In 1170, King Henry II says, “What a parcel of fools and dastards have I nourished in my house, and not one of them will avenge me of this one upstart clerk.” Said fools and dastards decide that this means they should kill Archbishop Thomas Becket.
In 1600, Queen Elizabeth grants a formal charter to the London merchants trading to the East Indies. This doesn’t work out very well for the East Indies.
In 1777 George Washington’s Continental Army is given “cozy winter quarters” at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.
In 1888, artist and talented loon Vincent Van Gogh cut off the lower part of his left ear, to give to a prostitute named Rachel, who worked at a brothel nearby. Um, thanks, but does it come in, like, not bleeding?
In 1912 the Parisian literary review, Nouvelle Revue Francaise, rejects an excerpt from Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust. Doh!
In 1915 Sir Douglas Haig is made the commander-in-chief of the British army in France, and eventually gives his soldiers the thoughtful and exploding gift of the Somme.