Holes and how they behave through mathematics.

However, while we have celebrated his discovery of the existence Black Holes and have discovered – through the advancement of our technology – several of them in space, what is less known is Einstein’s discovery of the existence of “White Holes” through his equations.

As you may come to conclude, White Holes are the complete opposite of their darker counterparts. Where Black Holes devour light and matter, White Holes seem to spit them out as if creating them from nothing. With this uncanny quality of creating matter “out of nothing”, they should be easy to spot but, to this day, at least a trace of it is yet to be found.

What is interesting to note is that if ever one is found in space, it can present answers to questions that science has yet to provide such as the origin of the material that is basically the make-up of galaxies.



10 Warnings the World Ignored that Completely Changed the Course of History

There is a universal law that everyone agrees on: for whatever action, there is always an opposite reaction. This is most true in physics but certainly applies to our daily lives.

Imagine the Butterfly Effect where it is said that, in one part of the world, a butterfly would flap its wings and it would cause a devastating hurricane on the opposite side of the globe. Our actions and the actions of others always have consequences to it, good or bad. It can be Karmic or a kind of domino effect.

In this list, we examine the actions of people who, in recorded history, have completely changed or greatly affected it with the decisions – or indecisions – that they made.

Here are the 10 Warnings That the World ignored that completely changed the course of history!

Number Ten: The Great Depression

Who could ever forget that time when Stock Market crashed and sent the international economy spiraling out of control, leaving thousands of people unemployed and hungry?

Today’s economic recession is nothing compared to the financial meltdown of 1929. It may have been unthinkable back then because of the speed at which the United States economy was accelerating in terms of industry and its economy. However, on September 5th, 1929, one man saw this great crash coming.

Economist Roger Babson delivered a speech where he predicted that an impending economic crash was just around the corner. Unfortunately, the business community, as well as fellow economists, shrugged the warning off claiming it to be impossible. Two months later, over $5 billion was wiped out of the market – an amount, in today’s standards, is beyond calculating.

According to records, Babson had been warning everyone about the crash for years and what it may precipitate and when people started believing in him, it was already far too late.

Number Nine: The Sinking of the RMS Lusitania


In some sense, the sinking of the Lusitania was not unexpected. However, the events that led to this disaster are incredible enough that it lands number nine on this list.

It was at the height of the First World War when the Lusitania was given more than enough warning by the German army to stop anyone in their right mind from sailing straight to their doom. For several weeks, the German army published several advertisements in newspapers including the New York Times warning the entire world of the ship’s numbered days.

In a most brash attempt, the Lusitania set sail from New York to England. Incidentally, news of the ship’s departure sat side by side with the German ad in the New York Times.

As an exercise of caution and to avoid innocent people getting caught in the crossfire, the British government warned the captain of the Lusitania to avoid areas around the British shores where German U-boats have been known to actively patrol; and should the ship pass through those waters, the captain was strongly urged to zigzag his way through. Unfortunately for the passengers of the Lusitania, the captain ignored these warnings and advice from the British government. The RMS Lusitania was torpedoed by a German U-boat, taking with it the lives of 1,195 people.

Number Eight: Asbestos Warnings


It may seem trivial to talk about the dangers of asbestos in this list and it would also seem that it may not have had much of an impact around the world as the Great Depression, but this silent killer has slowly claimed hundreds, if not thousands, of lives since it was conceived in the 19th century.

Known for its strength and resistance to fire, asbestos manufacturers have made a fortune selling this product to the public with no regard to its dangerous implications to an individual’s health; and for nearly a century, asbestos has cropped up almost everywhere and has been used for almost anything.

However, people have been suspicious of the product since the early 1900s because of the high-rate of illnesses that were reported around towns where asbestos was mined and manufactured.

In 1938, due to public alarm, asbestos manufacturers commissioned a study that proved that death by the product was airborne. These same manufacturers at that time swept the undeniable link between asbestos and fatal illnesses under the rug. Saying that there was “no proof” that links asbestos to diseases such as lung cancer, many workers in their factories either suffered horribly from the chemicals or were let go of their companies leaving them impoverished.

Today, even as a great majority of the globe, has banned the use and manufacturing of asbestos, many companies still refuse to compensate their dying employees as they continue to keep a firm stand that there is nothing that connects asbestos to their employees’ illnesses.

Number Seven: The Rwandan Genocide

800,000 Tutsis and Moderate Hutus lost their lives during a bloody ethnic cleansing and massacre that was dubbed as the Rwandan Genocide.

Beginning in April 6th, 1994, the genocide was led by Hutu tribesmen with the objective to attack another local tribe called the Tutsis; however, not only did the Hutu plan to massacre the Tutsis, they also planned a purge of their own tribesmen who were protecting the Tutsis.

It was a Belgian ambassador to Rwanda who uncovered the plot and revealed that the plan had been started since at least two years before. Professor Filip Reyntjens, another Belgian, appeared before the Belgian senate and revealed that the Hutus were assembling and operating Death Squads to carry out the genocide and implicated a Rwandan Army Colonel named Theoneste Bagasora as one of its leaders. Later on, Bagasora was found to have indeed commanded the genocide.

In January 1994, four months before the catastrophic event, General Romeo Dellaire, commander of the UN troops at Rwanda, sent what is now known as the “Genocide Fax” to the United Nations, warning the organization that the Hutus, much like the revelations of the Belgian ambassador and Professor Reyntjens, were planning a large scale attack on the Tutsis as well as their own tribesmen. In the fax, General Dellaire requested for more troops to be sent to the region in order to attack a Hutu arms cache and prevent the massacre from happening. The UN, sadly, ignored the plea and told the general to inform the Rwandan government instead which was filled with the same people and officials planning the genocide.

The same month, General Dellaire was able to seize an arms cache that was placed in the custody of the UN and Rwandan Troops – the same Rwandan troops who were training the Death Squads and bands of rebels who directly took part in the genocide.

Number Six: Fukushima Meltdown

The 2011 earthquake that shook Japan left thousands homeless. The 9.0 magnitude earthquake not only rocked the country but it also brought a giant tsunami that devastated areas near its coastlines. It may seem like it was already the worst thing that could ever happen to Japan. What happened right after, however, was more sinister.

Following the earthquake and the tsunami was the worst nuclear accident in history since Chernobyl that no one ever expected to happen except for one Koji Minoura.

Like a scene from a movie, Minoura was investigating a reference in an ancient poem about a tsunami that happened just northeast of the country. Digging through records and historical texts, Minoura discovered an account about an earthquake and tsunami that killed thousands in 869 AD dubbes as the Jogan Event.

Investigating the region in the 1980s, Minoura found evidence that the area was “routinely” destroyed by tsunami every 1000 years and it was already due for another one.

Over the next 20 years, Minoura wrote reports and produced countless studies warning about the inevitable destruction of the Fukushima area. Published in journals and magazines, his articles and research were completely ignored by his peers and by the public.

To this day, the effects Fukushima’s nuclear power plant meltdown spreads and reports and studies have already confirmed that the waters near and surrounding the area have dangerously lethal amounts of radiation that is slowly spreading into the northern parts of the Pacific Ocean.

Number Five: The Kuwait Invasion


The early 1990s saw the rise of soaring oil prices because of unstable political situations in the Middle East and in the morning of August 2nd 1990, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi troops marched into the borders of neighboring Kuwait; an invasion that virtually took overnight with Kuwait not giving much of a fight after its head of state fled into the desert.

It was reported that the plan by Iraq to invade Kuwait had been in the works five years beforehand and was said to be just the first phase of Saddam Hussein’s plan – though futile -to secure Saudi Arabian oil wells in the region.

Ample warning to the US government was given by both the CIA and US Military Intelligence. Unfortunately, the government chose to look the other way and even granted Saddam a $1.2 billion loan days before the lightning invasion. The US government’s refusal to take a stand against Saddam’s plans only gave the dictator more fortitude to proceed with his plans, believing that he had the US on his side.

When the situation spun out of hand and gained the attention of the international community, the US government stepped in but was initially unprepared.

The Iraqi forces were ejected out of Kuwait only after the US-led United Nations contingent landed in Kuwait thus beginning the Gulf War.

Along with 248 UN troops and 25,000 Iragi soldiers, the largest fatality count fell on Iraqi civilians which numbered 100,000 after the war. In the following years after the conflict, a million more Iraqi civilians lost their lives due to sanctions that were placed on Iraq.

Number Four: Wilson’s War

US President Woodrow Wilson may very well have been the catalyst that brought about the devastations of First and Second World Wars, the Rise of Communism in Europe, as well as the Vietnam War.

The events of how the First World War began and how the US played a key part in it is numerous and is a complicated web of scenarios like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book.

When trouble and conflict was already brewing in Europe due to discontent from  different countries and the incompetence of several generals and leaders, President Woodrow Wilson claimed the role of impartial arbiter in order to bring the war, which has already erupted by then, to its conclusion without having to directly send US troops into battle – but when Germany and its allies seem to be getting the upper hand, Wilson and his members of cabinet had to make a decision because they wanted victory to go to Great Britain and France.

After his presidential re-election in 1916, he ordered congress to declare war against Germany a year later despite the fact that Germany or its allied countries were threatening or attacking the United States as well as a large population of the US wanted their government to stay out of the war.

After Germany’s defeat, an armistice was created in 1918. Unfortunately for Wilson and his rhetoric, his idealism was buried by the territorial ambitions of Great Britain and France after decimating Germany and the former Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires; a devastation that drove many European countries into revolution and civil war.

Had Wilson not urged the US congress to declare war against Germany in 1917 and listened to reason, the US may not have assumed the mantle of being the Global Police throughout the remainder of the 20th Century and still continues on to this day. His decision therefore created a domino effect that would cost the lives of millions of people in the Second World War, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War; and not to mention 75-years of Soviet Communist rule over Russia and large parts of Eastern and Central Europe.

Number Three: The Rise of Adolf Hitler

After Germany’s defeat in the First World War, France decided to place a fine on Germany in 1919 that was unimaginably large that, had not the Second World War broken out, the country would be paying it until 2010.

John Maynard Keynes, a British economist, strongly believed that it was the most effective way to get disastrous results. By absolutely crippling the German economy with heavy sanctions, the Allied Nations would no doubt trigger economic collapse on a country that was still reeling from a war.

Keynes therefore lobbied governments and presented them with articles to convince them to rethink their move saying, in almost prophetic words, that if the Allies’ objective is to drive Central Europe into debilitating debt and poverty, then vengeance from the subjugated nations will be reaped through revolutions and conflict.

Believing that Keynes was out of his mind, his pleas and warnings were left in the dust. True to his prediction, the German economy practically evaporated and civil unrest spread like wildfire, opening the doors to extremism – and in a small beer hall, a rejected art student by the name of Adolf Hitler, decided to try his hand in politics; a decision that cost the lives of innocent millions.

Number Two: World War II


The Treaty of Versailles ended the First World War in 1919. Included in the Treaty was a hefty sum of money that the Allied nations imposed on Germany as restitution and, as an ulterior move in the part of the Allies, was a means to make sure that Germany would not have money to declare a war of retribution.

Soon enough, Germany’s economy collapsed and German society was destroyed by inflation and a wave of unemployment.

A handful of people could see how ineffective the conditions of the Treaty were. British economist, John Maynard Keynes, believed the Treaty held no water and was practically dead even before it was signed. Another was a French army commander, Field Marshal Ferdinand Foch.  “This is not peace,” Foch said. “It is an armistice for 20 years.”

Foch’s warning fell on deaf ears and 20 years later, Germany lit the fires that would start the Second World War. Now formidable, the German army – as part of their campaign – invaded Paris and staged attacks in England that would leave the country and most of Europe in ruins until 1945.

Number One: 9/11


In 2012, years after the tragic events of September 11th, the New York Times published the results of an investigation showing that the Bush administration, in 2001, had knowledge of an impending terror attack on American soil.

Far from being caught by surprise, the report states that the US government had known of the attack but chose to be tied up with bureaucracy instead of preventing it from happening.

As early as June 2001, there was already intelligence that Al-Qaeda strikes on the US were imminent. The intelligence was considered a certainty and known by the CIA.

However, politicians in the Pentagon refused to acknowledge the reports and dismissed it as a fabrication by Saddam Hussein, whom the US government were watching closely.

According to the New York Times’ report, the warnings by the CIA were allegedly downplayed and the agency was practically reduced to begging the President to take notice and take action. It was later on raised to extreme levels of urgency on June 29th, July 9th, July 24th, and August 6th.

With the government’s almost obsessive watch over Iraq and Saddam Hussein and its dismissal of the constant warnings, it therefore resulted in the worst and most deadly terrorist atrocity in the 21st Century committed on American soil only because it decided not to take its intelligence service seriously.