In 1666, London was torn apart by a raging fire, all because of human error. Thomas Farrinor, the king's baker, forgot to properly turn off his oven that night. Sometime in the middle of the night, his bakery burns down, spreading the flames across the center of the city and destroying 13,000 houses.
Decca Records allowed a band from Liverpool to audition for them on New Year's Day, 1962. After a 15-song set, they decided to sign another band, Brian Poole and the Tremeloes. The band in question was the Silver Beetles — the first incarnation of The Beatles.
3. The Exxon-Valdez Spill Happened From Drunk Driving
Before the Deepwater Horizon spill, the accident that occurred when the Exxon Valdez tanker struck the reefs of Alaska was the largest in US waters. And part of the fault came from captain Joseph Hazelwood, who was intoxicated while under command of the ship. Although there was a massive cleanup operation after the 1989 spill, as of 2014 many of the beaches remain polluted.
One of the most famous and tragic moments in the history of space exploration is the 1986 Challenger disaster. After years of investigation, it was revealed that the rubber O-rings used for the fuel tanks were not prepared for the cold. One of them opened enough to mix gases and tore apart the rocket, and the space shuttle in the process.
In what must have really pissed off every time-traveling fan ever, WWI soldier Henry Tandey took part in an event that changed the course of human history. During a battle in Belgium in 1917, he saw a German soldier during their retreat but refused to shoot him since the man was wounded. Tandey had no idea that soldier was Adolf Hitler.
6. An Empire Falls Because They Kill Genghis Khan's Messengers
If there is one thing history tells us it is one thing, do not get Genghis Khan angry. The Khwarezmian Empire refused his trade offers, then killed the envoys he sent to make a dialogue to the Shah. Khan did not take that well and sent 200,000 of his men to completely annihilate their cities and kill entire swaths of their population.
Time Warner, who was having issues making an online presence, joined forces with AOL when the internet powerhouse bought them for an insane $165 billion dollar deal in 2001. Then the dot-com bubble bursts as the two companies never quite synergize, making AOL Time Warner's stock plummet. They split off into separate entities in 2009, with AOL never recovering.
8. Someone Forgets To Lock The Door In Constantinople
The end of the Byzantine Empire at the hands of the Ottoman Empire came in 1453, when thousands of Turkish fanatics and cannons made their way into Constantinople. That was surprising given the city was known for its impenetrable wall of Theodosius. What made this final attack possible was that some guard left a gate open, making the Ottoman entrance possible.
The iceberg that struck the RMS Titanic might have been avoided earlier if the lookouts had binoculars available to them. Alas, they were contained in a locker, and the key was no longer on the ocean liner. The officer who had it was taken off the ship days before and forgot to hand it off to his replacement.
10. The Austrian Army Shoot At Themselves Over Booze
In 1788 the Battle of Karensebes had the Austrian army fight the most peculiar of opponents. When their scouts came back with alcohol, a fight broke out when they refused to share it with other soldiers. A shot rang out, it was mistaken for an advancing Turkish army, and they began firing on each other.10,000 were left dead or wounded.
In 2006, NASA admitted that they could not find the original video recordings of the 1969 moon landing of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walking on the surface on the moon. They later found out that the tapes holding the footage had been erased and reused to save money. Luckily, with the help of Hollywood, they were able to remaster the broadcast recordings for release in 2009.
12. Rommel Went To A Birthday Party, And D-Day Happens
Field Marshal Erwin Rommel had not seen his wife and kids for most of WWII and decided to go home and celebrate his wife's birthday that weekend. That was June 6, 1944, the day of the Aliied invasion of Normandy. The course of the war may have been very different had Rommel been there to lead the German army that day.
13. A Soviet Official Messes Up And Destroys The Berlin Wall
China during the Cultural Revolution tried to do some crazy things to fix hygiene in the nation. The Four Pests (flies, mosquitos, rats and sparrows) Campaign was created to eradicate them and make it a healthier condition for everyone. What happened was that with no sparrows to stop the locusts, they devoured fields of crop, causing a famine that killed 20 to 30 million people.
In 2000 Blockbuster, the video rental service that had you paranoid about late fees on your DVDs, made the business decision that killed their business. They turned down a $50 million dollar deal to buy another rental service - Netflix. More than fifteen years later and Netflix is making award-winning TV shows while Blockbuster went bankrupt and out of business.