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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Aryabhata time period controversy

I would like to have some clarification regarding the time period of Aryabhata the Indian mathematician associated with the invention of Zero and calculating the circumference of the earth. Wikipedia ...
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Has the Catholic Church ever retracted an “ex cathedra” statement?

Question: Has the Catholic Church ever made a proclamation ex cathedra (as in, one which it declares is infallible) that it later retracted? This could literally be any form of the following: Some ...
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Did William Shakespeare help make the KJV bible?

Many believe because of the placement of specific words in Psalm 46 that William Shakespeare helped in the translation of the King James bible to English. In 1610, the year of the final editing ...
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469 views

Did the CIA have a plan to airdrop condoms over Russian soil as a way of psychological warfare?

In various place on the internet, a story circulate about a scrapped CIA plan in which they would airdrop very large condoms labelled "Small" or "Medium" as a way to imply american ...
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Did passengers of the Titanic predict/foreshadow its sinking?

I just watched the episode "Night of April 14th" of the 1950s television show "One Step Beyond." The premise of the series is to present real life stories involving paranormal supernatural occurrences....
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Was polo the first sport to be played on earth?

I was reading about Qutub Minar and came across the fact that its builder Qutb-ud-din Aibak died while playing polo. Upon reading more about polo itself, I realized it was around since 5th century BC ...
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966 views

Is Spartacus based on true story?

Spartacus (TV Series 2010–2013) The inspiration behind this series is the Thracian Gladiator Spartacus, who led a slave uprising against the Roman Republic Spartacus, 19th-century illustration. ...
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Do historians agree the motive behind Catholic celibacy was primarily economic?

According to a BBC article: the First and Second Lateran Councils of 1123 and 1139 explicitly forbade priests from marrying - so we are almost past 1,000 years since the Catholic Church has ...
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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 ...
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Did Lyndon Johnson spy on Barry Goldwater's 1964 campaign using CIA and FBI assets?

An article by Lee Edwards on the Heritage Foundation website claims so with quite some level of detail, e.g. In the fall of 1964, the White House turned to the CIA to get advance inside information ...
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Were senior officals who outran their executioners pardoned in the Ottoman Empire?

According to various sources, in the Ottoman Empire, when a senior official was given a death sentence, he'd race with his executioner. If he were to win the race, the death sentence would be commuted,...
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Did 5 million non-Jews die in the Holocaust?

Times of Israel: “Five million non-Jews died in the Holocaust.” It’s a statement that shows up regularly in declarations about the Nazi era. It was implied in a Facebook post by the Israel Defense ...
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Did Mahatma Gandhi have a physical relationship with a man?

In 2013, an exhibit of Mahatma Gandhi's personal correspondence triggered some speculation about his private life: The Daily Telegraph raises the question: The bond between Gandhi and Hermann ...
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Did a man from a non-existent country, Taured, appear in a Japanese airport in 1954, and then disappear?

A number of different web-sites document this mysterious storey of an apparent traveller from an alternate history: It’s July 1954; a hot day. A man arrives at Tokyo airport in Japan. He’s of ...
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Did big projects used to get finished on time and on budget?

Big projects (software, engineering, architecture etc.) are plagued by cost and time overruns, or so it is widely thought. Nicholas Taleb argues in Antifragile that this is a modern phenomenon: ...
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Is this a genuine 1965 literacy test?

According to the Michigan-based Ferris State University's Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, this is an excerpt of the text of the 1965 Alabama Literacy Test: If it were proposed to join ...
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Did the Hebrew exodus from Egypt ever happen?

The Book of Exodus describes a movement of the Hebrews from Egypt, through the desert, and into the Palestine/Israel region. It also describes a number miracles, such as the ten plagues and the ...
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Did Euler make the elementary mistake √-2 √-3 = √6?

The following extract is from Tristan Needham's Visual Complex Analysis, Even in 1770 the situation was still sufficiently confused that it was possible for so great a mathematician as Euler to ...
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Did farmers adopt cars faster than inhabitants of cities?

I learned from this post: Start with a niche that: Cars are almost among the lucky exception to the niche rule. However, there was still one group of people in the USA that moved from horses to cars ...
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Did Roman jurists rule that “to learn the art of geometry and to take part in public exercises, an art as damnable as mathematics, are forbidden”?

According to Morris Kline, author of Mathematics for the Nonmathematician (1967): Roman jurists ruled, under the Code of Mathematicians and Evil-Doers, that "to learn the art of geometry and to ...
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Were 80 million black slaves killed in the USA by the end of the civil war?

I was listening to a speech by Malcolm X, where he said (at 1:57) that over 80 million black people were killed in America (100 million brought over as slaves, but less than 20 million remained at the ...
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431 views

Did British journalists keep silent about Russian defections to Germany in WW2?

In George Orwell's essay, The Prevention of Literature, he claims this: When Germany collapsed, it was found that very large numbers of Soviet Russians — mostly, no doubt, from non-political motives —...
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Did Emma Willard send a letter to the French government appealing for women’s suffrage in 1848?

In T.M. Roberts' Distant Revolutions: 1848 and the challenge to American Exceptionalism it's said briefly (on p. 92 and without a citation/reference) that: In 1848 Emma Willard, the director of the ...
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Does archaeological evidence show that Nazareth wasn't inhabited during Jesus's lifetime?

The gospels say that Jesus's home village was Nazareth. A book by Rene Salm claims that according to archaeological evidence, the village of Nazareth didn't become inhabited until after the time when ...
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Does “the captain's daughter” refer to a whip/cat o' nine tails?

Many versions of the popular sea shanty "Drunken Sailor" includes the following verse: What shall we do with a drunken sailor, Put him in bed with the captain's daughter. Sources including ...
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Were most active policemen in the Weimer Republic not Nazis?

From the Holocaust Encylopedia: The police in the Weimar Republic In the years of the Weimar Republic, most active policemen were not Nazis, meaning they were not members of the Nazi Party or of Nazi ...
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Did the No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron score the most kills in the Battle of Britain?

It's often claimed in Polish media that No. 303 Polish Fighter Squadron scored the most kills in the whole Battle of Britain. This claim is repeated in Wikipedia, although with annotation [citation ...
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719 views

Did France flood Guinea with counterfeit currency to destabilize it?

I've read in several Pan-Africanist and conspiracy theory sources (e.g. here and here) that France during the Fifth Republic smuggled in counterfeit Guinean Franc into Guinea in order to destabilize ...
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342 views

How did the myth that student loans are non-dischargeable originate?

A fairly common myth is that student loans cannot be discharged through bankruptcy (USA). For example, this NPR article discusses the myth and its falsity. While I have been able to find plenty of ...
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Did Argentine President Juan Peron grant free access to the radio, the press and two soccer stadiums to a preacher called Tommy Hicks in 1954?

The title is a summary of claims I've read from several informal sources. For example, this site claims: It was in this environment that Tommy Hicks was welcomed into the presidential office. After ...
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751 views

Did the cat-o'-nine-tails' bag ever exist?

There are numerous instances on the Internet and in Google books, which claim the cat-o'-nine-tails, a late 17th century instrument of punishment used by the Royal Navy, was kept in a bag. It is said ...
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935 views

Was the safety of a WW1 helmet called into question because survivorship bias was neglected?

A common story about the British "Brodie helmet", issued first in World War I, is the following: After introduction of the helmet, the number of reported head injuries increased. This called ...
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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 ...
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Did Emperor Nero burn Frankincense equal to Oman's annual production at his wife's funeral?

In a documentary about Oman -The Paradoxical Life In Muscat - Magnificent Megacities it is narrated that - According to the legend, Emperor Nero burned the whole of Oman's annual production ...
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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 (1, 2). Perhaps I'...
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Is the novel “Sleepers” a true account?

Note: this question contains spoilers about the novel and movie. Sleepers is a novel about four boys who are sexually abused at a school for boys, and later exact revenge on their tormentors. It was ...
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480 views

Did Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni hand the national flag to intercessors in 1997 in the midst of a Christian revival?

World Trumpet Mission, an international revivalist ministry founded in 1988 in the Republic of Uganda by John Mulinde, presents the following historical timeline on their website (emphasis mine): In ...
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Were owners of slaves in 1860, largely Democrats?

According to Dinesh D'Souza "claim that no Republicans owned slaves in 1860 is incorrect. A handful did. " "Here’s the big picture: Out of the 4 million slaves in the US in 1860, more ...
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217 views

Did Isidore of Seville ever claim Roman god of wine, Bacchus, got his name from “baculus” (walking stick)?

On multiple places on-line, including Wikipedia, there is information that Saint Isidore of Seville claimed that the name of the Roman god of wine, Bacchus, got his name from "baculus" ...
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Did the CIA feed false information to McCarthy to discredit his true claims that they were infiltrated by Soviet agents?

In Legacy of Ashes (which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction), Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, Tim Weiner, claims that: McCarthy's file grew thick with allegations that "the CIA had ...
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Did Burmese typewriters contain an upside-down character, which subsequently became proper typewriter style?

I was reading about the Internet Archive's work to archive the materials of a famous New York City typewriter family: http://blog.archive.org/2020/08/26/an-archive-of-a-different-type/ I was ...
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Could a Great Flood have happened? [closed]

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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Were two brothers killed on the same moped by the same taxi driver, exactly a year apart?

I was sent an email today with a bunch of "coincidences," many of which are probably false. This one stood out since it has a year and an age (some specifics), so perhaps it has the chance of being ...
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Were Buddhists murdered en masse during the first Muslim conquest of India?

Lost Islamic History says: The first great expansion of Islam into India came during the Umayyad Dynasty of caliphs, who were based in Damascus. In 711, the Umayyads appointed a young 17 year old ...
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609 views

Did German troops ignite pools of kerosene on a ship in March 1943?

A recent video on the YouTube Lindybeige channel relates the story of Operation Creek in WWII in which irregular British forces invaded a German ship off Goa (now in India), March 1943. He cites James ...
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Was Johnny Cash the first American to learn of Stalin's death?

I just came across this claim in a letter to The Economist: He worked the line SIR – Charlemagne considers it “safe to assume that Johnny Cash… gave little thought to European foreign policy” (...
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Was Robert Capa’s famous 1936 war photo “The Falling Soldier” a faked photo?

The photo in question (Death of a Loyalist Militiaman, Córdoba front, Spain (1936)) can be found here at The International Center of Photography and is also attached below. The question is: The core ...
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Did a prisoner die from a needle prick when he was told that it was a snake bite?

I read somewhere that there was a prisoner facing a death sentence sometime before the 1950s, on whom a psychological experiment was conducted. Experiment: He was blindfolded and told that he would be ...
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455 views

Are farm bankruptcies in the US “at highs not seen since the Great Depression”?

A June 29 Vox article quoted a Democratic party notable saying: “Trump’s failed trade war wreaked havoc on industries across the country. Farm bankruptcies are at highs not seen since the Great ...
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Did nude pictures kick off the industry for photographs?

The Internet History Podcast claims: When photography was developed in the 18th century, photographic commerce was mostly about selling people portraits of themselves or their loved ones—at least, ...

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