Did you know??

This world that we live is surrounded by facts and figures that most of don't know, so if you have some why not share them?

Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) was born at the world-famous Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London, established in 1675 by Charles II. According to the Observatory's website/the entire world, the site "is, by international decree, the official starting point for every new day, year and millennium".

And yet, because the United Kingdom observes daylight savings (DST), in the Summer the country turns its clocks forward by an hour for British Summer Time – so in the warmer months, the Brits are an hour ahead of themselves. Sort of.

Why do some countries drive on the left and others on the right?

About a 35% of the world population drives on the left, and the countries that do are mostly old British colonies. This strange quirk perplexes the rest of the world, but there is a perfectly good reason. Click here for a world map and a full list of all countries of the world and the side of the road on which they drive.

Furthermore, a right-handed person finds it easier to mount a horse from the left side of the horse, and it would be very difficult to do otherwise if wearing a sword (which would be worn on the left). It is safer to mount and dismount towards the side of the road, rather than in the middle of traffic, so if one mounts on the left, then the horse should be ridden on the left side of the road.

In the late 1700s, however, teamsters in France and the United States began hauling farm products in big wagons pulled by several pairs of horses. These wagons had no driver’s seat; instead the driver sat on the left rear horse, so he could keep his right arm free to lash the team. Since he was sitting on the left, he naturally wanted everybody to pass on the left so he could look down and make sure he kept clear of the oncoming wagon’s wheels. Therefore he kept to the right side of the road.

In Russia, in 1709, the Danish envoy under Tsar Peter the Great noted the widespread custom for traffic in Russia to pass on the right, but it was only in 1752 that Empress Elizabeth (Elizaveta Petrovna) officially issued an edict for traffic to keep to the right. In addition, the French Revolution of 1789 gave a huge impetus to right-hand travel in Europe. The fact is, before the Revolution, the aristocracy travelled on the left of the road, forcing the peasantry over to the right, but after the storming of the Bastille and the subsequent events, aristocrats preferred to keep a low profile and joined the peasants on the right. An official keep-right rule was introduced in Paris in 1794, more or less parallel to Denmark, where driving on the right had been made compulsory in 1793.

Later, Napoleon’s conquests spread the new rightism to the Low Countries (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg), Switzerland, Germany, Poland and many parts of Spain and Italy. The states that had resisted Napoleon kept left – Britain, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Portugal. This European division, between the left- and right-hand nations would remain fixed for more than 100 years, until after the First World War.

Although left-driving Sweden ceded Finland to right-driving Russia after the Finnish War (1808-1809), Swedish law – including traffic regulations – remained valid in Finland for another 50 years. It wasn’t until 1858 that an Imperial Russian decree made Finland swap sides.

The trend among nations over the years has been toward driving on the right, but Britain has done its best to stave off global homogenisation. With the expansion of travel and road building in the 1800s, traffic regulations were made in every country. Left-hand driving was made mandatory in Britain in 1835. Countries which were part of the British Empire followed suit. This is why to this very day, India, Australasia and the former British colonies in Africa go left. An exception to the rule, however, is Egypt, which had been conquered by Napoleon before becoming a British dependency.

Japan was never part of the British Empire, but its traffic also goes to the left. Although the origin of this habit goes back to the Edo period (1603-1868), it wasn’t until 1872 that this unwritten rule became more or less official. That was the year when Japan’s first railway was introduced, built with technical aid from the British. Gradually, a massive network of railways and tram tracks was built, and of course all trains and trams drove on the left-hand side. Still, it took another half century till in 1924 left-side driving was clearly written in a law.

When the Dutch arrived in Indonesia in 1596, they brought along their habit of driving on the left. It wasn’t until Napoleon conquered the Netherlands that the Dutch started driving on the right. Most of their colonies, however, remained on the left as did Indonesia and Suriname.

In the early years of English colonisation of North America, English driving customs were followed and the colonies drove on the left. After gaining independence from England, however, they were anxious to cast off all remaining links with their British colonial past and gradually changed to right-hand driving. Incidentally, the influence of other European immigrants, especially the French, should not be underestimated. The first law requiring drivers to keep right was passed in Pennsylvania in 1792, and similar laws were passed in New York in 1804 and New Jersey in 1813.

Despite the developments in the US, some parts of Canada continued to drive on the left until shortly after the Second World War. The territory controlled by the French (from Quebec to Louisiana) drove on the right, but the territory occupied by the English (British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland) kept left. British Columbia and the Atlantic provinces switched to the right in the 1920s in order to conform with the rest of Canada and the USA. Newfoundland drove on the left until 1947, and joined Canada in 1949.

In Europe, the remaining left-driving countries switched one by one to driving on the right. Portugal changed in 1920s. The change took place on the same day in the whole country, including the colonies. Territories, however, which bordered other left-driving countries were exempted. That is why Macau, Goa (now part of India) and Portuguese East Africa kept the old system. East Timor, which borders left-driving Indonesia, did change to the right though, but left-hand traffic was reintroduced by the Indonesians in 1975.

In Italy the practice of driving on the right first began in the late 1890s. The first Italian Highway Code, issued on 30 June 1912, stated that all vehicles had to drive on the right. Cities with a tram network, however, could retain left-hand driving if they placed warning signs at their city borders. The 1923 decree is a bit stricter, but Rome and the northern cities of Milan, Turin and Genoa could still keep left until further orders from the Ministry of Public Works. By the mid-1920s, right-hand driving became finally standard throughout the country. Rome made the change on the 1 of March 1925 and Milan on 3 August 1926.

Up till the 1930s Spain lacked national traffic regulations. Some parts of the country drove on the right (e.g. Barcelona) and other parts drove on the left (e.g. Madrid). On the 1st of October 1924 Madrid switched to driving on the right.

The break-up of the Austro-Hungarian Empire caused no change: Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Hungary continued to drive on the left. Austria itself was something of a curiosity. Half the country drove on the left and half on the right. Not surprisingly, the dividing line was precisely the area affected by Napoleon’s conquests in 1805.

The Austrian states of Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Carinthia, as well as the western half of Salzburg switched to driving on the right between 1921 and 1935. When Germany annexed Austria in 1938, Hitler ordered the rest of Austria to make the switch overnight. The change threw the driving public into turmoil, because motorists were unable to see most road signs. In Vienna it proved impossible to change the trams overnight, so while all other traffic took to the right-hand side of the road, the trams continued to run on the left for several weeks. Czechoslovakia and Hungary, among the last states on the mainland of Europe to keep left, changed to the right after being invaded by Germany in 1939 and late 1944 respectively.

Meanwhile, the power of the right kept growing steadily. American cars were designed to be driven on the right by locating the drivers’ controls on the vehicle’s left side. With the mass production of reliable and economical cars in the United States, initial exports used the same design, and out of necessity many countries changed their rule of the road.

Gibraltar changed to right-hand traffic in 1929 and China in 1946. Korea now drives right, but only because it passed directly from Japanese colonial rule to American and Russian influence at the end of the Second World War. Pakistan also considered changing to the right in the 1960s, but ultimately decided not to do it. The main argument against the shift was that camel trains often drove through the night while their drivers were dozing. The difficulty in teaching old camels new tricks was decisive in forcing Pakistan to reject the change. Nigeria, a former British colony, had been driving on the left with British imported right-hand-drive cars, but when it gained independence, it wanted to throw off its colonial past and shifted to driving on the right in 1972.

After the Second World War, left-driving Sweden, the odd one out in mainland Europe, felt increasing pressure to change sides in order to conform with the rest of the continent. The problem was that all their neighbours already drove on the right side and since there are a lot of small roads without border guards leading into Norway and Finland, one had to remember in which country one was.

In 1955, the Swedish government held a referendum on the introduction of right-hand driving. Although no less than 82.9% voted “no” to the plebiscite, the Swedish parliament passed a law on the conversion to right-hand driving in 1963. Finally, the change took place on Sunday, 3 September 1967, at 5 o’clock in the morning. The day was referred to as Dagen H or, in English, H day. The ‘H’ stands for ‘Högertrafik’, the Swedish word for ‘right-hand traffic’.

From left to right in Sweden 1967

All traffic with private motor-driven vehicles was prohibited four hours before and one hour after the conversion, in order to be able to rearrange all traffic signs. Even the army was called in to help. Also a very low speed limit was applied, which was raised in a number of steps. The whole process took about a month. After Sweden’s successful changeover, Iceland changed the following year, in 1968. On 2 April 1972 Nigeria swapped sides and Ghana did the same thing in 1974.

In the 1960s, Great Britain also considered changing, but the country’s conservative powers did everything they could to nip the proposal in the bud. Furthermore, the fact that it would cost billions of pounds to change everything round was not much of an incentive… Eventually, Britain dropped the idea. Today, only four European countries still drive on the left: the United Kingdom, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta.

On 7 September 2009 the Independent State of Samoa (not to be confused with American Samoa !) became the third country ever to change from right- to left-hand driving. Samoa had been driving on the right since it had become a German colony in the early 20th century, although it was administered by New Zealand after the First World War and gained independence in 1962. Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi wanted to swap sides to make it easier to import cheap cars from left-hand driving Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Source : Worldstandards

The article does not mention Thailand, which drives on the left (well, officially, although you won't be able to tell by looking at a typical intersection, where chaos ensues ...), despite never being colony or occupied by any left or right driving nation.

Here are two things you probably didn't know about 19th century U.S. president Grover Cleveland....

1.  Grover Cleveland was the only man who is counted as having been two U.S. presidents, the 22nd and 24th, because he served non-consecutive terms.  Cleveland won the most votes in the elections of 1884, 1888 and 1892.  In 1888, however -- like popular-vote winners Al Gore and Hillary Clinton later -- Cleveland lost in the electoral college.  He moved back to New York State for four years, planning to run again in '92, when he won re-election in a non-consecutive way.

2.  Grover Cleveland moved into the White House a bachelor .. and then proceeded to marry the youngest-ever First Lady, Frances Folsom Cleveland.  His sister Rose served as First Lady for the first 15 months of Cleveland's first term.  Cleveland later courted a young woman he had known since shortly after her birth.  Frances was the daughter of a friend of Cleveland's.  She was a 21-year-old recent college graduate (Wells College) when Cleveland courted her and became the only sitting U.S. President to marry in the White House.  He was 49.  Frances Folsom Cleveland served as a popular First Lady for the remaining years of Grover Cleveland's first term and the entirety of his non-consecutive second term.

I have a very interesting but little known fact - Sexual relationships with amputees is far more common than anyone could have guessed.
This survey clearly shows UK men average 7.5 partners, meaning many must have had very serious accidents.
I'm unsure if a partner you're thinking about when taking a shower is included in the numbers.
Other articles go on to say many men fear telling a new partner how many women they've been to bed with (Or had fun over a market stall at night or on a motorbike in a pub car park when no one is watching), but I find women like a bad boy so it increases the chances of fun time happening.

A footnote to U.S. presidential history:  A man named Benjamin F. Wade missed becoming the nation's president by one man's vote.

In the North-South divided America of the post-Civil War era after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, the House of Representatives impeached Lincoln's vice-president and successor, Andrew Johnson.

The impeachment put Johnson's future in the hands of the U.S. Senate, where a two-thirds vote against him would be necessary to remove him from office.

With the vice-presidency vacant, the senior senator or president pro tempore of the senate was next in order of succession -- Senator Wade of Ohio.

The Senate vote on the impeachment articles fell one vote short of a two-thirds majority.  That kept Johnson in office for the remainder of the four-year term .. and sent Senator Benjamin Franklin Wade into historical obscurity in the centuries to come.

Hey EAP, I've created a Word documents file named cccmedia-quotes . Thanks for sharing, Keep posting. I appreciate your efforts. Thanks.

A bit off-topic, for that particular thread, but I couldn't resist the temptation.

Here's a News Flash for you, sir. ~ Contrary to popular belief,  Thailand has definitely been "colonized".

Google and then read between the PDF document lines of:


Hopefully you'll see it. :cheers:

There's been some talk recently about which U.S. president had the worst First 100 Days.

Arguably, that dubious honor goes to William Henry Harrison, who died only one month after being inaugurated as the ninth president of the U.S.

Harrison had been a war hero -- at Tippecanoe and in the War of 1812 -- and was in retirement in his late 60's when he was nominated and elected president decades later, in 1840.

President Harrison was inaugurated on March 4, 1841, on what the national weather service described as a cold and blustery day.  In spite of the weather, he gave a two-hour inaugural address.

Harrison promptly became ill .. and died 31 days later, the official cause being determined as pneumonia.

In a review of Harrison's last days in 2014, the New York Times raised the possibility that Harrison actually died from enteric (typhoid) fever .. and may have taken a turn for the worse when his doctor treated him with opium and "a host of toxic drugs."  The bacteria in the Washington, D.C. sewage system seeping into the water supply may have also played a part in Harrison's untimely fate.

ARB360 :

Hey EAP, I've created a Word documents file named cccmedia-quotes . Thanks for sharing, Keep posting. I appreciate your efforts.

EAP = Elvis Aaron Presley (1935-1977), possibly the most famous USA entertainer of the 20th century.

cccmedia :
ARB360 :

Hey EAP, I've created a Word documents file named cccmedia-quotes . Thanks for sharing, Keep posting. I appreciate your efforts.

EAP = Elvis Aaron Presley (1935-1977), possibly the most famous USA entertainer of the 20th century.

The King some call him lol

cccmedia :
ARB360 :

Hey EAP, I've created a Word documents file named cccmedia-quotes . Thanks for sharing, Keep posting. I appreciate your efforts.

EAP = Elvis Aaron Presley (1935-1977), possibly the most famous USA entertainer of the 20th century.

I recall the night he died. I was in a camping place in Cornwall listening to a really bad band doing a really rubbish version of one of his numbers. I went upstairs out of the way and heard the news of his death on the TV. Seems they got the news out pretty quickly so I popped down and informed the band.
They didn't believe me.

SimCityAT :
cccmedia :
ARB360 :

Hey EAP, I've created a Word documents file named cccmedia-quotes . Thanks for sharing, Keep posting. I appreciate your efforts.

EAP = Elvis Aaron Presley (1935-1977), possibly the most famous USA entertainer of the 20th century.

The King some call him lol

Well.....Nashville had to send him off the some kind of a departing title. It would have been "down-right" sacrilegious (especially among a particular Winn-Dixie genre) not to have done so.  After all, it would have also required considerably more (than what was available) creative imagination, to eulogize EAP with an even more suitable accolade.

So why not give dearly departed EAP an honorary majestic title. The "King" of :/ remains, yet to be determined,....don't cha know????

Anyway, SimCityAT. I've also created a Word file, for saving your informative trivia postings, as well. Thank you, sir!

ARB360 :

why not give dearly departed EAP an honorary majestic title. The "King" of :/ remains, yet to be determined....

I believe this was already decided....

The King of Rock 'n Roll. :up:


cccmedia :
ARB360 :

why not give dearly departed EAP an honorary majestic title. The "King" of :/ remains, yet to be determined....

I believe this was already decided....

The King of Rock 'n Roll. :up:


FYI ~ Reality is 90% perception. Ceremoniously so, the Nashville (Country) Music scene also claims EAP as being one of their own, as well. Apparently the issue was a real socio-political see-saw, depending upon what side of the "racial-divide fence", one happened to be standing on, at that time.

Calling the Ace of Spades, for exactly what it was. The racial dividend of the mid-1950s, all-white (Mickey_Mouse_Club) American scene, also permeated the music industry. The historical facts are that the Rock n Roll era was actually ushered onto the American Music scene by Richard Wayne Penniman, also known (to the world) as "Little Richard", should the factual truth be known, and finally told, at last. :whistle:

And, let us not forget the contributions made by the likes of Chuck Berry,Bobby Freeman and Ray Charles (who was really America's fourth black Country & Western Music artist, and not Hank Williams's "real" oldest son, Charlie Pride).

As usual, the white folks, again (post Ragtime, Charleston & Jazz eras), attempted to jump onto yet another popular (rain-making) bandwagon (created by the black folks), and indeed(s), via the white controlled, nation-wide AM Radio broadcast media, claimed "Rock n Roll" as being their own. Sigh!

Choctaw Tribal member Elvis Aron Presley was originally a Memphis "Beale_Street_Blues” style artist, whose well-connected manager, managed to get him a 5-minute appearance spot on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, but only after the (payola_paid_inspired) “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Don’t Be Cruel” recordings became "White American" teenage girls household word topics of evening dinner table discussions.

Dick Clark's 1957 (all-white) American Bandstand, broadcasted from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, no less,  was also the product of a new cultural-era of the white male Teen_Idol genre of the 1957 American music, that Elvis Presley's manager bilked for all that it was worth. That era came to an abrupt end in 1963, with Bobby Rydell's recording "Forget Him". 

NOw, if I were to grant any white person the title “King of Rock n Roll”, then it would be either Bill Hailey, or Buddy Holley, and/or a host of many other (forgotten) “super-talented” white artists of that era, preceding the broadcast media marketed image of  Elvis Aron Presley.

Personally, I liked EAP. He was a remarkable stage performer. However, as stated earlier, they (the Dixieland white folks) were religiously compelled to give AEP “something” of a title, as a ceremonial send-off. That was especially the case, since EAP's death was sudden, and definitely unexpected. The southern-states music industry was thrown into a whirlwind, and the Country Music "male majestic throne" (of 1977) was already a politically heated toss-up scenario, between George Jones and Conway Twitty.

Granted, EAP,  the so-called "King of Rock and Roll" was actually a shoe-in claim, especially since the black music scene had evolved to become Rhythm & Blues. And ditto, again, the white folks tried to jump on that bandwagon as well, but financially solvent, and politically-entrenched Motown Records put a halt to that "ploy". 

In conclusion, I both respectfully recognize and appreciate your knowledgeable contributions to the forum. However, there are (factually) others (on this thread), who know a thing, or three, themselves, as well, eh?:top:   

This is not a "one-upmanship" platform here, at least not from my point of view. Indeed, I view this thread as an "open" exchange platform of information trivia, only.  Therefore, I plead, no contest, particularly in this thread's regard, sir! Pardon my verbosity, and again, I thank you for sharing your knowledge dbase,:cheers:

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