20
votes
3answers
5k views

When and why was the samurai class abolished?

I am aware the Emperor Meiji abolished the Samurai class during the reformation. Why did he do so? How was it enforced?
20
votes
1answer
1k views

Why did Meiji consider switching from Japanese to English?

During the Meiji restoration, the Emperor sought to switch Japan's national language from Japanese to English. Why was that? Why, ultimately, was it unsuccessful? The Role of English and Other ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

How did Hitler behave towards all those whom he knew in his childhood and youth after he rose to power?

What do we know of Hitler's acts and attitudes towards those people he knew in his childhood and youth after he rose to power? For example, his World War One comrades? Did they receive and attention ...
18
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the state of the art historical analysis of claims that Carthaginians discovered America?

The Carthaginians, and the Phoenicians in general, are renowned for their seafaring abilities. There is evidence for their circumnavigation of Africa, and strong evidence for the fact that Hanno the ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Did Churchill and Roosevelt know about the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, or the following secret pacts between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union?

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany prior to, and during WWII. It seems that the actions of the two countries after the invasion of Poland ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

Why was the shape of German states pre-WWII (especially Prussia) so complicated?

The shapes of the Länder territories in Germany were very complicated. There was hundreds exclaves and enclaves all over the place to the point it became ridiculous. Notably the shape of Prussia, ...
16
votes
1answer
1k views

What percentage of the population in the “Old West” actually carried handguns?

I'm hoping cenus information and historical gun manufacturing records make this an answerable question. What percentage of the population in the Old West actually carried handguns? Was it a minority ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

How many Samurai killed themselves?

How many Samurai killed themselves compared to the actual number of Samurai and how many Samurai were dishonored but did not kill themselves?
14
votes
5answers
2k views

What does it mean that the early supreme court “gave themselves” the power of judicial review?

I'm watching the "Crash Course: American History" youtube series, and I like, it, but it obviously skips over a ton because it's packing decades at a time into 10 minutes. So he just (briefly) ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

How educated were the clergy during the Medieval period?

I understand that Latin was common language of clergy in Medieval times. I presume that bishops could read and write. There were also some monks responsible of copying books. What about "normal" ...
13
votes
6answers
29k views

Why have officers in the U.S. army tended to “top out” at the level of Major?

In the U.S. army, something like 75%-80% of newly-commissioned Second Lieutenants are promoted to First Lieutenant (around age 25), perhaps 75%-80% of First Lieutenants are promoted to Captain (ages ...
13
votes
8answers
2k views

At the end of WWII, were nazis working on any other super weapon besides V-2?

At the end of WWII, were nazis working on anything else besides V-2? If so, what was it, how close was it to completion, and could it potentially turn the events around for them?
12
votes
2answers
387 views

Was Mohammed known and respected in seventeenth-century Europe?

I’m reading Andrew Pettigree’s fascinating book, The Invention of News: How the world came to know about itself. In the early days of newsprint, many felt that only people who actually needed to know ...
12
votes
4answers
3k views

Could The Soviet Union have continued fighting World War II without Caucasus oil?

In 1942, Germany's Fall Blau was initially aimed at capturing or interdicting shipments of oil from the Caucasus to the rest of the Soviet Union. Even though armies were diverted to Stalingrad and ...
11
votes
2answers
870 views

English monarchs on the battlefield

It seems that in English 'older times' it was expected for the King or monarch to lead the armies in battle. My research suggests that this was the case in the 12th century in the civil war between ...
11
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the French gains after the American Revolutionary War

Did France gain anything significant (territories or other concessions) at the conclusion of the American Revolutionary War? I tried to look up for it, but what I found were very minor (Senegal in ...
11
votes
3answers
918 views

What wars were started when an indebted country refused to pay?

For example, France invaded Mexico (both times) when Mexico stopped some of their payments. What are some other examples?
10
votes
3answers
984 views

Why was France given such a lenient peace after Napoleon was defeated?

For two decades revolutionary France had attacked and conquered many nations in Europe. Millions were killed. But when the allies finally defeated France, the peace was very lenient. France didn't ...
10
votes
2answers
578 views

What percentage of men, ages 18 to 35, from the northern states served in the Union Army?

In my genealogy research, I can assume with some certainty that if a white southern family had sons born between 1835 and 1846 there is a pretty good chance that all of them will have served in the ...
10
votes
4answers
637 views

How did the Egyptian engineers of the Third and Fourth Dynasty construct the Pyramids and Sphinx without modern science and mathematics? [closed]

How did the Egyptian engineers of the Third and Fourth Dynasty construct the Pyramids and Sphinx without modern science and mathematics? What was the "state of the art" in engineering, science, and ...
9
votes
6answers
4k views

Why do some countries call Germany “Alman” too?

In Persia, Germany is called "Alaman". In Portugal it's called "Alemanha". I know some other countries in the world call it 'Alman' too Why the name changed?
9
votes
2answers
295 views

How accurate is quantitative evidence included in Caesar's Commentarii de Bello Gallico?

Two pieces of evidence in relation to Caesar's Comentarii de Bello Gallico currently seem to suggest two different conclusions as to the authors veracity in reporting numbers. One is from a comment ...
9
votes
1answer
2k views

What devices used computer-like programs in industrial era?

As possibly some of you remember early computers had very small human-machine interface and coding programs was done by cards like this one: or a tape like these: This invention of controlling ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

What were Rommel's views on the Nazi crimes?

Erwin Rommel is often portrayed as the chivalrous Nazi. I've read on the internet that he once proposed to Hitler that a Jew be appointed a Nazi official, but I'm not able to verify that. What were ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Why did the clocks go back in Shanghai on December 31, 1927?

If you are a Stack Overflow user you may already have read Jon Skeet's excellent answer that discusses a time zone change at the end of 1927 in Shangai, when the clocks went back for 5 minutes and 52 ...
9
votes
6answers
4k views

Historical use of alcohol as a source of clean water

I've heard that there were two common methods to disinfecting water in the past: boiling water or turning it into alcohol. Presumably, those in the East relied on boiling water, while those in the ...
9
votes
4answers
4k views

Did either of the World Wars involve South or Central America?

Were any South or Central American nations besides Brazil involved (not necessarily officially) in either of the World Wars? If any were, I'd appreciate information on their degree of involvement.
9
votes
2answers
2k views

Which city was attacked by Nazi-German war flights in India during WW2?

Nazi-Germany ran a bombing raid over India, in WW2. Which city was bombed, and what effect did it have? i.e how many casualties, or was transport closed down.
9
votes
2answers
4k views

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?
8
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the historical evidence behind the claim that the Soviet armies perpetrated mass rapes during their stay in Germany?

Besides accounts from Anthony Beevor's book and research done by Sander & Johr, which some members of the amateur historian community dismiss as biased and revisionist, are there any other source ...
7
votes
4answers
443 views

Why did France make an alliance with the Kingdom of Sardinia-Piedmont in the 1850's?

It is clear why Cavour wanted the alliance, but what benefits would France have from allying itself to a relatively weak (as far as I know) kingdom?
7
votes
2answers
437 views

Orphism's alleged influence on Christianity

I've read in Nils Johan Ringdal's delightful but ill-footnoted Love For Sale: A World History of Prostitution that the apostle Paul was influenced by Orphism when he set out to weaken women's roles in ...
7
votes
1answer
831 views

What was the status of specialized workers during the Roman times?

It's obvious that people in the Senate or people with political power would be considered of higher status, while ordinary plebs, such as farmers, would have a lower status. However, where exactly ...
7
votes
5answers
2k views

In the United States government, has there been cases that electoral colleges don't vote for the candidate the majority of their state voted for?

Has there ever been a case where electoral colleges vote for someone the people didn't vote for during an election for president of the United States?
7
votes
2answers
2k views

How did ethnic Turkish people embrace Islam?

How was Islam spread among Turkish population or in historical Turkey? How did ethnic Turkish people embrace Islam?
7
votes
3answers
966 views

Founding Fathers and the American Civil War

I was reading an article and was wondering if there is anything out there to indicate that the Founding Fathers saw the potential for conflict regarding these specific points: Economic and ...
6
votes
5answers
517 views

What kinds of WW2 POWs were treated best?

We all know that the harshest attitudes were toward Jews overall, and maybe Russian POWs in German concentration camps too. Conditions for German soldiers who were held as prisoners in USSR were also ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Did Roosevelt's New Deal lift the U.S. out of the depression or did it actually prolong the Depression and cripple American capitalism? [closed]

While the New Deal did much to lessen the worst affects of the Great Depression, its measures were not sweeping enough to restore the nation to full employment. Critics of FDR's policies, on ...
6
votes
1answer
684 views

What were acceptance criteria/process to the Vienna Fine Arts Academy in 1906-7?

One famous applicant rejected by the Vienna Fine Arts Academy was of course, Hitler. I got to thinking: so who was accepted instead? To make sense of this we would need to know how was the admission ...
6
votes
1answer
497 views

Literacy in the classical world

How literate was the ancient world? I'm particularly interested in the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians in, say, the first few centuries BC. It's hard to find authors willing to give an explicit number, ...
6
votes
5answers
625 views

What incentives are in place for American soldiers to go fight in Iraq?

I am from Brazil, a country that has not fought any war since WW2. If you join the army, go fight in Iraq and then return, what will the USA pay you? Is there a health plan for life, a pension, or ...
5
votes
1answer
977 views

What degree of choice did slaves have over their sexual autonomy?

What degree of choice did chattel slaves in the United States of America1have over their sexual autonomy? Was this codified in any law? 1. Assuming scope is the USA, given the source of the Roots TV ...
5
votes
2answers
815 views

Spanish-American war from Spain's perspective?

What did the Spanish-American war look like from Spain's perspective? Did the general population support the war? What were the reasons why Spain lost, was the general public aware of these reasons ...
5
votes
3answers
894 views

Did the Greeks win the battle of Salamis because their rowers were “free”?

While I was at university in the late 1970s, I was told by a faculty advisor that the Greek rowers at the Battle of Salamis were given cushions that greatly increased their comfort and efficiency (and ...
5
votes
3answers
140 views

literature about colonialism

I'm looking for one big, synthetic work about colonialism from 15th to 18th century. I need general history, included history of Spain, France, Portugal, Netherlands and England/Great Britain. Do you ...
4
votes
4answers
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 ...
3
votes
2answers
139 views

What were the origins of democracy?

I realize that many people say that Athens is where democracy started, but is there any solid proof that it was the first? On Wikipedia, it is stated that: there is evidence to suggest that ...
24
votes
9answers
15k 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
4k 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 ...

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