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Who was Humpty Dumpty?

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Quick Answer

Though the nursery rhyme character Humpty Dumpty is commonly portrayed as an egg, he is never explicitly described as such in the short rhyme; some theories hold that the inspiration for the rhyme can be traced back to a military cannon or to King Richard III, who is known to have had a hunched back, or humpback. The story of the cannon holds that an English man singlehandedly defended his town from an advancing army with the help of a cannon perched on top of a wall. However, the heavy cannon eventually fell down off the wall and couldn't be lifted back up, after which the townspeople had to surrender.

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Who was Humpty Dumpty?
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Full Answer

The theory relating to Richard III holds that the king rode a horse named Wall into battle and fell off. There are a few other bits that could possibly link Richard III to the rhyme, but there isn't a lot of evidence to support either story or even the idea that Humpty Dumpty was a story referencing an actual event. It seems more likely that the rhyme was intended as a riddle for children to solve. The riddle seems to point to an egg, which could explain why Humpty Dumpty is so commonly depicted as an egg.

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