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Chinspiration; The most fabulous face fuzz found in history.

Byline: JULIE McCAFFREY

MORE and more men have beards, from the leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn to new dad Prince Harry.

There have been times when the bare-faced look was preferred, but history is not short of its hairy moments.

And they do not get hairier than this selection of face fuzztoting folk which History Revealed magazine has put together.

julie.mccaffrey@mirror.co.uk

Fidel Castro

Castro's beard was part of his public persona and he wore it as a symbol of his triumph during the Cuban Revolution, which was finally victorious on January 1, 1959.

The CIA concocted numerous attempts at assassinations or discrediting him by attacking his image.

One plan was to dust his shoes with toxic thallium salts while he travelled overseas, making his beard fall out.

However, the trip was cancelled. Despite the CIA's efforts, Castro's beard lived to fight another day.

Annie Jones

PT Barnum's circus was full of curiosities, including bearded women. One of these was Annie Jones, who joined the show at just nine months old in 1866.

Billed as "The Infant Esau" - the biblical Esau being distinguished by his wealth of hair - Jones grew a full beard, moustache and sideburns.

This was probably due to hirsutism, a condition that causes excessive body hair.

As well as being one of the star attractions, Jones became a spokeswoman for the "freaks" in Barnum's show and campaigned to rid the circus of the offensive term.

Henry VIII

The Tudor king's beard - or lack of - nearly sent the country into war back in 1519.

Henry and Francis I of France were attempting to arrange a meeting.

Both kings had promised not to shave until they met one another.

But Henry's wife, Catherine of Aragon, was not a fan of her husband's rugged look and asked him to shave.

Francis' mother took this as a slight against her son and some swift diplomatic flattery was required to restore the peace.

Abraham Lincoln

US president Abraham Lincoln is easily recognisable with his full beard. During his early political career, however, he was clean shaven.

That was until he received a letter from 11-year-old Grace Bedell, a month before the 1860 presidential election: "If you will let your whiskers grow, I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you. You would look a great deal better."

Lincoln replied to his young admirer, expressing concern that a beard would look silly. But within the month, he had grown a beard and won the election

The Ancient Egyptians strangely preferred false beards to the real thing.

Pharaohs, both male and female, would don metallic beards in order to emulate Osiris.

The God of the Underworld and Judge of the Dead was often shown with a beard, and burial masks often had them.

In 2014, the beard on Tutankhamun's mask broke and conservators reattached it hastily with glue, scratching the mask.

Thomas More

Thomas More was once a trusted mentor to Henry VIII.

A deeply religious man, he could not reconcile himself with Henry's break from the Catholic Church in 1533 in order to divorce his first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

More resigned from his role as Lord Chancellor and refused to swear an oath recognising Henry as the head of the Church of England. Beheaded in 1535, on the chopping block he reportedly laid his beard out of the way and asked the executioner to spare it, noting "this hath not offended the king".

Blackbeard

Blackbeard was feared across the Caribbean Sea and the North American colonies. His nickname apparently came from his thick beard, where he would keep lit fuses to scare enemies.

His smouldering whiskers terrified some sailors so much they surrendered the moment he stepped on board their ship.

His legacy inspired the idea of the pirate as a rogue of the seas. Real name Edward Teach, he was killed in 1718 when cornered by the navy.

As well as keeping your chin warm and for aesthetic appeal, sometimes beards can save your life.

Edward Maria Wingfield was one of the financial backers of the Virginia Company of London.

Edward Maria Wingfield They established the colony of Jamestown in Virginia, with Wingfield becoming its first president. During a brutal Native American attack in 1607, Wingfield was shot with an arrow - but only through his beard. The rest of him escaped unscathed.

Hans Steininger

Beards are not normally feared as being dangerous, but for one man excessive facial hair would be the death of him.

Hans Steininger was mayor of the town of Braunau (now in Austria) in the 16th century. He was renowned for his beard - believed to measure 6.5ft - which he kept tucked in a pouch.

In September 1567, a fire broke out in the town.

In the chaos, Steininger tripped over his beard and fell down some stairs, breaking his neck.

Hans Langseth

The trophy for longest beard goes to Hans Langseth. A native of Norway, he emigrated to the US in 1867.

He began growing his beard at 19 for a local competition and carried on.

A farmer by profession, for a while he travelled in a "freak show".

At his death in 1927 it measured 17.5ft. The beard resides in Washington DC's Smithsonian Institution.

The latest issue of History Revealed magazine is out now
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:May 8, 2019
Words:888
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