10 Historical Lies You Totally Fell For

History is written by the liars.

Antoine Alphonse Montfort / Public domain

The intrigue of history is due in large part to the narrative potential of true events that unfolded throughout time. Cleopatra's reign, Wat Tyler's peasants revolt or the rapid expansion of the Mongol empire are fine examples of how history can provide us with fascinating stories brought together by compelling characters, yet the stories we are told are so often more ambiguous than we are led to believe.

Though history isseen to be a collection of facts woven together to create a timeline of past occurrences, the reality is that the truth is so often lost in translation.

Personalities of times past often take on characteristics that are not completely accurate, and their exploits as a result are uncertain. Stories dating back generations that were once considered the truth are subject to a pinch of fiction, meaning the history books we believe to be accurate are often misleading.

What is true and what is a myth are so often confused, and with time continuing as normal it becomes increasingly difficult to separate the two. In an attempt to clarify somewhat, these are just a few of the lies you totally fell for.

10. America's Victory In 1812


The signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 granted American settlers their freedom from the crown, and though domestic disputes would take up much of their time in the late 18th century, it wasn't until 1812 that the country sought war on a global stage.

On the other side of the Atlantic, Britain were fighting in the Napoleonic wars with the French. Tensions remained high with America, however, before the two countries inevitably went to war in 1812.

This was the USA's first major conflict as an independent nation, and taking on the British (though they were preoccupied by the French also) was a colossal task. The war lasted three years, with a siege on the American capital and an impressive, though futile, victory at New Orleans for the USA highlighting the war.

Many Americans will eagerly have you believe they secured victory in 1812, yet the truth is the outcome of the war was really a tie.

No land exchanged hands and the impressment of sailors was no longer necessary as Napoleon was defeated. 1812 is seen to be far more instrumental for American history than it is for Britain, though, serving as a reminder that they were here to stay.


Fan of ducks, ice tea and escapism. Spends much of his time persistently saying 'I have so much studying to do' before watching Zoey 101 for the millionth time. Thinks Uncharted 3 is the best one.