There’s no way the education system would spend generations telling historical legends as if they’re facts, right? Wrong. Some of the history lessons we all believe are completely inaccurate. So let’s dive in and start dispelling some of the top lies you were taught in history class so that you can win your next round of trivia with your friends!
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Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride
Just about everyone hears about Paul Revere warning the colonists of the British invasion. He got on his horse and shouted, “the British are coming!” As kids, we don’t question it, but as adults, we should. Why? Because if Paul Revere did this, British troops would have successfully invaded because they’d hear him shouting.
In truth, Revere didn’t ride alone; he worked alongside several freedom fighters to light lanterns as a form of communication. Two lit lanterns meant the British troops were coming by sea rather than by land.
Most of us have heard the rumors that Napoleon was a very short man. Some even use the term “Napoleon complex” to describe an overly aggressive short person. But contrary to belief, Napoleon wasn’t short for his time—actually, he was of average height. So how tall was he? He stood at about 5 feet, 5 inches, which was typical for European men at his time.
Betsy Ross’s Flag
There are all kinds of myths about the American Flag that we learn in history, including that Betsy Ross made the first flag. Nearly everyone believes this, but it’s a myth with no evidence—Ross’s grandson started the legend 100 years after the Revolutionary War.
According to legend, Washington made a personal appearance and asked Betsy to lend her seamstress skills. However, this probably never happened because the navy flew the first American Flag, while Washington led ground troops.
Thomas Edison did not invent the lightbulb. In fact, contrary to what many believe, he didn’t independently think up most of his inventions. Instead, he helped develop them, but he was not the sole creator we often think he was.
Christopher Columbus and America
We’re taught quite a bit about Christopher Columbus in grade school, and it’s one of the top lies you were taught in history. Most notably, we believe that his voyage proved the earth was round and that he discovered America. Neither of these is accurate.
By the time Columbus made his voyage, all educated people knew that the world wasn’t flat. And we know he didn’t discover the United Stated because he never made it past the Caribbean.
Want to learn more lies we tell? Watch the video below!