CNN

Leif Erikson Day and historical facts that just aren’t true

Oct 9, 2020, 6:16 AM
'Leif Erikson Discovers America' by Hans Dahl (1849-1937) 

Wikimedia Commons...
'Leif Erikson Discovers America' by Hans Dahl (1849-1937) Wikimedia Commons
(1849-1937)

    (CNN) — October 9 is Leif Erickson Day, but don’t go grabbing that horned hat to wear just yet.

The day celebrates the 11th-century Norse explorer who is credited with sailing to New Foundland and settling Vinland hundreds of years before Christopher Columbus ventured forth.

But his story — and that of the Vikings — is rife with misinformation. For one, there is no evidence that they wore the now famous headgear with the horns. Nor were all Scandinavians and Norse people pirating and plundering coasts of Europe in the 8th to 10th centuries.

In honor of Leif Erickson Day here are some other examples of history that many people get wrong:

Marie Antoinette’s infamous phrase

It makes for great stuff of legend, but according to acclaimed historian and author Antonia Fraser the Queen of France and Navarre did not say “Let them eat cake” when told that peasants were starving and had no bread. It is believed that Marie-Therese, wife of Louis XIV, actually said it a century earlier.

George Washington’s teeth and truth-telling

Yes, the first president of the United States had some serious dental issues. And while he had dentures, it’s not true that his fake teeth were made out of wood. According to MountVernon.org he had false teeth made of multiple materials including ivory, gold, and lead.

He also never chopped down a cherry tree as a child and said “I cannot tell a lie” when confronted.

Little Napoleon

Despite the pejorative “Napoleon complex” to which his name is connected, Napoleon Bonaparte was not a particularly short man for his age. He is said to have been 5 feet 6 inches tall, greater than the average height for a man of his time and place — about 5 feet 5 inches.

It is believed that that story got started thanks to British propaganda looking to cut the French leader down to size.

The British weren’t coming

Actually, British soldiers were already around and hiding in the Massachusetts countryside when American patriot Paul Revere took his now famous midnight ride on April 18, 1775, during the American Revolution.

The History Channel points out that Revere would not have yelled “The British are coming” to warn townspeople as those living in the states then still considered themselves British even as they fought for their independence. Rather he probably said the “regulars” were on their way.

Newton’s apple

The story that a young Isaac Newton crafted his theory of gravity while sitting under a tree that dropped an apple on his head, is a popular one.

It’s also not true.

In 2010, The Royal Society in London made available a digital version of the original manuscript which documented how the British mathematician and physicist devised his now famous theory after witnessing an apple falling from a tree in his mother’s garden in Lincolnshire. But while Newton used his head to come up with the idea, it does not appear that he got beaned.

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

CNN

Instagram co-founders Mike Krieger (left) and Kevin Systrom are pictured here during the 2019 SXSW ...
Jennifer Korn, CNN

Instagram’s founders are back with a new app

The Instagram founders are back with a new app.
5 hours ago
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., departs after attending a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill ...
Manu Raju and Melanie Zanona, CNN

George Santos tells House Republicans he wants off of his committees until issues are resolved

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia told CNN that it was Santos' decision that he made on his own to "abstain" from the committees.
1 day ago
FILE - This Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, file photo shows application icons from left, Facebook, Facebook...
CNN

Surgeon General says 13 is ‘too early’ to join social media

(CNN) — U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says he believes 13 is too young for children to be on social media platforms because although sites allow children of that age to join, kids are still “developing their identity.” Meta, Twitter, and a host of other social media giants currently allow 13-year-olds to join their platforms. […]
2 days ago
FILE - Motown's Barrett Strong arrives at the induction ceremony for 35th annual National Academy o...
CNN

Barrett Strong, Motown singer and songwriter, dead at 81

   (CNN) — Barrett Strong, the voice and songwriter behind Motown Records’ first hit, has died, according to a post from The Motown Museum. He was 81. “It is with great sadness that we share the passing of legendary @classicmotown singer and songwriter Barrett Strong. The voice behind @motownrecords’ first hit, the iconic “Money (That’s What […]
2 days ago
NEWPORT NEWS, VA - JANUARY 07: Tall pine trees outside Richneck Elementary School on January 7, 202...
Brian Todd, Hannah Sarisohn, Nicole Grether and Artemis Moshtaghian, CNN

District reassigns principal of Virginia school where boy, 6, allegedly shot teacher, spokesperson says

The principal of Richneck Elementary School in Virginia has been reassigned within Newport News Public Schools.
2 days ago
Authorities in Grants Pass, Oregon are advising women to be on the lookout for a fugitive accused o...
Andy Rose and Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Man suspected of kidnapping and beating a woman in Oregon may be using dating apps to evade police

Originally Published: 29 JAN 23 12:31 ET Updated: 29 JAN 23 21:20 ET     (CNN) — Authorities in southwestern Oregon are warning that a man suspected of kidnapping a woman and beating her unconscious may now be using dating apps to evade capture or find potential new victims, according to police. The suspect, 36-year-old Benjamin Obadiah […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Leif Erikson Day and historical facts that just aren’t true