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16 Historical "Facts" That Are Totally False

1. George Washington's teeth were not made of wood. They were made of gold, lead, hippopotamus ivory, and dead human's teeth, horse teeth, and donkey teeth. More info here.
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2. Columbus not only DID NOT discover mainland U.S (natives got there long before), he never even found it. The closest Columbus got was the Carribean Islands. More info on here.
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3. Vikings helmets don't have horns. The popular image of Vikings wearing horned helmets originated in 1876 from an opera by Richard Wagner. More info on here.
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4. Napoleon Bonaparte was not really short. He was 5'7", slightly taller than the average Frenchman of the time (early 1800s). He chose his imperial guards based on their height, which probably contributed to the perception that he is short. More info here.
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5. The rumor that today's popular image of a jolly Santa Claus was created by Coca-Cola is false. The current image of Santa Claus had already been popularized by several other companies before Coca-Cola adopted the image. More info on here.
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6. Iron Maidens were not invented in the Medieval period or ever used for torture. They were invented in the 18th century, pieced together from artifacts in museums to increase museum earnings. More info here.
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7. The story that Albert Einstein failed Math in school is in fact a false claim published by Ripley's. Einstein said, "I never failed in mathematics... Before I was fifteen I had mastered differential and integral calculus." More info on here.
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8. Medieval Europeans did not believe the earth was flat. From the time of ancient Greek philosophers like Plato and Aristotle, almost all European intellectuals already accepted the spherical earth theory. Columbus had have trouble finding support because peers correctly believed his target of the East Indies was further than he thought. More info in here.
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9. Benjamin Franklin DID NOT propose the wild turkey as the national symbol for the United States instead of the bald eagle. He did wrote a private letter to his daughter in which he expresses his dislike of the eagle and preference for the turkey, but never expressed that sentiment publicly. More info on here.
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10. Chastity belts were not invented in the 5th - 15th centuries to prevent women from losing their virginity. They were invented in the 18th century to prevent teens from masturbating because they believed masturbation led to insanity. More info on here.
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11. Marie Antoinette did not say "Let them eat cake" upon finding out the French peasantry was starving. The quote was published by Rousseau when she was 10 years old and was more likely said by the king's wife or made up by Rousseau. More info on here.
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12. Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day. It's a celebration of Mexico's victory against the French in the Battle of Puebla. Mexico's Independence from Spain is celebrated on September 16. More info on here.
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13. Vomitoriums were not used for vomiting, and it was not customary to vomit between courses while dining in ancient Rome. Vomitoriums were used as entrances through which Roman crowds entered and exited stadiums. More info here.
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14. Nobody was burned at the stake during the Salem witch trials. The accused either died in prison or were hanged. More info in here.
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15. The Pilgrims did not have buckles on their hats or wear the same, dark-colored clothing. The popularized image of pilgrims was created in the 19th century when buckles were a symbol of quaintness. More info here.
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16. The U.S Declaration of Independence was not signed on July 4, 1776. It was approved by Congress on that date and signed on August 2, 1776. More info here.
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