7
votes
2answers
780 views

How did commoners in late medieval to early modern Europe learn to read?

Literacy in the early Middle Ages was very low, but as I recall, by the time of Reformation quite a lot of commoners could read. Even if they were not very good in reading and writing, by the 17th ...
5
votes
1answer
333 views

When did the incident happen when bounty on rats led people to farm rats?

Sorry for the title but don't know how to phrase it exactly. I once read an article about a period (in France I think but I'm not sure) when the cities were growing and people strted to have issues ...
7
votes
2answers
417 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 ...
-4
votes
3answers
838 views

Did Gorbachev say that his intention was to destroy Communism?

As I remember the 1980s and the Perestroika epoch, the reforms were advertised to the people as "return to Leninist principles", even deeper implementation of Socialism. The posters claimed it was ...
5
votes
2answers
337 views

Was there anything like African American architecture style or symbolic in the beginning of 20th century?

At the beginning of 20th century, large masses of black people were migrating to North or between districts of the same towns (like in New York from Tenderloin or San Juan Hill to Harlem, previously ...
0
votes
4answers
554 views

What was the practical reason for East Germany to reunify with West Germany? [closed]

Why did the East German government decide that they should join the West? Was it their economical decline, political turmoil or anything else?
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Are there ways to measure “how much power did ”Russia“ lose when the Soviet Union broke up?”

Russia today is the largest country in the world (by a fairly wide margin). That is true after the other 15 or so "Socialist Republics" left and went their separate ways in 1991, leaving Russia with a ...
6
votes
2answers
166 views

Have Moscow and Beijing ever been cities under the same rule?

Have Moscow and Beijing ever been cities under the rule of the same empire? It should have been Mongol Empire, I suppose. How long has it lasted?
2
votes
1answer
204 views

Why did Alexander found or rename a number of places after himself?

According to Wikipedia, Alexander founded or renamed each of the following places after himself: Alexandria, Egypt Alexandria Arachosia, Afghanistan; now called Kandahar (a contraction of ...
2
votes
1answer
321 views

Why have Polish kings been such a “mixed bag?”

"Mixed bag" is an American term that might be translated as "apparently random." I'll date the question from the mid-16th century Union with Lithuania until 1795. During this time, there was a French ...
8
votes
1answer
249 views

Did the Indo-Greeks play a crucial role in promoting Buddhism?

Did Buddhism become a widespread religion primarily due to the political support of the Indo-Greek rulers of India who favored it in opposition to Jainism?
7
votes
1answer
110 views

Is there any way to historically consider the cultural severity on a disease or impairment? (specifically during the Roman Empire)

I'm looking to find how certain diseases or impairments were viewed during the Roman Empire (circa ~50AD) by the Roman culture prior, during, and after that time. I'm mainly looking for physical ...
1
vote
1answer
153 views

Battle of Seattle [closed]

The "Battle of Seattle," a large civil protest that led to sporadic rioting in 1999, is commonly portrayed as influential in the sociology of Western activism, and in the contemporary history of ...
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
338 views

How was the dynamics of a naval battle in the 17th century?

I'm curious about the "mechanical" aspects in the course of a naval battle in the 17th century. To explain better, here are some questions whose answers would provide a text-answer explaining the ...
9
votes
3answers
430 views

At the Battle of Zama, was the Roman army more “native” than the Carthaginian?

At the battle of Zama, which army had a higher proportion of native troops? Within the context of this question consider troops to be either "native" or "mercenary". Native troops serve out of ...
-2
votes
1answer
224 views

What was the death toll of non-Americans in the Vietnam War?

How many Vietnamese and Cambodians were killed in the Vietnam war? How many civilians, and how many soldiers? What are the best sources on this question?
4
votes
2answers
280 views

To what can we trace the idea of “civic responsibility”?

Can the sense of "civic responsibility" (i.e. the individual sense of participation and duty towards the construction and maintenance of a public order, and its enactment), be traced historically as ...
1
vote
2answers
415 views

Plans to depose, disgrace, or assassinate Hitler [closed]

Have there come to light any plans either by the allied forces or those within the Third Reich to depose/disgrace/assassinate Hitler himself, rather than just plans to crush his forces?
9
votes
6answers
3k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
129 views

What was the main diet of pre-agricultural Asians?

The modern Asian diet is based mostly around rice. Was rice a major part of the paleolithic Asian diet? Did they know how to process and eat rice before agriculture? Aside from meats, what were other ...
9
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
17
votes
6answers
8k views

How far could an English war bow shoot?

The range of the medieval weapon is not accurately known, with estimates from 165 to 228 m (180 to 249 yds) So says Wikipedia. I did read, however, in a semi-fictional, semi-historical work of ...
9
votes
5answers
3k views

Why did the Germans fall behind the Americans in the development of the atomic bomb after an initial lead?

I actually know certain facts about this matter, but am seeking guidance in interpreting these facts into "theories." 1) Theory 1, Economic: The Americans spent something like $2 billion (in money of ...
4
votes
3answers
720 views

What caused Yugoslavia to switch sides early in World War II?

In 1940,-41 Germany was able to enlist the support of Roumania, Hungary (the latter at the expense of the former), and Bulgaria, in the Balkans. Yugoslavia initially signed on with Germany, then soon ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

What role did the Ancient Samurai heritage play on Modern Japan during WW2?

Some of the policies adopted by the WW2 japanese army , seem to be along the lines of the ancient samurai code of Bushido. Policies such as extreme loyalty to the emperor , honor unto death and ...
1
vote
1answer
77 views

Did Joseph II introduce the presumption of innocence in his legal code?

The Holy Roman Emperor Joseph II has pushed through some important reforms. E.g. strongly reducing death penalty or abolishing serfdom. His legal code (Josephina) was in many ways revolutionary, one ...
7
votes
3answers
420 views

It wasn't thought that Jesus was Jewish until the Renaissance?

Anthony Grafton claims that "the Christian discovery of a Jewish Jesus began not in the 19th century but in the Renaissance"; elsewhere, "Sixteenth and seventeenth-century scholars came to see, as ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

What was Lenin's “New Economic Policy” and what complications did it have?

I have recently read an article on Lenin's New Economic Policy, and I was wondering if there were two sides to the story. What were some of the complications of this policy? In addition to this, was ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Why did native Americans and Europeans mix in South America but not in North America?

A large part of the current population of South America are descendants of both native Americans and Europeans. In contrast, in north America the intermingling of native Americans and Europeans was ...
1
vote
1answer
67 views

St. George's Monastery in the West Bank

I was fascinated to learn about St. George's Monastery, a Greek Orthodox site that was first built in the 5th century CE. It's obviously neither Jewish nor Islamic, and is located in a disputed ...
6
votes
2answers
154 views

Why have wheat and rice been consumed in different forms?

Historically, wheat has been ground into bread, while rice has been boiled and consumed in "granular" form. Corn has been consumed both ways, "on the cob," and in corn bread. Why is that?
20
votes
1answer
5k views

Why did Poland keep Warsaw as its capital instead of returning it to Krakow in the 20th century?

My recollection is that Krakow was Poland's capital for much of the Middle Ages, having moved there from Thorn(?) shortly after 1000 A.D. My understanding is that Warsaw, a newer city, became ...
5
votes
3answers
187 views

Who were the Catholic popes before Francis I who used names not of Latin, Greek or Jewish origin?

Who were the Catholic popes before the current Francis I who used names not of Latin, Greek or Jewish origin? Particularly, names of Germanic origin, like Francis.
11
votes
3answers
398 views

WWII boat-looking bus

What was the purpose of this WWII boat-looking bus? Description says: Royal Navy officers 'aboard' 'HMS SPURIOUS MARK II' - a bus converted to resemble the island of an aircraft carrier. The ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the real story of the Lion of Gripsholm Castle?

In 2011, one of the popular stories over the Internet was a history of The Lion of Gripsholm Castle. The Swedish language version of the linked blog entry was the one responsible for spreading this ...
5
votes
1answer
406 views

Did the Germans use a “Verdun”-like strategy at Stalingrad?

In February 1916, the Germans might have captured the fortress of Verdun (France), quickly through an all-out assault. Instead, the German General Falkenhayn initially elected to make an artillery ...
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
395 views

Organized and intentional suicide attacks during military conflicts

First of all I want to make it clear that we're not speaking about terrorist attacks here. This question is strictly dedicated to war operations, in a dictionary meaning. Also this question is about ...
3
votes
1answer
3k views

How historically accurate Life is Beautiful is when it comes to Jewish extermination?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_Is_Beautiful It is portrayed, in the movie, how that protagonist jew is sent to extermination camp in Italy. I thought jews in Italy are not usually sent to ...
8
votes
1answer
546 views

How is it possible that the basque language survived until today?

The mysterious Basque is the mother tongue of only few people, spoken in Vizcaya, a northern province in Spain. It is not similar to any major European language in use today and it's origins are ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Were there any successful attempts by the Allies to “turn” groups of Axis soldiers?

Toward the end of World War II, Germany had to utilize non-German soldiers, some of them from occupied countries like Poland and the Ukraine. At places like Omaha Beach, Normandy, individual Poles ...
1
vote
1answer
153 views

Were Russian recruits ever chained?

This paper contains the following remark: Recruits were then marched off, without proper care, to a destination that might be hundreds of miles away; initially they were branded and even ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Why did Chinese use high tin bronze for swords?

Also unique for Chinese bronzes is the consistent use of high tin bronze (17–21% tin) which is very hard and breaks if stressed too far, whereas other cultures preferred lower tin bronze (usually ...
-1
votes
1answer
1k views

Recommended order for reading Horatio Hornblower series? [closed]

I am interested in reading the Horatio Hornblower series by C.S. Forester. The first book in terms of publication order is Hornblower and the Crisis (story dates: August 1805-December 1805). However, ...
10
votes
1answer
429 views

What corrections did the Catholic church make to the Copernicus work “De revolutionibus”?

Catholic encyclopedia says: On 5 March, 1616, the work of Copernicus was forbidden by the Congregation of the Index "until corrected", and in 1620 these corrections were indicated. Nine sentences, ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Why did Catholic chruch wait for 350 years to accept “Galileo's idea”?

In 1992 Pope John Paul II officially conceded that the Earth was not stationary - it revolved around the sun The time that took to be accepted Galileo was right about the kind of relationship ...
7
votes
4answers
391 views

Has any other book in history been as “prescriptive” as Mein Kampf?

Hitler's signature work, "Mein Kampf", was written while he was in prison (!), following the failure of his so-called "Beer Hall Putsch" in Munich in 1923. In the book, he laid out in excruciating ...
5
votes
1answer
895 views

Could medieval European merchants travel through the Islamic world?

I've heard that the Islamic world was closed to European merchants in the Middle Ages. Is this true? If so, when did it close and when did it open again?
5
votes
1answer
339 views

Was the battle of Stalingrad “unique” in the annals of history?

I'm referring to the fact that BOTH sides ordered their troops to fight for the city "to the last man and last round." (Hitler). The Soviet Union's General Vasili Chuikov echoed this by saying "We ...

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