History serves us in various ways. For instance, history offers a foundational part of the collective memory. Its narratives provide a historical dimension of meaning into who we are and what we do. Studying history is also a method to understand the present … at least, that’s what the wisest among us propose.
Rather than simply being the “study of the past” for its own sake, the “art” of history can also help us understand present-day human phenomena by investigating and clarifying their origins and development. However, there are some “tales” from the past that can make you really wonder about their authenticity.
If you don’t quite follow, read this list of 25 Odd and Bizarre Historical Events That Sound Fake but are 100% true.
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The current U.S. flag was designed by a 17-year-old student
Have you ever heard of Robert G. Heft? You know, the dude who designed the American flag back in 1958? No? We’re not surprised!
Believe it or not, Robert created the most famous flag design in the world as part of a school project when he anticipated Alaska and Hawaii joining the United States.
Ironically, he only got a B- for the assignment and a reprimand from his teacher for having too many stars. As he would state later, his teacher told him, “You don’t even know how many states we have.”
Not discouraged from his teacher’s reaction, Robert sent his design to the White House. His design was chosen out of more than 1,500 designs that were given to President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
(Sidenote: his teacher changed his grade to an A.)
China used more cement in three years than the US did in the entire 20th century
Despite Bill Gates once tweeting about it, no one really took him seriously. According to estimates from the US Geological Survey, however, Mr. Gates was being serious.
See, the US used 4.5 gigatons of cement between 1901 and 2000. Compare that with the 6.6 gigatons of cement China used between 2011 and 2013 (according to data from the International Cement Review) and you will realize that Bill Gates is definitely not a liar.
Abraham Lincoln was a marvelous wrestler
Even though he’s widely known as one of the greatest presidents in American history (if not THE greatest), President Lincoln could have also been a WWE star.
Before he became president, Abraham Lincoln was a champion wrestler, taking part in about 300 matches.
He had a reputation for being a very tough fighter. Keep also in mind that Abe was 6’4″ tall and about 225 pounds in his prime days. In other words, a certified badass.
The Pope once declared war on cats
Even though there’s not an official historical source verifying this, we will assume that Pope Gregory IV must have been a real dog person.
The notorious pope once claimed that black cats were instruments of Satan and ordered their extermination throughout Europe.
Ironically, the dramatic reduction in cat population during the 13th century was among the factors that led to a spike of plague-carrying rats, leading to the Black Plague.
Cleopatra wasn't even Egyptian
Arguably the most famous “Egyptian” human to ever live wasn’t even Egyptian after all.
For the record, Cleopatra was of Greek origin. She was the last active ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt.
As a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, she was a descendant of its founder, Ptolemy I Soter, a Greek general and companion of Alexander the Great.