McDonald’s used to advertise under the Golden Arches just how many burgers they’d sold. Until the mid-90s, they would update this sign regularly, but they stopped counting around 99 billion. That’s great and all, but do you ever wonder who ate the first McDonald’s burger? We make a big deal out of firsts – first phone call, first man on the moon, even your first kiss. But some firsts are a little more obscure than others and more unexpected.
10. Evidence of the First Murder Dates Back 430,000 Years
With the popularity of True Crime stories and podcasts these days, it’s worth looking at what has to be the oldest murder mystery in history. The world’s first murder victim dates back 430,000 years.
In 2015, a skull was discovered inside a Spanish cave. Someone had bashed the victim’s head in with some kind of foreign object, and when the bones were dated to 430,000 BC, it seemed clear that this might be the world’s first murder victim.
Scientists cannot determine how old the victim might have been, the sex of the victim, or even what species of human it was. The skull predates homo sapiens, so this unlucky person was one of our ancestors. They could determine that some foreign object had been used to smash the skull, like an awl or an axe.
9. The Mowing Devil Was the First Known Reference to Crop Circles in 1678
Crop circles have appeared throughout the 20th and 21st centuries but have become much more widespread and complex in the last few decades. Research also indicates that they are not as random as they seem and often appear near roads, medium-sized towns, and easy-to-access places.
The origin of crop circles goes back further than most people realize. The first recorded circles were mentioned in 1678. A tale called The Mowing Devil, about the devil mowing a farmer’s oats included crop circles as a major plot point and even had pictures. In the story, the devil cuts down the field of oats in a circle pattern, laying every stalk perfectly on the ground to show off his skill and ability by doing something no man could ever do.
8. An Accountant From Sumeria Is The First Person To Have Ever Recorded Their Own Name
This first is one of the most obscure and unusual you’ll ever come across. It’s the story of an ancient Sumerian accountant named Kushim and why we even know his name.
Kushim lived in the city of Uruk between 3400 and 3000 BC. He was counting barley and made an error in his accounts, which he signed with his own name. So he was a bad accountant if you just check his math. But more importantly, he signed his name when no one’s name was written on anything that survived.
While many historical figures are named in books you can read today, people recorded them after Kushim had put his own name into the historical record. Even Kings and rulers were only named somewhere after the Kushim Tablet was written.
7. Henry VIII May Have Been the First Catfish Victim in 1539
Catfishing is the term we use to describe a situation where a person online pretends to be someone they’re not. Often this is used in scams or fake romance situations where this false persona takes in an innocent person. They may end up sending money to this fake person, or sometimes even going to meet them in person, then discovering they’re nothing like who they said they were. MTV even made a TV show about it.
Modern catfishing is heavily dependent on computers to work. People will talk via text and never see each other’s faces for any number of reasons. The catfish can claim to live far away, so they never need to meet and only send stolen photographs to attempt to verify who they are.
Historically, there have been instances of what could be considered catfishing well before the Advent of computers. The earliest and most famous example of this occurred in 1539 when Henry VIII chose to marry Anne of Cleves after seeing a portrait of her and hearing of her beauty. Upon seeing her in person, he is quoted as saying, “I see nothing in this woman as men have reported of her.”
The prevailing theory is that Henry was repulsed by his wife-to-be, but it was too late to cancel the wedding, and he had to go forward with it despite her not resembling her portrait. The truth may be far more complex. Alternate theories that she had already given birth once, that Henry was impotent and couldn’t consummate, or that being with her wasn’t politically beneficial by the time she arrived have all been offered up for why the marriage was annulled after six months.
6. The First Recorded Gay Couple May Have Been in Ancient Egypt
Gay rights are still a hot button issue for some people, but gay couples are far from new. The first record of a gay couple that we have access to, at least in the eyes of many scholars, dates back to Ancient Egypt. Two men, Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep, were royal court manicurists in the city of Saqqara in 2400 BC. They were buried together, nose to nose, in an embrace, in a tomb like any other married couple. The pair were originally considered brothers.
The way the men were buried is not consistent with siblings. Writing and images in the tomb place Khnumhotep in the position normally reserved for wives. The two men are seen embracing, holding hands, and possibly kissing. The names of the men are also used in a way that could indicate being joined in life and death.
Evidence shows that at least one of the men had a wife and children, so not everyone agrees that the men were a couple. But just as it’s never explicitly stated they were lovers, nothing says brothers, either. We can never say for sure that this was a same-sex couple, but the evidence for it is still strong.
5. The First Recorded Strike by Workers Happened in 1152 BC
It is safe to assume that people have been unhappy about working for as long as people have been working. Especially if you work for someone else. There will always be a problem or a dispute between employer and employee. And when this gets bad enough, the result will be a strike by workers looking to improve their situation. While unions in the modern era are usually what we think of when we hear that workers are going on strike, the concept is much older than that.
The first evidence we have of workers going on strike dates back to 1152 BC. Artisans working at the Royal Necropolis at Deir el-Medina under Pharoah Ramses III were fed up and went on strike to make their feelings known.
Egypt was in something of an economic downturn at the time. They had just won their third war against the mysterious Sea Peoples but suffered great losses. The country was less wealthy than it had been in previous eras, and the war had likely cost them many laborers and farmers. The Pharaoh had sent out armies to raid other lands to replenish the country’s resources, but they had come up shorter than anticipated.
The cost of refurbishing ancient temples and monuments would have greatly strained the country’s economy in these lean times, but Ramses wanted them in accordance with tradition. Artisans working on these projects and preparing for a massive celebration in honor of the Pharoah’s 30th anniversary in power found themselves getting paid late.
Late payments became commonplace until finally, after waiting 18 days for payment, the workers refused to work any longer.
4. First Recorded Use of Dirty Words for Genitallia Date Back to 1230
The first recorded use of the F-word goes back to 1310. Fart, though generally less offensive, was still somewhat bawdy, which goes back to 1250. We know what a fart is and generally know what people mean by context when they use the F-word, but what about offensive words with specific meanings? Which is to say, the use of dirty words to describe human genitalia.
The oldest written reference to human genitals using modern dirty words takes us all the way back to 1230. A street in Oxford in England used the most diabolical of terms – the c-word. The street, known to be a place to procure prostitutes, was named and recorded as Gropec* Lane. Our ancestors were not a classy lot.
3. First Pizza Delivery Happened in 1889
Americans eat three billion pizzas per year. Not all of it is delivery, but a lot of it is. The convenience of someone bringing it to your house went a long way to making it a staple of the American diet. Remember, home food delivery was dominated by pizza and Chinese food for decades before other restaurants got on board.
The first pizza delivery dates back to 1889. So the story goes, King Umberto I and Queen Margherita were in Naples, and the Queen wanted something different to eat. Pizza chef Raffael Esposito made up three pizzas on the spot and hand-delivered them because, of course, the King and Queen weren’t going out to a pizza place for dinner.
This was also the origin of the Margherita pizza, as the chef made one to resemble the Italian flag featuring mozzarella, basil, and tomato which the queen liked the most.
2. First “Yo Momma” Joke Was On a 3,500-Year-Old Babylonian Tablet
Not so long ago, archaeologists determined that the first joke in history was a fart joke from Sumeria. They dated it to around 1900 BC. Thus began a tradition of making people laugh with crass humor that still exists today. Just a short 400 years later, and the Babylonians gave us the world’s first “yo momma” joke.
The year was 1500 BC, give or take a few decades, and someone wrote a series of riddles on a tablet. None of the surviving and translated riddles make much sense or are very entertaining, but that’s not the interesting part. The very last would-be riddle is incomplete due to damage. What remained was the line “..of your mother is by the one who has intercourse with her. What/who is it?”
You don’t need to know the rest of what was written to appreciate that it had to be an insult about someone’s mother.
1. The First Known Author Was a Woman Named Enheduanna
The oldest written story we know about is the Epic of Gilgamesh, dating back to around 2000 BC. Beowulf is the oldest epic poem in English, though the English it uses looks far different than our modern language. Both of these stories have a lack of authorship in common. We don’t know who wrote them. The first author we do know about is a woman named Enheduanna, who wrote back around 2300 BC.
A poet and priestess, Enheduanna hailed from Mesopotamia and was the daughter of the Akkadian king Sargon. When she was appointed high priestess of a moon goddess, she began writing poetry, some of which survived on an alabaster disk discovered in 1927. The disk had a likeness of her and her name on the back. Her name means “Ornament of Heaven,” and she wrote three poems and 42 hymns that we know of.