Tag Archives: history

These 16 Facts Prove Everything You Thought You Knew About History… Is Dead Wrong.

As most people go through school, they probably accept what they are taught in their classes as absolute truth. Subjects like American or World History have lessons based on events that happened decades or centuries ago, so how could anyone possibly get this stuff wrong? As it turns out, it’s pretty easy. There are a lot of historical “myths” that are commonly accepted as fact. Some of these may surprise you (and make you feel better about flunking that one History test).

1.) George Washington’s teeth were not made of wood; they were made of gold, ivory, lead, human teeth, donkey teeth and horse teeth. Ew.


2.) Christopher Columbus didn’t discover the mainland US. In fact, he never even found it. The closest he got was the Caribbean islands.


3.) The Vikings didn’t have horns on their helmets. That image originated in a popular opera by Richard Wagner in 1876.


4.) Napoleon Bonaparte was not short; he was 5’7”. That was slightly taller than average for a Frenchman at the time.


5.) Today’s popular image of Santa Claus was not created by Coca-Cola. The current iteration of Saint Nick had already been created before Coke used it.


6.) Iron maidens were not invented during the Medieval period. They weren’t used for torture. They were created in the 18th century and were pieced together from artifacts in museums to attract more visitors.


7.) Albert Einstein didn’t fail math in school, it was a false claim published by Ripley’s. Before he was 15, he mastered differential and integral calculus.


8.) Medieval Europeans didn’t think the Earth was flat. From the time of the ancient Greek philosphers like Plato and Aristotle, most European intellectuals accepted the spherical Earth theory.


9.) Benjamin Franklin didn’t propose the wild turkey as a symbol for the United States. He wrote a private letter to his daughter, expressing the fact that he didn’t like the eagle and preferred the turkey.


10.) Chastity belts were invented in the 18th century to prevent teenagers from masturbating (which they thought led to insanity). It wasn’t to prevent pregnancy in the Middle Ages.


11.) Marie Antoinette did not say “Let them eat cake.” when she found out the French peasantry was starving. Rousseau published the quote when she was only ten. It was either made up by Rosseau himself or said by someone like the king’s wife.


12.) Cinco de Mayo isn’t Mexico’s Independence Day, as some believe. (Their independence from Spain is celebrated on 9/16.) It celebrates their victory against the French in the Battle of Puebla.


13.) In Rome, vomitoriums weren’t used for vomiting, they actually were the entrances and exists Romans used in stadiums. Romans also didn’t throw up between courses or meals.


14.) No one was burned at the stake during the Salem witch trials. The accused died in prison or were hanged.


15.) Pilgrims didn’t have buckles on their hats or wear the same dark clothing. Three centuries after the pilgrims, the popular image was created when buckles were a symbol of quaintness.


16.) The US Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4, 1776. It was approved by Congress on that day and signed on August 2, 1776.


(H/T Ebaumsworld) Surprised? A lot of half truths and whole lies have been passed down through generations. Most of these myths are accepted as the truth just because the average person doesn’t have the knowledge you would need to dispute these claims. So spread the word: everything you know about history could be wrong. Share this article!

Is This The Most Bizarre Historical Coincidence Of All Time?

December 5 might just go down as one of history’s most coincidental days ever.

On that date in 1664, a ship sank in the Menai Strait, located off the coast of North Wales. 80 passengers died — there was only one survivor, a man named Hugh Williams.

That same day in 1785, another shipwreck occurred in the same strait. Once again, all passengers died except for a man by the name of Hugh Williams.

By now it should come as no surprise that yet again in 1820, a third ship lost its battle against the sea, leaving only one survivor. His name? Hugh Williams.

Is all of this the result of pure coincidence, or is something else to blame?

While there appears to be a clear connection between the Menai Strait and men named Hugh Williams, the coincidence might not be as sensational as you think.

The Menai Strait is known for its rough waters year-round, but during the winter months, especially in early December, they can be unbelievably uneasy, and the weather is quite gloomy and rainy. Given this, and the fact that the strait is heavily trafficked, it should come as no surprise that it has seen its fair share of shipwrecks. It is believed that during the 200-year span between the three notable shipwrecks, there were upwards of 300 reported wrecks in the strait.

Read More: 25 Happenings Throughout History That Seem Too Weird To Be True

A Hidden Chemistry Lab Was Found During A Rotunda Renovation At The University Of Virginia

The famous Rotunda the center of the University of Virginia is an important part of history. Thomas Jefferson built it as a library at the center of his small university. Since then, it has been transformed into the central focus of the school…but not after being used as a chem lab. (Yep.)

Renovations on the historic Rotunda began on May 19, 2014 and will conclude in Summer 2016. During these renovations, workers discovered a hidden gem inside one of the walls: a chemical hearth and workstation, sealed since the 1850s.

Thomas Jefferson’s original Rotunda was home to laboratory experiments and chemistry classes, each taking place in the Lower East Oval Room and lectures in the Lower West Oval Room.

The chemistry hearth contains two “fire boxes” that provided heat, as well as underground brick tunnels that fed air to the wood-burning and coal-burning furnaces.

According to the university, the (super-cool) chemical hearth will remain on display, even after the renovations are complete.

You won’t be able to make your own meth, but visitors can peek inside of the small lab and see the workstations that students used.

Now, one final question must be answered.

Did Thomas Jefferson just support education…or was he an old-school Walter White (a la Breaking Bad)?

Celebrities And Their Historical Doppelgangers Will Blow Your Mind. Wow.

Are these celebrities time travelers or do they just have random historical doppelgangers? Like all people who came before us, there have to be some repeats. If you looked at enough old pictures, you’d probably find someone who looked like you. After all, there can only be so many unique faces, right?

I suppose it makes sense that those popular and powerful enough to have their likeness captured by a camera look like the folks who make their livings in front of one. Check out these celebrities and their historical doppelgangers!  

1.) Alec Baldwin / Millard Fillmore

2.) Zach Galifianakis / Louis Vuitton

3.) Ellen Degeneres / Henry David Thoreau

4.) George Carlin / Charles Darwin

5.) Jennifer Lawrence / Zubaida Tharwat (Egyptian Actress)

6.) Conan O’Brien / Marshall Henry Twitchell

7.) Sylvester Stallone / Pope Gregory IX

8.) Mark Zuckerberg / Philip IV

9.) Jack Gleeson / Caligula

10.) Andrew Garfield / Leon Trotsky

11.) Jack Black / Paul Revere

12.) Bruce Willis / WWII General Douglas MacArthur

13.) Peter Dinklage / Diego Velazquez’s “Portrait of Sebastián de Morra”

14.) Rupert Grint / David Wilkie

15.) Orlando Bloom / Nicolae Grigorescu

16.) Macaulay Culkin / Vladimir Putin

(via izismile)

Those are all pretty spot on. You know what? I’ve changed my mind; they ARE time travelers. That’s got to be it.

You’ve Probably Heard Of This Famous Husky, But Did You Know He Helped Save An Entire Town?

If you happened to hear the name Balto, you’d likely picture the Disney movie about the brave husky’s journey.

But it wasn’t just the cartoon pooch who led a team of sled dogs for miles to deliver lifesaving medicine — he was a real dog who, along with many other huskies, helped to stop a deadly disease outbreak in Nome, Alaska.

In 1925, the small town’s only doctor was concerned when he began noticing that multiple residents were showing signs of diphtheria, an extremely contagious infection affecting the nose and throat. About 15,520 Americans died from the disease in 1921, so you can imagine how worried he was about it turning into an epidemic. In fact, several children had already died.

The only way to treat diphtheria was with an antitoxin, and the closest city that had it was Anchorage, which is more than 500 miles away from Nome. Unfortunately, the only aircraft that could have delivered it was out of commission.

Though the serum was able to be transported by train from Anchorage to Nenana, it was still hundreds of miles away. City officials decided that their only chance to get the medicine in time would be to break up the journey between multiple sled dog teams made up of 20 mushers and 150 dogs.

The historic 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the Great Race of Mercy, began on January 27 with Wild Bill Shannon and his team of sled dogs. After picking up the serum in Nenana, they traveled in brutal temperatures that reached negative 62 degrees Fahrenheit. By the time they met the next team, Shannon’s nose had turned black from frostbite and four of his dogs had died.

After being passed through several more teams, the package carrying the serum was handed to Leonhard Seppala. He and his group, led by a Siberian husky named Togo, traveled over 170 miles in temperatures as low as negative 85 degrees Fahrenheit before giving the serum to Charlie Olsen on February 1. By this time, 28 people in Nome had diphtheria.

If You Don’t Think Teddy Was Our Most Hardcore President, This Will Change Your Mind

Teddy Roosevelt is commonly depicted as a hardcore frontiersman charging his steed into a herd of buffalo, and despite being born the sickly child of a wealthy Manhattan socialite, he pretty much was the legendary figure that we make him out to be.

Need proof of his awesomeness? Well, did I mention that the guy was once shot in the chest and then proceeded to give a campaign speech mere minutes later? I didn’t? This is how it went down.

During the 1912 presidential campaign, the Republican Party was split between Taft’s more conservative outlook and Roosvelt’s, which was more progressive.

Losing the Republican nomination to Taft, Roosevelt decided to form the Bull Moose Party.

But some Republicans saw this separation as an affront to the stability of the party. Someone who was decidedly unhappy with Roosevelt’s approach was John Flammang Schrank, who owned a saloon in Milwaukee.

Hearing that Roosevelt was coming to Milwaukee to campaign, Schrank attended a dinner held by Roosevelt at a hotel. As Roosevelt was leaving to go deliver a speech, Schrank shot him in the chest.

Fun fact: Schrank claimed that the ghost of former president William McKinley appeared to him in a dream and instructed him to shoot Teddy.

The bullet flew through 50 pages of a folded document (on which Teddy’s speech was written) and a steel eyeglass case before entering his chest.

Despite all of that, Roosevelt delivered his speech. The audience marveled at his opening lines: “Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”

Being an experienced hunter, Roosevelt concluded that because he wasn’t coughing blood, the bullet hadn’t reached his lungs.

The bullet did not penetrate his pleura, meaning that it would be more dangerous to remove it than it would be to leave it in place. Teddy kept the bullet in there for the rest of his life.

The wound caused Teddy to be off the campaign trail for several weeks and kept him from doing his daily exercises. This is when Teddy started to gain weight. In the end, Roosevelt defeated Taft by a slight margin, but it was not enough to beat the Democratic Party that year. Woodrow Wilson took office in 1913.

These Photos Of World War I Show Soldiers With Their Cat Companions.

If you thought cats were just wimps who laid around all day, think again. These photos show how during World War I, they were often found in the trenches, on the ships and in the middle of the action doing their part to help soldiers protect our freedoms.

That part was largely to act as mousers, keeping any wandering rodent away from the troops vital stock of rations, but they also were also embraced as mascots and pets for many units. The feline friends gave the soldiers invaluable comfort while they performed their heroic duties.

And, of course, they were were also super adorable.

1.) A Canadian soldier with his unit’s mascot, Tabby.


2.) On the HMS Queen Elizabeth, this daring ship’s cat walked on the barrel of a 15-inch gun.

Bibliotheque nationale de France

3.) The mascot of the HMS Dreadnought, Togo.


4.) Company O’Connor Men pose for a portrait with their cat.

Australian War Memorial

5.) A couple of Scottish soldiers in the 9th Battalion, Gordon Highlanders, with their pet cat, Martinpuich.


6.) The HMS Encounter’s ship cat.


7.) A gunner in a French trench with his regimental cat.


8.) This little guy was discovered in the ruins of Le Cateau-Cambrésis by officers of the U.S. 2nd Army Corps.

Pictorial Record of the 27th Division

9.) The mascot of the HMS Vindex, Pincher, sitting on the propeller of one of the sea planes carried by this ship.


10.) Mascot Spark Plug is probably giving his fellow soldier solid advice on the propeller.

Library of Congress

11.) Two cats cozying up in the breech of a 4-inch caliber gun on an American ship.

U.S. Naval Institute

12.) A mascot hanging out in with a soldier in a sandbagged dugout.

Australian War Memorial

13.) Soldier holding a kitten for his studio portrait.

Australian War Memorial

14.) Ching, the mascot of the Royal Australian Navy Destroyer HMAS Swan, shaking hands with a sailor.

Australian War Memorial

15.) A sailor from the HMAS Melbourne holding two ship’s cats.

Australian War Memorial

16.) A British soldier forming a pact with their mascot.

Illustrated War News

(via iO9.)

The feline tradition actually dates back even further, probably originating in ancient Egypt on their explorations. And you thought all they were good for were silly Internet videos.

‘What does that even mean?’ President Obama says ‘we stand on the side of history’; Update: Full quote added


Yesterday, President Obama let Vladimir Putin know that Russia is on “the wrong side of history.” Today, we found out that we’re just … “on the side”:




Maybe some context will help:


Yeah … “side of history” still sounds pretty dumb.



Seriously, though. President Obama’s buckling before our eyes. It’s quite pathetic.


Clearly Obama’s understanding of history differs from ours.


That sounds more like historical fiction.



Here’s the full quote for context, via NBC News:

“So we stand on the side of history that, I think, more and more people around the world deeply believe in, the principle that a sovereign people, an independent people, are able to make their own decisions about their own lives,” he added. “And, you know, Mr. Putin can throw a lot of words out there, but the facts on the ground indicate that right now he is not abiding by that principle.”

By Adding Color To Famous Photographs, This Artist Forces Us To Confront The Past

There are certain images that become inseparable from the human psyche over time — photographs that capture human history in a series of familiar snapshots.

Whether you’ve dedicated your life to historical study or you’re a casual consumer of the past, you probably associate tattered, striped uniforms with one of the most devastating tragedies in human history, and the file in your mind marked “Civil Disobedience” is probably labeled with horrific pictures of a monk on fire. But in those images, stripes aren’t white and blue. Fire burns in monochromatic plumes.

And for that reason, we’re able to draw a bold line between past and present — us and them. While black and white images are powerful, they’re also remote. They signify some elusive “other.” In an effort to not only blur that line, but to erase it completely, artist Marina Amaral colorizes history’s most ubiquitous imagery.

“Looking at photographs in black and white creates obstacles,” Amaral explained to ViralNova. “This is especially true when we want to establish emotional connections with the past.”

“When a photo is in color,” she writes, “it is no longer distant. It represents something that could’ve happened yesterday.”

Before she begins the colorization process, the artist spends countless hours pinning down the story behind each image. “I use color to help viewers see the past in the same way that people did when the photo was taken,” she said.

It’s this sense of proximity that Amaral aims to achieve in her work, and her success in that regard is undeniable.


Her efforts push important moments in history so close to us that we can reach out and touch them.

Amaral’s mission is clearest in her most unsettling images. Photographs that were once allowed to slip into some hidden, immutable space are fundamentally changed and impossible to ignore.

“I hope people can appreciate my work,” she writes. “I’m not trying to replace the original images. Instead, I want to offer a second perspective.”

When confronted with her work, we’re suddenly unable to comfortably throw the past in sharp relief against the present.


The fact of the matter is that these images make us run through the gamut of human emotion, with responses ranging from joy to discomfort to total despair.

While Amaral always hopes to give her audience a more authentic sense of the past, this endeavor is also deeply personal.

“My knowledge of human history grows with each colorization,” she writes. “The process helps me develop a more empathetic vision of the way things were. To me, there’s nothing better than that.”

To see more of Marina Amaral’s work, be sure to check out her website. For regular updates, follow her on Twitter.

These Quotes From Apollo Astronauts Might Make You Believe In Aliens

When Americans first landed on the moon back in 1969, it inspired a wave of excitement about space travel. Many believed that this excitement would lead to settlements on the moon, which would make mankind an interplanetary species. Sadly, that never happened.

Could that be because the first men on the moon weren’t alone up there? It sounds like an outlandish claim, but judging by these NASA transcripts from the Apollo missions, there might be some truth to it.

Apollo 8


Here’s an excerpt from that mission:

03 16 44 39 LMP: There’s a strange light down there.
03 16 h4 45 CDR: Is it a bonfire?
03 16 24 47 LMP: It might be campfires.
03 16 h5 03 C5: How does it look?

Apollo 11

This one is especially scary.

03 08 20 18 IRP: That’s a spectacular crater.
03 08 20 23 CDR: Did you shoot some pictures while you were over there?
03 08 20 25 CMP: No, it’s just going by. We’d better get it later. There will be better times.
03 08 20 42 CMP: Boy, there must be nothing more desolate than to be inside some of these craters, these conical ones.
03 08 20 50 CDR: People that live in there probably never get out.

Apollo 10


Some weird stuff was happening on the Apollo 10 mission.

04 06 13 02 LMP: That music even sounds outer-spacy, doesn’t it? You hear that? That whistling sound?
04 06 13 06 CDR: Yes.
04 06 13 12 CMP: Did you hear that whistling sound, too?
04 06 13 14 LMP: Yes. Sounds like – you know, outer-space-type music.
04 06 13 18 CMP: I wonder what it is.

04 12 09 16 CDR: What the hell was that gurgling noise?
04 12 09 25 LMP: I don’t know. But I’ll tell you, that eerie music is what’s bothering me.
04 12 09 28 CMP: God damn, I heard it, too.
04 12 09 29 LMP: You know that was funny. That’s just like something from outer space, really. Who’s going to believe it?
04 12 09 34 CMP: Nobody. Shall we tell them about it?
04 12 09 39 LMP: I don’t know. We ought to think about it some.
04 12 09 41 CMP: Did you hear it, Tom?
04 12 09 42 LMF: Yes, he heard it.
04 12 09 43 CDR: Yes.
04 12 09 47 LMP: Hell, I just want to get out of this suit.

Apollo 14


And what they said during this conversation is more than a little bit freaky.

03 12 22 39 I2_P: Really an interesting one, huh? Got a rugged one right out here with the central peaks.
03 12 23 05: Sure does. Really got a very complex central structure.
03 12 23 08 CR: It’s got one of the biggest central peaks. It’s a very unusual crater. But there are some dark areas in it and Farouk has gone on record saying that they are dikes.
03 12 23 37 CMl: That’s one right down there. Just shows how it dominates the whole photograph. Just an extremely bright crater. Sun angle just isn’t high enough for you to see it here …. Yes, they’re mining it, I think.

(via Reddit)

If these quotes were taken directly from NASA transcripts, what the heck were these guys seeing out there? Sure, we’re reading them out of context, but they’re freaky nonetheless.