Well today the London Independent has a great article entitled "The history of the world: Without the boring bits" which contains lots of fascinating tidbits and facts from history.
My favorite one is, of course, to do with the Spartans.
Having conquered much of the rest of Greece, Philip II of Macedon sent a message to the Spartans: "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city." They sent a one-word reply: " If." Their boldness paid off: Philip left them alone.