History of the World According to the Movies: Part 17 – Pre-Columbian America


Of course, in one of Mel Gibson’s attempts to bring history to life, here’s his vision of Pre-Columbian America, specifically the Mayans. Still, though the architecture may be historically acceptable, they look pretty drab by most Mayan standards. If these buildings really looked as they did in Mayan times, they’d be painted in bright colors so they could easily be seen like most buildings in Latin America or Southern United States. Also, they Mayans were much more than a civilization that practiced human sacrifice which Mel Gibson fails to show. Not to mention, this movie also contains a heavy Eurocentric bias by including Spanish Conquistadors but that’s beside the point.

Just because the continents of North and South America had to be discovered by Europeans, doesn’t mean that there’s no history in the Americas to be told. While only few societies in the New World had a written language, the Americas had plenty of civilizations in the Pre-Columbian era nonetheless. After all, indigenous peoples had been living in North and South America for thousands of years before the arrival of Columbus explained by the presence of archaeological evidence. Of course, when it comes to movies set in Pre-Columbian America, Hollywood mostly centers on the Mayans since we know more about them than any other such civilization at this time, they had a written language which has been preserved, and that the Mayan people still survive to this day. There can’t really be a historically accurate movie on Pre-Columbian civilizations because there are things we simply don’t know about their cultures and archaeological evidence can only go so far. Still, there are plenty of historical accuracies in movies set in Pre-Columbian America that even archaeologists can say which may consist of putting the wrong buildings in the wrong locations as part of the wrong civilizations, having people speak the wrong language, or what not. Sometimes Pre-Columbian culture on film can consists of mish-mash between cultures. Still, I list some here.

The Mayans:

The Mayans ransacked a village of their own people for sacrificial victims and slaves. (Captives were taken during war and there is not much evidence that they ever did this.)

The Mayans sacrificed captives in mass quantities. (No, that was the Aztecs who did that. When it came to human sacrifice, the Mayans were into quality not quantity. Besides, to the Maya, human sacrifice was a very personal thing.)

The Mayans sacrificed almost anyone. (Again, it’s the Aztecs. The Mayans preferred to sacrifice royals and elites {preferably adversarial} taken from war, which led to a lot of wars in the process. Oh, and there were rituals pertaining to self-sacrifice involving a Mayan king having to draw blood through a barbed thread at either the tongue or his genitals. The 1960s Mayan movie with Yul Brynner is actually more accurate in its treatment of Mayan human sacrifice than the one directed by Mel Gibson since the character trying to avoid sacrifice is a chief who’d be a more likely candidate {despite that he’s the leader of a tribe from Mississippi}.)

The Mayans were a savage people with reckless sewage treatment, widespread slavery, bad rave dancing, and a real lust of human blood. (They were also very concerned with hygiene. They had remarkable astronomy with their calendar being especially good at predicting eclipses and were able to precisely measure planetary orbits. They also had advances in medicine, agronomy, and mathematics. Also, all the Mayan buildings were built by free men who participating in such projects as a civic duty. Yet, we don’t know whether these people did it because they were forced to, as a way of using labor to pay taxes, or voluntarily. Then there was the Mayan ball game which was a combination of basketball, lacrosse, and rollerball, in which either the captain of the winning or losing team was sacrificed, we’re not sure which. Oh, and they were probably one of the most sophisticated Pre-Columbian civilizations of all time, which was an ordered society of maize, kings, and gods, as well as flourished for a thousand years. Nevertheless, they were no violent than other civilizations even if they did practice human sacrifice.)

The Mayans were awed by solar eclipses. (They were accomplished astronomers and therefore, the Mayan elites would’ve known it was coming and planned a ritual all around it.)

The Mayan civilization collapsed with the arrival of the Spanish Conquistadors in the 1500s. (The Maya Civilization collapsed in 900 A. D. which was 600 years before the Spanish ever set foot when their cities were abandoned {yet it’s possible that some of the Mayan cities did survive}. Of course, Spanish disease killed many of the Mayan people, but that’s beside the point  since it took almost 200 years to subdue the people who were left from their remaining cities {while the Aztec Empire fell within a year}. Still, as to what caused the Mayan collapse, many have their own theories like drought, deforestation, disease, overpopulation, warfare, social disruption.)

Mayan villagers were hunters and gatherers in the deep jungles of Meso America. (Actually they would’ve been farmers on manicured land with a very structured social and economic system. Oh, and they had crops like cacao, tomatoes, corn, and avocados long before the Europeans did.)

The Mayans thought 2012 would be the end of the world. (The Mayans never equated the end of their calendar with the end of the world. Also, it’s 2014.)

Mesoamerican jungle people were never aware of Mayan pyramids. (They would’ve since these structures were never too far from anywhere in the Mayan world, occupied or abandoned. If you lived 6 to 12 miles outside a large Mayan community, you would’ve certainly have seen one since such structures were usually 20 kilometers away from anywhere in the Mayan world.)

Lots of Mayans wore jade. (Jade was only reserved for royalty since it was a symbol of royal power and wealth.)

The Mayans were mankind’s earliest civilization. (Actually the Mesopotamians were as far as the historic record goes. And in Meso America, the Olmecs. Also, the Olmecs and the Zapotecs had writing before the Mayans but not much of it survives.)

Mayan sacrificial victims were painted blue and were sacrificed on a column shaped stone. (The Mayans would never paint their victims blue. Rather they would adorn them with special quetzel plumed headdresses. And it’s the Aztecs who were known to sacrifice victims this way, not the Maya. Also, the Mayans used decapitation, heart excision, dismemberment, hanging, disembowelment, skin flaying, skull splitting, throwing kids in wells, and burning.)

The Mayans relished torturing their captives. (Not necessarily, but their victims were their enemies suffering a long tortuous death and being carefully disassembled. These guys were competition and a Mayan ruler may get something to add to his kingdom.)

The Mayas didn’t have libraries. (They did, but the Spanish destroyed most of their books that there are only three or four left {and one may be a fake}.)

The Mayans were tall, slim, ripped, tan, and very European looking. (The actual Mayans were shorter and stocky but I was just ripping off a 1960s movie called Kings of the Sun starring Yul Brynner.)

The Mayans visited the US Gulf Coast. (Well, it could’ve happened since the the Mississippians did grow Mesoamerican crops like corn, beans, and squash but we can’t be sure.)

Mayan kings were bystanders in human sacrifice rituals while two priests did the actual work. (He was usually the central figure who conducted rituals in front of a large audience in a major ceremonial fashion. He was not only the political leader in his Mayan city-states, but a religious one as well.)

Mayan villagers lived in stick huts in the wild jungle. (They would’ve lived in homes with stone foundations near the cleared plazas or in surrounding villages near the capital. Housing on lots were planned and intensively managed spaces where fruits, vegetables, and medicinal plants were grown and where some domesticated animals were raised.)

The Mayans were sun worshipers and called themselves “sun people.” (They had a pantheon of gods with the Maize god as the most important deity because he signified the change of the seasons.)

Some Mayan tribes used swords made out of wood or metal. (They usually used obsidian for knives which were very sharp.)

Aztecs and The Triple Alliance Empire:

The Aztecs were a homogenous people. (The Aztec Empire was run by a triple Alliance of three Nahuatl city states Tenochtitlan, Tlateloco, and Tlacopan near the islets of Lake Texcoco. Oh, and they called themselves the Mexica who may have came to Mexico during the 13th century from Arizona {oh, the irony}.)

The main Aztec city was situated in the jungle. (The Aztec Triple Alliance ran their empire from Tenochtitlan which was built upon a lake in a the middle of the Valley of Mexico. When the Spanish arrived, it looked like a Pre-Columbian Venice with a network of canals and bridges. Of course, no filmmaker has a budget to recreate this.)

The Aztecs used gold coins. (They more likely used cocoa beans as currency than gold coins. Besides, Aztec gold coins never existed in Pre-Columbian America.)

The Aztecs mummified their dead. (High-ranking Aztecs were cremated. However, the Andean peoples certainly did.)

South America:

Nazca buildings were made out of stone. They also built their tombs on hills and were mummified in a fashion depicted by Francisco de Orellana. (Nazcas built with adobe, had their tombs in the ground in flat areas, and mummified people by hunkering their knees against their chests before wrapping them.)

Peruvian coastal tribes used blowpipes with poisoned darts. (Amazon jungle tribes did.)

Meso and South America:

All Pre-Columbian cultures in Meso and South America look basically the same. (Despite the fact that many of these societies existed in different environments and have different styles of art and architecture.)

The groups of people who lived in Meso and South America were the Mayans, the Aztecs, and the Incas. (There were many other indigenous groups who lived in the same areas.)

All Pre-Columbian cultures in Meso and South America lived in the jungle. (They lived in all kinds of environments and climates such as deserts, mountains, the coasts, and other areas.)

All Meso American buildings and structures were of just plain rock. (Actually they were painted in bright colors like the works so they could be more visible.)

The Meso and South American Indians sacrificed to Quetzalcoatl more often than any other god. (He’s perhaps the only god in many of his pantheons who didn’t ask for it and abhorred the practice {making him the most bloodless and most merciful god in the pantheon whose sacrifices only comprised of birds, snakes, tortillas, and butterflies}. So it’s very unlikely that even the Aztecs would sacrifice to him. Filmmakers probably use him the most as a god to sacrifice to because his name is easier to pronounce and he’s the most famous in his pantheon anyway {he’s probably the only Mesoamerican god most people know}. Also, the Plumed Serpent is a cool nickname. As for the heart ripping out of a person’s chest and tossing the body down the pyramid stairs, that’s a festive sacrifice for the Aztec war god, Huitzilopochtli, whose name is a mouthful and is nicknamed the Left-Handed Hummingbird, yeah.)

Mesoamericans made and used crystal skulls. (Every crystal skull ever found turned out to be a fake.)

The Meso and South American Indians didn’t use metal weapons because they didn’t have the technology. (They actually did but the fact they didn’t use metal weapons was more out of personal choice because the aim of war for them was to take captives to sacrifice later, not to kill people. Also, they used metals for their figurines but they didn’t see it worth much.)

The Meso and South American Indians bound their infants’ heads with a rope to honor their gods. (It was in accordance with their beauty standards. Also, they liked elongated noses like Adrien Brody’s.)

Quecha was spoken in what is now Mexico. (It’s an Andes language spoken throughout the Inca Empire.)

Meso and South American women walked around in scantily clad bikinis or bare breasts. (No, they didn’t. Many of them simply wore a decorated cloth with holes for the head and arms. Also, many of them were shown in artwork as rather conservatively dressed with their breasts covered.)

Meso and South American Indians lusted after gold as a precious metal. (Mayas used cacao beans as currency, the Aztecs valued feathers and jade much more than gold, and the Incas only saw gold as some metal to make a drinking vessel out of. Let’s just say the Mesoamericans would be more pissed off at you eating their chocolate than melting any of their gold jewelry.)

Meso and South American Indians viewed white people as gods. (No Inca or Aztec Emperor ever mistaken a Spanish Conquistador as a god. Their giving gifts to the Spaniards was more about showing superiority and good ol’ sacred hospitality. The Spanish just assumed this.)

Meso and South American priests were always bloodthirsty men wanting to sacrifice nubile virgins to their dinosaur gods. (Sure they were the ones doing the human sacrifices most of the time. Yet, they usually viewed it as part of their job and most of their rituals do include some sort of sacrifice. They believed that such sacrifices sustained the universe and many of their stories dealt with the importance of sacrifice. Also, most Pre-Columbian sacrificial victims were men.)

Meso and South American Pre-Columbian artifacts are usually cursed. (I’m sure this isn’t the case.)

Meso and South American people could stop sacrificing people whenever. (Being sacrificed was seen as a great honor in these cultures. Besides, to them, not sacrificing people was one way to usher in the apocalypse.)

Meso and South American gods didn’t succumb to temptation. (There’s a story about Quetzalcoatl getting drunk and banging his sister. So Miguel and Tulio didn’t have to worry much about making mistakes in El Dorado.)

North America:

The Indians were noble savages who worshiped nature and cared for the environment. (This is all bullshit for there were many Native American societies that farmed and built structures like houses, temples, and monuments, even in North America.)

The New World was mostly unpopulated, with Native settlements few and far between. (Truth is, the Europeans were keen on spreading diseases they were already immune to {very successfully, I might add}. The native population was decimated by bugs like Smallpox. These sicknesses spread so fast, that when settlers moved west, they found a fraction of the population that once thrived there.)

Native Americans were a backward, childlike people who talked like Tonto. (Never mind the working economy, clearly defined values and morals, deep religion, highly developed language, and well developed justice system. Yes, Native American society was that complex, just ask the Iroquois Nations and the Cherokee.)

The Inuit always wore parkas, carved trinkets, lived in igloos, went fishing with harpoon, traveled by sled and huskies, and ate cod liver oil. They also kissed by rubbing each other’s noses together. (It might have been true at one time but not during the 1920s.)

Indian princesses were gorgeous. (There had to be ugly Indian princesses.)

Mayans and Mississippians spoke similar languages. (Their languages were from completely separate families like the Mayan and the Algonquin.)

The Mississippian peoples lived in tepees and hunted buffalo. (I don’t think this is very likely since it’s more suggestive of Plains Indians. Also, the Mississippian people were an agrarian society as far as I know. But who knows what they lived in anyway. The Mississippians were a mound building culture, however. Yet, I’m sure the Mayans didn’t build pyramids there.)

The Inuit wore metal sunglasses over their eyes. (They didn’t, yet there’s a movie poster of an Inuit who does.)

Indians planted corn in rows. (They didn’t plant corn that way.)

Indian corn ears were far larger than a human hand. (Native corn were about the size of a thumb, rarely ever bigger. Large corn was a product of seed selection and genetic research mostly done since the 1860s.)

Iroquois settled on the Ottawa River. (It was Algonquin territory.)

Indians fought during the winter. (Native war parties usually stayed home during the winter.)

Iroquois gratuitously killed their young prisoners. (They would never have killed a young prisoner who could’ve been adopted into a family to replace a fallen kinsman.)

Indian guards raped female prisoners. (Well, Mary Rowlandson did testify she was raped by one during the Indian Wars in Massachusetts, but there was a strict taboo against raping war prisoners throughout the native East. The Iroquois in particular eschewed sex with future adopted kinswomen.)

Iroquois guards were posted on a scaffold tower on cold of dead winter nights. (No Iroquois guard was.)

Most Indian captives were killed. (Indian captives were mainly adopted and kept alive.)

Indian captives were led by leather thongs around their necks and fully dressed. (They were naked when taken prisoner.)


History of the World According to the Movies: Part 16 – Africa


Sure this is a movie about something that happened during the 1990s as well as centers on a real guy who’s still alive, yet Hotel Rwanda is a good movie to picture because it’s about an ordinary African man who saved so many lives at a great cost to himself. Of course, this takes place during the Rwandan genocide with AK-47s and machetes galore. Still, the reality of this event was much worse than depicted and Don Cheadle’s character paid a much bigger price for his efforts.

Africa: the cradle of humanity. For its thousands years of history, it has been home to great tribes, cultures, kingdoms, and civilizations. Not only has it been the home of Ancient Egypt but also of Carthage, Nubia in the ancient world. In the European Middle Ages, it was home to great empires and kingdoms like Mali, Aksum, Songhai, Great Zimbabwe, Asante, and so many others all a unique culture of riches, rituals, and innovations. However, if you should ever dare making a movie pertaining to this history of Africa, then a Hollywood producer will probably tell you to get a job for National Geographic. After all, Hollywood is simply not interested in the African history that doesn’t contain violence, oppression, poverty, human rights violations, disease, crazy dictators, poaching on endangered species, or Europeans (or biblical figures in that matter). I mean the only reason why Hollywood would ever do something on African history is to present people being subject to unimaginable horrors as well as make themselves look good. Of course, depictions of African history tend to be either racist, violent, or both. Nevertheless, while Africa is a continental hellhole it’s seen on film, there’s more to African history than that, much more. We also know it’s a home to a lot exotic animals, but we know everyone likes to see them on nature documentaries. Nevertheless, out of movies on African we do have, filmmakers can make a lot of use of artistic license, and here are the inaccuracies, I’ll show here.


Ethiopia has always been a heavily pagan and juju spirit believing culture. (It is also has some of the oldest churches and synagogues in Africa as well as a sizeable Muslim population. Orthodox Christianity was introduced in the 4th century and Judaism even earlier and was said to be the home of the Queen of Sheba from the King Solomon stories.)

King Solomon got together with the Queen of Sheba. (There’s no record of this, not even in the Bible.)


Great Zimbabwe was built by a lost white race. (This is about as true as saying that Great Zimbabwe was built by aliens. This notion was debunked in 1905.)

The DRC:

The DRC was always the DRC. (It had been called Zaire for a while and had its named changed back to the DRC in 1997.)

Sierra Leone:

The De Beers company secretly hired Executive Outcome to make a fortune out of diamond mining during a civil war in Sierra Leone. Also, Executive Outcome was also a mining company and received diamond mining concessions as payment. (They were actually solely a military contract company like Blackwater hired by the government of Sierra Leone. Their main job was to retake the rebel-controlled diamond field used to raise funds {but they didn’t mine or take diamonds from the fields}, which they did. De Beers had no links to EO during the 1999 civil war in Sierra Leone.)


Muse had his hand sliced open in the trap of broken glass. (The trap of broken glass didn’t happen though Muse did get his hand sliced open when he was captured by the crew and he went below deck with a crew member unarmed.)

Captain Philips was held hostage by Somali pirates for a day and half. (It was actually for five days.)

The Americans were working alone in Somalia to capture Mohamed Farrah Aidid in the battle of Mogadishu. (Actually they had help from the Malaysians and the Pakistanis. Also, it was a Malaysian general who was at the command at Mogadishu. Apparently, the Malaysians’ beef with Black Hawk Down is perhaps justified.)

Captain Philips offered his life and let himself be a hostage in exchange for the pirates leaving the ship when his 2nd mate was going to be shot. (According to TTI: “In reality, Phillips never offered his life and was more the subject of a botched hostage exchange than letting himself become one, which he himself admits in interviews. Additionally, some of Phillips’ former crew feel he was responsible for the hijacking because he ignored suggestions to steer the ship farther from the coast, but Phillips countered that they would have been just as unsafe 600 miles away as they were at 300.”)

South Africa:

White South Africans were rich and racist and were either Afrikaans or Rooineks. (Actually there are plenty of white South Africans who aren’t of Dutch or British descent as well as plenty who live in the middle class alongside blacks since South Africa is the most middle class African country. And I’m sure there are some white South Africans who aren’t racist {like Alan Paton and F. W. deClerk}. There’s also a sizable Asian population, too.)

The Springboks rugby team’s winning the 1995 Rugby World Cup brought everlasting racial unity in South Africa. (Contrary to Invictus, the feeling of apparent racial unity lasted about a month. The winning team was later plagued by racism with Matt Damon’s character organizing a standoff with the South African Rugby Union and offered the other players sweet deals to sign with the World Rugby Corporation, except the token black player who got less than the others despite being one of the most popular on the team.  Another player Geo Cronje refused to share rooms or shower with his black teammates as recently as 2003. They also had a bad succession of coaches after their World Cup-winning coach had to step down due to leukemia.)

Black South African women had limited roles in the Anti-Apartheid Movement. (There was a 1956 Anti-pass march co-organized by the Federation of South African Women. So women were pretty active in the movement.)

Nelson Mandela’s political views didn’t change while he was in prison. (Except for not wanting apartheid, many of them did. For instance, he started out as a radical who favored nationalizing key industries. And he wasn’t initially in favor of adopting a multi-racial view of South Africa. Oh, and he was also a communist, which has been a South African open secret for years.)

Winnie Mandela was an irrational Lady Macbeth type woman who was the cause of the black-on-black violence in the 1980s and early 1990s South Africa. (She wasn’t. The violence was actually between the African National Congress and state-funded proxy organizations.)

Nelson Mandela was the major figure in the anti-apartheid movement. (Mandela was chosen by a committee in the ANC as the international face of the movement. Also, he was in prison much of the time. Still, the ANC’s work on social justice relied on collective and collaborative leadership. Of course, films about Mandela tend to ignore guys like Walter Sisulu, Joe Slovo and Oliver Tambo working behind the scenes. Ever heard of them? Neither did I.)

The African National Congress was a peaceful political organization. (It initially started out as a paramilitary group, which bombed public buildings in order to destabilize the South African government. In some ways, they started out no differently than some Mideast terrorist organizations.)

Prison guard James Gregory had a close relationship with Nelson Mandela while the latter was in prison. (Nelson Mandela only mentions him twice in his autobiography and they barely spoke to each other. Also, his friends were furious that the guy wrote a book about it which was later turned into a movie.)

Nelson Mandela spent his whole nearly 30 year prison sentence on Robben Island. (He only spent 17.5 years of his sentence there. He actually initially imprisoned Johannesburg then Pretoria for a year and a half during his trial then sent to Robben Island. After spending his 17.5 years there, he was sent to Pollsmoor Prison for 6 years, then to Victor Verster Prison for 2 years until his release. So though he did spend almost 30 years in prison, he didn’t spend it all in one place.)

White South Africans referred to blacks by the “k-word” during apartheid. (Even under apartheid it was illegal to use this word.)

The first meeting between white reporter Donald Woods and Stephen Biko went rather swimmingly. (Actually Biko gave a more powerful and confrontational speech saying he was trying to discourage hatred of any sort as well as liberate black people not white liberals.)

Stephen Biko was chaste, humble, and non-violent. (He was known for speaking fierly, wittingly, and colloquially  with references of “hey, man!” in his speeches. Also, he was known to be a womanizer despite having a wife and long-term mistress.)


Bob Astles was a Scottish physician who was a loveable rouge who helped bring down the Idi Amin regime. (Astles wasn’t Scottish nor a doctor and wasn’t a nice guy {he was called the second most hated man there as well as nicknamed “The White Rat”}. Actually he was an adviser to the regime Amin overthrew and was tortured and imprisoned for 17 weeks after the despot took power until he gave Astes a job {though Astles had been living in Uganda for 30 years and was in his 50s unlike James McAvoy’s character in The Last King of Scotland who’s his expy}. Oh, and he never fooled around with one of Amin’s wives either {though there was a doctor who did but he was African}. And he tried to flee Uganda when Amin was overthrown in 1979 but brought back to face criminal charges and prison.)

Idi Amin killed his wife for getting knocked up by doctor. (Her lover accidently killed her while giving her a botched abortion and later killed himself. Of course, Idi was probably the reason why she’d seek abortion in the first place and would’ve killed her anyway if he ever found out.)

Only one hostage was killed during the rescue operation at the Entebbe Airport. (Three were and a fourth would be killed later at a hospital by Ugandan Army officers.)


The Rwandan Tutsis were victims of a savage Hutu driven genocide in Rwanda solely because they always hated each other. (The Tutsis and Hutus had been at odds with each other since Belgian rule since Belgium often appointed Tutsis as their colonial retainers in the region. Before the Belgian intrusion, they managed to at least coexist peacefully since the Tutsis were herders and the Hutus were farmers. Not to mention, Tutsi and Hutu relations in Rwanda had been strained for years and there have been incidences of anti-Tutsi violence in the country since the 1960s.)

Paul Rusesabagina was a Hutu. (Yes, but only on his father’s side. His mother was a Tutsi.)

Tatiana Rusesabagina never understood why he had to stand behind to protect people sheltering in his hotel. (She actually did if reluctantly for good reason.)

Tatiana Rusesabagina was angry about Paul putting her and their kids on a truck to escape the Hôtel des Mille Collines, which was a last minute decision on his part. (She was actually sad but nevertheless accepted the decision due to the circumstances. Also, he discussed the matter with her and the kids the night before the attempted evacuation.)

Paul Rusesabagina’s extended family managed to survive the Rwandan genocide in one piece. (Actually though Paul and his wife and kids managed to survive, many of his relatives weren’t so lucky. During the genocide though Paul did everything in his power, Tatiana lost her mother, father {who had to pay soldiers to shoot him instead of lopping off his limbs one at a time}, brother, sister-in-law, and four nieces and nephews. Paul lost four brothers. Furthermore, his actions earned him so many death threats after the genocide that he and his family had to move to Belgium. So the ending to real Hotel Rwanda wasn’t nearly as happy as it was depicted in the film {it still isn’t}. And the genocide depicted is depicted less violent in Hotel Rwanda than it really was.)

The United Nations helped save some of the Rwanadans from slaughtering each other. (Sure the UN did help some, but they never called what was happening in Rwanda a “genocide”  until years after it happened, despite evidence that the Tutsi population was being massacred. Many affected by it are still not being helped by the UN.)


Libyan rebel leader Omar Mukhtar was brought down when his horse was shot and thrown aside. (He’s actually said to be pinned under it but the scene plays out like this in Lion of the Desert probably because being under a horse would’ve been unsafe for Anthony Quinn.)

Benito Mussolini sent Rodolfo Graziani to take over as governor of Libya in 1929. (He sent him the next year and only as vice-governor unlike what Lion of the Desert would tell you. Nevertheless, he took over a disastrous military campaign against the Libyan rebels that had been going on since 1923.)

Rodolfo Graziani graciously returned Omar Mukhtar’s glasses to him after they had been stolen from a previous battle. This happened during the rebel leader’s show trial in Benghazi. (Transcripts reveal that Mukhtar had to ask Graziani for his glasses back, which his interrogators considered outrageous.)


African civilization has mostly been tribal and rather primitive. (Lo, they forget that Egypt is an African country and the African Kingdoms of Mali, Songhai, Nubia, Zimbabwe, and others. Of course, there are still African tribes as always but there were African kingdoms, too.)

African slavery didn’t exist until the European slave trade. (Yes, it did but not as you know it. Africans had been slaving each other for centuries, but they treated their slaves as servants or even members of the family.)

No African tribe profited from the slave trade. (Europeans befriended paid certain African tribes to get captives from their rivals. Many West African tribes made a lot of money on this.)

Africa has always been a continent full of black people with the exception of Egypt. (Even though the people in North Africa tend to be considered Arabs than black. Also, the fact that there is a sizable white population in South Africa and that the continent is home to Indians and Asians as well. Gandhi was even there once.)

All black Africans tended to resemble those from West Africa. (The reason why movies depict Africans as if they are from West and Central Africa is because it’s where many ancestors of African Americans came from. Yet, not all Africans in Africa look like that.)

Black Africans were primitive, childlike, superstitious, believed in witchcraft and voodoo, lived in huts, defended themselves with spears and shields, could be easily scared by modern technology, or be easily ripped off being sold worthless junk. (Superstitious, yes, believed in witchcraft and voodoo yes, lived in huts, sort of, defended themselves with spears and shields, perhaps, could be easily ripped off, maybe, could be easily scared by modern technology, maybe. However, primitive and childlike, hell no.)

Blacks were enslaved by kidnapping. (They were usually enslaved through war but yeah, it’s kind of accurate.)

Most of Africa has been ruled by strongmen dictators who lived like kings. (Actually besides South Africa there have been African nations that have enjoyed stable democratic rule like Kenya at least most of the time.)

Much of Africa was independent by the 1950s. (Most African countries wouldn’t gain their independence until the 1960s.)

The Zulu had mass marriage ceremonies in front of the king. (I’m not sure about that.)