33 History “Facts” We’ve All Been Getting Dead Wrong

Published February 2, 2018
Updated March 14, 2024

Turns out a ton of what we all learned in high school history class just isn't true.

Fortune Cookie
Columbus Lands In The New World
Betsy Ross
33 History “Facts” We’ve All Been Getting Dead Wrong
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As the centuries tick on by, history has a way of becoming blurred. In many cases, it doesn't even take centuries for a historical fact to become distorted, but merely a few decades — if not sooner.

Whether such distortions happen for political reasons or because of unintentional mistakes, historical inaccuracies shape our very perceptions of the important events and figures of our past. Villains can become heroes and triumphs can be misrepresented or worse, forgotten.

Then there are the straightforward historical "facts" that we all know to be true — even though they aren't. From high school textbooks to movies and TV shows, countless sources repeat such historical "facts" that are actually nothing more than myths.

Did you think Napoleon was short, for example? Did you think Betsy Ross designed the American flag? Did you think the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4, 1776?

In each of these cases, the truth is much different, sometimes much more complicated — and often far more interesting — than you ever realized. Moreover, of course, the truth is the truth; it clears away the falsehoods that have taken root in our minds and allowed us to form some warped ideas about humanity's past. And ultimately, these false ideas about our past can inform false ideas about our present and our future.

The gallery above will help clear up some historical myths and misconceptions and finally give the real facts their due.

Next, check out some interesting history facts you've never heard before. Then, have a look at some interesting random facts that'll make you feel like the smartest person in any room.

Joel Stice
Joel Stice holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with more than 10 years of experience in writing and editing, during which time his work has appeared on Heavy, Uproxx, and Buzzworthy.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Stice, Joel. "33 History “Facts” We’ve All Been Getting Dead Wrong." AllThatsInteresting.com, February 2, 2018, https://allthatsinteresting.com/history-myths-busted. Accessed May 21, 2024.