People Didn’t think the earth was flat in the middle ages

Since the time of Aristotle, the fact that the Earth is round has been accepted nearly universally among European intellectuals. So, if you taught that Columbus couldn’t get financing for his voyage because people thought he was going to sail over the edge of the Earth, you were taught wrong. He actually had trouble getting financing because people thought the East Indies were way farther away than he figured, and they were right. Plus, Columbus was an idiot

Van Gogh Didn’t Cut Off His Ear and Mail It to Some Chick

Everyone has heard the story, seen the painting. Van Gogh was all butthurt over some chick, so he got loaded, choppped his ear off and mailed it to her. Yeah, that never happened. He did lose part of his ear however, that part is true. It was because he got in an argument with his roommate, and fellow painter Paul Gauguin, who took out a sword and chopped it off. Gauguin was a highly skilled fencer, so after he did his damage, the two made up the story to keep Gauguin out of jail.

They Didn’t Change People’s Names At Ellis Island

The folks at Ellis Island were responsible for checking ship manifests. They didn’t have any paperwork to change people’s names, nor did were there any laws requiring anybody to do so. At the time, people in New York could legally change the spelling of their name just by using a new spelling though, which probably helps account for all the name changes that happened.

The only time names ever really changed at Ellis Island is if the immigrant decided to change their name to fit in with American society or the local community to which they were moving. Sometimes, they changed their name before even getting on the ship to come to America. There was no requirement to immigrants to use their real last name when coming to America. They could give themselves any name they liked. As long as the name they gave matched up with the answers they gave according to their profile on the ship’s manifest, they were good to enter the nation and use the name they chose.

Pyramids Weren’t Built by Slaves

The ancient Greek historian Herodotus described the people who built the pyramids as slaves, and Hollywood really ran with the idea. In reality, the pyramids were built by poor people who came from the north and south of Egypt and were paid. Also they were respected for doing their work, and workers who died during construction were buried in tombs near the sacred pyramids.

Pocahontas and John Smith Were Not a Couple

This was some made up nonsense for a Disney movie. In reality, Pocahontas was just 11 or 12 years old when Smith showed up. And while she may have saved him from being killed by her powerful father, there’s no evidence that the two fell in love or lived happily ever after. The real story is far less Disney-friendly. First, she was held captive by the English for some time. Then, she converted to Christianity, changed her name to Rebecca, and, when she turned 17, married a tobacco planter named John Rolfe. The two had a son and eventually traveled to England, where Pocahontas died when she was about 20 or 21 years old.

The Pilgrims Didn’t Land at Plymouth Rock

No one really knows where they landed. Even in William Bradford book he never mentioned Plymouth rock, where if that’s where they had landed pretty sure he would have mentioned it. The whole Plymouth Rock thing didn’t even become part of history until 112 years after the Pilgrims has landed. A young boy apparently overheard 95-year-old Thomas Faunce (who was born 17 years after they landed) relate that his father, who came to Plymouth three years AFTER the Mayflower, told him he’d heard from unnamed persons that the landing occurred there.