4Sir Walter Raleigh Makes All of Europe Believe That South Americans Don't Have Heads
Are you from America? Do you speak English? If so, you have Sir Walter Raleigh to thank.
English, motherfucker! Doth thou speaketh it?
In 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh decided that it was England's turn to get a piece of the Americas. He was given permission to establish the colony of Roanoke, the first English settlement in the New World. Despite being a hilarious failure, America may have been completely taken over by the Spanish or French without it.
Oh dear God, no!
So What Did He Lie About?
A race of freakshow monstrosities, and a city made entirely out of gold.
Once he was done adventurin' in the Colonies, Raleigh wandered down to Orellena's River of Fancyboys, the Amazon. Rolling with the joke, he confirmed de Orellana's fantasy that the forest was populated by one-breasted man-haters, then straight made up his own creatures to get the folks at home super excited about the strange and magical place he hoped to get lots of funding to visit over and over again.
The people he reported finding there were equal parts Marvel Comics' Modok and Clive Barker's Cenobites; he called them the Ewaipanoma and described them as having "eyes in their shoulders, and their mouths in the middle of their breasts, and that a long train of hair groweth backward between their shoulders."
And lo, did they loveth BDSM as much as they hateth Captain America.
An example of a modern South American. Notice the existence of a head and absence of horror.
On top of headless, chest-faced Humpty Dumpty looking aberrations, Raleigh's account of his expedition was riddled with El Dorado references. As in, "he was totally there and saw it" kind of references. As in, the kind that might just send royalty into a voyage-funding greed-frenzy.
3John Smith Pulls The Legend of Pocahontas Completely Out of His Ass
In the 17th century, John Smith was eager to make a (less generic) name for himself, so he decided to go to America and colonize in England's name. Unlike Raleigh, however, Smith was actually successful in creating a permanent settlement in the Americas: Jamestown. It wasn't easy, though. Four-hundred and thirty-nine of the original 500 settlers died. And even as more settlers came in, they just kept dying.
Welcome to Jamestown.
That's where our hero comes in with all of his heroic heroism: By courageously working with the savage natives who begrudgingly respected his noble spirit, he single-handedly turned life around and helped Jamestown lose their reputation as the settlement where everybody went to die.
Like Florida is now.
So What Did He Lie About?
His most well-known story is that of Pocahontas. According to Smith, he was kidnapped by hostile natives who were preparing to kill him when, at the last (and most dramatic) moment, the chief's daughter, Pocahontas, threw herself in front of Smith at her own peril, saving his life. She was also a super-model. She goes to a different colony, though; you wouldn't know her.
As we're sure you've inferred by now, historians call it a bunch of hogwash. It also doesn't help his case any that he didn't actually write the tale in detail until about 20 years later, after Pocahontas (the only person who could corroborate) was dead.
But Smith established himself as a crackerjack liar well before he even got to the New World, with a story that's just as disputed and 100 times more ludicrously badass. Before he was a colonizer, Smith was a womanizer. Also, a full on pirate. During his "adventures," he claimed he was captured by some Turks, where he immediately did what we'd all do: behead three of them. Also, a Transylvanian prince rewarded him for their severed noggins with the title of "English Gentleman" (because Transylvanian princes totally had that kind of influence over England).
Oh, and then Smith was sold into slavery! Oh no! But he for reals ex-scaped by like, totally seducing his lady master, and then, and then he like, he fought and killed her brother (probably with like, this sweet jumpkick!) and escaped! God he's so cool! The only reason he didn't go to prom (a bunch of girls asked him) is because he was under arrest for illegal motorcycle racing (which he won).
Calvin Klein asked him to be an underwear model but they didn't have ones with a big enough package flap, so he said no.