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In 1721, A Russian Carpenter Built The World’s First Military Submarine

Yes, this barrel-shaped wooden vessel was capable of staying underwater. So amazing!

If you thought submarines are inventions of modern origin, then you might want to think again. As it appears, plans for a submersible boat dated back as early as 1578.

History tells us about William Bourne, an Englishman who created one of the first concepts of underwater boats. In 1620, his drawn concept was realized by Dutch builder Cornelius Drebbel.

The submarine was made from wood, had oars for propellers, and was, amazingly, capable of staying underwater for several hours. It had attached tubes that made it possible for air to circulate the surface to the crew below.

Rumors tell us that during the Drebbel submarine’s demonstration of River Thames, the wooden vessel was able to stay underwater for the space of three hours. The event was witnessed by thousands of locals in London.

Constantijn Huygens, a Dutch poet and composer, was one of those who personally witnessed the demonstration. In his own words, the “bold invention” can be extremely useful for warfare because it can attack and sink enemy ships.

It would, however, take another 100 years before the first submarine was created for military purposes.

In 1718, Russian carpenter Yefim Nikonov wrote to Peter the Great saying he can create a “secret vessel” for him.


Source: Wikimedia

In 1718, Russian carpenter Yefim Nikonov sent a letter to Peter the Great telling him that he could create a “secret vessel” that could travel underwater, destroying cannon-equipped enemy ships in the process. Nikonov was invited to Saint Petersburg and was given the permission to begin construction.

After 3 years, Nikonov was able to finish the first model. Peter the Great was so impressed, he encouraged Nikonov to create a full-sized version.


He finished the model in 3 years later and demonstrated its features and capabilities. Peter the Great was so satisfied that me immediately asked Nikonov to build a full-sized version of the underwater battleship.

However, problems plagued Nikonov’s submarine with all three demonstrations resulting to failure.


Nikonov’s submarine was made from wood and had a shape similar to a barrel. It was equipped with “fire tubes,” a weapon similar to modern flamethrowers. It also came with special airlocks so aquanauts can come out of the vessel and destroy the bilge of enemy ships.

Unfortunately, however, the submarine’s first trial in 1724 was a tragedy. The vessel sank while Nikonov and four other crew members were inside. Thankfully, they managed to escape what could have been certain death for them.

A replica of Nikonon’s submarine now stands at Sestroretsk, near St Petersburg, on Neva River


Peter did not give up on Nikonov and continued to fund the project. Nikonov continued his efforts to enhance the design but each one came with new concerns. The second and third tests in 1725 and 1727 ended in failure as well. Nikonov was later charged with abuse of public funds and was kicked out from his job.

It was already in 1775 when the submarine was successfully utilized in battle.

In 1775, American inventor David Bushnell came up with his own version of the submarine. It was an egg-shaped vessel named the Turtle.


Built by American inventor David Bushnell, the Turtle was a hand-powered device that can accommodate a single person. It had a shape similar to an egg and it was fully capable of underwater movement.

The Turtle was utilized during the American Revolutionary War with Sgt Ezra Lee as its operator.


In the American Revolutionary War, the Turtle, Sgt. Ezra Lee operated the Turtle and tried to attack British warship HMS Eagle. He, however, failed it his mission since the British discovered his presence and he was forced to abandon the vessel.

Today, replicas of the Turtle can be seen displayed at various American museums and in the Royal Navy Submarine Museum at Gosport, England.



World’s Largest Freshwater Pearl Formerly Owned by Catherine the Great Sold At $374,000

The Sleeping Lion was one of the famed empress’ prized jewels.

A freshwater pearl once owned by Catherine the Great was sold for an astounding $374,000 on May 31, 2018. The auction was done by the Amsterdam Pearl Society and was held at The Hague.

Considered as the world's largest pearl, the "Sleeping Lion" (noting its unusual shape) weighs 5.4 ounces and is 2.75 inches in length. According to the Venduehuis auction house catalogue, it was sold below its estimated value, which was was between $397,000 and $630,000.

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Why Is Iceland Green and Why Is Greenland Icy?

This is why I have trust issues…

Countries have interesting origin stories about how they get their names. Generally speaking, country names are either based on the land’s features, a tribe, a person, or even a directional description.

Bahrain, for example, literally means “Two Seas” while United States of America was named after Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci. On the other hand, Norway, as its name implies, means “The Way North” or “The Northern Way” while Mauritania is based on the Mauris, the country’s largest ethnic group.

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Why Sin Eating Was Once The Worst Job In The World

Technically, it was a thankless job.

If you think you are unfortunate for having to hold on to a job that you think sucks, bear in mind that at one point in history, there were people who went the extent of risking their salvation just for money. For the so-called Sin Eaters then, it did not matter if they had to suffer eternal damnation in hell for as long they could eat and have some coins in their pockets.

While a Sin Eater is already a thing of the past, there is no questioning that it held the notion as being the worst job in England, Scotland, and Wales where it was practiced from the Middle Ages until the early 1900s. You see, a Sin Eater had to eat a piece of bread placed on the chest of a dying person, otherwise known as a sin-soaked bread, while the family of the would-be departing person watched, prayed, and drank a flagon of ale.

By eating the sin-soaked bread, it was believed then that a Sin Eater could absolve the dying person from his sins, and his chances of entering heaven would improve.

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