This Week In History News, Jan. 14 – 20

Published January 19, 2018

Mystery of Aztec plague solved, human history complicated by meteorite study, and ancient Greek plumbing system unearthed.

Almost 500 Years Later, Scientists Confirm What Killed The Aztecs

Aztec pyramid

The GuardianAn Aztec pyramid in Mexico.

In 1545, approximately 473 years ago, the Aztec nation crumbled. People began coming down with high fevers and headaches. Shortly after, they began bleeding from the eyes, mouth, and nose. Then, they died.

By 1550, 15 million people, 80 percent of the Aztec population, had been wiped out. For centuries, scientists have been struggling to understand just how such a deadly event could transpire, and how it could have arrived in Mexico.

Now, almost 500 years later, there may be an answer.

Dig deeper here.

Scientists Find These Meteorites Contain Everything Necessary For Life

Ceres Dwarf Planet

Ceres, the dwarf planet which is the suspected origin of the meteorites.

In 1998, two meteorites crashed to the ground that contained tiny blue and purple salt crystals. Now, almost 20 years later, scientists have revealed that the crystals contained the ingredients for human life.

In a study published in the journal Science Advances, scientists provided a comprehensive breakdown of the compounds found in the meteorites, which included organic matter and liquid water, a few of the things it takes to sustain life.

Read more here.

Researchers Find Shockingly Sophisticated Plumbing At Ancient Greek Dig Site

Researchers recently excavating on the Greek island of Keros have learned a plethora of fascinating new information about the society the flourished there some 4,500 years ago. And among the most interesting revelations is the island’s surprisingly complex underground plumbing system.

A system like this predates other known systems of its kind by about 1,000 years. And that’s to say nothing of the island’s metalwork, also well ahead of its time.

Learn more at National Geographic.

All That's Interesting
Established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together a dedicated staff of digital publishing veterans and subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science. From the lesser-known byways of human history to the uncharted corners of the world, we seek out stories that bring our past, present, and future to life. Privately-owned since its founding, All That's Interesting maintains a commitment to unbiased reporting while taking great care in fact-checking and research to ensure that we meet the highest standards of accuracy.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.