4
votes
1answer
90 views

President proposes bills: provenance

The President of the United States sends proposed bills to members of Congress, that they may introduce the bills on his behalf. There's no provision for this in the Constitution (AFAICT). What was ...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

When was Silver ever more valuable than Gold?

These days we pretty much take it as a given that gold is more valuable than silver. The obvious example is the Olympics and other such competitions that give "gold" medals for first place and ...
10
votes
1answer
657 views

What would be the problem if Turkey admits Armenian Massacre? [closed]

Armenian massacre happened long before the establishment of Turkish republic. Can't Turkey just say that, "Yes, it happened. But since the Ottoman emperor Abdul Hamid is responsible for that, Turkey ...
13
votes
1answer
248 views

Castaways rescued by a message in a bottle?

Has there ever been a time when people were rescued by sending out a message in a bottle to drift across the sea? The "bottle" doesn't have to be an actual bottle. It could be a box, a cask, a ...
7
votes
3answers
325 views

What was the first major historical event to be photographed?

The first photograph is supposed to have been taken in the late 1820s. But what was the first major historical event to be photographed?
3
votes
1answer
89 views

Why did non prosecuted craftsmen go to the new world in the Roanoke era?

I've just been reading The Rise & Fall Of The British Empire by Lawrence James. In this book, James said that craftsmen, who were not prosecuted for their religion, went to the New World because ...
5
votes
1answer
229 views

First recorded use of a traditional tombstone?

The question is rather straight-forward. I consider a "traditional" tombstone as some sort of monument having an inscribed name and date of birth/death or age.
17
votes
6answers
4k views

Why hasn't Russia maintained significant numbers of aircraft carriers?

The United States has 11 aircraft carriers in total. Russia has only one. This is reflective of the past, in which we saw that the USSR also didn't put much importance on constructing aircraft ...
7
votes
1answer
391 views

How far into the past was significance ascribed to the Golden Ratio?

I think everyone knows about the golden ratio or the divine proportion (I got to know more about it after reading the wikipedia article on it). It's present everywhere in nature and also in the human ...
6
votes
1answer
427 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, ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

Why did Spain not participate in World War I?

Spain was losing influence in America for the previous 100 years, and there was a recent Spanish-American war. So how could have Spain remained neutral? Why could Spain not find a place in the ...
5
votes
2answers
243 views

Were there many instances when an “overaged” commander was at odds with a much younger second in command?

I can think of two. The first was at Stirling Bridge, in 1297 when the English outnumbered the Scots some 4 to 1, but the 72-year old English commander, John Warrenne, Earl of Surrey was not keen on ...
12
votes
2answers
165 views

Completeness of Old Parish Registers in the 1700s

In England, local churches were required to keep registers of all baptisms, marriages and burials. Are there any studies that show how complete these records generally were, in particular in relation ...
12
votes
1answer
589 views

Why did civilisation/city states never take root in Australia and North America?

I recently read that the Australian Aborigines numbered close to a million during the time of Botany Bay and comprised of ~250 tribes/nations. The Native Americans of North America also boasted ...
13
votes
2answers
511 views

Early history of prime numbers

Prime numbers are those whole numbers greater than 1 which cannot be written as a product of numbers greater than 1. I'm curious about their very early history, say 200 BC and earlier. What I know: ...
6
votes
1answer
319 views

Did the Carthaginians have the option of sending Hannibal to Sicily?

Sicily was a major focus of the First and Second Punic Wars. The first Punic war ended with Carthage handing over major grain-growing areas on the island, and the port of Lilybaem to Rome as spoils of ...
2
votes
1answer
385 views

Mountain flags from Batman Begins

This question may come up as a bit strange, but rest assured, it is about culture and symbolism. During the first few minutes of Batman Begins (at 06:25), there is a scene of Bruce Wayne wandering to ...
5
votes
4answers
418 views

Which historical figures are remembered for actions contradictory to their intentions?

Some historical figures are remembered for their actions (Alexander of Macedon, Napoleon), while others are remembered for their intent (Charles de Gaulle). Which historical figures are remembered for ...
16
votes
5answers
758 views

What made Alexander great?

Historians have titled Alexander III of Macedon "the Great". In a very short period of time he conquered one of the largest empires in ancient history and was undefeated in battle. What I'd like to ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

What kind of siege weapons were used during Punic wars

I would like to know which kind of siege weapons were used during Punic wars on both sides, there is not wery much information around.
2
votes
1answer
124 views

Reception of Acemoglu-Robinson 'extractive institutions' thesis?

Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson believe that a great deal about the economic, social, and political life of a country can be explained by the quality of political institutions, especially the degree ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

Why did the United States enter World War I?

The topic of World War I came up last night with a few strangers, at a bar, of course. One seemingly knowledgeable gentleman, who happened to have Howard Zinn's A Peoples' History of the United States ...
2
votes
1answer
902 views

What is the secret behind the economic success of ROC(Taiwan)?

Even though the Republic of China (also known as Taiwan) is not a member of the United Nations, it has been economically successful. What is the secret behind the economic success of it then?
20
votes
3answers
5k views

Can the Queen of England fire the prime minister of Australia?

My Australian friend says yes. I'm not so sure, considering the monarchy collects no taxes from England, much less a country in the commonwealth. What's the verdict? Can she say "you're fired" and ...
4
votes
1answer
165 views

Are there any existing foreign language teaching texts from the Ancient Near East?

The various cultures of the Ancient Near East spoke a wide array of languages and we know that there was plenty of communication between cultures. We even have a language like Akkadian that served as ...
27
votes
13answers
3k views

Have fair-skinned peoples ever been the lower/oppressed class?

In many societies around the globe today we see that the darker skinned peoples are generally of a lower social status than the fair skinned peoples of the same area, or that fair skin is considered ...
6
votes
2answers
711 views

When was the African National Congress added to the US terror list?

In 2008, the ANC was removed from the US terror list. From BBC: US President George W Bush has signed a bill removing Nelson Mandela and South African leaders from the US terror watch list, ...
8
votes
3answers
325 views

Why did Ieyasu Tokugawa oppose Hideyoshi's plan for expansion?

When Hideyoshi wanted to invade Korea, the Tokugawa clan noticeably stayed out of the conflict. What were the reasons for them doing so?
8
votes
1answer
481 views

Extent of the Roman empire after Trajan?

It is generally acknowledged that the Roman Empire reached its geographical zenith during Trajan's reign. Listening to the highly interesting History of Rome podcast I didn't notice any major ...
6
votes
2answers
313 views

At what point did mapmaking begin to accurately reflect what we now know about the earth?

Looking at maps through the ages, it is apparent that maps have become closer and closer to representing the locations and shapes of the Earth's features with increasing accuracy over the centuries. ...
6
votes
3answers
281 views

What is the origin of the English Ship Building Philosophy?

I was reading an article on the Vasa the ship built under command of King Gustav Adolf, the ship sank during its launch on August 10, 1628. Part if the article mentions that the ship was somehow ...
10
votes
1answer
255 views

Were mattress labels inspired by public outcry?

If you're an American consumer, you likely know the "mattress tag", labels attached to mattresses, pillows, stuffed animals, and pet beds, which often begin "This tag may not be removed under penalty ...
7
votes
2answers
211 views

Was residual animism partially responsible for Hitler's rise?

Although Miller had never bothered to think about it, it was once out of these and other oceans of pine and beech that the old Germanic tribes had swarmed to be checked by Caesar at the Rhine. ...
9
votes
2answers
3k 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?
18
votes
6answers
2k views

How accurately could ancient astronomers find latitude and longitude?

In classical times (let's say 200 BC to 400 AD), how accurately could a Greek/Roman/Babylonian/etc. astronomer determine their location on the earth by coordinates like latitude/longitude? Could they ...
7
votes
3answers
400 views

Why the difference of opinion about the disappearance of Subhas Chandra Bose

A year back, Harvard professor Sugata Bose released a biography of the Indian leader Subhas Chandra Bose which claimed to lay all speculation regarding his death to rest. However, last week, a veteran ...
14
votes
7answers
11k views

Why did Nazi soldiers do Hitler's bidding?

The atrocities committed by Nazi soldiers during World War II are well known. I'd like to know what motivated those soldiers to do Hitler's bidding. Were they brainwashed? Did they believe they were ...
15
votes
14answers
8k views

Why does Europe have so few skyscrapers compared to East Asia?

The European Union has virtually no skyscrapers except the newly built 'The Shard' in London. There are also a series of newly-built state-funded skyscrapers in Moscow. On the other hand if you look ...
3
votes
7answers
841 views

What went wrong with India's scientific development as a society?

India had been among the "leaders" in scientific research spanning Mathematics, Medicine, Chemistry and others. ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Was there a bronze age in the Americas?

One of the answers to What are the factors that caused the new world civilizations to be less technologically advanced than the old world? made an interesting statement: in terms of metalworking, ...
13
votes
1answer
373 views

Who first combined the lateen and square sails that led to the carrack?

In the middle ages the square sail was used in the Atlantic cogs, whereas in the Mediterranean the lateen sail was used due to its more flexible use. The combination of both sails into one ship ...
16
votes
1answer
1k views

Any notable battles fought with steel vs. bronze weapons?

In answering the question Was the transition from the Bronze Age to the Iron Age violent I found out a few facts that I hadn't expected. Namely, that the early iron weapons weren't necessarily much ...
5
votes
2answers
163 views

Could the anti-Napoleonic forces have done better by uniting earlier before Waterloo?

During the Waterloo campaign, there were TWO Allied armies facing Napoleon, one under England's Wellington, and one under Prussia's Blucher. Napoleon first defeated Blucher at Ligny, then turned on ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

How was life in the Iron Age different from life in the Middle Ages?

Let's say you were from the Middle Ages, 1200s England or Germany, and you got thrown back in time to the Iron Age. It's still the same place, but it's 400 BC. Apart from the language, what would ...
2
votes
0answers
291 views

What is the history of the “root” user in Unix computing? [closed]

It might be more relevant to the audiences of StackOverflow, ServerFault, or Programmers, but none of their FAQs covered this type of question. What is the origin of the "root" user in Unix-like ...
16
votes
1answer
673 views

Was there any theological opposition to the lightning rod?

Apparently, there was some opposition to the lightning rod at the time of its invention because lightning was seen as "the wrath of God" and should not be controlled. I'd like to find some citations ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

When and why did Gujarat and Maharashtra separate?

Post-independence, when did these two states actually separate and what was the reason?
8
votes
3answers
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
1answer
569 views

What is the history of standing armies in India?

Specifically, the points I am looking answers to are: 1) What is the first recorded instance of a standing army in the Indian subcontinent. 2) When did it become a general practice to have standing ...
22
votes
1answer
563 views

Did Archery evolve independently on separate continents?

Is there evidence that early civilizations across the world discovered archery independently from one another (like Native Americans, Europeans and Africans)? Or can the technology be traced back to a ...

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