This just in: A recent poll of British teenagers showed that while 65% believed that King Arthur was real, 23% believed that Winston Churchill was entirely made up!
Also, notable figures like Robin Hood (51%), Sherlock Holmes (58%), and Eleanor Rigby (47%) were considered real, while a large number thought Richard The Lionheart (47%), and Florence Nightingale (23%) are made up.
Read the article for yourself at Telegraph.co.uk.
Why are so many ignorant of real history? The poll also revealed that 77% never read history books, and 61% changed channels when historical programs came on television.
Sadly, I doubt that Americans would fare any better.
Now one gripe I have with this survey is that some of the “fictional” characters, like King Arthur, are possibly based on historical people. Embellishments have happened over time, making the original truth obscure, but that does not mean that there is no original truth. And it does not mean that there was no original person (or persons) that the legends were based on.
As an author writing a book about King Arthur, this does make me concerned. That is one of the reasons that I am working on my King Arthur website at KingArthur.org.uk. My goal with this website it to promote knowledge of King Arthur, both legendary and historical, and the difference between the two.
Maybe I can be part of helping to reverse that trend!
Anyway … there is a bit of King Arthur trivia for you which at least shows his popularity.