5 Barbaric Practices That Are More Modern Than You Think

#2. Negro Leagues Baseball Was Played Until the 1980s

Wiki Commons

Baseball's Negro Leagues are an artifact from that awkward period in America after white people decided that African-Americans were allowed to participate in society but before they were comfortable being near them. The segregated leagues lasted from the late 1800s until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier right after World War II, at which point white America graciously decided to allow some of the greatest baseball players on the planet to join them on the field.

But Actually ...

Dark-skinned Americans stopped being forced to play in the Negro Leagues after 1947, but that didn't mean the Negro Leagues teams packed up their bats and stopped playing. In fact, they continued playing ball right past the Civil Rights Act, up until the 1960s. It was something of a sore topic among Negro Leagues managers that the Major Leagues were suddenly stealing all of their best athletes, and they actually campaigned to stop the white folk from taking away their best players.

Bowman Gum
"Sorry, but the chance to make racists rage-shit their pants is too good to pass up."

Even after the 1970s ended, a team known as the Indianapolis Clowns refused to buckle to the pressures of integration and continued to play under the Negro Leagues banner. They became the Harlem Globetrotters of baseball, but instead of always winning rigged matches, they almost always lost to junior college teams practicing for the upcoming season. It wasn't until 1989, the year of Tiananmen Square, the Berlin Wall, and the B-52s' "Love Shack" release, that they finally ran out of backing. Still, a league started by segregation lived on right until the Seinfeld premiere episode.

#1. Part of the Roman Empire Still Exists Today

BargotiPhotography/iStock/Getty Images

Since we humans have such relatively short lifespans, it's difficult to come to terms with the fact that nation-states have been a pretty recent fad of history. It's only a few short generations ago that the world was made up of gigantic empires that spanned continents. In fact, by the time America achieved independence at the turn of the 18th century, it was still a mishmash of English, French, and Spanish colonies battling in a worldwide Thunderdome to collect the most land. Even still, you imagine that the era of globe-spanning empires only exists today as your most accomplished Sid Meier game.

Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images
You know Julius Caesar would never settle for a pansy-ass space-race victory.

But Actually ...

Pretty much the first group of people to look at a map of the entire Earth and say "I'll take one of those, please" was the Roman Empire, except they didn't really say "please." Over the course of a significant chunk of human history, the Romans went forth and conquered most of the known world until eventually it became so huge and unwieldy that it broke apart into smaller and smaller pieces.

You probably learned that the fall of the Roman Empire is the milestone that separates the ancient from the medieval world, but what you might not know is that it never entirely fell. It just got smaller, its constituent parts being divvied up among rival empires until there was nothing left ... except Liechtenstein, an incredibly tiny nation near modern-day Italy.

Wikipedia
It was briefly overthrown when a drunken tourist accidentally wandered into parliament and sat in the prime minister's chair.

After literally millennia, tiny Liechtenstein, just a dot on the world map, is the last remaining outpost of the Roman Empire that has never been conquered. To this day, even its royal family is descended from their no-doubt inbred Roman ancestors.

As for the rest of the Roman Empire, it is officially recorded in history as having fallen in the 1400s, when it was finally conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1452, just in time to be reported by the printing press. So how long did the Ottomans stick around? They existed until 1922, until they were defeated in goddamned World War I, meaning a country that fought the Roman Empire was competing in the modern Olympics and being talked about by Warren G. Harding. This basically means that, if you play the Kevin Bacon game with world leaders, the 29th president is surprisingly damned close to Julius Caesar.

Kevin Winter/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Who has a salad, that was eaten by ... Kevin Bacon.


Evan V. Symon is a Cracked article writer, Personal Experience interviewer, and interview finder guy. If you have a rockin' experience you want to share, hit up the Personal Experience tip line at tips@cracked.com.

For things we consider modern but actually aren't, check out 6 Badass 'Modern' Weapons (Are Way Older Than You Think) and 7 Memes That Went Viral Before The Internet Existed.

It's time to overthrow the Roman Empire, once and for all: click the Facebook 'share' button below. If we can convince a dozen or so people, Lichtenstein is ours!

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