Difference Between History and Legend


Main Difference

The main difference between History and Legend is that History has a factual basis for past events, whereas legends are old stories which have no actual basis.

History vs. Legend

History is a record related to people’s memories. Legend is record pertaining to people, object or a place. History basis is true facts. Legends are old traditional stories. Historians make a record of history while legends are the stories that people told from many generations. History events are approved information while the historical events that show no validity are legends. History is a Greek word whereas legend is a French word. The word history means to gain knowledge on the flip side legend means stories. History happenings are present as it was. Legend’s stories are an exaggerated form of actual events. History occurrences are real conversely legends are fictional events. Students study history to understand their forefathers. Legends inspire people to be honest, noble, and warriors.


Comparison Chart

History is the documentation of past events.Legends are conventional stories.
Evidence-basedNo evidence
True happeningscan be true
Approved sourceLinked to a place or people
Greek wordFrench word

What is History?

History is the study of past happenings of human beings. It is generally documentation of achievements, occurrences, incidents, and memories of past of human population. The word history comes from the Greek word that means “to read about” and “to gain knowledge.” Historical events occurred hundreds and thousands of years ago even we do not have direct access to those folks who lived in that period. These events were written in the form of texts or notebooks to save it. In every country, past events are saved in books. By these manuscripts, we got knowledge of past living. History events are evidence-based — the information of these occurrences collected from approved sources. History provides a factual database. The people who document history are called historians. These people not only record memories but also document the innovations, progress, and devastation of that era. Some historians say that history information is not real. The reason is that history’s manuscripts were written in preference of ruling party. The real image of that era is still blurring. In academic institutes, history is a subject of study which analyzes a past event, determine the pattern and cause of that event. It offers students to understand their forefathers and their roots. Fields of history are geographical history, religion history, social history, military history, cultural history, diplomatic history, economic history, environmental history, world history, and people’s history.


What is Legend?

Legend is a French word which sounds “story.” Legends find its basis in historical data that highlights specific people or event. When real historical facts are mocked by people to describe a story, then legends form. Legends form on an evidence basis, but proof can be controversial. Those histories which do not support actual information are legends. These events happened in a specific culture. It talks about courteous people of history. Legends are fictional events but originate from a true story. People told these stories from generation to generation to teach them. It tells the heroic deeds of noble people or people with superpowers. It explains how brave people helped others and became warriors. In short, the word legend is for any inspiring achievement of a person. People make legends from a character of human, any place, or a specific object.


  • Martin Luther King: He was a leader and a legend. He was the first person who raised voice for justice and rights of Black People.
  • Robin Hood: He was a swordsman. He was a rebel who robs money from authority members to feed the poor.
  • Holy Grail: It is a cup with superpowers that provides eternal youth and happiness.
  • Atlantis: It is a lost island called Plato’s ideal state.

Key Differences

  1. History is happenings of past whereas legends are popular narratives which may be actual or not.
  2. History is proof-based while legends may or may not support evidence.
  3. History events are real; on the other hand, legends stories can be true.
  4. History basis is actual information conversely legends are fictional stories.
  5. History has approved primary or secondary sources on the flip side legends connects the people or a place.
  6. History is a Greek word, whereas legend is an old French word.


History and legends are historical facts, but history is an evidence-based record of past, whereas legends are exaggerated stories of ancient truths.

Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson