5 Popular Lies In History That Are Still Taught In Schools Till Today
There are quite a few popular lies that some schools still peddle to their children. These lies have already been debunked but many people still believe in them. Let’s read some of the lies that some schools routinely tell students.
5 Popular Lies In History That Schools Still Tell Us
1. Columbus did not discover America
There have been a lot of theories that would disprove the notion that it was Christopher Columbus who was responsible for discovering America. One such theory belongs to the Vikings. The early expeditions of the Vikings to North America have been documented quite well, and have also been accepted as a historical fact by most scholars. Around 1000 AD, Leif Erikson, the Viking explorer, and son of Erik the Red, sailed to a place that he referred to as Vinland- which is currently the province of Newfoundland in Canada. The Viking explorers didn’t stay for long before they returned to Greenland.
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In 1960, Norwegian explorer Helge Ingstad and his wife, Anne Stine Ingstad, went on to unearth an ancient Norse settlement. In the ensuing seven years, the couple and an international team of archaeologists managed to expose the foundations of around eight separate buildings. In 1969, Congress went on to designate 9th October as Leif Erikson Day. As it stands, there are also stories about a Muslim-Chinese eunuch mariner who visited the Americas 71 years before Columbus did. The mariner was Zheng He- and he was a real historical figure- as mentioned by Gavin Menzies in his book- 1421- The Year China Discovered America
2. Marconi did not invent the radio but Tesla
While the last century has catapulted Guglielmo Marconi as the founder of the radio, it was just a massive stroke of fortune that Marconi got the credit and not Nikola Tesla. When Tesla created his coils, the inventor went on to discover that he could easily transmit and receive majorly powerful radio signals which could then be tuned to resonate at the same frequency. When this coil was tuned to a signal of a particular frequency, it would magnify the incoming electrical energy through a largely resonant action. In 1895, Tesla was absolutely ready to transmit a signal that would go about 50 miles to West Point, New York- but a fire in his lab destroyed all of his work.
During this period, there was a young Italian experimenter called Guglielmo Marconi in England, who had been working hard to create a device for the wireless telegraph. The young Italian had already taken out the first patent for a wireless telegraph in 1896. Through a set up of long-distance demonstrations- which ironically used a Tesla oscillator- the Italian was able to transmit the signals across the Channel. Soon, the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company began thriving heavily in the stock markets, with celebrities like Edison and Andrew Carnegie investing in it.
3. Edison Didn’t Invent The Lightbulb
While the phonograph was one of the most groundbreaking discoveries by Thomas Alva Edison, it was usually considered to be a novelty. In fact, Edison had already moved to his next concept- the incandescent light bulb. As it stands, electric bulbs had already been in play since the early part of the 19th century- but they were not resilient- quite short-lived due to the filaments. One of the earliest forms of electric light- which was the carbon arc light- also relied on battery-heated carbon rods in order to produce light. But they would have to be lit by hands- and the process was quite dangerous.
On the other hand, what Edison created was practical, cheap, and long-lasting. He demonstrated a bulb that could last for 14.5 hours in 1879. Speaking to a New York Times reporter, the inventor stated that his light was a perfect one. But- it was actually not completely perfect as it was a Black inventor by the name of Lewis Latimer, who went on to refine Edison’s creation, making filaments more durable and working to efficiently manufacture them.
4. Gandhi wasn’t the “saint” history made him out to be
It should come as a shock to people who have grown up reading about the great stature of Mahatma Gandhi, to realize that his life had dark, twisted secrets as well- ones that history has often neglected to accentuate. It was Ashwin Desai, a professor of sociology at the University of Johannesburg, and Goolam Vahed- a history professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, who spent years compiling a book on the story of Gandhi in South Africa. In 2015, they went on to publish a book called The South African Gandhi- Stretcher-Bearer of Empire- which went on to cast a light on the whitewashed past of Gandhi, as well as his highly derogatory comments against the indigenous tribes of Africa. It also has been revealed that he would “use his wife as a punching bag” as quoted in Gandhi: The True Man Behind Modern India: “I simply cannot bear to look at Ba’s face. The expression is often like that on the face of a meek cow and gives one the feeling as a cow occasionally does, that in her own dumb manner she is saying something.”
5. The Evolution Theory Did Not Come From Darwin Alone
When asked about the Theory of Evolution, most of us would turn towards Charles Darwin, and hardly anyone would pay heed to Alfred Russel Wallace, another British naturalist, who was a co-discoverer of the theory. It was Wallace who developed some of the most important ideas about natural selection during an eight-year expedition to what was considered to be the Dutch East Indies- modern-day Indonesia- where he then observed the wildlife and collected multiple specimens. By 1855, Wallace had come to the conclusion that all living things evolve. But he didn’t really understand how or why until three years later. He was on the island of Halmahera, quite delirious with fever when he realized that animals evolved when they adapted to their environment.
These are the 5 popular lies that any school would teach you as a part of one’s curriculum. It turns to us to debunk the lies and preach the truth.
Tesla: Photographer: Dickenson V. AlleyRestored by Lošmi, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Darwin:Julius Jääskeläinen, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons