8 American History Facts That AREN’T True

Delve into the history of the USA and you’ll find a plethora of extraordinary events and stories, from George Washington crossing the Delaware River to Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves and Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon.

Debunking the myths

The ragtag force of around 200 Texans holding out in the mission station-turned-fort near modern-day San Antonio was overrun, and most of them were killed.

Myth 1: The Alamo was fought for the future of the US

Ross had been approached by none other than George Washington for the task, and she quickly refined the design by suggesting using five-pointed stars instead of Washington’s preferred six.

Myth 2: Betsy Ross designed the Stars and Stripes flag

Fierce debates have raged across the US over the future of statues depicting Confederate leaders and soldiers, and many have been removed.

Myth 3: The Civil War was not fought over slavery

Even if you ignore the issue of whether the Americas could be 'discovered' at all, since they were inhabited by Indigenous populations long before Europeans arrived, Christopher Columbus’s reputation in the US is tricky to justify.

Myth 4: Christopher Columbus discovered America

An extremely persistent myth holds that, after dying from lung cancer at the age of 65, the father of Mickey Mouse ordered his body to be placed in a special machine and kept in ice until scientists developed the technology required to revive him.

Myth 5: Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen

Four months earlier, the North had won the bloodiest engagement of the Civil War, resulting in around 50,000 casualties and turning the tide of the war.

Myth 6: The Gettysburg Address was the main speech that day

Commissioned in 1751 by the Pennsylvania Assembly to hang in the new State House in Philadelphia, it cracked on its first test ring and had to be recast twice.

Myth 7: The big crack in the Liberty Bell is why it stopped being used

While he certainly was an important messenger that night, Revere’s legend today has been heavily romanticised, in large part thanks to a 19th-century poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Myth 8: Paul Revere made his ride calling, "The British are coming!"