24
votes
6answers
5k views

What language(s) were spoken within the Holy Roman Empire?

What language(s) were considered the primary language for the Holy Roman Empire? Were there many different languages spoken due to the many different regions?
24
votes
12answers
16k views

Why is Dravidian history ignored? [closed]

Whenever I read an article on ancient Indian history, I see people only writing about the Indus valley civilization and the Aryans. But what about Dravidians? Didn't they exist even before the Aryans ...
24
votes
2answers
4k views

Why does this statue have five legs?

Bulls have 4 legs. These statues have 5 legs. Why? Khorsabad The Palace of Sargon This area mainly contains sculptures from the city and palace of Khorsabad, built for the Assyrian ...
24
votes
4answers
4k views

Why did the Japanese expect the United States navy would attack the Home Islands?

Kantai Kessen, the Japanese naval strategy for a Pacific war, amounted to (simplified) "The American fleet will cross the Pacific to attack Japan. At that time, we will engage and defeat them." ...
24
votes
7answers
45k views

Why were Spain and Portugal neutral / not invaded in WWII?

Why weren't Spain and Portugal involved in World War II with either side? Was not Franco sympathetic with the Axis powers given the help they offered during the civil war? Also, given their ...
24
votes
4answers
5k views

How did the Roman state verify citizenship?

How were ancient Roman citizens identified, and how did officials make sure that their identity wasn't fake? I.e., did they maintain some kind of citizens registry, or did they have some kind of ...
24
votes
2answers
6k views

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. ...
24
votes
3answers
3k views

How did Medieval Armies survive the use of mail armor in the deserts of the Middle East?

Something that has long puzzled me is the use of full mail hauberks and the like in the Crusades. How did Crusaders and their various enemies avoid cooking inside their armor? I know many of them did ...
24
votes
4answers
4k views

Why didn't Hannibal attack Rome after the Battle of Cannae?

Hannibal Barca defeated 8 Roman legions in the Battle of Cannae. At that time Carthage also had control over Hispania. Why did Hannibal not seize Rome at that time?
24
votes
9answers
11k views

How severe were the casualties in ancient/medieval battles?

I've heard that in most battles prior to the introduction of gunpowder weapons, the casualties were usually very low (around 5% even in long battles) prior to the moment when someone's formation was ...
24
votes
3answers
1k views

What was the status of Arab Christians during the crusades?

Did Arab Christians take an active role in the crusades in the Holy Land or at any point on their trip to the Holy Land. Or were they victims of the crusaders? Did the crusaders typically ...
23
votes
5answers
2k views

How was the United States able to produce excellent tanks in 1942?

Most military histories of the war in North Africa, and especially those produced from a British point-of-view, emphasise the greenness of the American troops which landed there in 1942. There is a ...
23
votes
9answers
6k views

Why wasn't the Republic of Ireland invaded (by either side) in WW2?

Ireland was neutral in WW2, however it was never invaded (by either side). How come? Why wasn't Ireland invaded by the UK to prevent the Germans invading? Why didn't germany invade ireland? It would ...
23
votes
5answers
10k views

Why are the USA and Canada's states border so straight?

Many states within the USA and Canada have straight lines as a border, completely ignoring natural borders like mountains or rivers. Many American states and Canadian provinces are just ...
23
votes
6answers
7k views

Why didn't Britain's nuclear weapons deter Argentina from invading the Falklands?

The United Kingdom has nuclear weapons. All the [major] political parties support this policy. A common justification heard is that they are a deterrent against foreign aggression. For example: UK ...
23
votes
6answers
38k views

Why did Italy abandon its alliance with Germany in WW1 and join the Allied side?

Before WW1 Italy was part of an alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary, yet it didn't join them when the war started and it even joined the Allied side later during the war. Why did Italy do this? ...
23
votes
5answers
717 views

Besides Magna Carta and general decentralization, what specifically led to democratization in England?

In England, the gradual weakening of the central government (starting with the Magna Carta), and the gradual rights given to nobility slowly pushed England to a democratic form of government. Yet in ...
23
votes
3answers
934 views

Why was language not used to establish dominance throughout England 1066 AD–1360s CE?

Why didn’t the Normans enforce the use of their native tongue throughout the whole of England after William the Conqueror (of Normandy) became king of England? During William’s reign as king he ...
23
votes
3answers
31k views

Did Rothschild say this famous quote? If yes, what did he mean by it?

"Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws" — Mayer Amschel Bauer Rothschild This prominent international banker is commonly quoted this. First, did he actually say ...
23
votes
7answers
6k views

Why did the United Kingdom industrialize first?

What factors made the United Kingdom the first to industrialize? Was it simply the importance and benefit of its position in the global community for trade?
23
votes
5answers
3k views

Why don't people without access to clean water drink beer anymore?

In the medieval ages, peasants used to drink beer instead of water because the plain water wasn't safe to drink. Why do people in countries where the water sources are polluted not do this today? Why ...
23
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
4k views

Why isn't Somaliland recognized as a separate country?

The modern country of Somalia is pretty much universally considered a failed state. Within Somalia itself, however, is the de facto state of Somaliland, which if I remember correctly is almost ...
23
votes
1answer
12k views

Did the United States have a third atomic bomb to drop on Japan?

On 15 August, six days after the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan announced its surrender to the United States, signing the instrument of surrender on 2 September, officially ending the war. The question ...
23
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the earliest known account of the modern military salute?

The military salute, made with right hand to head of a soldier, seems to be a European tradition, however it is adopted by many armies in the world. What are origins of this gesture? I came across a ...
23
votes
7answers
10k views

Where did the Gaels originate?

The origin and spreading out of the Celtic peoples is a topic shrouded in mystery, at least to my mind. While the Germanic migrations occurred during the late Imperial Roman period and Early Middle ...
23
votes
2answers
850 views

When did the Romans begin using the sword, as opposed to the axe, for decapitation?

According to this article, the Romans first used the axe for decapitation, and then moved to using the sword later. The article states: [B]eheading, a mode of executing capital punishment by which ...
22
votes
9answers
7k views

Was the American Civil War the “bloodiest civil war in history”?

I heard something like that once on some TV documentary, but I'm second guessing that there must have been a caveat for just the Americas, or otherwise qualified it as, "in modern history", or as a ...
22
votes
8answers
5k views

Why was PTSD not written about as much before the 20th century?

As late as WW1 there was very little literature surrounding PTSD/'shellshock'. In fact, the term was not coined until the 1980's. Considering the fact that warfare has been a part of human life since ...
22
votes
10answers
4k views

Are tanks the only reason for the abandonment of trench warfare?

The First World War in the West was for 4 years restricted to trench warfare. Gaining enemy territory cost many human lives for both sides. The main (or maybe most spectacular) battles were Verdun and ...
22
votes
3answers
6k views

What were the reasons that the British colonies in North America rebelled but not others?

I know more about the American War of Independence than about other British colonies, but I have begun to wonder why was it just America. The British had colonies in other places but there doesn't ...
22
votes
4answers
5k views

Can the Queen of England fire the prime minister of Australia?

My Australian friend says yes. I'm not so sure, considering the monarchy collects no taxes from England, much less a country in the commonwealth. What's the verdict? Can she say "you're fired" and ...
22
votes
9answers
12k views

Which religion was the first monotheistic one?

Which religion was the first monotheistic one? Was it judaism or a religion which disappeared from practice?
22
votes
2answers
5k views

What is the origin of the “wheat and chessboard” legend?

The "wheat and chessboard" fable describes a geometric problem that is often quoted in stories about the invention of chess. According to Wikipedia, the main theme of the fable is: When the ...
22
votes
3answers
3k views

Why could China keep most of the lands it conquered after 17th century but European powers could not?

If we look at the map of Ming dynasty, we see a much smaller China. Most of the northern and western part of today's China was conquered during Qing dynasty. In contrast, many European powers have ...
22
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

How did people deal with ice on the roads during the horse-and-buggy era?

Before there were cars, people traveled in a horse-drawn carriage, sometimes over cobble-stone covered roads. Back in those days, was anything done to keep the traveled roads free from ice or snow? ...
22
votes
1answer
3k views

When did challenging to a duel cease to be a practice in English culture?

In the Aubrey Maturin series of novels, there are at least two scenes where the protagonists are challenged to a duel: Post-Captain - Aubrey and Maturin about Aubrey's reputation with the Admiralty ...
22
votes
4answers
3k views

Why didn't Moldova unite with Romania?

Towards the collapse of the USSR, nationalism rose in Moldova. Nationalists proclaimed the linguistic and ethnic identity between Moldovans and Romanians. It seems that they strove toward unification ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

Third Reich? What were the other two? [closed]

Nazi Germany is widely called the Third Reich. But what were the First and Second Reich then?
22
votes
3answers
4k views

When was Silver ever more valuable than Gold?

These days we pretty much take it as a given that gold is more valuable than silver. The obvious example is the Olympics and other such competitions that give "gold" medals for first place and ...
22
votes
1answer
577 views

Did Archery evolve independently on separate continents?

Is there evidence that early civilizations across the world discovered archery independently from one another (like Native Americans, Europeans and Africans)? Or can the technology be traced back to a ...
22
votes
1answer
3k views

Great Wall of China Controversy

Until several years ago the eastern end of the Great Wall of China was considered to end at Shanhaiguan where the wall goes into the sea, but the Chinese have revealed (in 2009) new portions of the ...
22
votes
1answer
1k views

What became of Nazi Germany's embassies in neutral countries?

This picture shows the German embassy in Stockholm very near the end of World War II (with the flag lowered to mark Hitler's death). Germany surrendered on the 8th May 1945. The Flensburg ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

What form of home address did Romans use?

Were the buildings in an ancient Roman city numbered, named or something else? How would they tell each other where they lived? Were the numbers painted on the walls? Did they have apartment numbers? ...
21
votes
6answers
6k views

Why did Great Britain switch its alliance to France?

England (and its succeeding states) were at war with France for close to 1000 years. First it was over land, then they competed over religion, then they competed over colonies. For much of that time, ...
21
votes
7answers
5k views

Why did the US drop nuclear bombs on a weakened Japan? [closed]

Why did the United States drop two nuclear bombs on the Japanese mainland? It appeared that Japan was ready to surrender.
21
votes
4answers
16k views

Why didn't the US choose to demolish Tokyo with an atom bomb?

Tokyo was Japan's capital. Why didn't the US choose Tokyo to demolish with Atom Bomb? Bonus Question: What factors decided to bring Hiroshima and Nagasaki on table?
21
votes
6answers
3k views

By mid-1945, was Japan capable of maintaining the war even in the absence of further direct American attacks? [closed]

The USA went to a great effort to defeat Japan, but do historians regard it as necessary? For example if the USA had just kept the naval action going to the extent of cutting of all shipping to ...
21
votes
8answers
9k views

How Did Moscow Become the Capital/Most Important City in Russia?

Early in the past millennium, Kiev was probably the largest, most modern city in the former Soviet Union, at least until the Mongols came. One might have expected it to be the capital of the Soviet ...

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