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Historical Claims That Just Aren't Backed Up By Facts

Reddit user Radiant-Search-7441 asked: 'What claims are just not backed by the historical facts?'

unknown person holding newspaper
The New York Public Library on Unsplash

The winners write the history isn't entirely accurate.

Sometimes the losers who last longer than the winners get to write a smear campaign against their rivals.

But with a little research, the historical facts can be sussed out.

Reddit user Radiant-Search-7441 asked:

"What claims are just not backed by the historical facts?"

Albert Einstein

"Einstein being a low-level student."

"His grades were average to top tier of the class, and he was pretty damn good academically."

~ Only-Negotiation-340

Ponce de León

"I'm sick of curriculum materials teaching my fourth graders that the Spanish discovered Florida when they were looking for the Fountain of Youth."

"That lie was developed in the 1920s as a tourist gimmick."

"There's literally nothing in the historical record that supports it."

~ fastfood12

Marilyn Monroe

"Marilyn Monroe never said 'if you can't handle me at my worst, you don't deserve me at my best'."

"There is literally no documented proof she ever said that."

~ prex10


"That binary numbers were first used by Leibniz."

"Most computer histories make this claim."

"But there's an existing manuscript page by the English mathematician Thomas Harriot that includes binary numbers and binary multiplication that was written around 1605, forty years before Leibniz was born."

~ RunDNA

Flat Earth

"That all ancient people thought the Earth was flat."

"We have records from around 430BC where Greek philosophers spoke of the Earth being a sphere."

"In 240BC the Greek astronomer Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the Earth and was only about 2% off."

~ Apprehensive_Bug_826


"Corsets were not typically tight laced. They were only tight laced by the highly fashionable women, and usually only for particular events or portraits."

"Corsets were designed to be comfortable. Women wore a cotton layer underneath the corset, so it didn't rub against the skin."

"The corset was more like a bra, but instead of using the shoulders for support it used the whole torso. Some people claim they are much more comfortable than modern bras."

"The intense proportions of the past were achieved with corsets AND padding. Tight lacing was uncommon, but layers of petticoats or hoops or bum rolls or whatever else was very common to give women the trendy body shape at the time."

~ TartReceptor


"The White Star Line saying the Titanic was unsinkable."

"It was actually a shipping magazine that first called the Olympic class unsinkable."

"In a similar note the RMS Britannic being called Gigantic. The name Gigantic only appears once on an order for an anchor. Every other piece of documentation refers to the Britannic as the Britannic."

~ Blackmore_Vale


"Executioners/hangmen didn't wear hoods. People knew who they were."

"There are even several instances where the job gets passed from father to son like a family business."

"They were paid okay, but also made side money from selling stuff used for the execution like bits of rope and fabric and stuff."

"There's a book called Lord High Executioner by Howard Engel that goes into the history of it and it's fascinating."

~ LuxValentino


"Vomitoria were passages designed to accommodate large crowds, not rooms for actual vomiting."

"'Vomit' comes from Latin for 'spew forth'."

~ ItsGotThatBang

Peasant Hygiene

"The idea that medieval/early modern people (especially peasants) were filthy/had poor hygiene and never left their villages."

"Medieval people cleaned themselves and their clothes fairly regularly."

"They even cleaned their teeth by chewing split twigs."

"Also, it was fairly common even for peasants to travel to pilgrimage sites on holy days/periods."

~ BungadinRidesAgain

Young Earth Creationism

"Young Earth Creationism is NOT the historically believed position of the Early Christian Church or the Ancient Church."

"It's a fairly recent theological position initially proported by 7th Day Adventists, but quickly became popular with Fundamentalists due to backlash over evolution becoming mainstream."

"Before that, most people saw the Creation narrative in Genesis as a narrative myth not meant to be read as scientific fact."

~ Mobabyhomeslice

2020 Election

"That there was massive fraud in the 2020 election."

"When you lose 60 times in a row in federal court and fail to produce any evidence, it's time to hang it up."

~ LincHayes

"Also worth noting, in almost none of these 60+ lawsuits did they even say fraud took place. It was all about the theory that fraud could have happened."

"Conservatives were never told this by their media—so when all these suits got stopped for having no standing, they just said the judges were being activist."

"Even GiulianI's own PA lawsuit—they went around telling the public there was fraud, there was fraud."

"But in the court documents, where they can't just lie to a judge? They went out of their way to say 'we're not saying any fraud actually happened'."

~ griminald

Child Brides

"That every women in the Middle ages married at 12 or 13 and started having babies immediately."

~ Available-Bell-9394

"As I understand it with the first one, it depends who and where you are."

"English commoners would be getting married in their early 20s, and were likely to be the same age."

"Mediterranean countries often had bigger age gaps, and slightly younger ages - say 15-16."

~ Simonoz1

American Civil War

"That the American Civil War wasn't about slavery and was started by the Union."

"Both of these are wildly wrong, but various groups hold to them like an emotional support blanket so they can rationalize their chosen side lost."

~ MandoFett117

Pilgrims Progress

"Puritans leaving Europe to the New World because of religious persecution."

"They left because they were religious zealots and weren't allowed to impose their reforms in the Church of England.";

~ loki1887

Some of these myths have unknown origins, while others involve deliberate deception.

So what false claims have you heard?