False Facts from History Class

False fact: Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492.

Explorer Christopher Columbus
Shutterstock

Reality: By now you probably know that everything you were taught about Columbus is unreliable. For example, contrary to what you learned in school, the explorer did not discover America when he landed there in 1492; the land had previously been inhabited for centuries by Native Americans. Plus, many scholars believe that other explorers from Europe, Asia, and Africa had already landed in America long before Columbus.

3False fact: Columbus discovered that the Earth wasn’t flat.

Christopher Columbus False Facts
Shutterstock

Reality: Columbus didn’t discover America. He also didn’t discover that the Earth wasn’t flat. In fact, it’s likely that he already knew it was round when he set off to supposedly debunk the “flat Earth” theory.

Historians believe that educated people in Columbus’s day—and even those centuries earlier—knew that the Earth was round, according to The Washington Post. Columbus apparently even owned a book called Geography that described planet Earth as being of a spherical shape. Columbus was not concerned with falling off the Earth’s edge, but rather with the size of the ocean he wanted to cross.