It is the second smallest continent, forming the Western extension of Eurasia.

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What is the origin of the black/devil riders?

From what I understand, the black/devil riders were a group of German soldiers or mercenaries who were famous for using black painted armor. They developed various techniques for fighting on ...
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What was the reaction of Western Communist Parties to Kruschev's 1956 speech denouncing Stalin?

I am also curious about the reactions of left-leaning intellectuals (aka "fellow-travellers").
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About the reasons for the US involvement in WW2 in Europe

From this question: World War II - Have Historians Envisioned How The Axis Powers Might Have Won? I understand that it is unlikely that Germany with its allies could have won WW2 even if they had ...
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What happens if a vassal inherits not under the control of their sovereign?

For example, suppose some count in France inherits a county in the Holy Roman Empire. Does the count become a vassal of both the King of France and the HRE? What if said Count inherited a whole ...
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How would prospective members join a medieval European guild?

On related lines, 1) How would a young person (young man) have selected a master with whom to apprentice? How did the matching up process work? 2) What motivated a master/practitioner to take on an ...
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New theory on origins of modern-day Romania?

I watched a documentary which basically claims that modern-day Romanians are not the descendants of Rome, but that the Romans and the Romanians share a common ancestor with the same language. One of ...
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574 views

How would Eastern European emigres have traveled across Eastern Europe to Warsaw in the early 20thC?

I was looking back at my grandmother's voyage to America, she made the trip from Zbaraz in the Ukraine through Warsaw and then on to Gdanks and through steerage class to the New York. I know she took ...
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241 views

When, where and with what propagation through Europe did the idea of gypsies stealing children occur?

In light of the recent news kerfuffle regarding a child found in a Romani (gypsy) camp; it got me wondering: At what point in history did the idea1 of gypsies stealing children start? And from ...
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601 views

Were the problems Fibonacci solved in his work “Flos” posed specifically for him?

According to Wikipedia, Fibonacci wrote "Flos", a work which contained solutions to problems posed by Johannes of Palermo. Did Johannes pose a challenge to all European mathematicians of the time, or ...
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305 views

Have the Romani people (gypsies) ever fought back violently against prejudice?

I've noted from my researches that the Romani people (gypsies) have always faced prejudice in Europe. Most countries since the 15th century have marginalized this people, and during the Nazi ...
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186 views

What did they call Gothic and Baroque architecture before the modern terms came into use?

In the modern sense, I mean. All the reference sites explain the origin of the word Baroque and mention that up until the late 19th Century it was a derogatory term: It was only with Heinrich ...
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444 views

Why did pastorial people from central Asia migrate to Europe?

Alans, Huns, Magyars, Mongols. They were all pastoralists whose material culture and economic life seems more suited to the Asian steppes. Yet for some reason they migrated into the European land ...
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Eastern and Southern Europe in the medieval time period?

What were Eastern and Southern Europe like in the medieval period? Did Southern and Eastern Europe have knights and castles like Western Europe? I've never heard for example of Italian knights in the ...
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How “religious” was the average person in the Middle Ages?

During Europe in the Middle Ages, how religious was the "average Joe"? Looking at the large scale politics of the time it seems religion was a major part of the elites' lives, with treaties with the ...
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144 views

How did the French word 'familier' become associated with the concept of Magical Familiars, historically?

How did the word 'familier' (French) become associated with the concept of Magical Familiars, historically? Or do we not know? Proof for the concept being from French, first.
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170 views

When did chairs with arms and backs develop in Europe? [closed]

There are numerous depictions of early / high medieval Popes, Kings and Bishops sat on thrones, with arms and a back, and the saddles of the high medieval period had a padded back, but every depiction ...
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1k views

Why has SACEUR exclusively been an American officer?

After reading this BBC article about the new SACEUR, General Philip Breedlove, United States Air Force, it occurred to me that SACEUR has always been an American officer. Supreme Allied Commander ...
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646 views

Did the Moors and Arabs, “Muslims,” who invaded Europe, ie “Spain,” help the evolution of civilizations of Europe?

Were the Muslims viewed as barbarians similar to the Mongols, and as a people who only specialized in war? Or, were Muslims advanced enough to teach Europe scientific advancements? Did they invent any ...
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359 views

What was the attitude of the other European countries in the 1970s Cod War?

In the 1970s Britain and Iceland came close to a shooting war in the so called Cod War. Using these stats (admittedly from some decades later) as a guide, Norway, Denmark and Spain also have ...
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253 views

Were women banned from entering the castle of Trakai?

According to legend, Vytautas the Great banned women from entering the Trakai Island Castle under penalty of death. I read it in Russian, it is called "The Horse of knyaz Vytautas". The plot is ...
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129 views

Has being a single mother been always stigmatized?

Being a single mother was obviously a big economic disadvantage. And in the times when the Christian church morality dominated every day life, being a single mother was obviously a proof of a sin. But ...
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Did any major European country stay neutral during the Napoleonic Wars?

During World Wars I and II, many countries managed to stay neutral, like Spain and Switzerland. Was there any major country (e.g. not a city-state or a micronation) that did the same during the ...
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460 views

Greek Revolution: Where did the Greeks look for descendants of the Byzantine dynasties?

I recall reading in a few books that during the early to mid 19th century, the Greeks where trying to find European nobles who had genealogies linked to the dynasties of the old Byzantine Empire ...
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165 views

When did civilians in Europe gain access to breech-loaded firearms?

I know European militaries started adopting breech-loaded firearms around the 1840s with the Prussians adopting the Dreyse needle gun. My question is about the civilians. When did the breech-loaded ...
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324 views

Did Charlemagne's Christian conquest of Germany cause the Vikings to hit back at Britain?

A documentary on the dark ages says that Vikings invaded the British isles after Charlemagne of France conquered some of Germany and forced the Germans to convert or die in the years 783-804. The ...
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Was the Bosnian Crisis the trigger to WWI and not the assassination?

I've read that Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908, much to the dismay of the Serbs. Russia backed this action and was promised to have access to the Straits but were later denied. The ...
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312 views

What is this stick that William III of England/Orange is holding in this portrait?

While looking at a bit of Dutch history, I saw William holding a stick in this portrait. I looked for a description of the portrait on another site and it only says: This autograph portrait is a ...
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345 views

Jewish ghettos before Nazi Germany

I'm trying to compare the treatment of Jews in Europe before the rise of the Nazis with their treatment under the Nazis (before the concentration camps). Did Jewish communities feel that their ...
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183 views

Exactly when was the country of Andorra founded?

Founding origin myths of Andorra claim that Charlemagne the Great (King of France and Holy Roman Emperor) granted the people of Andorra independence in 800 AD. I'm doubtful of this claim as no written ...
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267 views

Why would Cavour ally with France instead of any enemy of Austria that wasn't looking to grab Nice and Savoy?

In 1858 during Italian unification, the Prime Minister of Sardinia-Piedmont, Cavour, entered into an alliance with France. In return for French aid against Austria, Cavour ceded Savoy and Nice to ...
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240 views

Why did former Yugoslav republics dispute the legal successor of Yugoslavia?

In Wikipedia's article for Yugoslavia: One of the seven successor states was also known as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) until 2003. The FRY aspired to be a sole legal successor to ...
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Is there a relationship between Portugal and Spain being able to discover the New World and the Moor occupation?

Some people believe that the Renaissance actually happened in Toledo, Spain. To me that seems plausible. The knowledge and culture brought by the Moor seems a much better catalyzer to escape the dark ...
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553 views

How was the first official geographical border established in Europe?

In this moment of history, geographic state borders are defined in official treaties between countries. These treaties determine where the territory of certain state ends and where the territory of ...
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158 views

How widespread was literacy in classical Greek in Europe during the medieval period?

How widespread was literacy in classic Greek in Europe during the medieval period? I assume "every" (?) educated person, such as clerks, monks, nobility, judges, doctors and similar knew Latin at the ...
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938 views

What's the etymology of the name of the Schengen village?

The Luxembourg village of Schengen is noted for being the site where European leaders signed the historic Schengen Agreement. The village is named for its 1390 castle. Where does the name "Schengen" ...
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188 views

Pre-1950s views of West European Socialist parties on the welfare state

The eminent Robert Paxton writes in a recent article, somewhat in passing: Continental European Marxists opposed piecemeal welfare measures as likely to dilute worker militancy without changing ...
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948 views

Did Marie Leszczyńska, queen of France, have any lovers?

"Always going to bed, always pregnant, always giving birth" said Marie Leszczyńska, queen of France. Marie was chosen to be wife of Louis XV for two reasons. First of all, she was ready to get ...
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372 views

How was food produced in Europe/Germany prior to the industrial revolution?

I'd appreciate any pointer to books or other medias that cover the production of food prior to the industrial revolution (with the regional focus being in Europe or even more narrowly in ...
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107 views

Linen doublets around 1380-1410, middle and eastern Europe

Most people agree that doublets and hose were made with wool on the outside and linen on the inside. Are there any evidence that confirm such belief? Any guild documents, findings, etc? Do we have ...
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What reached Scandinavia/Northern Germany first: Muslims, or Islamic texts?

Years ago i had the chance to leaf through some Qur'an translations (Latin, German? some bilingual with Arabic text) in a library in northern Germany which are dated to 16th century and later. As we ...
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345 views

Origins of knife and fork language etiquette

There is an etiquette of placing knife and fork on a plate while resting or after finishing. For example this cheat-sheet (there are a lot of texts and images like this on the web): I found this ...
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Proportion of population that works in agriculture (1000 - today)

I wonder what the proportion of people was that worked in agriculture (growing food and raising livestock, not processing food in a factory plant) throughout the past centuries in Europe and also, to ...
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615 views

Why has bidet use not spread to the northern countries of Europe? [closed]

As wikipedia states, the bidet is quite common in southern European countries (in Italy for example, it is found in 95% of households), in the Middle East and in East Asia. Conversely, bidets are ...
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243 views

Why was the movement for Austro-German unity less successful than that of Italian unity? [closed]

Primarily, I am looking at the differences between say, the movements for German unity and that of Italian nationalists. The record shows that the people of Austria had accepted without much ...
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221 views

During the Middle Ages, how many people could fishing feed?

I known fishing was pretty popular in the middle-age. But I don't know how many people could be fed by a single fisher? I'd like to know it mostly for river fishing but I'm also interested by sea ...
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6k views

Decline of the Spanish empire?

What caused the gradual decline of the Spanish colonial empire in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries? A post I read claimed that the Spanish overestimated their wealth, and my teacher pointed ...
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406 views

Was a technological advantage more effective in European warfare than in China's history?

In Europe, the Spartans won against the Persians due to hoplites fighting in a phalanx formation. Then the Spartans were defeated by Macedonians because the Macedonians used longer spears called ...
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841 views

Why were ancient cities protected by walls?

I know the obvious answer to this question is "for protection"! But I would imagine that for a wall to be justifiable in terms of costs, attacks must have been fairly frequent. If the attacks were so ...
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244 views

What is the Holy Roman Empire? [closed]

What is the Holy Roman Empire? I have a little background knowledge and I read a little bit on Wikipedia, but I'm still not exactly sure what it is. I know that the states under the "Empire" were ...
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686 views

Was any pope imprisoned during his service to Catholic Church?

On 11 February 2013, the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI would resign on 28 February, due to infirmity from advanced age. Earlier in the history, few popes resigned similar way, probably the ...