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10 Historical Events We Wish Hadn't Happened

Updated on June 14, 2020

Everyone has regrets. Even the world. History is full of dark moments. The bad part about regrets is that we can't change them. We can only learn from them.

With such a large amount of history, it is hard to choose just ten events we wish hadn't occurred. But here are ten that I think are noteworthy and that many will agree on. These events are ones that hit more than a city or a culture. These are ones that reach far and wide and are felt years, decades, hundreds of years later.



When it comes to dark moments in history, the Holocaust is one that always hits the top of the list. It is a time where humanity was scare and evil prevailed.

While we think of Holocaust as the time during World War II where Jews and others were exterminated by the Nazis, the word was not created for that event. It was a word used in the Jewish religion to mean a sacrifice consumed by fire ( It was a part of Jewish religious life. After discovering that many of the Jews were burned by the Nazis, the term was applied to the period of genocide. Some have applied the term to all other genocidal events, but Holocaust was named for the genocide of the Jews.

It is hard to think of how easy it was for some men to pick up a baby and toss them, alive into a fire that consumed them instantly. Yet they did. Men, and some women, watched as other humans starved to death and died from exposure. They tortured them and killed them after treating them worse than animals. How can man do that do their own? Yet they did have since.



It is always a tragedy to see needless death. War is full of those kinds. Hiroshima and Nagaski were poster children for it and for WWII. Two atomic bombs were dropped on these two Japanese cities in a bid to end the war. It accomplished that, but at the expense of many, many lives and ushered in a new era of warfare that haunts us still.

One can talk in a detached manner about war until they see the pictures and hear the stories. These include people who were standing on a sidewalk one moment and became only a burned in shadow the next. Skin melted off those who didn't die immediately. Years later, the radiation still killed people. The war ended but only by creating a dark moment in history that still has a heavy presence.


The Crusades

Most of know about the Crusades, but we don't talk abou them too much. That is a shame because it is part of our world today, and lessons are never learned from those events.

From 1095 into the 15th century, large numbers of Europeans advanced onto the Holy Lands in and around the current nation of Israel. It was an important area for Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Due to the social and political climate of Europe at the time, religious leaders called for saving of the Holy Lands from the Muslims. It became a tug of war between Christians and Muslims that caused many scars on the land and the people.

Both sides committed atrocities to the people who lived there and to each other. Humanity was tossed out the window under the guise of religion. So shameful.



Slavery has been around since the early years of mankind. It occurred mainly due to war. One society would conquer another and make them slaves. How they treated those slaves differed from the various cultures.

In the Roman civilization, a slave could buy their way out of their bondage or their owners could free them. They were not looked down on after gaining their freedom as they would have been in other cultures.

Slaves in other societies found no future outside of slavery. They were kept constrained in that role and could never escape. They might have become slaves from war but stayed slaves due to birth. Debt even made some people slaves, including their immediate families.

All of these forms of slavery could be bad. There were good slave owners and bad ones. This took a much darker form in the American slavery system that forced one race into slavery and tried to keep them there. To free one was looked down upon. To sympathize with them was shameful. Even after nearly two hundred years since slavery was outlawed, the impact on American society can be felt. Most slaves were not treated humanely, and the resentment is still present.

Slavery in all forms is an evil though it has been practiced with humane actions. Today, it still occurs in various forms though called human trafficking in these times. It is still fought against, but it still survives.


The Inquisition

In the 13th century and lasting several hundred years, the Catholic Church created a special group of inquisitors to root out heretics and spies. They did more than just inquire. They became experts at torture and helped a few hundred, maybe even a few thousand, meet their Maker.

I recently toured an exhibit on torture. It left me extremely sick to my stomach - not for the acts so much as the fact that humans actually created those methods to use against other humans. It is a part of history that is glossed over but extremely dark and disgusting.

Most who lost their lives by way of the Inquisition were innocent. Neighbors reported them out of jealousy or hatred. They ended up tortured and murdered to satisfy the powers that be that there were people out there who needed to be revealed and dispatched.

The most well-known was the Spanish Inquisition who did not mask their activities and relentlessly hunted down anyone they considered untrue Catholics. Mulims. Jews. Protestants. And more were killed.



Oh, the famous witchhunts. Most of know the ones in Salem, but they can be found everywhere around the world. They were drowned, burned, hanged, or just tortured. Witches became the scapegoat for petty feelings such as jealousy and ambition.

Throughout history, men and women have been accused of being witches. They were usually those who didn't conform to strict rules of society. Many ran afoul of local religious leaders. Some were athiests in a time when that was criminal.

The trials for those accused were a sham. Any evidence against them were admissable even if it was ridiculous or far-fetched. No evidence in support of the accused was heard or accepted. The trials were completely one-sided with the accused facing "justice". Many innocent people died after being accused of being a witch.



This is connected with the slavery section above, but it has been found in other places throughout history. Lynching is the hanging of someone, usually without benefit of a trial. A group decides someone is guilty and hangs them for all to see.

In the connection with slavery, lynching were common to deal with runaway slaves or ones owners deemed to be a danger. After slavery ended, some groups of white men continued to the practice with those accused of theft, rape, or any indiscretion that would anger the groups. Sometimes, it was just being at the wrong place at the wrong time to find the wrong end of a rope.

A very dark time in history that still has a nasty message today and has not been forgotten.


World Wars

Maybe I'm lazy, but how can one say one war is so much worse than another. All of them left deep scars on the world as a whole. Some of these wars touched areas more deeply than others, but the world still felt it. World War I, or the Great War, changed Europe and ushered in a new world of technology and societal changes. World War II took many lives and created weapons that still have the world quaking in fear.

Some wars did not span the world, but the impact could still be felt across seas and over mountains. They took millions of lives, destroyed land, and upended governments. One war could lead to another in distant lands. In the end, they are all connected and all destructive.

What if they hadn't occurred? What if all those lives were not lost?



Yes, the Holocaust mentioned above was genocide, but it wasn't the only one. There were many before and have been many sense. It is the act of one group deliberatling exterminating another group based on religion, blood, or political stance.

These are horrible events of inhumanity. There was no passionate murders. These were strategically plans executions without care of age or gender. Children were murdered as easily as defenseless women. It wasn't a war. It was outright murder against specific groups.

Of all events, I think each genocide is the worst dark mark on the human soul. It is not caring about a life at all and seeking only the selfish need to be the only one to survive.



Spreading out and developing other lands doesn't sound so bad as it did bring many of the lands into the future and opened many doors for those who had no opportunities. The problem is that most countries who colonialized other lands did not do it in a gentle or productive ways. They caused many problems that still remain today.

Britain, France, Germany, and Belgium are a few of the countries that colonialized Africa. They destroyed tribal boundaries and enslaved the people as they raped the land. Asian countries faced much of the same by more powerful countries as did all of the Americas.

Too much blood was spilled through these acts. Too many cultures were destroyed, and all for money and power. Powerful nations wanted more power which came with resources and land. They destroyed many to obtain all that.


Taking the death of any person is a horrible thing. It can be understndable when one is protecting themselves, but murdering someone makes one question humanity. It saddens me to see the wasting of lives. All of these involve death. All of these involve mankind acting less human than they think they are.


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    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 

      13 months ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      These are certainly regrettable events. I regret that I don't think humanity has learned much about avoiding this kind of thing.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      13 months ago from Houston, Texas

      You have certainly listed some of the horrific times throughout history. Sadly, some of the same types of things continue to this very day. There is still human trafficking. There are still genocides. Too many people have been displaced and are homeless because of wars. The list continues. Will we ever learn to live peacefully and do what is right for the majority of people? One can hope and pray! In our country, we can also vote!


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