Learning history can be a transformative experience. It can challenge your long-held beliefs and assumptions about societies, their culture, and humanity in general.
Discovering that what you’ve been taught is not the (whole) truth, and that events you thought were isolated incidents are actually part of a broader pattern is jarring. But as uncomfortable as it may be, this process can liberate you, providing you with a new level of clarity and understanding.
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So let’s take a look at a Reddit post, created by user u/FlickTheSwitch167 that asked everyone “What historical fact have you learnt that ruined everything you ever thought you knew about this life?” And it has received a fair share of insightful replies!
That we domesticated pigeons thousands of years ago and then decided we didn’t want them anymore. People treat them like vermin after we relied on them for so much (food, messengers etc)
The pigeons you see in your cities are not wild, they’re abandoned.
Image credits: pizzkat
I mean, I was pretty young when I learned about the Holocaust. I’m german, and we take this topic really seriously of course. It dawned on me then that the world wasn’t as innocent as I thought it was back then. But I’m glad I learned about it at that young age. I was able to gain interest in that topic, and that’s pretty important considering the latest events in the East of Europe. And it’s important for my generation to really understand and grasp the horrors of the 3rd Reich to ensure that this won’t happen again. Sadly it seems not all countries get educated that well in this topic. Not listing any names, there are many countries that now start to go into a rather fascist direction, which is more than concerning.
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“It says here in this history book that luckily, the good guys have won every single time. What are the odds?”
– Norm MacDonald
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Old norse runes were found carved up like 20 feet in a cave- when they were translated, they just said “this is very high”
God I love people aksjsj
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I’m from Texas, born and raised.
I found out within the past few years that the Texas Revolution was mainly due to Mexico outlawing slavery and Texas… not wanting to do that.
So everyone at the Alamo essentially died to preserve slavery. Yay.
Image credits: 1337bobbarker
Can’t remember the exact quote but it went something like, If the entirety of human (Homo) history was condensed into a 500 page book, modern anatomical humans wouldn’t show up until page 450, and homosapiens wouldn’t build empires until page 490, the atomic bomb and the foundation of Rome would be on the final page and only a paragraph apart. And yet in all of this the vast amount of technological advancements from the discovery of the atom to the modern day would fit in the last few sentences, of the last paragraph of the last page. And people wonder why we are reckless, we’re still effectively great apes, but with shiny toys.
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When I got older and realized the countless atrocities the United States has committed. Genocide, collusion, bombing our own cities. I used to feel a sense of safety knowing that I lived with the good guys and we stood for justice. That feeling is fleeting
Image credits: FireFromThaumaturgy
Ancient Antarctica was actually a rainforest, a lush and verdant paradise, filled with flora and fauna.
Despite the interesting fact that there was a whole continent of animals who lived on this planet that we’ll never know about – as their remains are locked beneath miles of ice – it blew my mind that Antarctica only fully froze over about 35 million years ago, despite breaking from its supercontinent ~ 180 million years ago.
That means Antarctica supported independent life for ~ 145 million years, which ruined any sense I have for time and perspective. We really are specks on this planet.
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African kings were the ones who advertised their people as work force/labor to the world.
They died regretting those decisions.
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If you look at the history of mankind, you quickly see that nobody ever learned from our history.
I spent a lot of time at the library in my early 20’s and learned that the Old Testament isn’t very old and some of the oldest stories are just copies or much older Sumerian myths. The Exodus has no real world evidence whatsoever, and the Egyptians ruled over the holy land for thousands of years without ever mentioning the Hebrew people until the Bronze Age Collapse.
The more we find out about Native Americans, the more I realize the entire history of the United States is complete white-washed b******t.
There was a Spanish explorer that first visited the Inca empire and saw lots of prosperous cities and a great civilisation, and told his peers about it when he returned home. But when other folks went to visit the siad cities they found nothing but jungle and thought the explorer lied about his story. The fact that blew my mind is that nowadays we discovered that his story was true and the people he encounterd died from diseases brought into the new world and the cities and civilization they build were consumed by jungle in the spam of a few years
Image credits: Manu82134
I once heard a saying that goes *“if you trace someone’s ‘land’ back far enough in time, it was bought in blood.”*
The Japanese murdered more Chinese than the Germans did Jews. We praise Japan for their society and technological advances and despise the Germans because of Hitler. Whats worse? The Japanese boiling babies or the germans corraling jews into gas chambers? Yet the Japanese don’t get much mainstream attention for all their atrocities.
95% of native people before Columbus died of diseases brought by explorers. That’s 19 of 20 people, for two continents.
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When I learned that NASA had discovered over 100 billion GALAXIES and seeing the image to put into perspective that our entire solar system is only about the size of a coin compared to our galaxy which in relation would be the size of the United States.
We are so incredibly small within the universe.
Edit to add: Here’s a [photo](https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/goddard/2021/hubble-gazes-at-a-galactic-menagerie) of just a snippet of the various galaxies. Keeping in mind, we haven’t even ventured outside of our solar system which is within our Milky Way galaxy, just a grain of sand in context to the universe.
Image credits: cheeseburghers
That Oxford University is older than the Aztec empire.
Image credits: Daohor
The church began the vow of celibacy for priests, not for any Biblical reasons, but so the priest didn’t have a spouse or any offspring who could inherit his wealth. This way the Church inherited all of it.
Learning about the depth and breadth of slavery in human history was a real eye-opener. We have really detailed documents from more modern history to show WHY that idea is so heinous, but it’s always been a significant part of cultures all around the world serving as anything from a social construct to the very currency of war and with autonomy ranging from that of livestock to that of a low caste. Evidence of slavery predates written records and is even included in the code of Hammurabi where it was already an established institution and we still haven’t stamped it out today, April 10th 2023, where slavery affects an estimated 46 million people (that’s more than the total population of California, and approximately the population of Spain). It’s crazy how awful humans have always been to one another and that we still can’t seem to hold each other accountable for basic human rights, despite indelible proof.
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Ghandi was a hypocritical pieces of s**t.
Mother Teresa stole loads of money and left people to die.
There are graffiti that got preserved in Pompei and Herculanum. Because they didn’t have paper, public announcement were directly painted on the walls.
Some of those graffiti are on par with what you can find on the toilet’s wall of trucker’s stop. “i f****d the barmaid”, “Felix f***s like a god”, “Take of your clothes and show us your hairy privates”
Image credits: chinchenping
The inventions of Nikola Tesla and what little Edison actually invented himself
Leopold of Belgium,treated congo as “his personal property”
And people who failed to collect enough Cocoa had thier hands/the hands of their kids cut
And france forced Haiti (one of the poorest countries ever) to take a loan from a french bank,to pay the french government “a compensation for kicking the french occupation and slave traders out”
They paid it for nearly 100 years,
I knew humans could be s**t but somehow i thought there was a limit
Victorian era London was a terrible place to be alive as a member of the working class. If I recall correctly. You could pay a penny to sit indoors on a bench but no sleeping! Two Pennies and you could swing your arms over a rope and sleep standing up or if you made hella money that day you could pay 4 Pennies and sleep in a coffin. The water is undrinkable and children expected working hours were 12 to 18 a day starting at 4 yrs old. By those standards a lot of us would look like royalty to them.
Image credits: UnicornBrainsRPointy
The Irish famine was an opportunity the British took to commit genocide against the Irish. They were intentionally starved, while other crops were shipped off island to the British citizens.
More of a fun one, but lighters predate strike matches by a couple centuries. They originated from repurposed flintlock pistols that ignited tinder shoved in the barrel that were set aflame by the trigger mechanism.
Image credits: Kataphractoi
British rule of India caused at least 10 famines yet we almost hear nothing about it
That Napoleon wasn’t cartoonishly short. All those cartoons were a lie…
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Not necessarily a historical fact but more of a fact of history; out of everything we know, there is so much more we don’t know and simply never will know.
Even worse, the a lot of the things we believe we know are from commonly accepted theories that are held onto by elitist, ageing historians which only become refuted and debunked as they literally die off. The field of history as much as history itself is so ridiculously fascinating.
That, during WW2, all the other countries did not help the Jews escape from Nazi Germany, but on the contrary, closed their borders! For instance, the St. Louis was denied at a number of ports, until they finally had to return to Denmark, which was under Nazi occupation. They COULD have let those Jews on board in, say, Cuba or Florida or wherever!
That when the pyramids were being built, mammoths were walking the earth. Woolly mammoths lived there until 1700 BC. The Great Pyramid was completed around 2560 BC.
that the beach boys made up kokomo and that it is not a tropical caribbean island
Prior to 1976 student loan debt could be discharged immediately after graduation by filing for bankruptcy. Then the “education amendments of 1976” stipulated that student loans could not be discharged in bankruptcy until five years of repayment, barring proof of “undue hardship.” 1984 this was extended to cover private student loans as well. The “crime control act of 1990” extended the period before which bankruptcy proceedings could commence to 7 years after repayment began. And in 1991 the six year statute of limitations on collection was finally eliminated after it had been enacted in 1985. By 1998 there was a big push to eliminate any methods of discharging student loans via bankruptcy and seven years later, in the year 2005, all qualified student loans (including most private) were excepted from discharge with the passage of the “bankruptcy abuse prevention and consumer protection act.”
Since then there have been a few attempts to give modern college educated people the same fighting chance that the old college educated folks had, but to little avail. Many of the same boomers that vote against helping college grads get out of exorbitant debt are the same ones who had their own college education funded by taxpayers. Still think those old folks in politics have the people’s best interest in mind?
Ruined in an interesting, not bad way: ancient Greek and Roman polychromy.
The Parthenon temple looked a bit like Disneyland.
As an African, probably learning about all the empires and developments on the African continent. Things that fly in the face of the claim that Africans were backward savages.
We probably know more about the empires in the northern parts of the continent but other developments like the Kingdom of Zimbabwe and Mapungubwe, the latter whose discovery was kept hush-hush because it didn’t fit in with the narrative that justified continued colonization of Africans.
There’s another more newly discovered civilization, named the BoKoni, that’s still subject to all sorts of rumours just because it couldn’t have been Africans that did that.
That even the “huts” some Africans lived in were a proactive choice because of certain advantages they held such as their ability to deal with the local climate and not simply because that’s all they knew.
A bunch of little things that make history seem a lot less “black and white”.
It broke me the first time I learned that the library of Alexandria burnt down, and the scholars at the time still were trying to decipher parchment from even older and more ancient civilizations. I heard that and instantly realized we don’t deserve our own intelligence
Being raised in all catholic schools it was really surprising to me to learn that a lot of sections in the bible and a lot of religious practices were instated by people who basically decided so and justified it with ideas that were hammered to fit whatever they said
Like it wasn’t always that priests had to be celibate. Some pope decided that they should be and that was that but really all it would take to reverse that is a pope to say otherwise and a bunch of cardinals to support it. And it doesn’t really matter what religious texts say, since the chuirch basically controls the “official interpretation”, they can say whetever they want
edit: to the based redpilled people out there being all “oMg dId YOu ThINk rElIgionS aRe ReAL”, yeah no, the surprising part was to learn how easily the church can change any aspect of their dogma when they actually manage to agree on it. And if their own texts refute said change, they can just say “oh we looked at it again and it actually means we are right now”
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That up until the 1980s newborn babies used to get operated on without anaesthesia because it was believed they couldn’t feel pain.
Edit: spelling fix
Edit 2: you experts can calm your tits now. I may not be a doctor, but that doesn’t make the history of it any less disturbing…
Image credits: studyinthai333
That I’d been living in the same society with all of those people who hatefully protested racial segregation in the 60s. They just went into hiding when it became socially unacceptable to wear your bigotry loud and proud. I no longer wonder what makes such a person as I get to watch the actual people announce their bigotry loud and proud today. Ignorance was bliss.
Willing to see Japanese folks to share what they learnt about the relationship between Korea. From what Japanese were taught in school, they “industrialized” Korea when they actually colonized and tortured millions of Koreans.
I always grew up thinking that something like 50-75% of all white Americans owned slaves during the 1700s/1800s, my mind was kind of blown when I learned that it was closer to 1-3% of Americans.
edit: for context since this comment has received some upvotes..
25% of white families in the south likely owned a slave. In a few southern states (Mississippi for example) that number is closer to 45-50%. However, I was speaking about all Americans and not just those in the south.
It’s possible if not likely that the overall number of whites in America owning slaves were closer to 5-10% rather than 1-3%, however my point stands that I always assumed it was closer to 50-75%.
No one outside of America thinks the Puritans were a bunch of sweet, oppressed, morally-pure goody-goodies.
I grew up in a conservative hometown. When I was in late college, I began to learn how the Bible is essentially a long game of telephone and one where the members playing telephone purposefully exagerrated and changed what they repeated to the next person.
The Bible was written by men who never met Jesus, who got their information about Jesus from other people, in a time period that relished mystics and it was normal to change facts, did not have any understanding of “facts” in general or reliability. The men also changed what they wrote about Jesus based on political changes at the time.
95 percent of our species’ history is lost forever.
That Cleopatra is closer in time to us than the construction of the pyramids.
Not really ruined, but have you read Ben Franklin’s diaries and s**t? Dude was a dirty horn dog.
That the Middle East was once then center of knowledge and learning, particularly Bagdad. As well as the amazing extent and advanced civilizations in South and Central America prior to the 1500s.
Hitler isnt even in the top 3 of mass killers
As someone who grew up going to an evangelical church at least 2 times per week, Alan Turing’s story is the one that made me re-examine what I thought I knew about homosexuality being immoral/unnatural/sin. I was probably 19 or 20 at the time.
It’s probably the most pivotal thing that led me to question more about my faith despite it being so vitally important to my parents.
1. At one point in time, multiple different species of Homo Sapiens existed and were all probably killed off by Homo Sapien Sapien, i.e. us.
2. Most mammal species went for a couple millions of years before their extinction, which means we’re basically at the starting quarter of Human Species and not the finale.
3. Most current dictatorships and brutal regimes in the world were aided or created by the Americans in some way who just threw money and weapons at third world countries and watched them be burned down as they suck out the resources that country had.
4. Most post-WW2 Independance Struggles of colonies succeeded not because of their tenacity, but due to Europe being driven into a depression after back to back wars.
5. Most historical figures are a******s whose assholery was never documented.
I saw this in a WWI documentary. It’s not so much a “historical fact” as much as “holy s**t I never thought about that”
We are taught that during the Great War, the allies were the good guys and the central powers were the bad guys. There were no good guys. Both sides used chemical warfare, both sides experimented with new tactics, both sides tortured and killed each other.
The top spire of Empire State Building was designed for docking blimps
People are stupid…historically
That African Americans were “bred” once the slave trade was banned. I was so sad once I learned that. Those poor people. I cry sometimes when I think of that. No wonder there is so much hate.
The real reason chainsaws were invented. F**k that.
Learning about the link between leaded gasoline and violent crime made me question free will.
in ancient Rome, they once had a horse as a senator… **neighs**
That Paul Revere did NOT do the midnight ride. He was captured. It was another dude altogether, but his name wasn’t as poetic, I guess.
Drilling down in to the history of armed conflict, there are no good guys.
A young slave boy Nero had castrated and then married
Good men do not become rulers that history remembers.
The Colonel died years before I was born, which means the guy in the suit at KFC I met when I was a kid wasn’t the real Colonel.
The Caspian Sea has a second coastline deep underwater. It was a freshwater lake originally before it was flooded by the Mediterranean Sea. That appears to be the origin story for Noah’s flood. That was the beginning of the end of Christianity for me.
Edit: I’m told it’s the Black Sea, not the Caspian.
I was raised as a Christian (C of E, UK) and was a fairly gullible child.
I *loved* so many of the Bible stories – especially Moses being delivered the 10 commandments direct from God. Now, I know this makes no sense but hear me out – I assumed that the Bible had arrived this way too. I believed the book was delivered by God as a miracle.
When I learned that humans had not only written the books but also chosen what books were to be included (excluding 20 or so Gospels) my world collapsed. I was about 13 at the time but that was it. The entire foundation collapsed in an instant and my belief followed.
that guillotines weren’t to sharp (and even less sharp after some use) . several attempts were needed to decapitate a person, in a horribly and painfully way.
That Akbar was a ruthless king.
He probably became wiser as he grew old. But in his early age he was neither liberal nor secular.
How Gravrilo Princeps just happened to run into the Archduke after his groups previous failed assassination attempt makes me think he was a time traveler.