*Henry VIII had 6 wives. First, Katherine of Aragon, was annulled NOT divorced. Second, Anne Boleyn, was beheaded with a sword. Third, Jane Seymour, died. Fourth, Anne of Cleves, was annulled. Fifth, Katherine Howard, was beheaded with an axe. Sixth, Catherine Parr, survived him.
* After Napoleon died in 1821, his body was autopsied in France, and his height was noted at 5'2". This measurement was in French feet and was never correctly converted to standard English measure. In English feet, Napoleon stood 5 foot 6.5 inches tall. So in fact, Napoleon was actually slightly taller than the average Frenchman of 1800.
* George Washington did not chop down a cherry tree. The story was invented by Parson Mason Weems who wrote a biography of Washington shortly after his death. Since so little is known about Washington’s childhood, Weems invented several anecdotes about his early life to illustrate the origins of the heroic qualities he exhibited as an adult.
*George Washington did not have wooden teeth. He had a large collection of false teeth, made of everything from elephatn ivory, walrus tusk, hippopotamus tusk, and one of human teeth. But none were made of wood.
*George Washington did not wear a wig, nor did Thomas Jefferson. Even though wigs were fashionable, they kept their own hair. Both wore theirs long and tied back in a queue, or ponytail. George did, however, powder his hair as was the custom of the time, and as a lawyer Thomas would powder his hair for a trial.
* Betsy Ross did not sew the first American flag. In 1870 Ross's grandson, William J. Canby, presented a paper to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in which he claimed that his grandmother had "made with her hands the first flag" of the United States. Smithsonian experts point out that Canby's romantic tale appealed to Americans eager for stories about the Revolution and its heroes and heroines, but is a myth.
* William Shakespeare actually wrote about half of his romance sonnets for a young man.
*Adolf Hitler was not German at all, he was Austrian. He didn't become German until he took office 19 years after arriving in Germany. - Last bit submitted by Macgyver644200
*The United States is not a democracy, it is a constitutional republic.
* Victims of the Salem Witch trials were not burned at at the stake. There is no record of burning at the stake in any New state in the 17th c. Hanging was the method of execution [and one was in fact stoned to death.] - Last part added by contrachick
*Marie Antoinette never said "Let them eat cake." In 1766, Rousseau wrote that he was quoting the famous saying of "a great princess", which was incorrectly attributed to Marie Antoinette. She couldn't have made the statement because in 1766, she was only 11 years old.
* You cannot see the Great Wall from the moon, or space for that matter. The Great Wall is only a maximum of 30 feet wide and is about the same color as its surroundings, so it's barely visible to the naked eye while orbiting Earth under ideal conditions and the moon is 239,000 miles away.
* Benjamin Franklin did not discover electricity when his kite was struck by lightning in 1752. In fact, electricity was already well known at the time. Instead, Franklin was trying to prove the electrical nature of lightning.
* The first shot of the Civil War was not at Fort Sumter. Instead, it was fired at the "Star of the West" which was taking supplies to Major Anderson at Fort Sumter.
*Lewis and Clark did not begin their journey in St. Louis. The first entry of the Lewis & Clark Journals state that Lewis began the expedition in Pittsburgh, PA where he sailed with supplies down the Ohio River. Clark would join him later with other men in Indiana and only then did they call themselves the 'Corps of Discovery."
*The Lewis and Clark expedition did not consist of just Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and Sacajawea. There were 51 other people involved.
*The Beatles were first introduced to America on tape in Jan. 1964 on the 'Jack Paar Show', not the Ed Sullivan Show.
*Charles Lindbergh was not the first person to cross the Atlantic in an airplane. 66 people did it before him, however he was the first to do it solo.
* The Hundred Years' War lasted 116 years.
*Paul Revere did not single-handedly ride on horseback to warn residents of the British attack. There were 60 riders who spread the word that night. One man alone could never have covered such a distance, especially on horseback.
* Paul Revere did not say “The British are coming!” In 1775 the colonists still thought of themselves as British. British soldiers were called “the regulars”. When Revere came galloping along in the middle of the night, the guard told him to stop making so much noise. Revere responded by saying “Noise? You’ll have noise enough before long. The regulars are out.”
*"Bloody Mary" was not the woman who bathed in the blood of young girls in a bathtub. That was Erzerbet Bathori or the "Blood Countess" (1560 - 1614). "Bloody Mary" was the nickname given to Queen Mary I of England (1516 - 1558) during the Marian Persecutions or the persecutions of religious reformers and Protestants.
*Christopher Columbus's efforts to obtain support for his voyages were not hampered by a European belief in a flat Earth. In fact, sailors and navigators of the time knew that the Earth was spherical, but disagreed with Columbus' estimates of the distance to the Indies.
* Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation did not immediately free all American slaves, just the ones in the area under revolt (i.e. the South). Since that area did not recognize his authority, only a few slaves were immediately freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. Most slaves were freed as Confederate territory.
*The German crowd witnessing John F. Kennedy's speech in Berlin in 1963 did not mistake Ich bin ein Berliner to mean "I am a jelly doughnut." The pastry is known as a Berliner only in some parts of Germany, but not in Berlin.
*Thomas Edison neither invented the light bulb, nor held the first patent to the modern design of the light bulb. In reality, light bulbs used as electric lights existed 50 years prior to Thomas Edison's 1879 patent date in the U.S. Additionally, Joseph Swan, a British inventor, obtained the first patent for the same light bulb in Britain one year prior to Edison's patent date. Edison's light bulb, in fact, was a carbon copy of Swan's light bulb.
*Martin Luther did not nail his 95 theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg. Instead, he included them, round about the same time (1517), with a letter he wrote to his superiors denouncing the sale of indulgences. Most historians now believe it's likely that the story of the nailing is a Christian urban legend, invented after the fact for greater dramatic effect.
*When concerning the story of the "Man in the Iron Mask" disputed to be either the Duc de Vermandois, a twin brother of Louis XIV, or an elder brother of Louis XIV, it should be noted that the "Iron Mask" wasn't an iron mask at all. It was a simple mask of black velvet.
*The phrase "L'État, c'est moi" ("I am the State") is frequently attributed to King Louis XIV, though this is more likely to have been conceived by political opponents as a way of confirming the stereotypical view of the absolutism he represented. Quite contrary to that apocryphal quote, Louis XIV is actually reported to have said on his death bed: "Je m'en vais, mais l'État demeurera toujours." ("I am going away, but the State will always remain").
* George Washington was not the first president to live in the White House. The White House was not completed until after his presidency, although he did help select the site of the new capital city and the executive mansion. As President, Washington first lived in New York and later, Philadelphia.
*It is believed that the Carib people of the Caribbean were cannibals. But even after Columbus was presented with evidence that this was untrue, the myth was perpetuated because in 1503, it was ruled that 'only people who were better off under slavery' (including cannibals) could legally be taken as slaves. This provided Spaniards an incentive to enslave them. The film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest was criticized for portraying the Carib people as cannibals.
*It is a myth that the Danish king, that in Sweden was known as Christian the Tyrant because of his tyrannical ways against the swedes, is called Christian the Kind in Denmark. - Submitted by Lunarseed
*Admiral Lord Nelson did not wear an eye patch. The nearest he came to it was a peaked eye-shade which he had built onto his naval hat, but that was there to protect his good eye from the sun, not to hide his bad eye. Nelson had no need to wear an eye-patch, because there was no disfigurement to hide. - Submitted by xpirateobsessedx
*Galileo Galilei was not the first person to look through a telescope and draw his observations. That honor belongs to Thomas Harriot, an Englishman, who bought his first "Dutch trunke" (i.e. telescope) shortly after its invention in the Netherlands and made a sketch of the moon as seen through it in July of 1609.
*While many sources claim that the Quartering Act of 1774 allowed troops to occupy private homes, this is a myth. The act only permitted troops to be quartered in unoccupied buildings. The freedom from having soldiers quartered in private homes was a liberty guaranteed since 1628 by the Petition of Right. Although many colonists found the Quartering Act objectionable, it generated the least protest of the Intolerable Acts.
*Concerning the Boston Massacre, it was certainly not a massacre but rather a moment of self-defense. The mob had grown to over 100 people and was pressing around the soldiers. They harassed and threw small objects at them, one soldier was struck down with a club, and many were taunting the soldiers by shouting "Fire!". In the trial of the soldiers, which opened November 27, 1770, John Adams argued that if the soldiers were endangered by the mob they had the legal right to fight back, and so were innocent.
*The celebration of the October Revolution in Russia and Belarus is in fact celebrated on November 7. This is because of the switch from Soviet Julian calendar to the now Russian Gregorian calendar. - Submitted by blondeewolf
*Lewis and Clark, sadly, did not actually see the Pacific Ocean. They landed at the mouth of the Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon on November 7 1805. The day was rainy and foggy, and the Columbia River estuary was four or five miles wide and they could not see the Oregon side of the river or Point Adams at the mouth of the river in the distance. But they were close enough to have reached their goal.
*The name of the "Blackfeet" tribe of Montana, though the official name of this tribe, is actually a misnomer given to them by white authorities. The word is not plural in the Blackfoot language, and some Blackfoot people still resist this name.
*A final copy of the Declaration of Independence was produced by Timothy Matlack, assistant to the secretary of Congress, on August 2, 1776, at which time most of the delegates signed it. Because it is dated July 4, 1776, many people falsely believe it was signed on that date.
*The Liberty Bell was not rung to celebrate independence, and it certainly did not acquire its crack by doing so: that story comes from a children's book, Legends of the American Revolution, by George Lippard. The Liberty Bell was actually named in the early nineteenth century when it became a symbol of the anti-slavery movement.
*During the American Civil War, when men under the age of 18 wanted to enlist, they would sometimes write '18' on a piece of paper and stick it in their shoe. This way, when the officers asked "Are you over the age of 18?" the boys could honestly answer, "We're over 18." - submitted by IAmMeWhoAreYou
* The USS Constitution is not the world's oldest commissioned vessel, merely the oldest floating commissioned vessel. The HMS Victory is just over three decades older, but was put into permanent dry dock in the 1920s. - submitted by IsBreaLiomCaife
* The Titanic isn't the greatest loss of life in maritime history to this day, if the numbers are accurate, it was the MV Wilhelm Gustloff. - submitted by TitanicExpert
* On October 17, 1978, President Jimmy Carter restored American citizenship to President Jefferson Davis of the Confederacy. It was deemed fitting that 'Jefferson Davis should no longer be singled out for punishment.' - submitted by contrachick
*While searching the internet you might come across a misconception that goes along the lines of: "When Napoleon stormed through France during the Revolution, he banned high heels to promote equality. Still, Marie Antoinette marched to her death at the guillotine in two-inch heels." Sorry but there's no truth to this whatsoever. Napoleon wasn't even in power when Marie Antoinette died, in fact, he was just a brigadier general roaming around Corsica and Marie wouldn't even have known who Napoleon was at the time. Not to dispute La Reine being brave, but Napoleon was not even close to being in power when she wore her heels.
* You might have heard somewhere that Einstein failed mathematics, making his success ironic yet reassuring for failing students. Sadly this is not true. In 1935, a rabbi in Princeton showed Einstein a headline “Greatest living mathematician failed in mathematics.” Einstein laughed. “I never failed in mathematics,” he replied, correctly. “Before I was fifteen I had mastered differential and integral calculus.” In primary school, he was at the top of his class and “far above the school requirements” in math.
* You’ve probably heard that colonial houses locate the kitchens separate from the main area of the house due to the fear of causing a fire. While fear of fire may have been the reason for some, separate kitchens were not a common feature in northern homes but they were common in the South. The location of the kitchen had to do more with heat and odor, which in the South was unwelcome most months of the year.
* Some sources will claim that Marco Polo brought ice cream back from China, or that the first ice cream was made by Martha Washington or brought back to America from France by Thomas Jefferson, but these are all untrue. Most of these stories were created during the 19th century by ice cream sellers who were looking for a way to sell more ice cream. Ice cream is an ancient invention, and has no single origin, as many would discover the endothermic effect of combining salt and ice.
* Colonial guns weren’t heavy at all. A standard British military gun of the 18th c. weighed about the same as the U.S. Army’s WWII M1 Garand. The weight of most colonial guns ranged from 6-10 pounds.
* It is also untrue that beds were shorter back then because the people sleeping in them were short. This is wrong in two ways: 1.) Some beds were made short, not because the person was short but because some enjoying sleeping sitting up with their heads propped on pillows. This was done because some believed it would help prevent sickness and keep the nasal passages open. 2.) Some beds aren’t as short as they appear. In 1981, historians surveyed various 18th c. beds and found them to all equal or exceed 6’ 3”, some the length of today’s king or queen size beds. It is because of the high bed posts, canopy, etc. that make beds appear shorter than they are.