Mind-Bending Historical Facts That Will Alter Your Perception Of Time

Let’s be honest: time is weird. Why does a day feel like it’s dragging on forever when a week can go by in a flash? How is it possible that time seems to speed up as we get older? Wait, isn’t time a totally made-up concept created by humans and doesn’t really exist at all? If your head hurts, you’re not alone. And just to make things more confusing, we have some epic facts about time that will make you question everything. You’re welcome!

1. The University of Oxford has been around longer than the Easter Island heads

We all know the University of Oxford is pretty old, right? But how old exactly? Well, what if we told you that the prestigious English educational establishment is older than the heads on Easter Island? That’s right, Oxford had been around for longer than the approximately 1,000 moai statues found on the Pacific island.

The eye-catching statues were constructed from hardened ash from volcanoes by the Rapa Nui, who built them for religious reasons some time between 1100 and 1600 A.D. Meanwhile, Oxford was up and running by 1096. Mind blown yet?

2. Humans went from flying to Space travel in 58 years

Back at the beginning of the 20th century, two American men — Orville and Wilbur Wright — successfully flew a motorized airplane for the first time. The date was December 17, 1903, and the historic flight was — and indeed remains — a huge feat in human history. Even so, it’s kind of mind-blowing to look back and realize that, just 58 years later, a man was flying into space and circling the Earth.

That man was, of course, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. The date he and his country, the Soviet Union, achieved the feat was April 12, 1961. It kind of makes the Wright Brothers’ achievement pale in comparison, doesn’t it?

3. America’s tenth president has a living grandchild

When President William Henry Harrison died in office in April 1841, his vice president, John Tyler, stepped into the role of U.S. president. Tyler became the tenth man to have the honor, and even though he’s widely considered to have been an unremarkable president, there is at least one remarkable fact about him: one of his grandsons is still alive! Surely that’s not possible, we hear you cry. Tyler was born way back in 1790 and died in 1862!

Well, Tyler was 63 when his son, Lyon, was born in 1853. And Lyon, amazingly, helped to produce a son in 1928 — when he was 75 years old! That son, Harrison Ruffin Tyler, is, at the time of writing, still alive and well and in his mid-90s. His father was eight when the Civil War began. Wow!

4. Shakespeare was alive for the settling of Jamestown

You’ll know that English playwright William Shakespeare lived a long time ago. but it might shock you to realize that his life was so long ago that it coincided with the very first English settlement in America. Shakespeare lived through the Elizabethan period, from around 1564 until his death on April 23, 1616.

So, the highly esteemed playwright still had around nine years of life left when settlers from his home country sailed across the Atlantic and landed in North America on May 13, 1607. Those approximately 100 settlers founded Jamestown, the first permanent English colony in what is now Virginia.