People Are Sharing Their Favorite Theories About Historical Butterfly Effects, And Here Are 24 Of The Most Interesting Ones

“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” J. R. R. Tolkien’s words ring true, even if we sometimes feel like nothing we do matters in the long run and on a cosmic scale (hello, H. P. Lovecraft!). Don’t believe us? Well, we’ve got a fun, imaginative, and historical list in store for you.

TikTok user Haythamj asked his followers to share the random historical domino effects (which you probably know as butterfly effects, chain reactions, and knock-on effects) that they “absolutely love.” And they delivered. From quirky and creative links between seemingly-unrelated events to chains of occurrences that could actually have historical merit, the video got some fantastic responses.

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From the Romanovs supposedly being responsible for the eventual creation of 50 Shades of Grey to a sandwich being blamed for World War One, check the responses out below and remember to give your fave ones an upvote. Be sure to let us know in the comments about your personal historical domino effects that you can’t help but adore. And be sure to read on for Bored Panda’s interview with the person who started the awesome discussion, Haythamj himself.

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#1 Joe Biden Is Responsible For A Lot Of Pop Music Today

The fact that Joe Biden is responsible for a huge chunk of the modern music industry. Pete Wentz’s parents met at a Joe Biden rally, so Pete Wentz was born. Pete and Fall Out Boy helped inspire a whole bunch of other artists, like Taylor Swift, Gym Class Heroes, Cobra Starship, and Panic! At The Disco.

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#2 Youtube Was Created Due To A Nipple Slip

In 2004 during the halftime show of the Superbowl event Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson were performing and somehow Janet’s nipple got slipped. This made big news. 3 guys working for PayPal heard of this and tried to find a video clip of it online but they had no luck. So they quit PayPal and they decided to create a video streaming website. That site was finally created in 2005 and it became known as Youtube.

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#3 Prince Arthur Got A Cold, So England Made A Whole New Religion

Henry VII’s first son was Prince Arthur. He married Princess Catherine of Aragon; but four months after they married, he got tuberculosis and died. After this, Henry VII’s second son Henry became the heir and married Princess Catherine. This Henry was Henry VIII, who asked the pope for an annulment and long story short, the pope said no. So, Henry VIII made himself ‘Supreme Head of The Church of England.

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Haythamj, a video creator and photographer who is based in London, has been making “bad videos since 2019,” according to his TikTok profile. He told Bored Panda that he saw a bunch of videos that started with people asking their fans about various things that they love, so he combined this with his love for historical domino effects and this inspired him to make the TikTok video.

The teenage video creator also believes that the responses to his video show that pretty much everyone can affect the course of history, no matter how insignificant they might feel. “Everything is interlinked. You can track WW2 and therefore the Cold War and 9/11 back to Christopher Columbus, so it’s just really interesting,” he said.

“I didn’t decide to become a video creator really, ” Haythamj opened up. “I originally got TikTok to put off revising for my year 11 mocks back last year, and a few of my videos became really popular—one so much so that my school forced me to take it down. Despite that, my life hasn’t changed in the slightest: my parents have no idea about my TikTok, and I haven’t earned a single penny. I’m still in school, doing 4 A levels.”

#4 9/11 Ended The Ellen Supremacy

Gerard Way watched the Twin Towers fall on 9/11, which inspired him to start My Chemical Romance, which was one of the largest inspirations behind Stephanie Meyers writing the Twilight series. Twilight was one of the inspirations behind E.L. James writing 50 Shades of Gray. This was turned into a film series, starring Dakota Johnson, which led to her being on talk shows like Ellen. That led to the groundbreaking ‘Actually, that’s not the truth, Ellen.

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#5 The Buffalo Bills Are Responsible For The Fame Of The Kardashians

Ok so basically it bouls down like this. The Bills had a terrible season in 1970. This allowed them the 1st overall pick in 1971, in which they drafted O.J. Simpson. O.J. met his wife Nicole Brown while in Buffalo and then allegedly killed her. When all qent down, O.J. hired Robert Kardashian to be his lawyer. They won the case, and the Kardashian name became somewhat famous. Kris Kardashian rode that mild fame through her divorce, into her marriage to Bruce Jenner (thus becoming Kris Jenner) and when Kim grew up, she dropped an infamous sex tape. That sex tape wouldnt have been such a big deal if she hadnt already been semi-noteworthy (although Ray J also had something to do with that fame). So yeah basically the Bills are the reason we have to suffer with the Kardashians. If they hadnt drafted OJ, he wouldnt have met Nicole and Robert Kardashian would be just another lawyer in NY.

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#6 Star Trek Helped Elect Obama

In 1997, Star Trek: Voyager wasn’t doing well with ratings, so they introduced a new character acted by Jeri Ryan. She and her husband Jack eventually got divorced in 1999 because of her time on that show. Fast-forward to 2004, when Jack Ryan was running for a Senate seat in Illinois. During that race, juicy details from his divorce were released, and they didn’t make him look very good. This led to him dropping out and led to the GOP having a lot of time to find a replacement to run against none other than Barack Obama, who won in a landslide.

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The 16-year-old has nearly 30k followers and over 2.1 million views on his TikTok page at the time of writing, and it doesn’t look like his popularity is going to stop any time soon.

The domino effect isn’t the same as the domino theory. The latter actually has a slightly different meaning from the butterfly effect and has its roots in post-WW2 US foreign policy. The belief at the time was that the “fall” of a single non-communist state would cause neighboring governments to fall as well. Just. Like. Dominos. Which, naturally, made the US very concerned.

The domino theory, proposed by President Truman in the 1940s and fully embraced by the leaders of the day in the 1950s, was one of the main justifications used by the Kennedy and Johnson administrations about why the US was waging war in Vietnam in the 1960s. Which, ironically, is a butterfly/domino effect in its own right.

#7 Romanovs Are Responsible For 50 Shades Of Grey

So the Romanovs died, and the USSR was formed, which was communist. This led to the Cold War happening for decades. After the Soviets got involved in Afghanistan, Ronald Reagan gave the Afghans weapons in the ’80s. These weapons were used by terrorists on 9/11. That was observed by Gerard Way, who created My Chemical Romance. This led to Stephanie Meyers being inspired and so she created the Twilight series, which inspired 50 Shades of Grey.

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#8 The Fall Of The Aztec And Incan Empires Responsible For Mini Ice Age Which Ended Around 1750

The fall of the Aztec and Incan empires, caused in part by the conquistadors, led to massive reforestation in areas that were once designated for cities and farmland cleared for crops/animals.

This led to a massive fall in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which brought about around 200 years of excessively cold winters in Europe, leading to a mini ice age which ended around 1750.

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#9 Genghis Khans Son Being An Alcoholic Saved Europe

Ogedei Khan drank himself to death, and thus all the Mongol forces in Europe, who had penetrated as far as Hungary, were forced to halt their campaigns and return to Mongolia to sort out the question of succession.

Image credits: Gerreth_Gobulcoque

#10 Simpsons Wouldn’t Have Been Created If Matt Groeining Hadn’t Been Afraid

Matt Groening’s comic “Life in Hell” caught the attention of James L. Brooks, who wanted to adapt it as a short for the Tracey Ullman show. Groening was afraid of losing the rights to his characters and that the show would fail and take down his comic he pitched a new idea. While waiting in lobby of James L. Brooks’ office he came up with the idea for The Simpsons and quickly sketched the family out and pitched that instead.

As we all know The Simpson’s became a huge success and has been going on for more than 30 years and is the longest-running American primetime, scripted television series with over 662 episodes and many Emmy awards. It never would have happened if Groening hadn’t been afraid.

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#11 26 Year Old Mohamed Bouazizi Responsible For Brexit

26 year old Mohamed Bouazizi from Tunisia had been the sole income earner in his extended family of eight. He operated a food cart for seven years in Sidi Bouzid, 300 kilometres south of Tunis. On 17 December 2010, a female officer confiscated his cart and produce.

A humiliated Bouazizi went to the provincial headquarters in an attempt to complain to local municipality officials and to have his produce returned. He was refused an audience. Within an hour of the initial confrontation, Bouazizi returned to the headquarters, doused himself with a flammable liquid and set himself on fire. Public outrage quickly grew over the incident, leading to protests.

This immolation, and the subsequent heavy-handed response by the police to peaceful marchers, provoked riots the next day in Sidi Bouzid. In an attempt to quell the unrest, President Ben Ali visited Bouazizi in hospital on 28 December. Bouazizi died on 4 January 2011.

This act became a catalyst for the Tunisian Revolution and the wider Arab Spring protests.

Which led to:

Syrian Civil War

Iraqi Insurgency

The Egyptian Crisis

Yemeni Civil War

Libyan Civil War (including the fall of Gaddafi)

The refugee crisis

major unrest in the middle east, proxy wars, power vacuums

the rise of ISIS

frequent terrorist attacks globally

the rise in popularity of right wing politicians in Europe

the rise of Erdogan in Turkey

the election of Trump

Brexit and all that brings.

Image credits: HacksawJimDGN

#12 Malaria Responsable For The Creation Of Gin And Tonic

British officers in India during the 18th Century were eating quinine pounder to treat their malaria. The powder was so bitter they mixed with their club soda. They brought it back to the UK and they started putting it in their gin.

Hence gin and tonic

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#13 A Sandwich Caused Wwi

These guys tried to assassinate Franz Ferdinand by throwing a bomb at the car. It failed, so the killers went and got a sandwich. The car was damaged from the bomb, and it actually broke down in front of the place where the killers got the sandwich. The men realized who it was and went out and killed the archduke, leading to WWI.

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#14 Johnny Carson And Joan Rivers’ Fallout In 1988 LED To The Version Of Olaf The Snowman We All Know

Joan was Carson’s permanent guest host on theTonight Show and when they fell out, the role went to Jay Leno. Leno got the Tonight Show gig when Carson retired, despite Carson wanting it to go to David Letterman. Letterman got his own show. And Late Night was either going to go to Conan or Jon Stewart, but went to Conan. Stewart got his own show. When that failed, he went to the Daily Show when the previous host left. Under his tenure, the comedian ‘correspondents’ became famous. One of them was Josh Gad, who played Olaf.

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#15 If Producers Had Just Paid The Writers, Donald Trump Wouldn’t Have Been The Host Of One Of The Most Popular Shows On TV For Seven Years And Probably Wouldn’t Be President

In 2007 the writers guild of America went on strike leaving tv and movies without any writers for four months. This led to tv studios relying on shows that didn’t require writing. Talk shows, game shows, and reality shows for example.

NBC decided that in order to maximize ratings, they’d get Celebrities to compete in one of their reality shows that had been sinking in the ratings.

And so The Celebrity Apprentice premiered in January 2008. The season got ratings more than twice as high as the previous one, and led to host Donald Trump being a mainstay of network TV until February 2015.

On June 16, 2015 Donald Trump announced his candidacy for President of the United States.

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#16 Your Nintendo 64 Almost Had Online Multiplayer, But Instead They Invented Internet Browsers

Nintendo originally planned to cram the Nintendo 64 with as many features as possible. As many people from the time know, the Nintendo 64 was held back for months in favor of an absurd amount of research and development for the console. At some point, the advertisements went from showing off the console’s specs to “We’re holding it back because we want it to be the best console ever.” (Side note: that was a highly successful move. The console was both way ahead of its time and dearly beloved, as well as a huge financial success for Nintendo. For many years, the best-selling game of all time was Mario Kart 64.)

Anyways, one feature pitched for the N64 was an online multiplayer service, something that gaming had never seen before (and, unfortunately, wouldn’t see until the next generation of consoles). This was pitched by Jim Clark and Mark Andreessen, who claim that their pitch would have worked had the console not been held back for so long.

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#17 Jane Austen’s Book LED To “Fancy” Video Looks

A book written by Jane Austen on the 1800s led to current fashion trends and Iggy Azalea’s ‘Fancy’ music video. Clueless is an adaptation of Emma. The ‘Fancy’ video replicated the looks from Clueless. Many people today also emulate the looks from Clueless. Without Emma, there is no Clueless, and without Clueless, there’s no ‘Fancy’ music video.

Image credits: nintengods

#18 If More Republican Delegates Had Backed Roosevelt At The 1912 Convention In Chicago, There Might Have Never Been A World War 2 Or Cold War, And The World Would Be A Vastly Different Place Today

The 1912 Republican Presidential Nomination. Not because of what actually happened, but because what could have happened.

As President, Teddy Roosevelt championed progressive ideals, and called for a “Square Deal” between workers and businesses . He pushed for more government regulation of workplace safety, consumer protection, environmental conservation, breaking up trusts, and other policies requiring strong government intervention.

However, these policies were not popular with the conservative wing of the Republican Party. When Roosevelt left office in 1909 after two terms, he groomed a successor, William Howard Taft, to carry on his policies. Taft won the White House, but he sided with the conservative faction of the party, which eschewed government intervention. Roosevelt quickly grew disenchanted with his erstwhile protege, and began criticizing him in the press, accusing him of betraying the Progressive movement he had championed during his Presidency. He even went so far as to declare him “utterly unfit for the Presidency.”

Roosevelt challenged Taft in the 1912 Republican Presidential Primary. Taft was not exactly the fountain of charisma that Teddy Roosevelt was, but he had the support of the party. Roosevelt quickly amassed a large amount of delegates, but without the backing of party leaders, he came up short against Taft. Of course, he famously began his own party, the Bull Moose Party, and came in second in the election of 1912, which is the best showing for a third party candidate in U.S. history. Taft and Roosevelt split the Republican vote, and led to Woodrow Wilson becoming President in 1912.

It’s unlikely, but not impossible, that Roosevelt could have won as a third-party candidate. But if he had managed to persuade Republican leaders to abandon the incumbent Taft and make him the 1912 nominee, he would have had a fair chance of success in the general election. And had that happened, it would not have been just American history that would have taken a very different course, but world history as well.

Roosevelt, being the champion for muscular American foreign policy that he was, called for U.S. involvement in World War I from the start. He lambasted President Wilson for adhering to neutrality even after the Lusitania was sunk in 1915. Had he been President, it’s highly likely that he would have used the famous bully pulpit (a term he coined) to bring the United States into the War. And that’s where everything changes.

If the United States enters the war in 1915 or so, the trajectory of the war changes. Buoyed by fresh American troops, the British, French, and Americans are able to break the stalemate on the Western Front and push the Germans back to the German border, and potentially even into Germany itself. Germany, unable to stem the tide of American men and materiel, might have surrendered by 1917.

Germany, fighting for its survival in the West, might have drawn forces away from the Eastern Front. Tsarist Russia, not so nearly exhausted from the war as it later became, might have survived. Or the Russian Revolution still happens, but the Kerensky government is able to hold on to power, which leads to a parliamentary democracy. Certainly Germany would have been too busy worrying about the Western front to bother sending Vladimir Lenin in a sealed train car to Russia. No Lenin, no October Revolution. The Soviet Union might have never existed. It’s possible that there would eventually be a communist state somewhere, but without a USSR , there’s probably never a communist China, either.

In Germany, itself, Entente troops occupy Germany after the war. One of Hitler’s most popular appeals when he began his rise to power in the 1920s was that Germany had never been truly defeated in the Great War–no foreign troops occupied German soil, after all. But here, with an American Army helping a push into Germany in 1915-1916, that legend withers and dies on the vine. Whatever Peace Treaty takes the place of the Versailles Treaty would have been very different. The conditions that led to Hitler’s rise in Germany would probably not be present.

Roosevelt would not have bothered with Wilson’s moralizing, meaning no Fourteen Points, no self-determination etc. The Paris Peace Conference redrew the maps of Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The same would happen here ,but without Wilson, they might have been drawn very differently.

Image credits: Darmok47

#19 The Surreal Life On Vh1 In 2003 Caused A Murder In 2010

In 2003 there was a reality show called the Surreal real life. There were about three or four seasons. Flavor Flave and Bridget Nielsen started dating, their show had two seasons, when they broke up flavor Flave when on want to start flavor of love.Which as you probably know Garnered two more seasons, which led to, multiple shows including I love New York. And branching off into other reality shows essentially creating the show for the love of money. The breakout star of all those love shows on the show “rock of love “ was Megan wants to marry a millionaire which actually never aired. Megan actually fell in love with one of the contestants on the show And they promised to create a relationship of those she ended up picking someone Else as the winner, The person who she actually fell in love with the agreed to meet up and actually conduct a real relationship. He ended up getting married to someone else and when she was done with the show they met up only for her to find out he was married. Essentially essentially stopped all those “find love quickly” shows.

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#20 A Magazine From The 60s Is The Reason Why We Have Childish Gambino

Basically, the national lampoon started off as a magazine, branched off into a radio comedy show with Chevy Chase as one of the new unknown comedians. Than branched off into him being one of the og snl members. He than became super famous, and was casted in community with Gambino. Because of his fame and the shows popularity, Gambino credits the show for his musical fame hence the magazine contributing to us having him

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#21 The Lindbergh Baby Lead To The Ford Gt

After the Lindbergh baby, Henry Ford had Henry Ford 2 heavily protected and spoilt growing up, to avoid Ford 2 being abother target. This lead To ford 2 growing up to be a real spoilt pissbaby, and when said piss baby got screwed by ferrari, the ego was there to give the go ahead to beat them at le mans, which meant the creation of the Ford GT

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#22 Mooning Caused Death Of Ten Thousand Jews

In 80 AD, Flavius Josephus recorded the first known incident of mooning. Josephus recorded that in the procuratorship of Ventidius Cumanus (48-52 AD), at around the beginning of the First Roman-Jewish War, a soldier in the Roman Army mooned Jewish pilgrims at the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem who had gathered for Passover, and “spake such words as you might expect upon such a posture” causing a riot in which youths threw stones at the soldiers, who then called in reinforcements—the pilgrims panicked, and the ensuing stampede resulted in the death of ten thousand Jews.

Image credits: Wikipedia

#23 An Effort To Keep Ink Smearing On The Pages Of Newspapers In The Printing Press Room, It Set Off A Domino Effect That LED To Ronald Reagan Being Elected 40th President Of The United States

In the early 20th century there was an issue of humidity in printing press rooms causing the ink to run. A man named William Carrier invented a dehumidifier to suck the moisture out of the air, and it worked. The ink dried faster and stayed dry, and as an unseen side effect it kept the rooms cooler too. Thus the precursor to the modern air conditioner was inadvertantly invented.

At first it was only used for industrial purposes and it wasn’t until after WW2 that smaller units were manufactured and made readily available to the public. This led to a huge migration of city-dwelling folks from the north to more rural areas. Conservatives retirees were settling in the south without having to worry about discomfort from the heat and/or heat related injuries for the elderly. This caused a huge shift in electoral college votes from north to south.

Another side effect of air conditioning was when it started being put in movie theatres. Before, being crammed in a room with a bunch of other sweaty people to watch a movie just wasnt enjoyable. Once theatres could be cooled, it became way more popular to go to when it was sweltering hot outside. Thus, the summer blockbuster.

Movies became not only a device for entertainment but also a way for pop culture to shift the political climate. During the vietnam war there weren’t very many pro military movies since the general population was pretty much against the war. It wasn’t until George Lucas came out with the Star Wars trilogy that people were able to enjoy heroic stories of battle and triumphing over evil.

It was around the 2nd Star Wars movie that a man named Ronald Reagan was campaigning his plans to on how to deal with the “evil empire” known as the Soviet Union. The democrats in an attempt to make his missile defence plan sound silly dubbed it “Star Wars”. This had the opposite effect because people thought it sounded cool. People also resonated with the rebels trying to overthrow and oppressive government the same way that Ronald Reagan was taking on Big Government in America. In 1980 Ronald Reagan was elected president.

Image credits: Sir_Thomas_Noble

#24 The Wright Brothers Are Responsible For Twilight

Wright brothers created airplanes which was the weapon used in 9/11, which caused MCR which inspired Twilight

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