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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329 votes
7 answers
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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 ...
Monkey Tuesday's user avatar
76 votes
3 answers
17k 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 ...
Billy ONeal's user avatar
86 votes
5 answers
17k 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 ...
Sklivvz's user avatar
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33 votes
3 answers
5k 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?
Jay Cee's user avatar
  • 359
77 votes
5 answers
17k 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 ...
Mad Scientist's user avatar
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71 votes
3 answers
21k 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 ...
Scott Mitchell's user avatar
35 votes
3 answers
8k 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 ...
Richard Stelling's user avatar
34 votes
2 answers
28k 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 ...
Oliver_C's user avatar
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33 votes
5 answers
6k 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. ...
Monkey Tuesday's user avatar
27 votes
2 answers
26k 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 ...
geoff's user avatar
  • 713
22 votes
1 answer
3k 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?
Dale's user avatar
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12 votes
1 answer
3k views

Did India's population decrease "by 80 million between 1000 and 1525" CE?

Daniel Pipes reports: Koenraad Elst , the german historian writes in "Negation in India" ..Indian (subcontinent) population decreased by 80 million between 1000 (conquest of Afghanistan) ...
Sakib Arifin's user avatar
  • 15.8k
11 votes
2 answers
9k 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 ...
Green Noob's user avatar
  • 2,489
537 votes
3 answers
61k 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 ...
David Thornley's user avatar
211 votes
9 answers
33k views

When did people first know the Earth was a sphere?

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 ...
Mad Scientist's user avatar
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63 votes
3 answers
67k 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,...
Martin Scharrer's user avatar
43 votes
1 answer
38k 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 ...
jennyfofenny's user avatar
35 votes
5 answers
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 ...
Jivlain's user avatar
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33 votes
3 answers
4k views

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 ...
Himarm's user avatar
  • 4,297
30 votes
1 answer
7k 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 ...
Zenon's user avatar
  • 1,864
29 votes
2 answers
17k 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, ...
ChrisW's user avatar
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27 votes
3 answers
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?
Vinoth Kumar C M's user avatar
20 votes
1 answer
4k 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 ...
Oddthinking's user avatar
  • 142k
20 votes
1 answer
3k 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 ...
vartec's user avatar
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16 votes
1 answer
5k 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 ...
matt_black's user avatar
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7 votes
2 answers
13k 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 ...
TheTechGuy's user avatar
  • 2,762
6 votes
1 answer
714 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 ...
serendip.in's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
Sakib Arifin's user avatar
  • 15.8k
3 votes
1 answer
22k views

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 ...
noobs's user avatar
  • 157
174 votes
1 answer
24k 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 ...
SIMEL's user avatar
  • 32.6k
122 votes
2 answers
30k 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 ...
Spoutnik16's user avatar
  • 1,426
112 votes
3 answers
19k 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. Is it conceivable that even one helicopter could be flown so close to the capital of another country without raising ...
going's user avatar
  • 18.1k
97 votes
2 answers
18k 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-...
Zebrafish's user avatar
  • 3,793
82 votes
3 answers
56k 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 ...
JonathanReez's user avatar
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81 votes
1 answer
16k 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 ...
user avatar
73 votes
3 answers
12k views

Has a virus ever escaped a high-level virus lab "such as the one in Wuhan"?

As somewhat unclearly related in the Daily Mail: Dr Keusch, Professor of Medicine and International Health at Boston University's Schools of Medicine and Public Health, stressed that no release of ...
Dolphin 613 Motorboat's user avatar
71 votes
4 answers
11k views

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 be ...
Thunderforge's user avatar
  • 1,460
69 votes
2 answers
15k 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 ...
Giacomo1968's user avatar
  • 5,503
56 votes
1 answer
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 ...
AndyT's user avatar
  • 615
49 votes
1 answer
6k 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?
GBa's user avatar
  • 1,561
48 votes
4 answers
6k 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 ...
mattdm's user avatar
  • 1,756
47 votes
7 answers
48k 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? It ...
Kit Sunde's user avatar
  • 18.6k
47 votes
1 answer
45k 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 ...
Oliver_C's user avatar
  • 48k
45 votes
1 answer
12k 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 US end ...
Himarm's user avatar
  • 4,297
44 votes
3 answers
25k 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 ...
Monkey Tuesday's user avatar
39 votes
4 answers
10k views

Did Augustine of Hippo warn Christians to beware mathematicians?

On the first page of Mathematics for the Nonmathematician, mathematician Morris Kline quotes Augustine of Hippo as saying: The good Christian should beware the mathematician and all those who ...
Jayson Virissimo's user avatar
37 votes
1 answer
98k 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. ...
Casebash's user avatar
  • 10.2k
36 votes
2 answers
5k 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 ...
Frantisek's user avatar
  • 385
34 votes
3 answers
17k views

Has the Holocaust been exaggerated?

I am not a Holocaust denier but I am skeptical of some of the reported numbers and details of the historical event. Is there any evidence that 6 million Jews were executed as part of a plan to ...
obscurus's user avatar
  • 437
33 votes
2 answers
8k 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, ...
Sindri Traustason's user avatar