Amazing Coincidences in History

The Lewis and Clark Expedition was sent by US Pres. Thomas Jefferson in 1804 to discover a route thru the newly acquired territory of the Louisiana Purchase to the Pacific Ocean by land.  The expedition consisted of about 20 Americans with the female Indian guide Sacajawea.  In 1805 they were about 1,000 miles from the nearest US settlement in completely unknown territory when they were surrounded by Indians.  During negotiations, Sacajawea realized that the leader of the Shoshone Indians was in fact her brother!  It seems she was kidnapped from her home by another tribe as a child and had grown up with them.  As a result of this incredible coincidence, the Shoshones were friendly and agreed to trade horses to the expedition, which allowed them to continue their journey.  They came to the Rocky Mountains that they had no idea were there, and decided to cross them.  During the crossing they were forced to eat their horses as the only source of food.  This enabled them to accomplish their goal of reaching the Pacific Ocean, where they claimed the Oregon Territory for the US.  Imagine if the Shoshones had been hostile to them, they might never have crossed the Rockies and might not have reached the Pacific and what is now the Western US might not have become US territory.

When Sun Yat Sen returned to China in 1922 he took with him his bodyguard Morris Abraham Cohen, known as “Two-Gun” Cohen, who came from the East End of London and had been a gangster in Canada, where they had met.  Cohen, known as Mah Kun in Chinese, worked closely with Sen, including fighting with him to ensure the unification of China and gun-running arms for the Kuomintang, the Chinese Nationalist Party.  Although Sen was proclaimed President of China, there were large parts of China that were not under his control, including the northern region containing Beijing.  This was controlled by a war-lord, Yuan Shikai, and Sen decided to send Two-Gun Cohen to establish contact with him under the guise of an arms salesman.  Cohen traveled to Beijing and make contact with Shikai and obtained a meeting with him.  Then he requested that they be left alone, whereupon he tried to explain his mission from Sun Yat Sen.  But, they discovered that they had no language in common, Cohen spoke some Chinese, but was not fluent in Mandarin, and Shikai spoke no English.  So Cohen thought he might speak German so he tried to speak to him in Yiddish, and the war-lord replied in perfect Yiddish.  It transpired that he had studied in Germany for some years and had lived with a Jewish family and had learnt Yiddish.  So a crucial negotiation over the future of China coincidentally took place in Yiddish.  Shikai accepted Sen’s terms to appoint him interim President and China was united.

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