14 American Favorites That Aren’t Actually American
The iconic cowboy first appeared in Spain and not in the United States. America is a country full of patriotism and Americans are always very proud of everything their country has achieved. However, some of their icons and traditions are not actually American. They were brought by other countries and implemented in the U.S. later.
Bright Side will share with you the real origin of 14 of these American icons.
Cowboys are originally from Spain. When the Spanish came to the Americas in 1519, they brought the tradition with them, especially to Mexico, where the cowboys started to be known as Vaqueros. In the early 1700s, Mexicans got to regions of the United States like Texas, Arizona and, of course, New Mexico. They started to build ranches in those places and cowboys became popular.
2. American football
American football was created as the result of an evolution of the early versions of rugby and association football (soccer). The first versions of these games are actually from Britain. However, American football as we know it today, has a lot of differences compared to rugby and soccer, especially in terms of rules.
3. Peanut butter
The act of peanuts being used as a paste goes way back to the Ancient Incas and Aztecs. However, the finished product from crushing roasted peanuts between 2 hot surfaces was patented by Marcellus Gilmore Edson, in Canada.
4. Hot dogs
Historians believe that the origin of hot dogs goes back to the era of the Roman emperor Nero. After that, hot dogs made their way to what we know today as Germany, where Germans claimed them as their own and created different versions of them. The tradition was brought to the United States by a Jewish immigrant from Poland who had a hot dog stand in Coney Island.
5. Blue jeans
Blue jeans were invented by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss in 1973. They both were American immigrants from Europe and the denim they used to produce the jeans was originally made in Genoa, in Italy. This creation came from a customer’s request who wanted sturdy pants that could resist hard work.
The inspiration for the hamburger came from the city of Hamburg, in Germany. In the 19th century, German Hamburg cows were being used to create patties that were a mix of beef from cows with garlic, onions, salt, and pepper. They had no bread at that time and were considered gourmet.
The patties were brought by German immigrants who went to America to open restaurants. A creative cook later sandwiched the patty between 2 slices of bread and the Hamburg sandwich was born.
7. Apple pie
The first apple pie recipe goes back to 1391. This apple pie was created in England and the recipe ingredients were apples, figs, raisins, pears, and a pastry shell. No sugar was added.
This system of government which had a huge impact on the formation of the U.S. government was created in Ancient Greece. The word democracy comes from the Greek words demos (people) and kratos (rule).
9. Fried chicken
The tradition of deep frying chicken was originally created by Scottish people. The Scots brought this tradition to America in the 1700s which was later introduced to African slaves.
10. Statue of Liberty
The famous Statue of Liberty, which is located in New York, is actually French. The statue’s steel framework was designed by Gustave Eiffel, the man behind the Eiffel Tower, and created by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, a French sculptor. The statue was a present to commemorate the friendship between the 2 nations.
11. Boy Scouts
The Boy Scouts movement was created in England by Robert Baden-Powell. He wrote a book to teach boys about camping, observation, deduction, woodcraft, boating, and other survival techniques. He also created the first groups of Boy Scouts — to see if the book worked in practice.
The tradition came to America after an American publisher named William Boyce got lost in London in 1909 and was found by a Boy Scout who helped him. He got inspired and started to organize the Boy Scouts of America.
Although the country of origin of doughnuts is still debatable, they were definitely created in Europe. In the middle of the 19th century, the Dutch were already making their olykoeks (oil cakes). They were just cake balls fried in pork fat and often filled with fruit. The olykoeks were brought to America by Dutch immigrants.
13. U.S. Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner
The U.S. Anthem is not entirely American. The poem was set to the tune of a song written by British composer, John Stafford Smith, called “To Anacreon in Heaven.” However, it was later renamed “The Star-Spangler Banner” and became the U.S. National Anthem.
14. Actors and actresses
Some of America’s favorite actors and actresses are also not American. They are just trained to have an accurate American accent and some just happen to be very good at it.
Which one of these things were you 100% sure were American before you found out their true origin?