20 Historical Figures Cooler Than All of Us

These remarkable figures made their mark with unparalleled bravery, intelligence, and charisma. Perfect for history buffs and those who admire true grit, this series offers a fascinating look at the lives of these iconic badasses.

1. Miriam Rodríguez Martínez

“Her daughter was kidnapped and murdered by the Mexican cartel. The police didn’t lift a finger to help, so she tracked down and arrested 10 cartel members herself. She knew it would result in her death. She did it anyway. ‘I don’t care if they kill me,’ Rodríguez told a friend, according to The New York Times. ‘I died the day they killed my daughter. I want to end this. I’m going to take out the people who hurt my daughter and they can do whatever they want to me.’ Sadly, her words prove prophetic as she was murdered by the cartel on the 10th of May 2017, which is Mother’s Day in Mexico.”

2. Ferdinand West

“[Ferdinand West, a] British pilot in World War 1 was flying a scouting mission when he was attacked by 7 German planes. On the first pass, his leg was blown off by the German planes, but he managed to move the plane so his rear gunner could fire on the German fighters. They managed to drive off all 7. The pilot managed to land the plane despite rapidly losing blood and insisted that he delivered his reconnaissance report before receiving medical attention. His back gunner had no idea he’d lost his leg until they landed. The pilot won the Victoria Cross for his actions.” [medals]

3. Witold Pilecki

“His mission at Auschwitz is one of the most extraordinary acts of bravery in World War II history. In 1940, Pilecki, a member of the Polish resistance, volunteered to infiltrate Auschwitz by allowing himself to be captured during a N—I roundup in Warsaw. Under the alias Tomasz Serafiński, he endured brutal conditions and unimaginable horrors upon his arrival at the camp. Once inside, Pilecki organized a clandestine resistance network called the Union of Military Organization (ZOW). He meticulously documented the daily atrocities, including the mass executions and the inhumane living conditions. His reports, smuggled out through couriers, were among the first comprehensive accounts of the Holocaust to reach the Western Allies and the Polish government-in-exile, providing critical intelligence and calling for action. After nearly three years of enduring and documenting the camp’s horrors, Pilecki realized that an internal uprising was impossible without external support. In April 1943, he orchestrated a daring escape with two fellow inmates. Despite the constant threat of capture, he made his way back to Warsaw, where he continued his resistance activities. Pilecki’s detailed reports on Auschwitz were instrumental in informing the world about the genocide occurring within its barbed wire fences, making his mission one of the most significant acts of resistance during the war.”

4. Franz Stigler,

“Franz Stigler, who upon coming upon a defenseless and battered B-17, not only couldn’t bring himself to shoot them down, but escorted the American crew all the way to the English channel. Along the way he warded off other German fighters and flew close enough to the aircraft that German AA wouldn’t open fire on it. The crew survived the encounter and Stigler turned around and returned to his base once they left German airspace.”

5. Teddy Roosevelt

“In 1912 Teddy Roosevelt was shot on his way to his presidential campaign. Instead of seeking medical attention he continued on to give his speech, starting by saying ‘Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot.’”

6. Cassius Marcellus Clay

“Cassius Marcellus Clay was a farmer, politician and abolitionist from Kentucky. After being shot in an assassination attempt, Clay killed his would-be assassin with a Bowie knife. Clay would later successfully fight off six attackers at once following a speech for the abolition of slavery.”

7. Julius Caesar

“In 75 BCE a band of Cilician pirates in the Aegean Sea captured a 25-year-old Roman nobleman named Julius Caesar, who had been on his way to study oratory in Rhodes. As the story is related in Plutarch’s Parallel Lives, the capture was a minor inconvenience for Caesar but very bad luck for the pirates. From the start, Caesar simply refused to behave like a captive. When the pirates told him that they had set his ransom at the sum of 20 talents, he laughed at them for not knowing who it was they had captured and suggested that 50 talents would be a more appropriate amount. He then sent his entourage out to gather the money and settled in for a period of captivity. The pirates must have been dumbfounded. It’s not every day that a hostage negotiates his ransom up. Caesar made himself at home among the pirates, bossing them around and shushing them when he wanted to sleep. He made them listen to the speeches and poems that he was composing in his unanticipated downtime and berated them as illiterates if they weren’t sufficiently impressed. He would participate in the pirates’ games and exercises, but he always addressed them as if he were the commander and they were his subordinates. From time to time he would threaten to have them all crucified. They took it as a joke from their overconfident, slightly nutty captive. It wasn’t a joke. After 38 days, the ransom was delivered and Caesar went free. Astonishingly, Caesar managed to raise a naval force in Miletus—despite holding no public or military office—and he set out in pursuit of the pirates. He found them still camped at the island where he had been held, and he brought them back as his captives. When the governor of Asia seemed to vacillate about punishing them, Caesar went to the prison where they were being held and had them all crucified.”

8. Joe Medicine Crow

“He was the last war chief of the Crow Tribe and the last Plains Indian war chief. During WWII, Joe Medicine Crow completed all four tasks required to become a war chief: touching an enemy without killing him (counting coup), taking an enemy’s weapon, leading a successful war party, and stealing an enemy’s horse.”

9. Léo Major

“Léo Major [was] a French-Canadian soldier in WW2 that single-handedly liberated the entire Dutch city of Zwolle. He captured the German commanding officer, forced their surrender, marched him and all his troops to Canadian lines, and declined a medal for this as his commander was ‘incompetent.’”

10. Milunka Savić

“In 1913 Milunka Savić joined the Serbian army in her brother’s place-cutting her hair and donning men’s clothes. According to a Serbian source, she may be the most-decorated female combatant in the entire history of warfare.”

11. Hedy Lamarr

“Hedy Lamarr, an actress in the 40’s and 50’s and ‘the most beautiful woman in the world’, co-patented the technology that would lead to Wi-Fi, GPS, wireless phones, and others.”

12. Josip Broz Tito

“After multiple failed assassination attempts by the Soviets, Josip Broz Tito sent a letter to Stalin saying: ‘Stop sending people to kill me. We’ve already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle (. . .) If you don’t stop sending killers, I’ll send one to Moscow, and I won’t have to send a second one.’ There was no further attempts.”

13. Vasily Arkhipov

“Vasily Arkhipov who was a Soviet naval officer. He was the only one in a 3 men nuclear submarine to stand and revoke the decision of nuclear submarine from launching a nuclear bomb towards a US Ship, that could have caused a potential nuclear war.”

14. Stanislav Petrov

“In 1983, Russian Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov heroically prevented a full retaliatory nuclear attack against the United States and NATO allies when his Oko nuclear early warning system detected 6 missiles coming from the U.S. and he immediately declared it a false alarm.”

15. Bruce McCandless

“In 1984, during Space Shuttle mission STS 41-B, astronaut Bruce McCandless made the first untethered spacewalk as he flew some 300 feet from the Shuttle in the first test of the MMU.”

16. Leonid Rogozov

“In 1984, during Space Shuttle mission STS 41-B, astronaut Bruce McCandless made the first untethered spacewalk as he flew some 300 feet from the Shuttle in the first test of the MMU.”

16. Leonid Rogozov

“Desmond Doss was a medic who, due to his religious beliefs, refused to wield a weapon and take someone’s life. He served his country by saving and giving aid to his fellow men. His most notable deed was done on the Battle of Okinawa, where he spent several hours saving the lives of around 75 wounded soldiers by lowering them down a cliff known as the Hacksaw Ridge, while under heavy fire.”

18. Roy Benavidez

“Roy Benavidez, armed with a knife, went to assist a 12 man SF team who were surrounded by 1,000 NVA soldiers, and provided cover fire . After the battle he was evacuated, having 37 bayonet, bullet and shrapnel wounds, was presumed dead, and placed in a body bag, but was later found to be alive.”

19. Freddie and Truus Oversteegan

“TIL about Freddie and Truus Oversteegan, teenage sisters who lured, ambushed and killed German N—is from their bicycles—and never revealed how many they had assassinated.”

20. Bass Reeves

“When I did research on him for my podcast it blew my mind that I’d never heard of him. Escaped slavery, served as a US Marshal in the most dangerous territories for over 30 years, had over 3,000 arrests and only had to kill 14 people in the process, was never once wounded, was the inspiration for the Lone Ranger.”

The post 20 Historical Figures Cooler Than All of Us appeared first on Barnorama.

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