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Questions tagged [history]

Use this tag for questions that pertain to historical events, or claim whose evidence is historical in nature.

287
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7answers
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Did Jesus live?

Regardless of whether you believe or not... What is the non-Biblical evidence regarding his existence around the time he is commonly thought to have lived? That is, are there other historically ...
73
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3answers
14k views

The origin of “99 cents”

I've seen two competing theories on the origin of pricing products at $<desired dollar amount minus 1>.99 (i.e. charging $19.99 instead of $20, of $5.99 instead of $6): Psychological pricing ...
84
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5answers
15k views

How were the pyramids built?

It is claimed in many different pseudoscience publications and sites that it was impossible for the ancient Egyptian civilization to build the pyramids, because: too much labour was needed it was ...
34
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3answers
4k views

Did Muhammad exist?

What contemporary historical records of the existence of Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, exist or are known to have existed at some point?
10
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2answers
8k views

Did ancient Indians invent guns, lasers, radars and nuclear weapons?

I found this site which claimed that Ancient India was an extremely advanced civilization whose technology equaled & in some cases even surpassed current technology. None of the claims have ...
179
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7answers
24k views

Did people think the Earth was flat?

I've heard it numerous times, that in the old days people thought that the world was flat. Most commonly I heard this in connection with the voyage of Columbus, that he believed the earth to be a ...
66
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3answers
19k views

Did Moses live?

Moses is, arguably, the most significant prophet in Judaism and is credited with leading the enslaved Jewish population out of Egypt and into the promised land. Aside from the Torah, are there any ...
76
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5answers
13k views

Were people shorter in the middle ages?

In many castles or museums you'll find medieval armor, belonging to a knight. Those are often very small compared to the average human nowadays. I've heard this explained multiple times as being due ...
31
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3answers
6k views

Are any notable biblical characters historical figures?

Are any of the *main** characters who appear in the Bible that are real historical people, their existence supported by multiple sources. In addition do their actions in the Bible support or ...
32
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5answers
5k views

Were the Wright Brothers the first to fly?

I'd say it's a commonly held belief that the Wright brothers were the first to achieve controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than air human flight, as it can be found in most history books. ...
30
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2answers
20k views

Pirates with a prosthetic hook: Lore or Truth?

Was it common practice for pirates to replace a lost hand with a prosthetic hook? Or was this lore perpetrated by fiction and Hollywood? It does seem like a reasonable choice, since a hook is a ...
6
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2answers
2k views

Did the Qur'an predict the defeat of the Persians at the Battle of Issus?

The Wikipedia page of the Qur'an and Miracles states Some Muslims believe that the Qur'an predicted many events years before they happened. They argue that such prophecies are proof of the ...
476
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4answers
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Does torture work well as an interrogation technique?

Wikipedia's Effectiveness of torture for interrogation says, Torture has been used throughout history for the purpose of obtaining information in interrogation. Some arguments say that it is an ...
58
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3answers
65k views

Claimed similarities between Jesus Christ and Horus and other Gods

The 2007 conspiracy theory film Zeitgeist: The Movie (Website, Watch online, Wikipedia Entry) states in Part I "The Greatest Story Ever Sold" that major points of the story about Jesus Christ's birth,...
42
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1answer
28k views

Was the Great Sphinx of Giza originally an Anubis?

Does Robert Temple's book The Sphinx Mystery: The Forgotten Origins of the Sanctuary of Anubis have any support in the academic community? For those of you unfamiliar with his theory, here's a quote ...
27
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3answers
2k views

Did we have a “global cooling” 40 years ago?

I was reading Superfreakanomics and the book argues that we had a global cooling period 40 years ago? Is that claim accurate?
34
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5answers
3k views

Who wrote Shakespeare's plays?

One of the premises of a new film, "Anonymous", due to come out in a couple of weeks, is that Shakespeare's plays were authored by Edward de Vere, instead of by Shakespeare. The producers have also ...
30
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2answers
14k views

Was Nelson Mandela a killer?

There are many claims that Nelson Mandela was a killer; for example: Obama holds surprise press conference to praise genocidal killer Nelson Mandela He signed off on the deaths of innocent people, ...
6
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1answer
530 views

Can the events of the Ramayana and Mahabharata be astronomically dated to around 7300 BCE and 5561 BCE respectively?

The Ramayana is one of Hinduism's greatest epics. Nobody appears to know with certainty when the poem was composed or when the events in it occurred. However, while some scholars claim that the events ...
18
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1answer
2k views

Was Iran Air Flight 655 shot down by mistake?

Iran Air Flight 655 is allegedly a case of "mistaken identity". Is it possible for AEGIS with most advanced radar system ever put on a ship, not to be able tell a difference between an F-14 and ...
27
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1answer
6k views

Is the Bible the most read book?

I have often heard that the most popular book is the Bible, but it seems to me that, for example, classical Indian books as the Mahabharata or the Chinese Four Books and Five Classics may be more ...
7
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2answers
1k views

Did Genghis Khan forbid the selling of women and exempt the poor from taxation?

9gag.com claims, Genghis Khan forbade the selling of women, theft of other's properties, decreed religious freedom, outlawed hunting during breeding seasons, and exempted the poor from ...
20
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1answer
3k views

Is this photo of Occupy Wall Street authentic?

From Facebook: This photo is actually getting pulled off Facebook...so, the photographer added a lil text and renamed the file. Pass it on. I'm SURE the media doesn't want this one out there. Share ...
12
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1answer
3k views

Did Gandhi express admiration for Hitler early in WW2?

Early in his extremely readable and widely admired history of the Battle of Britain (The Most Dangerous Enemy), Stephen Bungay puts Britain's situation after the defeat of France in context by ...
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2answers
11k views

Did Obama mention in his book he was born in Kenya?

While talking to CNN, Donald Trump said President Barack Obama himself wrote that he was born in Kenya. Is it true that the President's book said this? When his publisher comes out with a statement ...
158
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1answer
20k views

Did NASA invest a million dollars in the research of a space pen, when the USSR simply used a pencil?

I encountered this picture of the "Russian space pen" from the MIT Museum gift shop myth http://dailyfailcenter.com/sites/default/files/fail/d073c3d5cf3a.jpg When NASA first started sending ...
75
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3answers
34k views

Is this a photo of Margaret Hamilton standing next to Apollo Project code that she wrote?

The image below is widely circulated on Facebook: The caption says: Margaret Hamilton, lead software engineer of the Apollo Project, stands next to the code she wrote by hand and that was used to ...
119
votes
3answers
26k views

Did the Nazis kill Jews with gas chambers?

I just heard Holocaust denier and former academic, Robert Faurisson, explaining a few things about gas chambers. What he claims : The dilapidated chambers, thought to be gas chambers in the Nazi ...
109
votes
3answers
17k views

Is it possible to fly 4 helicopters anywhere in a country without official knowledge?

According to reports, there were 4 helicopters used in the raid on Osama Bin Laden. They apparently left from Ghazi. Is it conceivable that even one helicopter could be flown so close to the capital ...
90
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2answers
10k views

Did al-Ghazali lead to decline of science in Islam as Neil Tyson claims?

The astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has said that during the Islamic Golden Age, especially in Baghdad, science and discovery flourished for a few centuries. Then an Islamic scholar named al-...
21
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2answers
16k views

Did a plane hit the Pentagon on September 11, 2001?

Is it possible that a plane hit the side of the pentagon, but did not even scuff up the grass? There are some claims of other anomalies that don't quite match the idea of a plane hitting there; like ...
57
votes
1answer
8k views

A century ago, was giving birth a major cause of death?

When reading this article on BBC News I was surprised by the following claim: Just compare now to what happened 100 years ago or so. Then, many women died in their 40s because of having to give ...
42
votes
1answer
33k views

VHS vs Betamax: How influential was the pornography industry in the format war?

Image Source For many years I have heard the legend that the porn industry played a crucial role in the victory of JVC's VHS over Sony's Betamax. It resurfaced during the format war between HD ...
42
votes
1answer
10k views

Was the original version of the Statue of Liberty of a Black slave?

A few people I know on social media are passing this image around this week. The claim is the original Statue of Liberty was a black women, given to celebrate the end of the Civil War, and the ...
48
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1answer
5k views

Did pirates talk the way they are currently portrayed?

Where did the common pop-culture way of portraying pirates (yarr!) come from? Did pirate captains commonly have birds on their shoulders?
41
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7answers
22k views

Has France ever won a war?

France is commonly made fun of for not having won a war, for instance when they rejoined NATO and the daily mail made fun of them: Why did the French celebrate their World Cup in 1998 so wildly? ...
31
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2answers
7k views

Did Hitler survive until 1962?

I noticed this book, "Grey Wolf: The Escape Of Adolf Hitler", mentioned (without real criticism) in a major Icelandic newspaper. According to the article, the book claims Hitler did not kill himself, ...
25
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2answers
3k views

Has the Quran (the recitation) been preserved since Muhammad?

Islamic scholars claim that Quran's preservation is the one of the most miraculous aspects of Quran. In fact, a major reason for muslims to believe in the Quran was the preservation of Quran, which is ...
18
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2answers
3k views

How old is Judaism?

I've recently read this BBC article which makes the claim that Judaism originated some time around 2000 B.C, if not earlier. I've seen a number of sources which make similar claims (Source 1, Source ...
16
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3answers
7k views

Do the Jewish control a larger proportion of U.S. wealth than their proportion in the population?

As per StormFront (warning: neo-nazi website): While only 3% of the population, the Jews control over 25% of the nation's wealth and this percentage rises every year. Is only 3% of the ...
35
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2answers
4k views

Did Lee Harvey Oswald kill John F. Kennedy?

L.H. Oswald claimed he was innocent and didn't kill J.F. Kennedy. There are various theories on what could have happened that day, but I didn't "study" all the evidence and research, so I don't know ...
31
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2answers
75k views

Were there only two cars in Ohio in 1895, and they managed to crash into each other?

Currently on Today I Learned, Reddit. TIL [Today I Learned] In the entire state of Ohio in 1895, there were only two cars on the road, and the drivers of these two cars crashed into each other. ...
28
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2answers
1k views

Did people in ancient times, who survived childhood and were not killed in wars, have roughly the same chance to reach old age as contemporary people?

During an academic course on the history of biology there was a lecture dedicated to ancient Greek philosophers. I noticed that surprisingly many of these philosophers reached age considered advanced ...
22
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4answers
2k views

Could a Great Flood have happened?

In Noah's Ark myth God sent 40 days of rain to flood the Earth. Are any such long periods of persistent rain recorded? What kind of disaster could happen to cover all continents with water?
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2answers
13k views

Were World War II scrap drives in the United States truly necessary for the procurement of raw materials?

I’ve been reading up on World War II scrap drive efforts in the United States, and am wondering if these (mostly) community-based efforts actually contributed enough raw materials to the war effort ...
45
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3answers
21k views

Was the name “Wendy” created for Peter Pan?

I ran across something odd today... I have an iPhone app that lists facts, trivia, and other useless information (it's called Cool Facts, downloaded from iTunes). So far, nothing I've found on it ...
28
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3answers
15k views

Were there any Jews among the Nazi top people?

I recently was in a discussion where one of the people, as an argument, claimed that Jews have been known to participate in what's activities clearly detrimental to Jews as a whole (the argument ...
25
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2answers
5k views

Did Iraq have the use of electricity 5000 years ago?

I came across this tweet of which I'm skeptical. So, I ask: Had Iraq use of electricity 5000 years ago?
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1answer
2k views

Has Noah's ark been discovered in Turkey?

I found this website claiming that noah's ark has been found. Is there any archaeological or historical evidence to support or deny this claim? Related Question: Could a Great Flood have happened?
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0answers
3k views

Is every elected US president related to George Washington?

According to a post on Slashdot: Every single elected president - INCLUDING Barack Obama, has a genealogy related to President George Washington. Note I did say Elected President. Gerald ...