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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.

477
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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 ...
284
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7answers
33k views

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 ...
178
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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 ...
155
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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 ...
119
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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 ...
110
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2answers
20k views

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
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 ...
98
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2answers
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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”...
89
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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 ...
83
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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 ...
80
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1answer
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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. ...
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 ...
79
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1answer
15k views

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 ...
76
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3answers
14k views

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
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 ...
74
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3answers
31k 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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
72
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3answers
191k views

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
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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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
64
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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. ...
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 ...
62
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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 ...
60
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4answers
8k views

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 ...
58
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1answer
8k views

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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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,...
58
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2answers
9k 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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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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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 ...
56
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1answer
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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 ...
52
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3answers
3k views

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 ...
51
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1answer
6k 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 ...
49
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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 ...
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?
47
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4answers
12k views

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 ...
46
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3answers
6k 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, ...
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 ...
45
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2answers
6k views

Does the U.S. President have a red phone?

From a 2010 news article: Obama noted that Medvedev had opened a Twitter account while visiting the company's headquarters in California. "I have one, as well, so we may be able to ...
43
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4answers
17k 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 ...
42
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1answer
9k 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 ...
42
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3answers
4k views

Was the golden ratio deliberately used for aesthetics in ancient or Renaissance times?

It's a famous claim that the golden ratio was both known to and deliberately used by artists and/or architects, for example in the Parthenon. I doubt this, and suspect that any observations about the ...
42
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1answer
32k 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 ...
41
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1answer
28k views

Did removing one olive lead to an airline saving thousands of dollars?

Quite a common story that gets brought up around airports or business meetings when someone wants to provide a famous example of small change for massive savings is the olive story. Apparently there ...
40
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6answers
21k 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? ...
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3answers
10k views

Was JFK's 1960 election win due to fraud?

I found via politics.SE that MRC-owned site Newsbusters claims that: In a discussion of modern electoral fraud, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Monday offered a journalistic admission: She conceded that ...
40
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1answer
5k views

Did the 1938 radio broadcast of 'The War of the Worlds' lead to mass hysteria?

I've heard it so many times that I considered it a fact. (Image Source) In 1938 Orson Welles' radio adaption of H.G.Wells' The War of the World incited a nationwide panic: All across the United ...