29
votes
3answers
2k views

Why are many African nations poor?

Many African countries are currently in the bottom parts of socioeconomic rankings like GDP per capita, life expectancy, literacy, HDI, etc. Some of them possess a decent amount of natural resources ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What was the life expectancy in Medieval Britain?

I'm working on doing background research for one of my novels and I'm looking for roughly how old a male in the peasant class would've lived around 5th or 6th century Britain.
7
votes
1answer
96 views

What was the procedure for prosecuting criminals in England between the World Wars?

I'm doing some research on court procedures during the '20's and '30's in England. I understand that at that time there was a Director of Public Prosecutions, and some of the resources I have found ...
10
votes
3answers
455 views

To what degree has the historical effectiveness of Non-Violent resistance movements been impacted by parallel violent resistance movements?

Martin Luther King had Malcolm X. Gandhi had Bhagat Singh. I've lately been involved in a pretty radical movement in which there are many people arguing against the movement being only ...
11
votes
2answers
292 views

Was Theodoric the Great killed by Justinian?

In a recent Medieval History class my professor made a statement that Theodoric the Great after he signed up with Byzantines was killed on the orders of Justinian I so the Byzantines could take over ...
10
votes
3answers
330 views

Was it ever illegal for two people of different religions to marry in the UK?

Was it ever illegal for 2 people of different religions (e.g. Catholic & Anglican) to marry in the UK? I'm refering only to "civil marriage". I'm sure, even now, that the Catholic church may not ...
3
votes
2answers
442 views

What is the basis for the claims that the word “Israel” means “Exiled for their sins”?

Joseph Davidovits claims that the word "iisii-r-iar", "ysrỉar" or however you want to transcribe it, which appears on the Merneptah Stele, is an Egyptian phrase meaning "those who are exiled for their ...
-5
votes
1answer
131 views

Noah Versus Utnapishtim

There are two Great Flood legends: one in the Bible involving Noah, and one in Sumerian mythology. Multiple civilizations and cultures have a flood legend, so does that add historical credence to the ...
12
votes
4answers
272 views

Why were the Prague Spring leaders treated more leniently than Nagy and his colleagues?

Following the Warsaw Pact's 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia the lead Czech reformer Alexander Dubček was dismissed and given a lowly job with the forestry commission. A decade or so earlier, the ...
11
votes
2answers
462 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
677 views

What were the operating principles of Japan's MITI during the 1950s and 60s?

Japan's Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) guided Japan's economy through two decades of unprecedented economic growth. MITI was the primary instrument of Japan's industrial policy, ...
16
votes
1answer
186 views

In which document was the exact course of the northern part of the German-Polish border decided?

While researching the answer to "How was Germany's border decided?", I didn't manage to find any documents which would precisely describe the borders between Germany and Poland between the points 53° ...
7
votes
1answer
169 views

At what point, and why, did Snuff Tobacco fall out of favor with European Nobility?

Tobacco Snuff was in use by the European nobility from the 16th Century onwards, becoming both medicine and status symbol, even with the health hazards associated. At some point it fell out of ...
11
votes
2answers
734 views

Why did the USA stay out of the League of Nations?

Woodrow Wilson, who was President of the USA at the time of the League's creation, was the person who pushed for the inclusion of the League in the Treaty of Versailles in the first place. Why is it ...
2
votes
1answer
203 views

Is it true the British heavily downplayed their defeat in Cartagena?

According to the wikipedia article the British lost the siege of Cartagena despite having a numerical advantage of 7-8 to 1. After the defeat King George II forbade anyone to talk about it in the ...
11
votes
1answer
200 views

Josephus as a Legitimate Historical Text

Are Josephus and other Ancient writings considered Historically sound or does the fact that his numbers are sometimes overly Inflated to aggrandize his fellow countrymen make it a source of ...
11
votes
1answer
4k views

What really happened to the Maya civilization?

Are there any reliable sources that explain the "disappearance" of the Maya? I am highly skeptical about the following account as it states that the cities were destroyed by the war when in actual ...
3
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there any corroborating evidence for the story of Sadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?

Is there any historical evidence from the Babylonian or Persian side corroborating the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego found in Daniel chapters 1-3? What is the general state of records of ...
8
votes
2answers
339 views

How would a large kingdom be ruled?

Genghis Khan, Alexander etc. are rulers who had kingdoms which were larger than most of the countries now. How would they have ruled their countries efficiently when it would take weeks for ...
14
votes
4answers
2k views

What kind of labor was used to build the Egyptian pyramids?

Most people believe the pyramids were built with slave labor (or at least it seems that way). This notion is perpetuated by movies; the building of the pyramids often evokes images of ancient ...
-8
votes
1answer
155 views

Space Landing proving it happened [closed]

It is common fodder among the masses to quote conspiracy theorists that we never landed on the moon what are the answer to the questions brought up by these conspiracy theorist like the shadow of the ...
33
votes
4answers
18k views

Why is Christopher Columbus credited for “discovering” America?

Even if we ignore the millions of native Americans who lived in the continent before Columbus "discovered" it, even if we ignore other civilizations (eg: Polynesians, Phoenicians, Chinese, Arabs, ...
15
votes
7answers
1k views

How do new countries legally and without bloodshed declare themselves independent?

I saw an article about the legality of the declaration of independence. For example, when USSR broke up, several countries became independent, but for others, there is still fighting to maintain them ...
9
votes
1answer
399 views

What happened to Mao Zedong's first wife?

Reading Red Star Over China by Edgar Snow, I noted that Mao Zedong was married four times. His first wife gets only a passing remark in the book. She was called Luo, she was some 4 to 6 years older ...
6
votes
1answer
202 views

What makes a distinct civilization?

Inspired by this question, I have a more general one: What is, historically speaking, a civilization? We can identify broad traits that make a society a civilization- agriculture, city building, ...
-4
votes
1answer
146 views

Building of the pyramids [closed]

The Pyramids are a engineering marvel which to my understanding until today can not be duplicated who planned it? (I remember once hearing a super strange theory I was wondering if this "theory is ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

How heavily were the British taxing their American colonies?

The British levied several taxes on the American Colonists (13), which were at least part of the reason for the American Revolution. Were the British taxing the 13 colonies for more money than was ...
10
votes
2answers
4k views

Do any Egyptian hieroglyphics mention the ten plagues?

Is there any evidence of the ten plagues in Hieroglyphics or is that a legend?
2
votes
2answers
250 views

Oldest Code of Law? [closed]

King Hammurabi of Babylon was known for his "Code of Laws." Is his the oldest Code of written law that still exists today? If there is an even older code of laws, perhaps one not still in use, who ...
4
votes
1answer
201 views

What is the origin of Gladiatorial Games?

There are several accounts of Gladiatorial Games being organized during the Roman period, but are there any indications that they existed before the Romans? Please include references.
18
votes
6answers
519 views

Japan is known for being isolationist, so what cultivated its history of interventionism in the 20th century?

For much of its history, Japan was a very isolationistic country, and in fact, even in modern Japan, there is still a strong isolationist attitude among the Japanese people in some ways. During the ...
15
votes
4answers
17k views

Why did the southern states secede from the U.S.?

Lincoln's election precipitated the secession, but didn't they have enough congressional power to continue things much as they were? It seems in the preceding two decades the slave states had managed ...
11
votes
2answers
282 views

From where does the superstition about Friday the thirteenth originate?

There are several interesting stories about this, but what historical information do we have that would indicate the correct one?
6
votes
3answers
17k views

Pedophilia in ancient Greek and Roman culture

This question is inspired by an answer to: When did homosexuality become unacceptable in Europe? I have heard from many people that pedophilia was widely practiced in ancient Greek or Roman cultures. ...
10
votes
1answer
364 views

Was Frederick II of Hohenstaufen really a medieval Dr. Mengele?

According to legend, the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II, who was intelligent (spoke six languages) and influential, also purportedly used cold-blooded methods to further his "scientific" inquiries. ...
2
votes
1answer
692 views

Is the Bible considered a reliable historical resource? [closed]

I realize there is probably a large spectrum of opinions on this matter. Nevertheless, what is the general consensus among academics on the historical reliability of the Bible? Is it a sound ...
9
votes
3answers
476 views

Why did the United States not seriously develop Anti Aircraft Missiles?

During the Cold War, the United States did not seem to actively develop anti-aircraft missiles (I know that Wikipedia is not an exhaustive source for lists, but just as a rough estimate, they list ...
11
votes
2answers
639 views

Hitler's Death: Fact or Fiction

Is there any consensus among modern day historians of how Hitler was killed or if he was killed, and is there any significant proof that he did die so as to disprove the conspiracy theorists?
11
votes
1answer
183 views

How did native Hawaiians achieve such a high literacy rate prior to the 1850s?

For a while, native Hawaiians had an adult literacy rate of nearly 100%. How was this accomplished?
9
votes
5answers
468 views

Did Napoleon ever visit Modern Israel?

Did Napoleon Bonaparte ever try capturing what is today considered modern day Israel? Did he ever visit the land independently of capturing it?
17
votes
1answer
449 views

When and where did just war theory originate?

I was reading an entry from Victor Reppert's blog (Reppert being a noted apologist), where he mentioned that just war theory, specifically prohibitions on what you could do during a war and ...
7
votes
1answer
114 views

What institutional precursors enabled labor unions to emerge in the United States?

What institutions and/or organizations existed in the United States before the structured and recognizable labor unions formed as a visible sign of organizations to come? How did these predecessor ...
11
votes
6answers
637 views

When and how did the idea of a “class-less” society originate in the United States?

The United States is often referred to as a "class-less" society where anyone can rise to any height. Leaving aside whether this is actually the case or not, when and how did this idea originate? Was ...
9
votes
3answers
946 views

When did aircraft carriers eclipse battleships as the “King of the seas”?

During the 19th century and into the early 20th century, battleships were the Kings of the Sea, and every naval power of note had at least one. When did they lose this title to the aircraft carrier, ...
6
votes
1answer
154 views

What aternative locations were considered for the United Nations?

When reading up on the United Nations on wikipedia, I noticed that Navy Island near Niagara falls was being considered at the time of the groups creation for it's location. I'm wondering what ...
27
votes
6answers
1k views

Are there confirmed cases where a country changed its language without being conquered?

I thought about this question and wondered: Are there any known cases where a country switched to a different language other than because of being conquered? If some country ever did this I would be ...
12
votes
3answers
276 views

Why was the number of U.S. Representatives limited?

According to this Wikipedia article, the number of Representatives was limited to 435 in 1911 (bumped to 437 when Alaska and Hawaii were admitted and then bumped back to 435 four years later). How ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

How was Germany's border decided?

What is the timeline of events that led to Germany's current geographic shape? For example: 1871: German Empire formed 1919: Weimar Republic formed
8
votes
2answers
257 views

At what point do armies tend to break?

I remember hearing something about where it was discerned that after a certain percent of losses armies tend to break (ie retreat). Does research on this exist? If so, at what point do armies tend ...
19
votes
1answer
1k views

Why did the Soviet Union get 3 seats in the UN?

Even before the fall of the Soviet Union, Ukraine and Belarus (which were then officially part of the Soviet Union) had independent seats at the United Nations. Why didn't the US or the UK get the ...

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