26
votes
5answers
16k views

Why did China shut itself out of the world in the 15th century?

After a period of maritime explorations (see Zheng He) in the early 15th century, the Ming Dynasty started shutting the Middle Kingdom out of the rest of the world. This of course continued with the ...
14
votes
5answers
403 views

Is there a field of study which attempts to document historic experiences of ordinary individuals?

One of my interests is attempting to understand what human experiences were like for individuals in the past. I want to learn about their day-to-day lives, their fears, their aspirations and what ...
3
votes
2answers
487 views

Why would staff officers carry swords during combat, in World War II?

I realise one purpose as ceremonial, as depicted in Lieutenant General Hatazō Adachi's surrender (eg this picture), but when Isoroku Yamamoto was killed, his white-gloved hand [was still] ...
1
vote
0answers
69 views

What are the origins of coursing with cheetahs? [closed]

And is there evidence of coursing with other big cats(snow leopard, Persian leopard, Asiatic lion, Caspian tiger or Eurasian lynx) in Asian history? Also were they trained to ride on a horse with ...
11
votes
2answers
653 views

The value of spice trade during the age of exploration

One of the initial motivations for the Europeans in sending exploration voyages was to find cheap spices. To be worth such expensive and risky mission, spices must have been worth a lot and must have ...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

Which country traces its roots back to the oldest civilization? [closed]

Which country is recognized or documented as having the first prominent civilization? After reading so many articles, I couldn't determine which country should be acknowledged as having the oldest ...
14
votes
1answer
547 views

Where was the furthest extent of Arabian trade explorations?

Traders from Arabia travelled to and traded with Roman and Asian empires and this Nabataean Sea Merchants article. How far did Arabian traders travel - where was the furthest extent of their ...
16
votes
4answers
17k views

Why did so many Italians emigrate to Argentina?

On 13th of March, 2013, archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, became new pope of Catholic Church. He was born and raised in Argentina with Italian origins. There are more than 24 ...
3
votes
3answers
289 views

Why was a convicted Nazi war criminal buried with military honours?

[Source 1:] Erich von Manstein died of a stroke on the night of 9 June 1973 at the age of 85. As the last but one[a] surviving German field marshal, he was buried with full military honours, his ...
6
votes
1answer
336 views

Did barracks exist in the middle ages?

In many medieval RTS games soldiers come out of a building named 'Barracks'. Where did medieval soldiers actually train ? Did such specialised buildings exist ? Most peasants probably got no training ...
18
votes
13answers
10k views

What was the ratio of German to Soviet losses on eastern front during different stages of the war?

I've read somewhere that the ratio of Soviet to German casualties on the eastern front was 1.4 for the whole war. But what about data for different stages of the war? (this ratio wasn't constant after ...
1
vote
0answers
87 views

Did most colleges in the United States have semesters that began in September and ended in January during the 1890s?

I have been researching college calendars from the 1890s and have found that their semesters are very different from most "modern" semesters in the United States. Here are two examples: Texas, Bryn ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

When and by whom was the Tirupati Tirumala temple in India built?

India's second wealthiest temple, Tirupati Tirumala Venkateswara Temple does not seem to have a clear history about its origin. The Wikipedia entry does not provide proper details on who exactly built ...
13
votes
1answer
319 views

What was the political consciousness of a 15th century English peasant?

How did they feel about the monarchy and living under lords? Were they are aware of alternative political structures? Did they believe their lives were fair?
2
votes
2answers
514 views

Why did the Indian National Congress fail to convince Indian minorities to support united India

While much has been discussed about the British policy of divide-and-rule while governing India (and other colonies), another fact that has not received the same attention is the enormous support ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Were Roman emperors officially considered kings of Egypt?

On this statue of Augustus (image is from Wikipedia), he is depicted wearing the traditional dress of Egyptian pharaohs: I wonder whether Roman emperors were officially declared kings of Egypt or ...
6
votes
1answer
135 views

Where and when did Nietzsche's sister meet Hitler?

It is well-known that Nietzsche’s sister, Elisabeth Foerster-Nietzsche, was a nationalist and anti-semite who took control of her brother’s papers on his death and propagated a distorted version of ...
4
votes
2answers
204 views

When was the concept of “art criticism” first seen?

Today being an art critic is a full time occupation for some individuals. When/where does the concept of "art criticism" first come into being? Clarify I am NOT looking for a random person sharing ...
4
votes
2answers
118 views

Travel time for African Slave trade

What was the average travel time for African slaves being moved from the interior of Africa to the coast for export? Also, how long did they tend to wait on the coast until they were exported? I ...
7
votes
3answers
225 views

Was there a Japanese Exchange, à la Columbian Exchange?

After the European (re-)discovery of the Americas, there was a widespread transfer of animals, plants, culture, human populations, communicable diseases, technology and ideas between the Americas and ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Is there any research explicitly contradicting facts in Suvorov's “Icebreaker” book series claiming that Stalin intended to attack Hitler in 1941?

Viktor Suvorov is a somewhat famous ex-GRU spy who defected and wrote a series of books. The most (in)famous and sensational were a series of books on World War II, starting with "Icebreaker", which ...
9
votes
2answers
138 views

Colonies in Machiavelli's age

In Chapter 3 of the Prince Machiavelli offers this advice to the prince who would hold a newly acquired territory: [T]o send colonies to one or two places, which may be as keys to that state, ...
1
vote
1answer
81 views

Why does Northern Ireland not include the counties Donnegal, Monaghan and Cavan?

Did not the entire province of Ulster vote to stay in the Union? If so, why was it partitioned? Esepecially Donnegal which relied heavily on Belfast for its economy, I don't see a good reason why ...
7
votes
4answers
890 views

What were the key differences between United States' and Indian revolutions?

The Thirteen Colonies and Indian subcontinent were two of the most significant colonies of the British Empire, yet the former was able to gain independence via a rebellion relatively early on, whilst ...
8
votes
0answers
93 views

What was the Nove / Millar debate, how is it important to the historiography of the Soviet Union?

The Nove / Millar debate was a debate amongst economic historians in the 1970s, where the Western understanding of Soviet economic development in the 1920 and 1930s was seriously revised. In ...
4
votes
0answers
153 views

How important were “columnar” strategies in Japan's invasion of China?

In trying to invade a large country like China, there are at least two main strategies 1) a narrow "columnar" strategy, usually based along an artery such as the Yangtze River that provides a natural ...
7
votes
0answers
130 views

1850s steel technology advance before the Bessemer converter

The Bessemer converter is often cited as the critical invention causing a breakout in the production of cheap steel and enabling the industrial revolution. However, I just put together this chart ...
2
votes
1answer
113 views

How did Native Americans defend militarily? [closed]

I've seen Native Americans as great warriors who charged armies and raided settlements but I haven't heard much about their defensive capabilities. When they were attacked, did they have set up any ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

How close was the Soviet Union to collapsing during WW2?

Are there any sources or reports which explain how close the country was to collapsing under the Nazi assault? By 'collapse' I mean 'completely lacking either the willpower (as seen by France in 1940 ...
6
votes
2answers
338 views

How close did Germany come to interdicting Soviet oil shipments from the Caucasus in 1942?

In 1942, the Germans captured a relatively small oil complex at Maikop in the North Caucasus, and got within 25 miles of a larger one at Grozny. But the biggest prize was at Baku, on the "far" ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

How is the discipline of History differentiated from other disciplines in social sciences or the humanities?

History is a discipline in the academy that is some times a social science and sometimes a humanity. However, there are many other social sciences (economics, political science) and many other ...
3
votes
5answers
419 views

Why was East Asia more religiously tolerant than Europe in medieval time?

In medieval time, different religions coexisted in China, Japan and Korea, but only Christianity was allowed in Europe. What factors made medieval East Asia more religiously tolerant than medieval ...
3
votes
0answers
43 views

The average price of Škoda Favorit in Poland around 1991

I am looking for average price of Škoda Favorit in Poland around 1991 (1992 would be appreciated as well) I cannot find this information online anywhere. I have found price of this car and other cars ...
4
votes
1answer
215 views

PANDA Source Analysis

In History at school we learnt the PANDA method to analyse sources, to test for bias and authenticity. P urpose - What is the purpose for which the source was created? Was it to convert people to a ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Difference between V-5 and V-12 Navy programs during WWII

I was curious if there was a difference between the V-5 and V-12 Navy programs during World War II. I have found a lot of information on V-12 program specifically but I haven't been able to find to ...
15
votes
14answers
8k 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 ...
14
votes
3answers
552 views

Were the 19th century decades referred to as 40s, 50s back then?

I was just thinking what will happen to our reference of "the 50s", "the 60s" when we get to the end of this century. So I began wondering if this collision has already happened back when the 20th ...
12
votes
1answer
881 views

How much did Pan Am tickets to the moon cost?

I was searching online, and find a lot of references about the Pan Am moon tickets. I'm curious how much they were going to cost though. I saw somewhere that said there was no down-payment... just ...
7
votes
2answers
306 views

How did people have access to ice in warm areas before the industrial revolution?

In some cases, before the industrial revolution, nobles and other elites had access to ice in regions where it wasn't naturally available. How could they get it? Was it simply transported in big ...
9
votes
1answer
203 views

Did hanging tyres from Mostar's bridge help at all to protect it?

At various points (e.g. 00:14) in this BBC documentary on Mostar's Stari Most (Old Bridge) you can see dozens of car tyres hanging from the bridge prior to its destruction in the Croat-Bosniak ...
4
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
35 views

Iran and the point four program and the mutual defense act of 1949?

What were the US's and Iran's terms in these agreements? What was the total amount of aid Iran recieved from the US during this time?
6
votes
2answers
614 views

When did husbands & wives start sharing bedrooms?

In a lot of period movies the husband & wife are shown to be retiring to different bedrooms at night. e.g. most movies about 1800's Britain or even pre WW-II. Or even War & Peace or Pride ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Why did Central and South American nations participate in WWII?

Somewhat related question: Did either of the World Wars involve South or Central America? I've always been interested in why so many South American and Central American countries took the side of the ...
23
votes
6answers
36k 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? ...
0
votes
1answer
54 views

Did ancient peoples apply starch to clothing?

Source: See p 6 of 10 of the PDFs, first leftward para. Beware that p 6 of the PDF is labelled as p 18 on the document itself. The English name of starch, as well as its equivalent in German, ...
15
votes
0answers
232 views

Did Kim Jong-Il wrest away power (rather than inherit it) from Kim Il-Sung in a power struggle?

I know little about North Korean history, but their official narrative and what I had also believed is that - long story short - Kim Jong-Il basically just inherited his dictatorial powers from his ...
8
votes
1answer
119 views

How big was the IMF loan Britain received in the 1970's?

During the turbulent times of the 1970's, the United Kingdom had to ask the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a loan to meet its obligations. The National Archives state that in September 1976, a ...
15
votes
1answer
650 views

Why do the Japanese sing Ode to Joy during the Japanese New Year?

During the New Years, the Japanese have a curious custom where they perform Beethoven's 9th symphony. This has produced some stunning sights on youtube But there's nothing particularly festive or New ...

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