Questions tagged [history]

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

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482
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4answers
49k views

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 ...
300
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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 ...
181
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7answers
25k 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 ...
163
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1answer
21k 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 When NASA first started sending astronauts into space, they realized that the ball-point pen would not work at ...
120
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3answers
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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 ...
112
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2answers
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Is all gold ever mined able to fit in a 20x20x20 meter cube?

According to this picture/fact, all gold ever mined is able to fit in a 20x20x20 meter cube. Is there any evidence of this, as this seems like very very little gold?
109
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3answers
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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 ...
100
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In the American west—the world of cowboys and cowhands—was ammunition traded for alcoholic “shots” of a drink?

CLARIFICATION: Just so it’s clear, this question is specifically about the economic claims made by the meme presented below. It is a NOT question concerning the origins and etymology of the word “shot”...
92
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2answers
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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-...
88
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2answers
18k views

Was Morocco the first country to recognize USA?

Here in Morocco, when you talk about relations between Morocco and the USA, Moroccans tell you, proudly, that Morocco was the first country to recognize the United States of America, and that the ...
84
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5answers
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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 ...
84
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1answer
13k views

Was the wheel invented before the wall?

So, this extraordinary claim has been getting a lot of publicity lately: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQKrfGCd7I8 They say a wall is medieval, well so is a wheel. A wheel is older than a wall. ...
80
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1answer
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Did the U.S. Army treat a President's cold using chlorine gas?

Several texts on the history of chemical warfare mention the story that in May 1924 the U.S. Army Chemical Warfare Service (CWS) treated President Calvin Coolidge for a severe cold with chlorine. For ...
79
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2answers
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Did Donald Trump exclude Muslim countries in which he does business from the recent entry ban?

This image states that: Trump is poised to sign an Executive Order banning entry to the United States from These 7 Muslim contries: Iran, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia ...
77
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3answers
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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 ...
76
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3answers
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Has a fifteen year old from Canada discovered a hidden Mayan city?

Recent news stories have reported on the discovery of a lost Mayan city by William Gadoury, a 15-year-old from Canada. According to these reports, Gadoury noticed a correspondence between the ...
76
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5answers
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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 ...
75
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3answers
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Did Charlie Chaplin lose a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest?

I heard this several times, is it really true or just a joke/rumor? The claim is, that "Charlie Chaplin once only came second in a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest". source
73
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3answers
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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 ...
72
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1answer
11k views

Are the claims made by Indian Ministers / personalities regarding ancient Indian inventions true?

In the past couple of years, several Indian Ministers / personalities have made claims regarding existence of modern inventions in Ancient India. Prime Minister Modi claimed that genetic science ...
71
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Did thousands of women die every year due to illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade?

Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood, has repeatedly said that thousands of women died every year as a result of abortions prior to Roe v. Wade: We face a real situation where Roe could ...
69
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2answers
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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 ...
68
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1answer
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Was it ever illegal to name a pig “Napoleon” in France?

This is an oft-cited "unusual law", e.g. from The Sun: IN FRANCE it is illegal to name a pig Napoleon, almost 200 years after his death. Experts say the odd law exists because ­calling a pig ...
66
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3answers
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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 ...
66
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1answer
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Was the 45.9°C temperature in France in June 2019 the highest ever recorded in France?

It was widely reported that on 28th June, 2019, a record temperature of 45.9°C was recorded in Gallargues-le-Montueux, France, breaking the previous 2003 record of 44.1°C. Sources: Metéo France, BBC, ...
64
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2answers
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Did Susan B. Anthony make these statements regarding suffrage for women and former slaves?

Telesur posted an article on 8 November 2016 which claims Susan B. Anthony made a number of statements under the headline "White Women Pay Tribute to Susan B. Anthony, Notorious Racist": The Bad ...
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8answers
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Was the German V2 rocket the only weapon whose production killed more than its use?

Early in David Edgerton's history of technology, The Shock of the Old he discusses cost benefit analysis applied to some military weapons. He argues, for example, that the US would have caused a lot ...
64
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4answers
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Did Christopher Columbus believe America was India?

Many of us might recall learning in school that when Christopher Columbus reached the New World, he believed that he had reached India. For that reason, Native Americans are often called Indians. ...
63
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2answers
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Are old glass panes thicker on the bottom due to “flow”?

I ran into this common belief today, and was surprised that it has not been addressed here before. I think this belief is common enough that most anyone has heard it. Especially if they are touring ...
62
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3answers
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Did college students clamor for cyanide pills in student health clinics in the 1980's in America?

According to the article Media Throw Everything at the Wall to See What Sticks: Witless college students demanded cyanide pills be stocked in campus health care clinics, on the grounds that Reagan ...
60
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2answers
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Was adding milk to tea started to reduce employee tea break time?

I was talking about the all important Tea Making Process to a fellow Brit the other day, and he told me that the real reason we add milk to tea is: “It cools the tea down, so you can drink it faster. ...
60
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4answers
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Were Mermaid passengers shipwrecked by 5 different vessels before being successfully rescued?

In a post by dotcommerce.ro called You think you had bad luck ? Think again! this story was mentioned: It’s either a case of the worst luck in history or the best: In 1829, a ship called The ...
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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,...
58
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1answer
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Does Lebanon ban the diary of Anne Frank?

According to factslides, a reddit post, Wikipedia, and the Wall Street Journal, the Diary of Anne Frank is banned in Lebanon. According to a reddit comment this is "rubbish". Other news reports a ...
58
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2answers
10k views

Has Barack Obama achieved these goals in the last six years?

A claim, attributed to Occupy Democrats (which may or may not be true), that is doing rounds in social networks shows a photo of the current US President Barack Obama raising a toast with these words: ...
57
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4answers
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Was Stonehenge built in the 1950s?

A set of photos from a Russian web-site apparently show Stonehenge being built in the 1950s, rather than the more customary dates of 3000-2000 BC. An conspiracy theory web-site Max Resistance ...
57
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2answers
12k views

Did the British navy fail to take into account the ballistics correction due to Coriolis force during WW1 Falkland Islands battle?

In Natural History magazine article, Neil DeGrasse Tyson claims the following: The military normally knows all about the Coriolis force and thus introduces the appropriate correction to all missile ...
56
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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 ...
56
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1answer
11k views

Did Alan Turing publish a paper called The Imitation Game (as claimed in the movie)?

I have seen a couple of Turing's papers, but never have found one called "The Imitation Game". The Imitation Game seems to be a name used by Turing to refer to his test to decide whether an ...
53
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1answer
13k views

Did the CIA blow up a Siberian pipeline in 1982?

The Telegraph claimed in 2004 that the CIA blew up a Russian gas pipeline in Siberia, by tricking the operator into installing booby-trapped software. Thomas Reed, a former US Air Force secretary ...
53
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3answers
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Have there been unusual disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle?

An unusual number of ships and planes are said to have disappeared without a trace in the area called the Bermuda Triangle. This has caused some people to claim supernatural causes for these ...
52
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2answers
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Was the Ford Model T black because of the speed black paint dries?

In this BBC news article labour historian and lecturer Steve Babson says: The reason the Ford Model-T was black, was because it was the only paint that would dry fast enough to keep pace with the ...
51
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1answer
7k views

Did the Trump family change its name from Drumpf to Trump?

According to some media (e.g., International Business Times, Washington Times), the grandfather of Donald Trump, Frederick Trump, was originally called Friedrich Drumpf but changed his name after ...
50
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3answers
7k views

Is Christianity responsible for the scientific method?

I've heard at least a few times now from apologists that Christianity is responsible for science. For some examples: From a commercial for the site, Catholics Come Home (video LINK that opens right ...
49
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2answers
10k views

Was anyone murdered, disappeared, or died suspiciously to cover up the Deepwater Horizon disaster?

This recent Tumblr post claims that multiple activists and scientists were murdered or died under extremely suspicious circumstances, including one person being found dead and mutilated in a dumpster, ...
49
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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?
47
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4answers
18k views

Has India invaded any country in the last 10,000 years?

There is a common claim that India hasn't invaded any other country in the past 10,000 years. It has been repeated in chain mails and various web-sites: Example, Example. India never invaded any ...
47
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3answers
7k views

Was the Titanic ever publicised as “Unsinkable”?

Source From The Independent (1999): Claims that one of history's greatest ships could never sink were never made during the Titanic's short lifetime and are a classic example of myth creation, ...
47
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4answers
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Were Hitler and the Nazis obsessed with the occult?

The claim that Hitler and the Nazis were obsessed with the occult is embedded in our pop culture now, and often repeated in documentaries as if it is an established fact. (At least in the kinds of ...
45
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3answers
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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 ...