Source: Wikimedia Commons
5. False: The White House’s “Lincoln Bedroom” was where Abraham Lincoln slept
Despite being called the “Lincoln bedroom,” Abraham Lincoln never slept in that room in the White House.
It was actually his office and the cabinet room in which he signed the Emancipation Proclamation. (Even cooler!)
To top it off, the bed in the room was never his either – it was acquired by his wife Mary Todd Lincoln for one of the guest rooms in the White House.
Save Source: Wikimedia Commons 6. False: Africa is a country
This really needs to stop because Africa is a wildly diverse continent in just about every single way.
54 countries located on the continent of Africa.
(And there are also two – Western Sahara and Somaliland – whose independence is under dispute.)
Save Source: Mapswire 7. False: Iceland is always covered in ice
Sure, it snows in Iceland – in the winter. But the weather is actually pretty mild considering how far north it’s located.
Iceland is actually a lot greener than Greenland (at least for now) and Greeland is icier than Iceland.
Save Source: Good Free Photos 8. False: Puerto Rico is a country
Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island and an unincorporated U.S. territory with a population of around 3.4 million people.
The territory has been contested ever since it was colonized by Spain in 1493. It was handed over to the U.S. in 1898 following the Spanish–American War under the terms of the Treaty of Paris.
Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens but cannot vote in national elections and do not have U.S. senators.
Save Source: Wikimedia Commons 9. False: The UK and England are the same
This is going to be even more embarrassing to mix up if Brexit becomes a reality.
The United Kingdom consists – at the moment – of England, Scotland, Wales, and North Ireland.
Great Britain is the island of England, Scotland, and Wales.
Save Source: Wikimedia Commons 10: False: Norway is the northernmost country in the world
Most people don’t know their northern European geography and since Norway is referred to as “the land of the midnight sun,” people tend to think it’s about as far north as one can get before they get to the North Pole.
But in reality, it’s not even in the top 3 when it comes to northernmost countries. Those are Russia, Greenland, and Canada.
Save Source: via Quora 11. All Middle Eastern people are Muslims
It’s lazy to lump everyone who looks a certain way or lives in the same country together.
Yes, there are many Muslims in the Middle East. But there are also Jews (and not just in Israel), Zoroastrians, Baha’is, and various types of Christians including Assyrian Christians and Coptic Christians, as well.
Source: Pexels 12. Myth: Greenland is bigger than Africa
Mercator projections (the way we flatten out maps) inflates the size of objects away from the equator. That means landmasses such as Greenland and Antarctica appear much larger than they actually are relative to land masses near the equator.
Africa is 11,730,000 sq miles and Greenland just 836,000. So don’t trust the linear map. Do some research instead.
Source: Jakub Nowosad via Wikimedia Commons 13. False, technically: The Statue of Liberty is in NYC
Liberty Island is governed by the 8th congressional district of New York.
However, the U.S. Geological Survey actually puts it in New Jersey.
the National Parks Service:
“Since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1998, Ellis Island, which is federal property, belongs within the territorial jurisdiction of both New York and New Jersey depending upon where you are.”
Source: NPS.gov 14. False: The Matterhorn is Europe’s highest mountain
While the Matterhorn is the best-known peak in the Alps and on the bucket list of climbers everywhere, the 15,000+ foot high mountain is not the tallest in Europe.
That honor belongs to Russia’s Mount Elbrus (pictured) at 18,510 feet tall.
Source: Wikimedia Common 15. False: The Nile is the longest river in the world
If you include tributaries (which many do), the Amazon River is actually longer at 4,345 miles to the Nile’s 4,258 miles.
Not a big difference, but good to know.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 16. False: The Mississippi River is the longest river in the US
Yet another watered down “fact.”
The longest river in the U.S is actually the Missouri River. It’s 139 miles longer than the famous Mississippi.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 17. False: Holland is a country
While Holland is commonly used interchangeably with the Netherlands, it’s actually just a region and former province of the Netherlands.
And just like our Carolinas, there is a North Holland and a South Holland as well.
Source: via Trip Savvy 18. False: Maine is the easternmost state
Maine is many things, but due to a technicality, it’s not our easternmost state.
Oddly enough, that honor belongs to Alaska because the Aleutian Islands stretch across the 180º line of Longitude, making it BOTH the easternmost and westernmost state.
Source: GIS 19. False: Florida is our southernmost state
Sure, it dangles off the end of the contiguous U.S., giving the impression that the Florida Keys are farthest you can go south and still be in America, but that’s only true if you’re talking about the continental U.S.
Hawaii is the southernmost U.S. state.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 20. False: No one in Arizona recognizes daylight savings time
We’re always pretty jealous of Arizona when it’s time to spring forward and lose an hour, but only parts of the state recognize daylight savings times.
Those that don’t? The Navajo Nations lands.
Source: Date and Time 21. False: Geneva is the capital of Switzerland
Geneva lies at the southern tip of Lake Geneva, ensconced by the amazing Alps and Jura Mountains.
And because it houses the Headquarters of Europe’s United Nations and the Red Cross and is a global hub for banking, many believe it is the capital
Bern is the real capital city.
Source: Max Pics 22. False: Florida has the longest coastline of any state
Once again, if you picture a map, it might seem like Florida has the most coastline since it hangs off the tip of the country.
But, alas, no.
Alaska has the most coastline of any U.S. state by far with 6,640 miles compared to Florida’s 1,350 miles. And it has beautiful beaches too! (They’re just not quite as warm – and, ya know, some have bears.)
Source: Katmai Coast, Alaska via NPS.gov 23. False: Alaska has the smallest population of any US state
Ok, so maybe its coastline is the longest, but its population is the smallest, right?
Well, technically, it used to be true, it just isn’t anymore. As of the 2016 U.S. Census, it’s only the 3rd least populous state.
Wyoming actually has the smallest population, followed by Vermont.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 24. False: Georgia is the “peach state” because it produces the most peaches
Georgians, you’re welcome to argue that it produces the
best peaches – and we know you will! – but it’s the great state of California that produces the most.
In fact, California produces about 20 times as many peaches as Georgia!
So check out the sticker on your peach next time you’re at the store. It’s always fascinating to know where your food comes from (and from how far away).
Source: Wikimedia Commons 25. False: Route 66 is the longest highway in the U.S.
Route 66 is pretty cool. It was the nation’s first all-weather highway linking Chicago to Los Angeles. But it’s not the longest, even though it might stick in your head as important from anything from
The Grapes of Wrath to the movie Cars.
The longest highway is actually Route 20, which runs from Boston to Newport, Oregon.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 26. False: Mount Whitney is the highest peak in the U.S.
To be fair, if you went to school before 1959 and haven’t read anything about mountains since then, you might still think California’s majestic Mount Whitney is America’s tallest mountain.
But then Alaska came along.
We’re learning a lot about Alaska today, aren’t we?
When Alaska joined the union in 1959, it took the top 10(!) spots for the highest mountains.
And the tallest one is the famous Denali (formerly Mt. McKinley). Just look at that thing! In fact, it’s the highest peak in all of North America.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 27. False: Boston/Philadelphia/Jamestown is the oldest city in the U.S.
While you might think that one of these cities (or let’s just say “permanent settlements” since “cities” didn’t come along until later) is the oldest in the U.S., that honor actually belongs to a city in Florida.
And it makes sense. The British weren’t the first ones to get to what is now the U.S. – the Spanish were. And when they established
St. Augustine, Florida, they were created the very first European permanent settlement all the way back in 1565.
That is, of course, if you ignore (as the history books tend to do) all the Native People’s settlements (that colonizers never allowed to become permanent).
Source: Pixabay 28. False: There is only one South Pole
It should be simple, right? The South Pole is the southernmost point on the surface of the Earth. Done and done.
But that’s just the geographic South Pole, and it’s not precise because of the Earth’s wobble. And even if you make it down there for a photo, you’re likely only getting to the Ceremonial South Pole a few meters away, where the photo ops take place.
There are 2 other poles that scientists tend to refer to when they are measuring the location for research: the Magnetic South Pole and the Geomagnetic South Pole – both of which move due to changes in the Earth’s magnetic field.
Finally, there’s something called the South Pole of Inaccessibility, which is measured in relation to ever-changing coastlines. But good luck getting there.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 29. False: Krakatoa is east of Java
For some reason, the only other thing people seem to be able to say about Krakatoa – other than it was the site of one of the most violent volcanic events in history in 1883 – is that it’s “east of Java.” But it’s not.
In fact, that geographic mistake comes from the title of a not-terribly-popular 1969 disaster movie called “Krakatoa, East of Java.”
But Krakatoa is actually an island in the Sunda Strait WEST of Java. No one knows for sure why the title is so misleading but guesses range from liking the sound better to simply not checking a map.
If you go east from Java, you can still get to Krakatoa – you just have to go around the entirety of the Earth first.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 30. False: Canada is the world’s largest country
We’re not sure why so many people think Canada is the largest country in the world, but while it comes in second, it’s over 17,000 square kilometers smaller than the largest country, Russia.
Maybe people just spend their time with the North American part of their globes facing out. Give that thing a spin sometime!
Source: Wikimedia Commons 31. False: Seattle is the rainiest city in the U.S.
Not by a long shot.
some accounts, it’s Mobile, Alabama.
And that trip to Florida you’re lording over your friends? Watch out for karma because
Miami and Jacksonville rank #2 and #5, according to NOAA.
Seattle isn’t even the city with the MOST precipitation days (nevermind the accumulation). The cities with the most rain/snow days are Rochester and Buffalo, New York.
Source: Miami in the rain via Wikimedia Commons 32. False: Connecticut is nicknamed “the Constitution State” because the Constitution was signed there
The U.S. Constitution was signed in Philadelphia – then the capital of the country – in 1787.
But Connecticut got its nickname because of its Fundamental Orders adopted in 1639 dictating how it was to be governed. Some consider this to be the first “constitution.”
Source: Wikimedia Commons 33. False: The first nugget of gold was discovered in California at Sutter’s Mill
The gold found at Sutter’s Mill in 1848 might have set off the California Gold Rush, but that wasn’t the first place gold was discovered in the U.S.
Fifty years before the madness started, the first big golden nugget was found at Little Meadow Creek, North Carolina. That state had its own gold rush first and the man who found the 17-pound nugget was
duped into selling it for about 1,000 times less than it was worth.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 34. False: Alcatraz was the most dangerous and spooky prison in the U.S.
Pure Hollywood baloney. You might still hear spooky things about the prison or the island it sits on from someone who wants to sell you a tour, but much of it is made up.
Granted, there were some scary guys in there (hey, it was a prison!) – in fact, it’s often where they sent people other prisons couldn’t deal with – but it doesn’t quite live up to its mythological reputation.
Still, there are
some cool facts about it.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 35. False: The Chernobyl power plant disaster closed down the entire facility in 1986
Only reactor 4 blew up during the disaster at Chernobyl in 1986. The other three reactors were still in working order and thousands of people continued to work there afterward.
The plant was critical to Ukraine’s power needs and Unit 2 wasn’t shut down until 1991, unit 1 in 1996, and unit 3 in 2000.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 36. It’s complicated: Antarctica has no time zones
To be fair, there are no trains to catch on Antarctica and very few people need to rely on time zones there. Officially, the continent has no time zones since those converge at the poles (and are mostly based on territorial claims anyway), but a bit outside of that and you can technically walk through all of them.
However, there are a number of research stations down there and they each abide by their home country’s individual time zones.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 37. False: The Hoover Dam is full of the bodies of workers who died on the job
There were 96 official on-site fatalities during the construction of the Hoover Dam, but no one was left in the concrete.
While people like to tell the stories of men slipping into the concrete and being buried there, concrete takes a lot longer to cure, and any man would have been rescued – if for no other reason than a body in the concrete would affect the structural integrity of the enormous dam.
One man did get caught up and killed in a concrete slide, but
his body was recovered.
The men at the dam themselves propagated the stories of men buried there, but later interviews showed that none could attest to actually witnessing an incident.
Source: Flickr 38. Mostly false: Canada is an impenetrable arctic fortress in the winter
Canada gets a bad rap for being cold. And parts of it are. But it’s not all in the Arctic and you shouldn’t avoid traveling there in the winter.
Many cities, such as Vancouver, have mild winters. In fact, Vancouver’s is even milder than New York’s!
Now, Winnepeg, on the other hand…
This rumor probably stems from Canadians laughing at the rest of us when we freak out about snowstorms. They get some bad ones and bear the brunt of some of the more severe weather (such as the Polar Vortex) that we’re now experiencing.
And you can’t blame them for snickering at us when we freak out about a foot of snow.
Source: Good Free Photos 39. Mount Everest is the tallest mountain in the world
While Mount Everest has the highest summit above sea level, technically it’s not the tallest mountain in the world.
If you measure base to summit the world’s tallest mountain is Hawaii’s Mauna Kea.
Source: @voy_travel/Twitter 40. False: Seattle has the highest suicide rate in the country
Just because everyone thinks it’s rainy and gloomy all the time and everyone there suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder doesn’t make it true. And rumors about the suicide rate are way overblown.
In fact, Seattle doesn’t even make the top 15 cities with the highest suicide rate.
That dishonor goes to Las Vegas.
Source: Public Domain Pictures 41. False(ish): Florida is a hotbed of bizarre crimes and stories
While “Florida man…” makes a great meme, the state isn’t quite the hotbed of strange crime that the cherry-picked items on websites would have us believe.
It’s actually just a lot easier to access information about crime in Florida, so people troll websites for the weirdest stuff they can find. Florida’s unique open government laws let anyone acquire police reports and mug shots as soon as they are taken.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the stories coming out of Florida are false, just that weird stuff happens everywhere.
Source: Imgur 42. False: New York City is full of sketchy alleys
New York City actually has very few alleys, despite what you see on TV. In Manhattan, in particular, there is simply no room for them, so they’re few and far between (though Queens and Brooklyn do have some).
When you’re watching crime shoes and something takes place in that dark Manhattan alley, take a closer look. Most of those scenes are actually shot in one place – Cortlandt Alley in Chinatown.
Source: Pinterest 43. False: Marijuana is legal in the Netherlands
While they have their fair share of cannabis coffee shops, marijuana is not legal in the Netherlands.
It was merely decriminalized for recreational use, not legalized. You can still get it confiscated and get in a lot of trouble if you have large quantities.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 44. False: Immigrants had their last names “Americanized” when they arrived on Ellis Island
Island officials didn’t record names at all – they simply cross-checked given names against the ones on ship manifests. And those names were recorded in Europe.
But they did give people the ability to correct spelling mistakes if they needed to.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 45. Toilets flush in the opposite direction in the Southern Hemisphere
We’ve long loved to make up “facts” about people who live far away.
And while the Coriolis effect does tend to push things to the right in the Northern hemisphere and to the left in the Southern hemisphere, it’s not strong enough to work on something as small as a toilet.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 46. Old Faithful faithfully erupts at regular intervals
isn’t really so faithful when it comes to the time between eruptions of the famous geyser.
It erupts every 35 to 120 minutes for anywhere between one-and-a-half to five minutes.
It’s not even the biggest or the most regular geyser in Yellowstone.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 47. False: Everyone in Paris is rude to Americans
To be fair, Americans can be wildly rude tourists that would evoke some strong feelings from just about anyone. But there’s nothing especially rude about Parisians, despite their reputation.
After all, how can you say everyone in a city acts the same way? That’s silly.
However, Paris has confronted this reputation head-on in recent decades, trying to be more understanding of tourist behaviors. If only tourists could change
If you’re ever been on the other side of tourist season, you know just what it feels like to have people crawling all over your backyard and just how frustrating it is to hear that you should be grateful for their tourist dollars.
Source: Flickr 48. False: Bagpipes were invented in Scotland
Not even close. Bagpipes have been played for over a millennium throughout Europe, northern Africa (especially Egypt), Anatolia, the Caucasus, and the Persian Gulf.
The first time a bagpipe appears in Scottish literature was in 1400, long after it was already a popular instrument in other parts of the world.
In fact, bagpipes were actually banned for a while in Scotland after the uprising of 1745 because they were considered an instrument of war.
Source: Medieval bagpiper in Spain via Wikimedia Commons 49. False: The Great Wall of China can be seen from space
Just because it’s long doesn’t mean it’s large enough to be visible from space. For that, something has to be either huge or enormously bright.
While the Great Wall has been photographed from space (zoomed in), it simply can’t be seen with the naked eye.
Source: Pixabay 50. False: The “red” in Russia’s Red Square refers to the country’s ties to communism
Just because we associate the color red with communism doesn’t mean it’s an accurate translation or comparison to make every time.
In fact, Moscow’s Red Square, or “Krasnaya ploshad,” which sits adjacent to the Kremlin, is derived from the Russian word for beautiful (which is now translated as “red”).
Many believe it’s called the beautiful square because of the view of St. Basil’s Cathedral.
The name actually predates the Bolshevik Revolution.
Source: Flickr 51. Probably false: The Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock
Never trust an elementary school play to teach you history.
When the Pilgrims first landed in North America, they most likely came ashore in what is now Provincetown, Massachusetts, which is also where the Mayflower Compact was signed.
There’s no mention of Plymouth Rock in any early documents of those settlers. The
first person to mention it was an acquaintance of the original pilgrims who remembered hearing the story as a boy.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 52. False: China still has a one-child policy
Not anymore. In late 2015, China eased the policy because of its aging population and shrinking labor force.
Now, most married couples are encouraged to have two children.
However, this isn’t working out quite as planned. Births only increased by 7.9% in 2016 according to China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission. And the birthrate fell by 3.5% in 2017, partly because the number of first-child births dropped.
Source: Flickr 53. False: All Australians are descended from convicts
While Britain did send more than 160,000 convicts to its colony in Australia between 1788 and 1868, there are plenty of other residents who are not descended from those men and women, first and foremost all the indigenous people that live on the continent.
These days, about 1/4 of Australians were born overseas anyway, so the stereotype just doesn’t hold up.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 54. False: The Verrazano Narrows is the longest suspension bridge in the world
The Verrazano Bridge connects the boroughs of Staten Island and Brooklyn. It was the longest suspension bridge in the world until 1981 when it was bested by the UK’s Humber Bridge. But still remains the U.S.’s longest suspension bridge (take that, Golden Gate Bridge!).
These days it’s not even close to what China is building though. They have 5 of the 10 longest suspension bridges in the world.
As of right now, however, the winner of this contest is the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge in Japan, built in 1998.
When the Çanakkale 1915 Bridge of the Dardanelles in Turkey is completed in the next few years, it will take the title.
Source: The Akashi Kaikyō Bridge via Wikimedia Commons 55. False: Mexico is in South America
It’s amazing how easily people forget where continents begin and end.
It appears that plenty of people think that the only countries in North America are the U.S. and Canada.
But walls or no walls, Mexico is part of North America as well.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 56. False: Orlando is the capital of Florida
Just because it’s the theme park capital of Florida doesn’t make Orlando the official capital.
Regardless of what you think about the roller coaster that is politics, Florida’s capital is actually Tallahasee.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 57. False: L.A. is a concrete jungle
Sure, traffic is terrible, but the idea that L.A. is simply highways and parking lots is totally false.
From tree-lined neighborhoods to the 4000-acre Griffith Park, you can get your fair share of nature in this city.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 58. False: All of India is hot and humid
India is a HUGE country with climates that vary from one end of the spectrum to the other.
Thinking all of India is sweltering throughout the year would be like saying the weather is the same all year round in Minnesota and Texas.
Source: Wikimedia Commons 59. False: Lederhosen is traditional dress in Germany
These outfits might be popular when you’re celebrating Oktoberfest in the U.S., but both Lederhosen (for men) and Dirndl (or women) originate in Austria as well as Italy’s South Tyrol, and southern Bavaria.
Source: Flickr 60. False: All Middle Eastern people are Arabs
Just as all Middle Easterners aren’t Muslim, not everyone who lives in the Middle East is of Arab descent.
Arabs are a Semitic people, originally from the Arabian peninsula.
Meanwhile, people in Iran and the Kurdish parts of Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria tend to be Persian (an Indo-European people) while Afghanistan is home to many non-Arab peoples as well.
Source: Lucidity Information Design
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