There’s nothing unique about disputed territory. It is one of the most common causes of war. When two nations cannot agree on who holds the right to possess a piece of real […]
How a Man Without a Country Created a Quiet Place of Refuge
Jean Baptiste Point du Sable was a man without a home, a country, or a culture. He was an outsider everywhere he went. He simply wanted a chance to make a life […]
The Tree That Almost Caused a Second Korean War
Nations have fought wars over seemingly insignificant objects. There was the bloody war about a bucket, the revolution that began with a dispute about an unpaid wig, and the big kerfuffle over […]
The Tragic and Largely-Forgotten Story of the Worst Maritime Disaster in U.S. History
There is much about the worst maritime disaster in United States history that is counter-intuitive. For one thing, the story is largely forgotten. It has been overshadowed by events that were smaller […]
How Disney Made Us Believe Lemmings Commit Mass Suicide
In this uncertain world, there are at least three things on which all of us can be certain: Disney loves animals, nature documentaries are reliable, and lemmings commit mass suicide by throwing […]
How a Seat Cushion Caused the U.S. to Lose a Nuclear Weapon
Who hasn’t misplaced something? We waste so much time looking for car keys, reading glasses, and the television remote. We turn over every seat cushion and look under the sofa, only to […]
Which War Killed One-Sixth of the World’s Population?
If you had to list the deadliest military conflicts in human history, which would take the #1 spot? The easy answer is World War II. With some estimates placing the death toll […]
Is it Kitty-Corner or Catty-Corner?
Suppose a friend asks you for directions to the nearest coffee shop. Your friend knows how to get to the grocery store on the corner of Main Street and Oak Avenue. You […]
You Can Reign in Hell (Michigan)
In Paradise Lost, John Milton paints a word picture of Satan being cast into Hell. The fallen angel, in making his choice of eternal rebellion, declares, “Better to reign in hell than […]
Which South American City Was Once the Capital of a European Nation?
A nation’s capital city is not only the seat of its government but is also a center of national pride. If a tourist can visit only one city, the capital is the […]
Colorado’s Constitution Describes the Wrong Boundaries
In the interest of full disclosure, the Commonplace Fun Facts editorial staff admits that we have a profound love of the state of Colorado. Its rich natural beauty and cultural heritage make […]
Why Butter is Shaped Differently Around the USA
Everyone knows there is a difference between the western and eastern halves of the United States. The weather, culture, cost of living, and political preferences are so stark that it is almost […]
World’s Happiest Animal, the Quokka Gives and Inspires Smiles
Hopefully, you know someone who makes you feel good, even on your worst days. Certain people are a perpetual fountain of optimism and cheer. Just looking at such a person lifts your […]
Why Nevada Created a County With No People, Buildings, or Roads
Nevada has gained a reputation for converting harsh, barren desert land into thriving tourist destinations. This made its decision to create an empty county that much more curious. The new county had […]
Can You Identify the Only Three Non-Rectangular National Flags?
The United Nations recognizes 193 national flags of its member states. Each flag is unique, giving the full collection a great variety of symbols and colors. Despite all the diversity, almost all […]