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30 people share historical “facts” that have long been proven false, yet many still believe.

A wise man once said, “What is history but a story agreed upon?” The idea is that history reflects the teacher’s intentions and opinions rather than what actually happened. Someone will believe a lie if you repeat it a thousand times. 

“History geeks, what is a common misunderstanding that irritates you every time you hear it?” Last week, Redditor u/throwaway000689 set out to determine which of these ideas is the most popular by asking other users: “What is a commonly-held misunderstanding that drives you insane every time you hear it?”  People began to answer almost immediately, revealing important details about our collective ignorance. 

#1

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe In

All of this could change at any time. Our concept of racial superiority based on skin tone would have been ridiculous in many other ages. I want to yank my hair out every time someone asserts that displaying an ankle in the 19th Century Europe would have been indecent. In my lifetime, none of these claims has ever been confirmed to be true. People still believe we’re constantly marching forward on all of these issues, each day more progressive than the last. 

#2

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe In

Individuals in the past were simply less intelligent than people in the present. The truth is that 15,000 years ago, humanity was just as brilliant as we are now (intelligence being the ability to learn and apply knowledge). They were simply preoccupied with a variety of difficulties and had not yet learned everything we know now. 

Thousands or tens of thousands of years ago, thousands or tens of thousands of years ago, thousands or tens of thousands of years ago, thousands or tens of thousands of years ago, thousands or tens of thousands of years ago, thousands or tens of thousands of years ago, thousands or tens of thousands of years ago, thousands or tens of thousands of years ago, thousands or tens of thousands of years ago, thousands or tens Agriculture, writing, mathematics, standardized language, the wheel, metallurgy, shipbuilding, architecture, trade routes across Afro-Eurasia, currency, banking, animal and plant cross-breeding to generate better strains, and the list goes on. 

If I grabbed a human infant from thousands of years ago, immunized it against current diseases, and reared it like any other child today, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. 

The only thing that separates us from our forefathers is hundreds of generations of discoveries, ideologies, technology, and labour. 

Because we only learn what we need to know, our forefathers were simply brilliant in various ways. Only hand tools, wood, linen, nails, and rope were used to build Norse ships travelling from Europe to America. Ancient Polynesians physically memorized the night sky to navigate the Indo-Pacific and Oceania’s uncountable islands. In ancient East Asian civilizations, only well-made wood joints and no nails were employed to erect massive temples. Rome was built with hand tools and hand-calculated math. The wonders of Egypt, India, and Mesopotamia are comparable. 

Then there’s Göbekli Tepe, a roughly 12,000-year-old wonderland of well-placed monoliths, sculpted walls, and cobblestone roads. We don’t have any proof of complex civilizations for over 6000 years. 

We stand on the shoulders of millennia of meticulously acquired knowledge passed down down the generations to those of us who have taken it and produced miracles that our forebears would have credited to gods. 

Despite this, we ignore the massive effort our long-dead forefathers and mothers put in to assist us in our success, even denigrating them. They were dubbed “savages,” “idiots,” and “fools.” Indeed, we are the ungrateful student gazing down on our forefathers’ kind instructor. 

We are all mankind as a whole, just another step forward in a long sequence of progress, rather than a separate holy being above or aside from it.  

Ralife55,Monsieurdl

#3

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InThe only people who traded in slavery were white people. Forget about north, and East Africa, where indigenous primarily sold others to the Middle East. White women commanded a premium price and were frequently transported far distances. Russian women were also sold to the Middle East. 

RetiredFart42, William Clark

The frequency of these misunderstandings, on the other hand, may imply that history is losing ground in the academic popularity contest. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 34,642 history majors graduated in 2008. In 2017, the total number of people was only 24,266. After 2012, most of the reduction happened, with a sizeable single-year loss of over 1,500 between 2016 and 2017. 

However, it’s possible that it’s not yet time to sound the alarm. Benjamin M. Schmidt of Northeastern University pointed out that the history major has experienced low times in the past. Between 1969 and 1985, the discipline experienced a substantial fall, significantly dropping by 66%. 

However, those figures were tied to higher education’s boom in the 1960s, which saw the discipline expand rapidly, followed by a bust in the 1970s as growth slowed. 

This decrease is more noticeable in private, non-profit institutions. While all demographic groups are affected, Asian-Americans and women have witnessed the most significant reductions in the profession. 

#4

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InRosa Parks was merely a sweet old lady who refused to give up her bus seat. 

She was a political activist who had methodically prepared that particular civil disobedience. 

Bignasty197,Schlesinger LibraryReport

#5

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InCowboys were not cool white dudes who lived in a world of their own!!! Cowboys were primarily black, Mexican, and Native American males who needed money and were considered the low end of the social ladder. Initially, they employed whips and dogs to keep their herd under control. The Lazo was eventually replaced by the lasso, chaparajos by chaps, and the sombrero by the ten-gallon cowboy hat we know today. Cattle herding was a tough job for “respectable white persons.” Cowboys herded thousands of cattle over hundreds of miles in groups of 12 or so, and they, too, had a commander known as the trail boss. Cowboys were not rugged emblems of independence but instead accepted instructions like everyone else and earned wages lower than those paid in professional factories. Cowboys as young as 12 years old are possible. 

honeeyghost, Paramount Pictures

#6

That Jews and other Holocaust victims gladly went to their deaths, and no one fought back. While it is true that many victims believed they were simply being relocated and that the genocide was not taking place (Nazis/Hitler were incredibly persuasive, and no one could fathom a genocide), others fought back. When people were being deported, there were resistance groups all over the country and those fighting from their homes. Guns, homemade bombs, stolen bombs, and other weapons were utilized. Not everyone was going to the concentration camps, death camps, or detention centres willingly. 

Since 2008, I’ve been researching the Holocaust. 

PrxnceZukoReport

#7

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InPeople did not die in their 30s or 40s. Because of the high infant death rate, the average is skewed. You stood a good chance of living into your senior years if you could make it through your teen years. Obviously, there are numerous variables to consider (e.g. class, gender, occupation, where you lived, etc.) 

crazynekosama, Mayron OliveiraReport

#8

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InIt’s silly, but I despise it when people claim Marilyn Monroe wore a size 12/14/16 dress. Although this was accurate in the 1950s, clothing sizes have changed dramatically since then. Marilyn’s dimensions, according to her fans, were 5 ft. 5.5 inches tall, 35 inches breast, 22 inches waist, 35 inches hips, and 118 pounds. Of course, her weight varied, but it is false that she would have been called “oversize” in modern times. 

She would be a size 00-4 in today’s sizing, depending on where she shops. 

dbsx77,Bert ParryReport

#9

During WWII, the US spent most of its time and resources battling the Nazis to free the Jews. 

Because Japan blasted the sh*t out of us, most US fighting took place in the Pacific theatre. At initially, we were merely planning to support Britain and not join the war. 

Jak_n_DaxReport

#10

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InKnights were far from chivalrous. When they weren’t at war, it was a concept to make them appear generous and explain their brutality among their opponents’ ordinary people. 

Knights could even pay their kings to refuse to engage in a battle if they were ordered to do so, which many did to continue pillaging hovels full of bumpkins because it was a fun sport. 

In summary, many Knights were wealthy, violent bullies with far too much spare time. 

Imfinejusthomeless, Ember Navarro

#11

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe In“Medieval peasant food was bland.”

People seem to believe that peasants merely ate plain bread and potatoes. In actuality, while salt was a luxury they couldn’t always afford, they had enough herbs with which to flavour their food. They also had access to fish and other foods, so they weren’t solely reliant on bread, even though it was a significant part of their diet. 

Check watch Tasting History on YouTube if you’re curious about how various cultures ate throughout history. It’s a fantastic source of historical data as well as amusement. 

Balrog229,circleoftheyear

#12

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe In“Even Einstein was bad at math.”

No, his grades were made public several times and revealed that he received excellent grades in Maths. 

Zero_Talents,Ferdinand Schmutzer

#13

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InNapoleon was a small man. He stood at the height of 5″6′. As a result, he was merely mediocre by European standards at the time. A quick examination reveals that his opponents made this story tarnish his reputation and diminish the respect with which his subjects held him. Even if it’s a funny error, it’s still an error. 

Cathy-the-Grand, Jacques-Louis David

#14

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InThat Neanderthals were brutes who spoke in monosyllabic monosyllabic monosyllabic monosyllabic monosy That is not supported by any evidence. Their brains were more significant than ours, and castings of the insides of their skulls revealed that they shared all of our brain’s architecture. Their tool-making skills were comparable to those of Homo sapiens (at least before the Great Leap Forward), and they lived in groups just like us. 

We also mated with them and had children regularly, something I doubt we would have done if they were nothing more than quasi-gorillas. 

PhillipLlerenas,Bacon Cph

#15

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InOnly about 40% of colonists were in favour of the American Revolution. Another 40% were undecided, with only approximately 20% siding with the British. The vast majority of Americans, according to most Americans, favoured independence. 

placeholderNull,John Trumbull

#16

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InWitches could only be female. Over the centuries, there have been many male ‘witches.’ Indeed, there are many misunderstandings regarding witchcraft in general. 

mickeyajp5,waltdisneystudios

#17

As I’ve previously said, the Earth was mathematically demonstrated to be spherical by the Ancient Greeks in the 3rd Century BC. In the Medieval era, at the very least, literate individuals would not have believed the Earth was flat. 

Furthermore, the Church reportedly repressed research with which they disagreed; hence the Dark Ages were not the Dark Ages. The Church supported many significant discoveries, and scientists and clergy were not mutually exclusive. 

2ndOfficerCHReport

#18

Carrots have the fantastic ability to improve your vision. This is something I still hear people say. Carrots are excellent for you, but no more so than any other vegetable for your eyes. 

When the Nazis bombed Britain during World War II, they couldn’t figure out how the British could shoot down their planes at night. According to British propaganda, their gunners and pilots ate a lot of carrots to sharpen their vision. 

They were actually concealing the fact that they’d invented RADAR and didn’t want the Jerrys to know. 

allmeatbopper

#19

There are so many. 

Native Americans were just as capable of wreaking havoc on the environment as any other human being. My most excellent example came from a professor of archaeology who excavates Native American sites in Baja. When he was excavating a midden (garbage heap), he discovered bones from native land mammals at the bottom, getting smaller and smaller as the locals over-hunted them. Then there was a level of fish and sea mammals, which started with enormous fish and mammals’ bones and got smaller and smaller until they were nearly extinct due to overhunting and overfishing. The shellfish were then placed on top, following the same arrangement as before. The Natives moved on once there appeared to be nothing left to eat at this location. 

When it was necessary to use every part of an animal, Native peoples did so when the creatures were difficult to kill. Between the last ice age and Columbus, there were no horses in North America. In fact, chasing a herd of bison off a cliff was a popular technique of bison slaughter. The Natives left a lot of bones in the death zone, so we know where this happened. If they used every component of the animal, we wouldn’t be able to find it. 

Native Americans were well-versed in the concept of property rights. Various tribe-to-tribe systems, ranging from quasi-socialist bands of multiple families where all produce was held in common (but very explicitly belonged to the band and would be defended against outsiders) to land assigned to different families for use and periodically reapportioned, to land held by families and inheritable. My argument is that colonists created this myth to excuse land theft. It was then promoted as Rousseauian “look at how much better the primitives are!” bullshit. 

Probonoh

#20

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InThat AD means after death.

Evincer1968,Kenny OrrReport

#21

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InThe myth about the Vomitorium

The story goes that Roman nobility would eat so much till they puked and would then continue eating.

It was just the name for the Colosseum entrance.

Th3_Accountant, Kelisi

#22

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InDuring medieval times, if you were a peasant, you could marry anyone you chose for love; however, if you were a noble, king, or similar, you could only marry for power. 

Higher-class people could and did marry for love (though it wasn’t popular). Most peasant marriages were arranged for the same reason as noble marriages: to bring two families together. You rarely got to marry who you liked; instead, it was typically who your parents wanted. 

Also, as far as I’m aware, Prima nocta has never been officially documented. 

Nugo520,20thcenturystudios

#23

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InAnastasia was not buried with the rest of her family, according to popular belief. 

Aware_Masterpiece_23, the United States Library of Congress

#24

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe In Too many of my university students have told me that Lincoln was a slave owner. 

FeelFreeToIgnoreThis,Mathew BradyReport

#25

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InThere is no record of Queen Victoria ever saying, “We are not amused”.

And gladiator fights in Rome weren’t always useless, violent death matches between scumbag inmates. The gladiators were celebrities who had undergone extensive training and were carefully cared for. It was show business entertainment, akin to WWE or other such companies today. 

_spookyvision_,Alexander Bassano

#26

The storming of the Bastille during the French Revolution freed hundreds of political prisoners. 

When, in fact, there were only 7 detainees. Four check forgers, a madman, a sexual deviant, and a man who attempted to assassinate King Louis XV 30 years ago are among the suspects. 

Age-Zealousideal

#27

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InTake a deep breath. 

For more than three decades, I’ve been researching the Titanic accident. Titanic is frequently discussed on Reddit, which I appreciate since it shows how popular my nerdy pastime is. Still, there are a lot of misconceptions about it. This isn’t anyone’s fault, nor is it ignorance; Titanic had the (un)fortunate fortune of fast becoming a symbol, and much of what we think of as history is actually legend. Having said that, below are some of the ones I see frequently. 

We have enough evidence, extraordinary evidence, to conclude that William Murdoch most likely committed suicide. James Cameron shot a scene that directly replicates witness testimony—multiple witnesses, in fact. There is plenty of first-hand and second-hand proof that this occurred. Why it’s regarded to be a myth and why James Cameron had to apologize is an intriguing side story, but back to the main question: in all my study, I’ve yet to find a fact-based reason to believe Will Murdoch was not a suicide victim. 

2)On the same note, Charles Lightoller did, as he should, lower early boats without filling them. It wasn’t a case of ineptness or ignorance; there were numerous reasons why this was the ideal course of action, and it had been practised all night. To be clear, the Titanic’s crew was neither inept nor unprepared; they were the best of the best. 

3)Lifeboat drills were held. Multiple. Every evening at 6 p.m. 

4)The fourth funnel wasn’t a ruse; it simply served a different purpose than the other three. 

5) The Titanic did not go at a high rate. 

6) The boats were not filled according to class. 

7)Third Class was not locked down below, despite some of them believing they were. This is actually quite fascinating in that every point of view on the subject is correct. To return to Cameron, depending on who you ask, his description of this is accurate. It was a misunderstanding, not a case of classism. 

9) No damage from coal fires, and the “proof” is just inaccurate. 

10) The switch theory is not only illogical but also physically impossible. 

11) The Titanic was a passenger liner, not a cruise ship. She was a cruise ship:) 

YourlocalTitanicguy,F.G.O. Stuart

#28

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InThe fact that after the Taj Mahal was built, Shah Jahan severed the hands of his labourers. 

There is virtually no proof other than hearsay. 

During Shah Jahan’s reign, many monuments were created following the Taj Mahal. Consider this: who would want to work for you if they knew they’d lose their hands if they did a good job? 

veniato,Kristian Bertel

#29

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe InThe single vote that punished Louis XVI was cast by Louis-Michel le Peletier. 

In fact, the vote was overwhelmingly in favour of execution. 

Poorly-Drawn-Beagle,Jean-François Garneray

#30

30 People Share Historical 'Facts' That Have Been Proven Wrong Long Ago, But Many People Still Believe In

Corsets were a technique of physically subjugating women because they were uncomfortable and hindered free movement and respiration. 

To begin with, this is frequently said by those who have no idea what the difference is between bodies, stays, and corsets, demonstrating that they are entirely out of their element. 

Women were perfectly capable of getting through physical labour, especially farm work, in that kind of supporting clothing, whether stiffened with interfacing/stitching or “boning,” as evidenced by contemporary art (not necessarily made of bone). And if you’ve ever worn one, you know how supportive they are for your back and core. 

In my perspective, they are far comfier than bras. 

Oh, and they didn’t leave red scars on your flesh since, unlike a bra, you’d never wear one on your skin (tough to wash), but rather over a shift/chemise/combination garment. Try wearing your bra OVER a tank top or something similar. You’ll see that (1) there’s no loss of support, (2) it’s much gentler on the skin, and (3) the bra needs to be washed considerably less frequently. 

Loose_Acanthaceae20, Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation

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