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

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Why China was able to unify and not Europe

If you look at a map of China through the ages, you will usually find (from about the Han up) a huge mass representing China. On the other hand, you look at a map of Europe, and you'll usually see a ...
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3answers
3k views

Why the Romans were unable to conquer Germania?

Emperor Augustus ordered his army to subdue the Germanic tribes in what is modern Germany. This was promptly achieved and by 6 AD the Romans controlled Germany up to the river Elba. The Romans were ...
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6answers
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What were the reasons for the Renaissance / scientific revolution in Europe?

One of the common reasons given for the Renaissance and the subsequent scientific revolution is the rediscovery of classical works by scholars in Europe and the social change that the study of those ...
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2answers
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When did homosexuality become unacceptable in Europe?

In the ancient greek world male homosexuality was common and didn't attract the same scorn as it did even 100 years ago. So 2,000 years ago, it was acceptable, and 100 years ago it was unacceptable. ...
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3answers
919 views

Did the Romans have winter uniforms?

Standard ancient Roman uniform consisted of a tunic, a cloak and sandal-type boots, resulting in a look like this. Now, this is all very well for Mediterranean climates but I really cannot fathom how ...
20
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2answers
2k views

How did Europeans first acquire gunpowder?

I know that gunpowder was first invented in China around the 10th century, and it seems that gunpowder likely made its way to Europe via the "Silk Road." However, there doesn't seem to be a ton of ...
19
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3answers
691 views

How was the modern geographic boundary between Europe and Asia decided?

Wikipedia puts the boundary as: The modern definition of Europe delimits it from Asia at the Aegean Sea, the Dardanelles-Sea of Marmora-Bosporus, the Black Sea, along the watershed of the Greater ...
19
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1answer
409 views

What were the acceptance criteria in universities of medieval Europe?

Did they have entrance tests? Were certain groups officially banned from entering? How much did one have to pay? Did they have scholarships for talented studends? How these criteria differed between ...
18
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2answers
722 views

Who were the pre-Celtic inhabitants of Western Europe?

I've heard it said that the Basque are conjectured to be the last remnant of Pre-Celtic Western Europe. When would have these people existed? What evidence do we have for their culture and habitation ...
17
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4answers
1k views

Where does the name of the country “Belarus” come from?

I've read the German and English Wikipedia on this topic as well as the translated Belarussian version and some sites I googled. They all seem to argue that the 'Rus' part stems from the Region called ...
16
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5answers
877 views

How long did it take for a diplomat to travel between Berlin and Vienna in the 1770's?

I was reading the Wikipedia entry for the War of the Bavarian Succession, and it said (my emphasis): For some historians, the War of the Bavarian Succession was the last of the old-style Cabinet ...
15
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1answer
477 views

How did cities operate in medieval times?

Modern fiction is often filled with fantasy versions of the Middle Ages, from Lord of the Rings to Game of Thrones, and everything in between, but how did the reality of this trope operate? There ...
15
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1answer
280 views

What was it like for a coastal village to experience a Viking raid in around the tenth century?

Were fishing villages really completely at the mercy of these Vikings, or could they defend them selves? Did villagers have their own weapons? Could they expect any support from a Lord or Land Baron? ...
13
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2answers
2k views

What did squires do in the middle of a medieval battle?

According to wikipedia, a normal squire daily job included: Carrying the knight's armour, shield, sword, Holding any prisoners the knight takes, Rescuing the knight should the knight be ...
13
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3answers
1k views

Why wasn't San Marino unified with Italy?

Why wasn't San Marino unified with the Kindom of Italy during the unification process? Were there plans or efforts at the time to unify the two states? Did either government at any time try to annex ...
13
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3answers
513 views

In what ways did the rise of a true middle class in Europe during the late 19th century become apparent?

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were very transformative for Europe with the rise of a real middle class. Typically before this the middle class was more of a bourgeoisie and not the middle ...
13
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2answers
465 views

Who were the Huns and/or Xiongnu?

Who were the Hun people who made several appearances in Eurasian history? Were they Finno-Ugric, Paleo-Siberean, Mongolic or Turkic? Were the Hun who attacked Roman Empire extensions of the Xiongu, ...
12
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9answers
4k views

Why does Europe have so few skyscrapers compared to East Asia?

The European Union has virtually no skyscrapers except the newly built 'The Shard' in London. There are also a series of newly-built state-funded skyscrapers in Moscow. On the other hand if you look ...
12
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2answers
299 views

Was the Napoleonic era cavalry armour effective against firearms?

During the Napoleonic wars in Europe, many heavy cavalry units still retain the use of armours, for example, French Carabiniers-à-Cheval below, How effective were these to protect the cavalryman ...
12
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2answers
282 views

What are the reasons of the ethnical fragmentation of the Caucasus?

While investigating on Albania, I kept finding peoples I never heard of before. Notwithstanding my vast ignorance, this was systematic to the point that I started investigating. Take a look at this ...
12
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1answer
235 views

Why were the Normans such good builders?

The Normans are a bunch of Vikings that settled in northern France, and within a century they were christians speaking French. By 1066 they had become very experienced at fighting wars between ...
12
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2answers
302 views

Early medieval urban development

Does anybody know of research papers or academic resources that study the full development and growth of medieval cities? I mean, from village stage to city stage. Or maybe cities did not develop that ...
11
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3answers
3k views

What does Russia want with Chechnya

I have heard that Russia has been fighting with the Chechens on and off for about 300 years, occasionally losing control and reconquering. What exactly does Russia have to gain by retaining control of ...
11
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1answer
135 views

How were the borders of small European principalities maintained or secured?

With shifting boundaries, enclaves, exclaves, and alliances, how were the territorial extents of small principalities or duchies maintained, for example in the Holy Roman Empire or German ...
10
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2answers
448 views

Context for this 1871 humorous map of Europe?

The following map is from (circa) 1871, according to this source, and it was published in Bologna, Italy. Could you please provide some context for it? Parts of the map are self evident, as for ...
10
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1answer
780 views

Why wasn't Monaco unified with France?

Why wasn't Monaco unified with the Kingdom/Republic of France during the unification? I understand France used to be a very decentralized kingdom with many areas ruled by vassal or smaller rulers, and ...
9
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2answers
215 views

What was the impetus for some African nations to participate in the slave trade?

I know that some African nations participated in the slave trade by providing captured enemies as slaves to Europeans, but what are some of the reasons they did? Was it simply a new economic ...
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2answers
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How much faster were the printing presses than hand writing?

How many times faster were the printing presses, which gave Europe an advantage over other continents in term of access to knowledge, compared to copying of books by hand?
9
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2answers
346 views

What was the cultural background of Burgundians?

In the Middle Ages there was a big country in Europe between France and German kingdoms, Burgundy. What language did they speak there? Were they more German or French in origin?
9
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3answers
170 views

Why was there no concerted effort to end the Barbary pirate raids until the 1800's?

Barbary pirate raids on the Mediterranean coast led to widespread depopulation of the coasts from Venice to Malaga with the obvious exception of the larger cities. The pirate raids also seem to be the ...
9
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2answers
447 views

Writing month with roman numbers

I got an old wall clock. I'm not at all a clock expert and I would like to know more about its real age. It has a date engraved in its wood: 18/III 07. I assume that this is finishing-date and 18 is ...
9
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4answers
488 views

Which European countries did not have a revolution in the aftermath of the French Revolution and why?

The French Revolution of 1789 initiated revolutions in a number of European countries, replacing the idea of a monarchy with the idea of a republic built on enlightment ideals. Which European ...
8
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6answers
2k views

What factors enabled Europe to conquer almost the whole world?

As we probably all know, after ancient and medieval times European countries traveled to almost every part of the Globe. Today's heritage are, among many others, Roman law and alphabet, Gregorian ...
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5answers
878 views

Why Europe became more developed although metal was first discovered and used in Asia/Africa?

Copper was first discovered and used in Middle East. Iron was first discovered in Egypt. What were the factors that allowed the development of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations (the father of ...
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3answers
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Lion in the european monarchies' flags

I recently found out that most of the European monarchies have the same kind of lion in their flag. As you can see it is a lion with a strange long tongue: Netherlands United Kingdom Prince of ...
8
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3answers
589 views

Why were there “hussars” all across Europe?

From what I read, hussars are originally a cavalry forces in Medieval Hungary. But then it became a class of light cavalry that were in service in many European nations, and during the Napoleonic ...
8
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2answers
549 views

What percentage of Jews were in “finance” (money-lenders) throughout Middle Ages?

The stereotypical image of a Jew in Middle Ages (and the portrayal of them) was of course "the money-lender". From Ivanhoe's Isaac of York, to Shakespeare's Shylock, to "Проклятый жид, почтенный ...
7
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6answers
551 views

Why were people from the Asian Steppes able to militarily dominate Europeans on a repeated basis?

From the Huns through the Mongolians, why were nomadic people from the east able to create such havoc in Europe? Was it an endless 'first mover' advantage with horse domestication? Was it a higher ...
7
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3answers
954 views

Could a nobleman's land be enclosed within another noble's land?

In medieval (in the broadest sense, I'm not thinking of a specific decade) Europe, lands were split up amongst noblemen, and these noblemen had a hierarchy. Barons are lesser than earls which are ...
7
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3answers
466 views

Which country ruled Flanders in the 16th century?

I am reading a novel, The Forty-Five Guardsmen written by Alexandre Dumas; it described a story happening after 1572 in which the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre took place. It mentioned a region ...
7
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2answers
319 views

What are the scholarly opinions on the idea of the “European Civil War”?

On Wikipedia, I ran into an article talking about World War I to World War II and some of the adjacent wars before WWI as being a "European Civil War" or a "Second Thirty Years War". What is the ...
7
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1answer
239 views

Evidence of cross contamination between Japanese and Western sword fighting styles?

Are there any documented cases of cross pollination between western sword fighting techniques and Japanese ones? Such cross contamination could have happened during the Sengoku-jidai. This period ...
7
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0answers
167 views

Were there any battles in Continental Europe that were decided by “peasants with pitchforks?”

I can think of one such battle in the British Isles; the battle of Bannockburn in 1314 in Scotland. In that battle, a 14,000-man English army despoiled a bunch of "homeless" vagrants on their way to ...
7
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0answers
116 views

Was Swedish king Charles X Gustav's horse killed during Siege of Kraków (1655)?

My question is related to Siege of Kraków, which took place in 1655, between 25th of September and 13th of October, during Second Northern War, which is usually referred to as "Swedish Deluge" in ...
6
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3answers
605 views

Have there been any efforts by the countries of Europe to restore their monarchies?

Have there been any effort, polls, referendum in Europe (especially Eastern ex-communist countries) to restore deposed monarchies, like in Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, etc.? Most Monarchies were deposed ...
6
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2answers
241 views

What was the official language used across European monarchies in the XII century?

I have been reading about European history in the XII century and I am finding out that several of the modern day languages hadn't yet evolved to what they are now: Langue d'oïl was still being used ...
6
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4answers
975 views

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 ...
6
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4answers
242 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 ...
6
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1answer
754 views

What did contemporary countries in Europe call the Ottoman Empire?

In present texts, it is common to call it "the Ottoman Empire", although the name refers to the ruling dynasty rather than the nation, people or the region. This is not the case with other ...
6
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1answer
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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 ...