CLOSE
Original image

5 Tubby Monarchs We Love

Original image

Whether because of abundant food or lack of exercise, historical monarchs have been plagued with largeness of girth (a true hardship). Here are just a few of the largest kings and queens on record.

1. Itey (ca. 1490 BCE)

Sort of an ancient Egyptian punch line, this corpulent queen ruled over the mysterious land of Punt, located somewhere in East Africa. So how exactly do we know of the great monarch's girth? Well, the Egyptian pharaoh Hatshepsut launched a trade delegation to Punt, and carvings on the walls of her temple complex at Deir el-Bahri record the expedition. Itey is depicted as grossly obese and is even pictured standing next to a diminutive husband and a tiny donkey. Under the donkey is the dry inscription, "This donkey had to carry the queen." A beast of burden indeed.

2. Eglon (ca. 1100 BCE)

According to the Bible, Eglon was the king of Moab (in modern Jordan) who united several tribes of highland and desert raiders to conquer the central Israelite tribes sometime in the 12th century BCE. An Israelite named Ehud gained the king's confidence, got him in a room alone, then killed him. Of course, the murder wasn't exactly a smooth operation. The Bible describes vividly that Eglon was so fat that Ehud couldn't retrieve his blade. Luckily, though, he managed to escape with little trouble. As he fled, Ehud told Eglon's servants that the king was using the restroom. The stench coming from the room must have been fairly run-of-the-mill, because by the time they went in to check on their beloved king, Ehud had already rallied his followers and formed an army.

More wily (and well-rounded) monarchs after the jump...

3. Charles the Fat (Ruled 881"“888)

Not many kings actually have "the Fat" added to their names. A series of fortuitous deaths and abdications in the late 870s and early 880s left Charles the ruler of almost all of his great-grandfather Charlemagne's empire, encompassing most of modern-day France, Germany, and Italy. But Charles lacked the energy of his ancestor and namesake, possibly due in part to his obesity. During his reign Arab pirates raided Italy with impunity and Charles couldn't even be bothered to fight Viking marauders in northwestern France (he found it easier to pay them to go away instead). And while the dreaded moniker does have a certain ring to it, Charles wasn't the only French king of notable girth—Louis VI (ruled 1108"“1137) also earned the appellation "the Fat."

4. George IV (Ruled 1820"“1830)

George IV became king of England in 1820 after serving as prince regent while his father, George III, was alive but incompetent to rule. Apparently, though, the plush lifestyle being "Defender of the Faith" provided him seems only to have whetted his appetite. Known as a gambler, a drinker, and a laudanum addict, among other things, George IV enjoyed the dubious distinction of being far and away the fattest king in English history. His favorite breakfast was two roast pigeons, three beefsteaks, a bottle of white wine, a glass of champagne, two glasses of port, and one of brandy . . . after all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

5. Farouk (Ruled 1936"“1952)

Farouk, the last king of Egypt with any real power, was crowned in 1936 and proceeded to live it up. He owned numerous palaces in Europe, hundreds of cars, and thousands of horses. But financing the royal lifestyle turned out to be a bit of a problem, so Farouk turned Egypt into a bit of a kleptocracy.

He gained notoriety as a skilled pickpocket and was known to steal valuable items while on state visits to other countries

(including a priceless pocket watch from Winston Churchill and a ceremonial sword from the shah of Iran!). In the end, Farouk was overthrown by a military coup in 1952 and briefly replaced with his newborn son, Fuad. But after a few months of infant rule, Egypt cleverly scrapped the monarchy thing. As for ex-king Farouk, he lived out the rest of his life in exile. Eating being one of his few pleasures, he died in 1965, at the age of 45, after gorging himself at the table. He weighed out at over 300 pounds.

Ed. note: this list was excerpted from Forbidden Knowledge

Original image
Bruce Weaver / Stringer / Getty Images
arrow
Space
NASA Is Posting Hundreds of Retro Flight Research Videos on YouTube
Original image
Bruce Weaver / Stringer / Getty Images

If you’re interested in taking a tour through NASA history, head over to the YouTube page of the Armstrong Flight Research Center, located at Edwards Air Force Base, in southern California. According to Motherboard, the agency is in the middle of posting hundreds of rare aircraft videos dating back to the 1940s.

In an effort to open more of its archives to the public, NASA plans to upload 500 historic films to YouTube over the next few months. More than 300 videos have been published so far, and they range from footage of a D-558 Skystreak jet being assembled in 1947 to a clip of the first test flight of an inflatable-winged plane in 2001. Other highlights include the Space Shuttle Endeavour's final flight over Los Angeles and a controlled crash of a Boeing 720 jet.

The research footage was available to the public prior to the mass upload, but viewers had to go through the Dryden Aircraft Movie Collection on the research center’s website to see them. The current catalogue on YouTube is much easier to browse through, with clear playlist categories like supersonic aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles. You can get a taste of what to expect from the page in the sample videos below.

[h/t Motherboard]

Original image
Getty Images
arrow
History
15 Fascinating Facts About Amelia Earhart
Original image
Getty Images

Amelia Earhart was a pioneer, a legend, and a mystery. To celebrate what would be her 120th birthday, we've uncovered 15 things you might not know about the groundbreaking aviator.

1. THE FIRST TIME SHE SAW AN AIRPLANE, SHE WASN'T IMPRESSED.

In Last Flight, a collection of diary entries published posthumously, Earhart recalled feeling unmoved by "a thing of rusty wire and wood" at the Iowa State Fair in 1908. It wasn't until years later that she discovered her passion for aviation, when she worked as a nurse's aide at Toronto's Spadina Military Hospital. She and some friends would spend time at hangars and flying fields, talking to pilots and watching aerial shows. Earhart didn't actually get on a plane herself until 1920, and even then she was just a passenger.

2. SHE WAS A GOOD STUDENT WITH NO PATIENCE FOR SCHOOL.

After working with the Voluntary Aid Detachment in Toronto, Earhart took pre-med classes at Columbia University in 1919. She made good grades, but dropped out after just a year. Earhart re-enrolled at Columbia in 1925 and left school again. She took summer classes at Harvard, but gave up on higher education for good after she didn't get a scholarship to MIT.

3. ANOTHER PIONEERING FEMALE AVIATOR TAUGHT EARHART HOW TO FLY.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Neta Snook was the first woman to run her own aviation business and commercial airfield. She gave Earhart flying lessons at Kinner Field near Long Beach, California in 1921, reportedly charging $1 in Liberty Bonds for every minute they spent in the air.

4. EARHART BOUGHT HER FIRST PLANE WITHIN SIX MONTHS OF HER FIRST FLYING LESSON.

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

She named it The Canary. The used yellow Kinner Airster biplane was the second one ever built. Earhart paid $2000 for it, despite Snook's opinion that it was underpowered, overpriced, and too difficult for a beginner to land.

5. AMY EARHART ENCOURAGED HER DAUGHTER'S PASSION. HER FATHER, ON THE OTHER HAND, WAS AFRAID OF FLYING.

Earhart's mom used some of her inheritance to pay for The Canary. She was a bit of an adventurer herself: the first woman to ever climb Pikes Peak in Colorado.

6. EARHART HAD A LOT OF ODD JOBS.

In addition to volunteering as a nurse's aide, Earhart also worked early jobs as a telephone operator and tutor. Earhart was a social worker at Denison House in Boston when she was invited to fly across the Atlantic for the first time (as a passenger) in 1928. At the height of her career, Earhart spent time making speeches, writing articles, and providing career counseling at Purdue University's Department of Aeronautics. Oh, and flying around the world.

7. SHE WASN'T SURE ABOUT MARRIAGE, BUT SHE DEFINITELY BELIEVED IN PRE-NUPS.

When promoter George Putnam contacted Earhart about flying across the Atlantic Ocean in 1928, it was her first big break ... and the beginning of their love story. The two began a working relationship, which soon turned into attraction. When Putnam's marriage to Dorothy Binney fell apart, he eventually proposed to Earhart. She said yes, albeit reluctantly.

Earhart wasn't worried about safeguarding financial assets so much as she wanted the two of them to maintain separate identities. Earhart asked Putnam to agree to a trial marriage. If they weren't happy after a year, they'd be free to go their separate ways, no hard feelings. He agreed. They lived happily until her disappearance.

8. SHE WROTE ABOUT FLYING FOR COSMOPOLITAN.

In 1928, Earhart was appointed Cosmopolitan's Aviation Editor. Her 16 published articles—among them "Shall You Let Your Daughter Fly?" and "Why Are Women Afraid to Fly?"—recounted her adventures and encouraged other women to fly, even if they just did so commercially. (Commercial flights date back to 1914, but they wouldn't really take off until after World War II.)

9. FIRST LADY ELEANOR ROOSEVELT WAS SO INSPIRED BY EARHART THAT SHE SIGNED UP FOR FLYING LESSONS.

The two became friends in 1932. Roosevelt got a student permit and a physical examination, but never followed through with her plan.

10. EARHART WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO GET A PILOT'S LICENSE FROM THE NATIONAL AERONAUTIC ASSOCIATION (NAA).

That was in 1923, when pilots and aircrafts weren't legally required to be licensed. Earhart was the sixteenth woman to get licensed by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), which was required to set flight records. Still, the FAI didn't maintain women's records until 1928.

11. SHE ACCOMPLISHED A LOT OF "FIRSTS."

Earhart eventually became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic as a passenger (1928) and then solo (1932) and nonstop from coast to coast (1932) as a pilot. She also set records, period: Earhart was the first person to ever fly solo from Honolulu to Oakland, Los Angeles to Mexico City, and Mexico City to Newark, all in 1935.

What do John Glenn, George H.W. Bush, and Amelia Earhart have in common? They all earned an Air Force Distinguished Flying Cross. But only Earhart was the first woman—and one of few civilians—to do so.

12. SHE WAS ONE OF THE FIRST CELEBRITIES TO LAUNCH A CLOTHING LINE.

Amelia Earhart Fashions were affordable separates sold exclusively at Macy's and Marshall Field's. The line's dresses, blouses, pants, suits, and hats were made of cotton and parachute silk and featured aviation-inspired details, like propeller-shaped buttons. Earhart studied sewing as a girl and actually made her own samples.

13. THE U.S. GOVERNMENT SPENT $4 MILLION SEARCH FOR EARHART.

At the time, it was the most expensive air and sea search in history. Earhart's plane disappeared July 2, 1937. The official search ended a little over two weeks later on July 19. Putnam then financed a private search, chartering boats to the Phoenix Islands, Christmas Island, Fanning Island, the Gilbert Islands, and the Marshall Islands.

14. THE SEARCH ISN'T OVER.

There are several theories about what happened to Earhart's plane during her last flight. Most people believe she ran out of fuel and crashed into the Pacific Ocean. Others believe she landed on an island and died of thirst, starvation, injury, or at the hands of Japanese soldiers in Saipan. In 1970, one man even claimed that Earhart was alive and well and living a secret life in New Jersey.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has explored the theory that Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan lived as castaways before dying on Gardner Island, now called Nikumaroro, in the western Pacific. Over the years, they've found a few potential artifacts, including evidence of campfire sites, pieces of Plexiglas, and an empty jar of the brand of freckle cream that Earhart used.

In early July 2017, a photo surfaced that seemed to confirm the theory that Earhart and Noonan crashed and were captured by Japanese soldiers, but that photo was quickly debunked.

15. TODAY, ANOTHER AMELIA EARHART IS MAKING HISTORY.

In 2014, another pilot named Amelia Earhart took to the skies to set a world record. The then-31-year-old California native became the youngest woman to fly 24,300 miles around the world in a single-engine plane. Her namesake never completed the journey, but the younger Earhart landed safely in Oakland on July 11, 2014. We think "Lady Lindy" would be proud.

SECTIONS

More from mental floss studios