History legends, myths and burning questions


Did Elizabeth I take a lover? 

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Despite many books and television documentaries that have implied that Elizabeth took a lover during her reign, there is no documented evidence to  suggest that she did. It was one of the key policies during her time as queen that she would never take a husband or lover because it would lead to factions within her court. Elizabeth was the first and only person who held all the power in England  and no man was going to say otherwise.

Why was there not enough life boats during the sinking of titanic?

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The lack of lifeboats during the Titanic disaster has long been a source of controversy but  the number of lifeboats aboard at the time of the sinking was more than enough required by British law. The Board of Trade Regulations’ hoplessly outdated regulations concerning lifeboat safety, which was based on whether the ship weighed more than 10 thousand tons and if the ship had water tight doors, required only 16 lifeboats on board the Titanic enough for less than half the souls on board.  When Titanic left Southampton she carried 20 which was seen to be more than sufficient for the ‘unsinkable ship’.

Did George Washington have wooden false teeth?


One of the most enduring legends of George Washington was that he had a full set of wooden false teeth. He was a man who suffered tremendous toothache and many of his teeth were rotten to the root. However it is little more than a rumour that he had a full set of wooden false teeth. In fact he had his dentist, Dr John Baker,  fashion a partial set of  ivory teeth for him to use when he was on campaign against the British.

Did Marie Antoinette really let them eat cake?

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Jacobin propaganda during the French Revolution treated Marie Antoinette cruelly and despite the popular belief that on hearing the news that parisians were starving in the street Antoinette remarked “let them eat cake”, there is no evidence to suggest that she actually said this. In fact the phrase ‘let them eat cake’ can be attributed to someone else, in Jacques Rousseau’s Confessions he says Marie Therese the wife of Louis XIV uttered the phrase in 1766 when Antoinette  was 11 years old and living in Austria.

Were witches really burnt during the Salem witch trails?

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The infamous Salem Witch Trials where 14 women and 5 men were executed after being found guilty of witchcraft resulted in the age old legend that they were burned to death by the accusers. They were actually hung apart from one man who was crushed by stones. Even these punishments were harsh. None of the evidence presented against them would of stood up in a modern court, all of the condemned were excommunicated from the churches they belonged to and were not awarded proper burials.