11
votes
2answers
908 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
685 views

What was the worst economic crisis of all times?

I am interested in reading about the worst economic crisis of all times. By that I mean the largest reduction in GDP over a period of at least a year. The economic crisis should not have been caused ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

WWI trench tactics using shields?

Are there any records of WWI trench tactics involving shield formations similar to the example below of the ancient Testudo formation? . I imagine that it could have been successful if used to get ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Was the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age violent?

In Europe, when the Bronze Age ended and the Iron Age began, was it a peaceful spread of technology, or was it a violent conquest where the newcomers were able to win by their more advanced ...
8
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
200 views

Was the ancient Roman King ( i.e. rex) elected for eight years?

This is an outgrowth of the discussion here. The rex was indeed elected (or perhaps acclaimed would be better term) by the people at the suggestion of the Senate, as far as I recall but I do not ...
34
votes
3answers
5k views

Why did Britain not purchase Alaska when Russia had it up for sale?

One thing that comes up often when discussing "what-ifs" with family or friends is why the British government never nabbed Alaska when Russia had placed it up for sale and made it into Canada's fourth ...
33
votes
5answers
4k views

Has Britain's 1940 invasion of Iceland been downplayed by historians?

On the face of it Operation Fork (Britain's invasion of Iceland in 1940) wasn't so terribly different from Germany's territorial landgrabs in 1939 and 1940. Britain and her allies will have ...
26
votes
5answers
9k views

Did pirates really drink a lot of rum?

In every movie, cartoon, comic or any other fictional sources I have read or watched that involves sea pirates, it is always shown that their favorite beverage is rum. I want to know why sea pirates ...
25
votes
1answer
16k 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 ...
24
votes
3answers
2k 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
6k 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.
22
votes
4answers
341 views

How would you accurately use older British currencies when writing a story?

For writing a story set in Napoleonic Wars era, how should one use the currencies accurately? I read in novels they use currencies like shilling, pound, guinea, sovereign, four (or six-, etc) pence, ...
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 ...
19
votes
3answers
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, ...
18
votes
4answers
5k views

Why was there lack of food during WW2 in the UK?

Why was there lack of food during the WW2 in the UK? I understand the lack of food in the countries occupied by Germans, as they recruited a lot of agricultural products for their war machinery. But ...
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 ...
17
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 ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

Why did the Monitor and Merrimac (aka Virginia) have such radically different designs?

This is something that's always baffled me. You have one ship that appears to sit just above the water with one little canon on a turret (the Monitor) and a second that sits high and is brimming with ...
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) ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

Why was Khomeini in France? Who allowed him to leave and why?

I never knew that Khomeini was in France until I saw What was President Jimmy Carter's role in the Iranian Revolution?. Why was Khomeini in France? Who allowed him to leave France and why?
13
votes
7answers
34k 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
401 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
2answers
1k views

How did the Germans get homes again after WWII?

After a large number of homes were destroyed in the war, how did the average German become a homeowner again? I know about the Marshall Plan, but this question does not refer to how the economy in ...
12
votes
4answers
4k 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
3k views

Why did East India Company accept Government of India Act 1858?

In 1858, British parliament passed Government of India Act which contained provisions of liquidation of the company and transference of assets, governance to British crown. The act was going to kill ...
11
votes
2answers
918 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
5answers
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
938 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
1k 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
3answers
738 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
3answers
694 views

What exactly were currours, and what were they used for?

In researching this question on Medieval light cavalry, I came across this reference to "currours" in Wikipedia, with no link: Many countries developed their own styles of light cavalry, such as ...
10
votes
4answers
685 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
1k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
5k 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.
10
votes
6answers
3k 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?
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
327 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
5k 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
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
5k 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
2answers
3k views

Did Romans know about China?

Could there be a possibility that some Romans knew that there was a country north east of India? Because as far as I know the Romans traded with Indians.

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