16
votes
1answer
307 views

What were tally sticks?

What were tally sticks, and how was it that they they worked for the economy? I understand that they were a form of currency and were of fixed value based on the notches, but how did they work as a ...
7
votes
2answers
350 views

Why did Huldrych Zwingli and Martin Luther stand for clerical marriage?

Was it an original idea of theirs? Or was it about the legitimization of an already existing custom? For example, Heinrich Bullinger's father was a married dean already in 1504 due to an unofficial ...
3
votes
1answer
92 views

Why was the Håndfæstning forced on Erik V of Denmark?

Håndfæstning was the name for charters forced upon the Scandinavian kings by their nobility, not unlike Magna Carta in Britain. Erik V of Denmark was the first to sign such a document. What were the ...
6
votes
2answers
155 views

How did Edward Misselden become a deputy-governor of a merchant company at 15?

According to the wikipedia article Edward Misselden, he was born in 1608 and in 1623 became a deputy-governor of the Merchant Adventurers' Company at Delft. This means he got the job at the age of 15. ...
6
votes
1answer
96 views

What is the relevance of the Confession of Augsburg to the Colloquy at Poissy?

According the wikipedia article Colloquy at Poissy Catharine [de' Medici] appointed a smaller committee of five Calvinists and five Roman Catholics. Their task was to devise a formula on which the ...
7
votes
2answers
487 views

What sort of Cardinals were Richelieu and Mazarin?

Cardinals can belong to one of three orders: Cardinal-deacon Cardinal-bishop Cardinal-priest. What were the ranks of Cardinals Richelieu and Mazarin?
5
votes
1answer
96 views

Why was Patriarch Nikon removed from power?

Why did he lose the grace of Tzar Alexey? Which enemies conspired against him and how?
15
votes
1answer
1k views

What is this military patch with the silhouette of a pegasus on it?

I found this patch among my grandfather's things. I know it's a military patch of some sort because it was with his war memorabilia. He served in the European theater during WWII, if that helps at ...
26
votes
1answer
671 views

What were the acceptance criteria in universities of medieval Europe?

Did they have entrance tests? Were certain groups officially banned from entering? How much did one have to pay? Did they have scholarships for talented studends? How these criteria differed between ...
-3
votes
3answers
296 views

Why did so many rulers want to aquire more land? [closed]

It seems that until around the 20th century, a relatively large portion of rulers saw it as their goal to acquire more land. What was the main rationale behind this?
10
votes
2answers
194 views

How is it that King Philips War devastated the colonists so much, but the Colonists were not driven out?

King Philips War, or Metacom's War if you will, was pretty devastating to the Northeast Colonies in the pre-United States - yet even after this the tribes that could have realized that the English and ...
5
votes
1answer
92 views

Who besieged Karl IV at Siena?

According to Wikipedia article about the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV: His second journey to Italy took place in 1368, when he had a meeting with Pope Urban VI at Viterbo, was besieged in his ...
8
votes
2answers
250 views

Supplies for army of Napoleon

How was such a great army, like the army of Napoleon on its way to Moscow, supplied with food and other needed things? Were they transporting it from France or maybe stealing from territory on their ...
12
votes
3answers
5k views

Which Confederate State provided the most troops in the American Civil War?

Of all the states that elected to secede during the American Civil War, which one had the largest number of citizens who actually fought for the Confederacy? I would also be interested if anyone could ...
10
votes
1answer
10k views

When did the American War of 1812 actually end?

My daughter was recently studying this in high school, and somehow I had always assumed that it had only lasted a year. Apparently it ran on for at least a couple of years, but her textbook only ...
14
votes
5answers
451 views

What was “Greek fire”?

What was Greek fire? I read in my history book that it was a flamethrower. But in certain fantasy movies it's been portrayed as something similar to dynamite. What was it dynamite or what? Did it ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

How would slaves have addressed their masters in Ancient Greece?

In Ancient Rome, slaves addressed their masters as Dominus or Domina (male or female, respectively). Would the slaves (or servants) of Ancient Greece have used a similar title, or would they have ...
4
votes
2answers
112 views

How widespread was astronomy in prehistoric times?

There is evidence in many parts of the world that people were able to accurately predict the summer and winter solstices thousands of years ago. For example, Newgrange in Ireland and the Pyramids in ...
5
votes
1answer
121 views

What unique personal experiences contributed to the formation of Mao's brand of Communism?

Political scientists cite his personal attributes and exposure to the proletariat as synergistic in the formation of his doctrine. What particular experiences in Mao Zedong's formative years ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

Did Sun Tzu's “Art of War” influence Napoleon's philosophy of war and strategy?

The "Art of War" by Sun Tzu is to my knowledge one of the most important and oldest books (besides Clausewitz, Machiavelli) about the philosophy of war and military strategy. Were historians able to ...
19
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the earliest evidence of contact between Ireland and Egypt?

There is a folk tale of an Egyptian princess in Ireland around 1700 BC. Is there credible evidence of early contact between the two places?
20
votes
5answers
16k 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? ...
12
votes
3answers
596 views

Why were there civil wars in Croatia and Bosnia, but not in Slovenia or Macedonia?

It seems that during the breakup of Yugoslavia there were civil wars during speakers of the (then officially) same language - Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks, but not, e.g., between Serbs and Slovenians. ...
6
votes
2answers
203 views

How besieged was Leningrad after Operation Iskra?

Wikipedia's timeline for the siege of Leningrad is a little puzzling. It has: 12–30 January 1943: Operation Iskra penetrates the siege by opening a land corridor along the coast of Lake Ladoga into ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Why did the Dutch, French & British acquire minor colonies in South America?

We know that South America was partitioned between Spain and Portugal in the early days of empire when Spain and Portugal were the major powers. Later, in the 19th century, when Spain and Portugal ...
3
votes
1answer
167 views

Why was Caesar at the Rubicon?

«Ἀνερρίφθω κύβος» (anerriphtho kybos, lit. Let the die be cast) was attributed by Suetonius to Caesar when it was reported that some legionaries cross the Rubicon. Why did Caesar move to the Rubicon ...
4
votes
1answer
307 views

What precipitated the Meiji restoration?

What other factors, apart from Commander Perry arriving at Edo, precipitated the Meiji restoration?
19
votes
3answers
2k 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?
14
votes
1answer
421 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
241 views

Were there originally seats in the elevators in the Eiffel Tower?

There were seats drawn on the blue print for the tower. Today there are no seats. Were they fitted and then taken out or were they never installed at all?
12
votes
4answers
954 views

What led to the creation of Belgium?

Why was Belgium created as opposed to grouping the Fracophone Walloons and the Dutch-Speaking Flemish with their respective linguistically similar neighbor countries; France and the Netherlands?
8
votes
2answers
395 views

What was the significance of the Schleswig-Holstein question in the 19th century?

As the title states, what was the specific significance of the Schleswig-Holstein question (Denmark and Prussia arguing over contested lands bordering the two nations) as it directly relates to German ...
15
votes
2answers
196 views

Why was Iceland not a part of the Danish-Swedish deal in Kiel in 1814?

In the Treaty of Kiel of 1814, Norway was essentially given from Denmark to Sweden as a "sorry we were on the other side", but Iceland was not a part of this deal at all. This is in spite of the fact ...
10
votes
5answers
909 views

What new technology/tactics allowed the breakthrough of the trenches in WW I western front?

Reading the answers to this question about WW1 Western Front, it appears that breaking through the trenches was a very difficult task to do. How did the Allies finally make it? Was it the invention of ...
20
votes
3answers
442 views

First evidence for replacement of barter trade by local abstract currency?

What were the first local currency systems in history we have detailed information on? I dont think it was gold/silver or other hard to produce materials. Probably these became more important ...
8
votes
7answers
327 views

First evidence of intercontinental or cross-cultural trade?

Probably this happened several times and maybe even failed and broke up in different regions. What hints and proofs do we have of the earliest succesful intercontinental trade relations? I assume ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Why was the Cuban Revolution (1953-1959) ultimately successful?

Communist revolutions have been attempted across the world - what were the primary reasons that the Cuban Revolution succeeded while others failed?
29
votes
5answers
2k views

What are the factors that caused the new world civilizations to be less technologically advanced than the old world?

Assuming they started at the same point (maybe the split of the continents or the migration of the first "Native Americans" to the American continent), why did the Old World end up developing faster? ...
19
votes
2answers
3k views

Why did Saladin show kindness to Richard I?

Why did Saladin, when Richard the Lionhearted was sick with a fever, send him a gift of fruit? Or when Richard's horse was killed in battle, he sent a steed to be led to his camp?
12
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the difference between the Middle Ages and the Dark Ages?

Is there any difference between the "Middle Ages" and the "Dark Ages"?
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Where did the term “Middle Ages” come from?

Where did the term "Middle Ages" come from? Who was the first known person to use that term?
5
votes
3answers
302 views

Where was the Japanese surrender signed on Okinawa in June 1945?

On the 21st of June, Japanese defences on the southern fringe of Okinawa collapsed. The following day General Mitsuru Ushijima and chief of staff Isamu Chō committed suicide. Colonel Yahara was denied ...
9
votes
1answer
314 views

Was the Granny Smith Apple the first green skinned apple widely propagated?

In my hometown (Eastwood NSW, Australia) we annually celebrate the Granny Smith Apple, which is assumed by many to be the first green apple widely propagated. How true is it that it was the first ...
14
votes
1answer
153 views

What was the Mantineian form of government and what praise did it receive?

In his comparison of the Roman form of government with those of other states, Polybius mentions Mantineia as having one which had been praised by almost all historians. However, he does not go into ...
10
votes
4answers
222 views

What is considered to be the pivotal battle between Caesar and Pompey?

Caesar and Pompey's forces battled with one another on numerous occasions during the Fall of the Roman Republic. What is the earliest battle that is commonly accepted as the one where it became clear ...
8
votes
2answers
289 views

Language of Franks vs later French

I am reading that before the 8-9th(10th?) century, Franks were a Germanic-speaking nation. How it is possible to explain that in later centuries their language became a totally different ...
7
votes
1answer
230 views

Australian towns / cities with Aboriginal names

Why were many Aboriginal names kept for town and place names in Australia including one of the first cities Parramatta: As a settlement developed, Governor Phillip gave it the name "Rose Hill" ...
77
votes
27answers
16k views

Why did Hitler attack the Soviet Union when he was still busy fighting the United Kingdom?

This has always bothered me. Everyone knows that having to fight on two opposite fronts at once is bad... and it's also a well known fact that every European country which tried to invade Russia has ...
9
votes
4answers
549 views

Why was the Irish War of Independence in 1918 successful when other revolts failed?

In a nutshell, what events, occurrences, or mishaps took place that allowed the Irish to win the war of Independence over what could arguably be the most powerful nation of the time, when they were ...
32
votes
9answers
5k views

Why did Hitler declare war on the USA?

Since there had not been any offensives launched by either side against the other, why declare war just because Japan had attacked the USA?

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