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10 Truths About Historical Figures Distorted By Hollywood

Edited By: Jake Ramirez
 Hollywood has distorted the reality about important historical figures in order make their stories work on the silver screen, and the 10 you're about to see below are no exception. It's often the case that those made out to be and remembered as heroes are actually nothing of the sort. Here's the truth on 10 important historical figures: 
 
1. Buddha
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The fat, smiling Buddha statues that you see in Chinese restaurants aren’t the correct representation of what the Buddha was supposed to have looked like. The correct one is Budai, the “laughing Buddha”, who is believed to have been a reincarnation of the “real” Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. With that being said, the “real” Buddha is believed to have been thin thanks to his lack of craving for the pleasures of the world (following his achievement of enlightenment).
2. Pocahontas
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Pocahontas was born in 1596, and actually named Ammonite. Pocahontas was actually her nickname, and she was instrumental in attempts to make peace between the Powhatan people and the European colonists. In fact, she was known to bring food to the settlers to ease tensions between the two people. At one point, she was imprisoned by the Europeans and converted to Christianity. What’s more is that she wasn’t married to John Smith, but to a tobacco farmer named John Rolfe. She died in the United Kingdom in 1617 due to unknown causes.
3. Che Guevara
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Most people see Che Guevara as a heroic Marxist revolutionary that helped to overthrow the Cuban government together with the Castro brothers, however, he was also a ruthless executioner who oversaw the deaths of hundreds of men during the early days of the Castro government. Some see him as inspirational, while others see him as insufferable as a result.
4. Oliver Cromwell 
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During the 1600s, Cromwell was Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland. He declared Parliament corrupt in 1653 and had parliamentarians removed by force, an act for which he’s seen as a hero. The thing is that he was actually involved in massacres of Irish people as part of an attempt to help the English gain control of Ireland. The truth about Cromwell is that although he was responsible for getting rid of a corrupt Parliament, he was actually pretty corrupt himself.
5. Cleopatra 
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The last Pharaoh of ancient Egypt is more widely known for her beauty than anything else, but the last ruler of the Ptolemaic dynasty was very powerful, as well being a diplomat, polyglot and medical author. Her demise marked the end of the Hellenistic period, which saw Egypt become a province of the Roman Empire.
 
6. Alexander Graham Bell
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Although he’s recognized as the inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell is credited as such due to filing a patent right under the nose of its real inventor. The telephone was invented by an Italian living in the New York named Antonio Meucci. Rumor has it that Meucci filled out a “patent caveat”, but he couldn’t afford to file the patent itself.
7. Pontius Pilate
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Pontius Pilate is considered to be a bad man by Christians for ordering the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but some historians suggest that he never did such a thing. In fact, they say that he was reluctant to crucify Jesus, and believed him to be innocent.
8. Vincent van Gogh
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Vincent van Gogh’s paintings are worth millions of dollars today, but he was unknown and unloved as an artist during his lifetime. In fact, he suffered from depression and lived in poverty despite having over 2,000 paintings in his possessions. Even more amazing is the fact that he only ever sold one painting when he was alive.
9. Confucius
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Despite being regarded as a religious figure, Confucius actually had nothing to do with religion. Chinese philosophy, which he founded, is based on Chinese beliefs and morals. These include family, respect for elders and the rights of others. Many people associate Confucian morals with religions, but there’s no central deity in Confucianism. Confucius was a teacher and politician that gained recognition from the Chinese government for his ideals.
10. Christopher Columbus
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Many credit Christopher Columbus for discovering America, but it’s believed that European explorers reached the New World several hundred years before he did. What’s more is that he never actually set foot in North America, but he took part in the enslavement and mistreatment of indigenous peoples that he came into contact within the Caribbean. In fact, he contributed greatly to the destruction of native populations.
 
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