Famous Moments Decided By The Flip Of A Coin

Flipping a coin can often serve as an impartial solution to resolve disputes in real life, whether that be over who will get the last slice of pizza or which movie should be watched on Friday night. Flip Of A Coin Heads or tails is generally accepted as the appropriate response.

But it can also be used for more pressing decisions; here are four major events in history which were decided with just a simple flip a coin.

1. The Boston Tea Party

Flipping coins has long been used as an ancient practice and has often played an instrumental role in historic moments. From city planning decisions to musician lives (Buddy Holly and Richie Valens’ fates were determined by a coin toss), flipping coins has made some crucial decisions that were too crucial to leave to chance.

In 1773, the Boston Tea Party was an unprecedented political demonstration to protest British taxation policies in America. At this event, 342 chests of tea imported by the East India Company from India were dumped into Boston Harbor by American colonists dressed as Mohawk Indians as an act of protest. This act sent a clear message to Great Britain that their oppressive tax policy could no longer go on without consequences; marking it as a turning point in America’s revolution against its rule and galvanizing patriots throughout 13 colonies to fight for independence.

Following the Boston Tea Party, demonstrations against the Townshend Acts continued across America. Philadelphia saw more protests organized against them by Sons of Liberty who led a local boycott against British goods and services using funds collected through Townshend Acts to violate local colonist governments or private individuals’ rights. The Philadelphia Resolutions set out the principles for such boycotting as well as asserted that funds raised through Townshend Acts funds were being used against colonist governments or individual citizens’ rights.

In November 1773, the Sons of Liberty organized protests against the forthcoming arrival of tea ships at Griffin’s Wharf. Governor Hutchinson refused their requests that two ships carry unloaded cargoes; as a result, members dressed as Mohawk Indians stormed two of the vessels and dumped their contents into the sea. The Tea Party event was an unmitigated success, sparking similar protests throughout the colonies. Following this success, British Parliament issued several punitive laws known as Coercive Acts against Massachusetts in response to this event. These acts revoked states’ rights to home rule, required residents to board British troops in their homes, and prohibited importation of foreign goods – further fuelling colonist anger against Britain’s oppression.

2. The Portland Penny

For quick and fair dispute resolution, most people turn to rock-paper-scissors or coin tosses as the go-to methods. After all, coin flips offer the ultimate impartial decision maker; flipping can help settle anything from who gets the last slice of pizza to whether or not bowling will happen this Friday night. But did you know that coins have also been used as decision makers in major events like World War I and II? In honor of National Flip a Coin Day (2022’s 1st June), here are four major moments which came down to simple acts of throwing a coin.

Naming cities usually involves lengthy discussions and significant personalities, but Portland’s story of its name-giving is much less formal and complicated than many may expect. Back in 1845, business partners Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove owned the land that would become Portland. Although both wanted to name their new town after their respective home towns, they couldn’t agree on one name so instead agreed upon holding a coin flip – Pettygrove won two out of three tosses thus naming Portland its official name.

Today, the coin that gave Portland its name is widely referred to as the “Portland Penny,” and can be seen on display at Oregon Historical Society. Minted in 1835 from United States copper one-cent pieces, it may have been used for the coin toss that decided the fate of Portland. Lovejoy took this penny with him when he left Portland and founded another town (Port Townsend in Washington State), eventually leaving it at Oregon Historical Society and being donated by Pettygrove’s descendent as an artifact serving as a reminder of Portland’s unlikely beginnings.

3. The NBA Draft

A coin flip can make or break a game. Used by both sports teams and military units alike to determine who gets possession of the ball or tosses the coin in overtime, coin flips are used extensively throughout each round and even led to Portland being named due to coin tosses!

The NBA once used a coin toss to determine which team would draft first, with Phoenix or Milwaukee taking first pick if heads appeared. As such, Lew Alcindor became part of Milwaukee Bucks, Hakeem Olajuwon became part of Houston Rockets, while Magic Johnson joined Los Angeles Lakers.

Remarkable is the extent to which numerous decisions were decided upon by flipping a coin in past decades, yet we remain reluctant to allow randomness such an influential role in our lives today. National Flip A Coin Day is celebrated each June 1st to remember these moments from history.

4. The European Cup Quarter-Finals

The coin toss is often used to settle minor differences in everyday life, but it has also played an integral role in several historical moments. For example, in 1903 a coin toss decided which of the Wright brothers would take off for powered flight for the first time ever and in 1968 Italy and Soviet Union used this method of decision making when locked at 0-0 during semi-finals of European Championships (Italy won).

2022/23’s Champions League tournament already seems like history-making! For one thing, this year’s quarter-final draws were “open,” meaning clubs from different countries could face each other and resulted in some highly captivating ties.

Manchester City will face Bayern Munich in a battle between two of the most fearsome attacking sides in Europe; PSG aren’t laughing either, having defeated Liverpool with Messi, Neymar and Mbappe’s trio of terror. Additionally, Liverpool face Jose Mourinho’s Juventus in what could be one of the most exciting matches this round.

Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen are still competing to retain their titles; five have previously won, with Rome and Sporting CP reaching the final but losing to either Real Madrid or Barcelona during their time there.

Later this month, the semifinal draw will take place, providing us with new matchups and an exciting test to see whether this format–with its smaller pool rounds and quicker turnaround between matches–can provide as much excitement as its predecessor did. We’ll see on April 11 whether that proves true; while June 10 marks the date for the final. Good luck to everyone involved and enjoy your coins; should any need arise, watch this video of historic coin flips for inspiration.

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