Friday, December 22, 2006
The White House
Friday's Urban Legend
The Canadians soundly trounced the Americans in the War of 1812. One of the goals of the campaign was to demonstrate the ability of the mighty British Empire to deliver shock and awe to the enemy capital. To this end, Washington was invaded and looted in 1814 and the White House was set on fire. The Americans were so intimidated that President Monroe soon surrendered.
This is all well-known historical fact. Something that Canadian and British schoolchildren learn in history classes when they are 10 years old.
The name "White House" is thought to be derived from the whitewash that Americans put on the house when the fire damage was repaired. It seemed to have been part of a larger campaign to whitewash everything that had to do with losing of the War of 1812.
That part is urban myth according to snopes.com [White House Wash]. The President's house was known as the White House before the War of 1812 and the original house, built in 1798, was whitewashed.