14
votes
3answers
380 views

What was Libya's form of direct democracy (Jamahiria) like in practice?

I've been following the recent events in Libya and I learned about the Green Book, which outlines Gaddafi's vision for a democratic socialism. Published in 1975, it proposed a form of direct democracy ...
13
votes
5answers
452 views

Are modern handguns a major reason for democratization?

I had a history teacher who argued that a major reason for the fall of the feudal system, was that the knights lost their military superiority because of development in weapon technology (longbow, ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

How well can cavalry fight infantry?

In the Battle of Pharsalus, Caesar's infantry won by throwing their spears at the horsemen's faces. So how come in Battle of Zama and many other battles, including the battle where Khalid ibn ...
13
votes
6answers
4k views

How did the US/South Vietnam lose the Vietnam war?

South Vietnam was helped by US. Even when the US was gone, they had a 1 million army. So why did they lose? Even without US support, South Vietnam had about the same manpower, higher technology, and ...
13
votes
8answers
3k views

What's the advantage of the infantry column formation in the Napoleonic Wars?

In movies/books set in the Napoleonic Wars, the British are normally deployed into lines and the French into columns. The columns are usually the advancing ones, charging into the line as the line ...
13
votes
3answers
980 views

Was the location of the 180° line of longitude coincidence or deliberately chosen?

This question on Politics.SE asks about the alignment of maps, and got two answers. The first (mine) says the split through the Bering Strait was chosen for practical reasons, the second says that ...
13
votes
2answers
7k views

What is the historical background of the current Ukraine crisis?

Apparently the "Ukraine" is actually split east and west. Many people in the eastern part would prefer for their country to be part of Russia, while protesters in the western Ukraine wants something ...
13
votes
4answers
9k 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
966 views

Why did Jews not immigrate to the Muslim world?

Throughout most of history, Jews lived significantly better in the Muslim countries than in Christian ones. Moreover, after the expulsion from Spain, many Spanish Jews moved to the Muslim world (from ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

Julius Caesar's view on Celts and Germans

I encountered an interesting quote on the English Wikipedia page for Germania some time ago, which seems to have persisted, albeit without citation. I was hoping someone could find a reliable source ...
13
votes
2answers
444 views

New World Sickness

When Europeans came to the Americas, they brought with them "Old World diseases" that decimated the Native American population. There's a big list of them here. Were there any "New World" diseases ...
13
votes
2answers
2k views

How do Tamahagane, Damascus, and Toledo Steel compare?

Has a comparison been made of the qualities of Samurai (Tamahagane), Damascus and Toledo steel (rather than the swords)? I've seen claims for each being better than the others. If it's on topic, I'm ...
13
votes
7answers
3k views

Did Native Americans ever fight the indigenous people living in Mexico before Europeans arrived?

From elementary school, my history teacher used to talk about the fighting between native American tribes. Then, later in the semester, we would briefly discuss the rise of Aztecs, Olmecs, Mayans, ...
13
votes
3answers
562 views

What do I need to know about Syria's history to understand the 2011-2012 uprising?

Syria is in the news a lot lately due to the current uprising, but it's not a country that many people know much about. It can trace its history back to the origins of civilization, and as a result ...
13
votes
2answers
379 views

Did the German people actually know Joseph Goebbels as the “Minister of Propaganda”?

I've been trying to understand this for some time now. It seems to me that propaganda should only work if the audience doesn't know that it's propaganda. So if the Nazis' goal was to control its ...
13
votes
6answers
5k views

Did Hitler really support Subhash Chandra Bose's cause and did he do anything to help Bose?

Bose had come to realize that Gandhi's doctrine of non-violence was not doing much in forcing the British to retreat. He went to Germany to seek Hitler's assistance in India's struggle for freedom. ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Why did the Moors invade the Iberian peninsula?

Almost all of the information that I can find with regards to the Moorish invasion of the Iberian Peninsula simply states when the Moors invaded. There seems to be very little on what the motivation ...
13
votes
4answers
1k views

Why are the Portuguese so obsessed with salted codfish?

Portugal nowadays catches only a small amount of codfish annually but imports huge amounts (especially from Norway), sometimes already salted, sometimes not. Salted cod or bacalhau is a very common ...
13
votes
3answers
309 views

What were the factors that caused the world to move away from the Gold Standard in the 20th century?

For most of the world's history for thousands of years, gold was used as the medium of exchange for money. The world gradually moved off the gold standard in the 20th century. What were the factors ...
13
votes
4answers
364 views

How did ancient armies keep the route of supplies to their battlefield?

How did ancient armies like the Romans, Greeks, Persians, Chinese, or even in later times, the Arabs and Mongols keep the route of supplies going to support their armies marching through the vast ...
13
votes
2answers
973 views

Why did some people need to pay a bond in the 1700s in order to get married?

This is more a genealogy question than a historical event but I couldnt think of anywhere else to ask it. (I hope it not off topic) In 1787 my Great (x6) Grandfather paid a bond of £200 the ...
13
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
323 views

Where was the furthest extent of Arabian trade explorations?

Traders from Arabia travelled to and traded with Roman and Asian empires and this Nabataean Sea Merchants article. How far did Arabian traders travel - where was the furthest extent of their ...
13
votes
2answers
228 views

What is the earliest reliably dated event exact to the year?

How far does reliable counting of the years reach into the past: with the help of dating methods? using only primary sources?
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is Spain's base timezone UTC+1?

Looking at the time zone map on Wikipedia we can see that countries such as France and Spain technically should have a time zone of UTC+0. Wikipedia says: France previously used GMT, but was ...
13
votes
1answer
222 views

What set Checkpoint Charlie apart from the other border checkpoints in Berlin during the Cold War?

How did "Checkpoint Charlie" become known as the border crossing between East and West Berlin? Out of the countless border checkpoints, what set Checkpoint Charlie apart from the rest for defectors?
13
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Why wasn't Monaco unified with France?

Why wasn't Monaco unified with the Kingdom/Republic of France during the unification? I understand France used to be a very decentralized kingdom with many areas ruled by vassal or smaller rulers, and ...
13
votes
3answers
804 views

Was any significant percentage of Mongol army infantry?

Mongols of Khan's time are generally considered to be a cavalry army, which makes sense logistically, given the width and speed of their military maneuvers. But is there historical evidence of Khan's ...
13
votes
3answers
277 views

Why did George McClellan fail to act?

I'm watching Ken Burns' The Civil War, and he paints a picture of George McClellan as someone who was perfectly prepared to score significant victories against the Confederacy, but simply decided to ...
13
votes
3answers
8k views

Does the number of legs in the air of a horse statue indicate how its rider died?

I have heard that the number of legs a horse has in the air in a statue indicates how the rider died. According to what I have understood: 2 legs in the air: rider died in battle 1 leg in the air: ...
13
votes
1answer
231 views

Husaria, the winged hussars

The Polish husaria did carry wings -- as can be seen here or here. Their purpose has been debated with no clear answer. What I want to know is was there an evolution in the wings design or just one ...
13
votes
2answers
380 views

What are the reasons of the ethnical fragmentation of the Caucasus?

While investigating on Albania, I kept finding peoples I never heard of before. Notwithstanding my vast ignorance, this was systematic to the point that I started investigating. Take a look at this ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

Gender Color Association: When did boys become blue and girls pink?

What historical evidence exists for the origin of the association of blue colors with boys, and pink colors with girls? I realize this is a cultural specific trait. An article "Beyond Pink and ...
13
votes
1answer
882 views

How did the monks whose job was to copy books react to Gutenberg's printing press?

It's typical to see people whose job it is to perform a manual task to - collectively - object when a new technology is introduced which makes their job obsolete (as the quintessential example, see ...
13
votes
1answer
256 views

What are the origins of Pakistani laws on “blasphemy?”

Pakistan appears to have draconian laws against "blasphemy" of the Prophet Mohammed, Islam, or the Koran? ...
13
votes
1answer
414 views

What happened to all the french guillotines?

Quoting Wikipedia: "The guillotine remained the official method of execution in France until the death penalty was abolished in 1981. The last guillotining in France was that of torture-murderer ...
13
votes
2answers
514 views

Did Roman troops suffer from PTSD?

After the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq there has been a lot of talking about how many soldiers suffer from PTSD when they return home. I'm interested in knowing more about war trauma and PTSD in ...
13
votes
1answer
197 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
932 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
285 views

Were British fears of Russia using Afghanistan as a staging post for an invasion of India unfounded?

I know that "The Great Game" was originally concerned with Russian-British competition in Central Asia, but my question is was this competition and British fear founded on anything? My understanding ...
13
votes
2answers
327 views

What would be accurate illustrations of vikings and viking culture?

Vikings didn't have horned helmets as is often depicted. Where can I find accurate representations how vikings and viking society looked?
13
votes
5answers
933 views

What was the significance of changing the name of “Persia” to “Iran”?

As best as I understand it, the founding of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979 was when Persia became Iran. What was the motivation for changing the name?
13
votes
2answers
239 views

How did Quebec transition from French Law to English Law?

When Britain conquered Quebec at the end of the Seven Years War, Quebec began a transition between French law and English law. How did that transition occur?
13
votes
2answers
288 views

Is the “youth bulge” hypothesis an evident explanation for imperialistic/rebellious historic movements and genocides?

The "youth bulge" hypothesis says that whenever the proportion of young men in the population was very high, their unhappiness with their future prospects - i.e., their inability to get jobs and ...
13
votes
2answers
404 views

How much is known about the Punic language (of classical Carthage)?

How much is known of the Carthaginian language, which as I understand it is called Punic and descended from Phoenician? Google searches show some sketches of alphabet characters and such, but do we ...
13
votes
3answers
223 views

How did the “Standard Model” physics theory get that name?

I want to know how the Standard Model theory got such "generic" name. (I've made this question in Physics StackExchange, but it was considered off-topic, and someone suggested to reask it here.)
13
votes
1answer
316 views

What were Argentina's intentions for the Falkland Islanders?

Argentina must have assumed in 1982 that its occupation of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) would be successful and that Argentinian sovereignty over the territory would be accepted. What were the ...
13
votes
2answers
508 views

Who were the Huns and/or Xiongnu?

Who were the Hun people who made several appearances in Eurasian history? Were they Finno-Ugric, Paleo-Siberean, Mongolic or Turkic? Were the Hun who attacked Roman Empire extensions of the Xiongu, ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is Thailand considered an Axis power in WWII?

I read a Wikipedia article about military history of Thailand and it left me a taste of anti-Thai bias. It is known that Thailand in 1940 (after the fall of Paris and establishment of Vichy ...

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