31
votes
8answers
5k views

What were the reasons for the Renaissance / scientific revolution in Europe?

One of the common reasons given for the Renaissance and the subsequent scientific revolution is the rediscovery of classical works by scholars in Europe and the social change that the study of those ...
28
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? ...
21
votes
10answers
9k views

Is history always written by the victors?

The famous "history is written by victors" saying argues that the victors overwhelmingly influence historical accounts. Are there any examples of history written by the(or THE) losers?
6
votes
4answers
521 views

Does Grant's use of attrition tactic support his reputation as a general?

In 1864, General Ulysees S. Grant began the "final campaign" against Richmond using a war of attrition. That's because of the Union's 2-to-1 numerical advantage against a qualitatively superior ...
81
votes
27answers
18k 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 ...
29
votes
5answers
1k views

When did the practice of formally “declaring war” cease and why?

Here's a detailed description of ambassador Neville Henderson being received by the foreign ministry in Berlin in 1939. Perhaps the most famous example. He came in looking very serious, shook ...
2
votes
1answer
691 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
1k views

When and how did people begin to consider slavery immoral?

Consider this: In the ancient world, murder and theft were prohibited. However, slavery was ubiquitous and considered normal. AFAIK, nobody thought of it as immoral, though probably some called for ...
7
votes
2answers
21k views

What is the truth behind this speech by (Lord Macaulay)?

Was this speech was delivered by Macaulay in British parliament? Got many articles saying that this speech was not delivered by Macaulay. Is it true? What are the facts behind this speech? I have ...
7
votes
2answers
817 views

What is the basis of Russian criticism of Antony Beevor's work? [closed]

Some Russian sources make claims to the effect of "Beevor is revisionist and anti-Soviet propagandist". What is the basis for this criticism? For the antecedents of the question, see here.
27
votes
4answers
4k views

What was the religion of the Arabic people before conversion to Islam?

What was the dominant religion of the Arabic people when Prophet Muhammed started the Islamic religion?
18
votes
3answers
4k views

What were the reasons that the British colonies in North America rebelled but not others?

I know more about the American War of Independence than about other British colonies, but I have begun to wonder why was it just America. The British had colonies in other places but there doesn't ...
27
votes
3answers
2k views

What knowledge may have been lost at the Library of Alexandria?

Of course we'll never know for sure, but do historians have some reasonable ideas about what knowledge may have been lost at the Library of Serapeum of Alexandria, when it was destroyed by the Decree ...
7
votes
2answers
10k views

What was Hitler's attitude towards the Aryans of India?

Considering some of the questions/questioners that have cropped up recently on this site, what was the Nazi attitude towards India and specifically the Aryans of India? Did Hitler consider them to be ...
7
votes
1answer
130 views

What are legitimate methods and sources?

How does a historian or an amateur determine what legitimate methods can be used and what legitimate sources are? Obviously there are many methods to read texts and speculate about political, social, ...
23
votes
7answers
5k views

Why did the United Kingdom industrialize first?

What factors made the United Kingdom the first to industrialize? Was it simply the importance and benefit of its position in the global community for trade?
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 ...
10
votes
3answers
346 views

Why did non-monarchic rule meet with so little success in ancient China?

In the ancient world, the states around the Mediterranean were ruled by various forms of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy, each of which had varying levels of success. Meanwhile, in China, monarchy ...
9
votes
3answers
313 views

Is there a definition of history separate from the definition of politics?

I encountered a problem to define something as "history", namely the determination of legal status of Kosovo. The action is so recent, I would say it more belongs to "politics". For my impression ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Was the Zimmerman Telegram a ruse on the US or a way of Germany to incite Mexico to declare war on the US?

Prior to America's entry into WWI the Zimmerman Telegram was one incident that helped push America to declare war against Germany and join the Allies, while Mexico never fought against the US was this ...
13
votes
3answers
471 views

Material Basis of the Golden Age of Bohemia

On a recent visit to Prague I was much impressed by the city's beauty and the number and splendor of its historic sites, such as Prague Castle, the Charles Bridge (a bit further afield Karlštejn ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Were the “hussars” that Jan Sobieski used at the battle of Vienna actually elite troops?

Apparently, the decisive blow at the 1683 Battle of Vienna was struck by Jan Sobieski, with only 3,000 "hussars" (cavalry). This seems a bit hard to believe, given that the Turkish army had about ...
55
votes
11answers
11k views

Why didn't Imperial Japan attack the Soviet Union during World War 2?

Japan and the Soviet Union shared a common border in Manchuria and the German invasion of the Soviet Union weakened the Soviets greatly. In view of the advantages to Japan in seeing the Soviet Union ...
41
votes
9answers
2k views

History of scientific regression

Throughout history, humans have made many subtle and many substantial scientific advancements. Humans have explored, examined, learned, applied and at times seemingly "forgotten" and/or were unable ...
50
votes
12answers
4k views

Why China was able to unify and not Europe

If you look at a map of China through the ages, you will usually find (from about the Han up) a huge mass representing China. On the other hand, you look at a map of Europe, and you'll usually see a ...
22
votes
4answers
3k views

How did the Roman state verify citizenship?

How were ancient Roman citizens identified, and how did officials make sure that their identity wasn't fake? I.e., did they maintain some kind of citizens registry, or did they have some kind of ...
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 ...
16
votes
3answers
7k views

Did India turn down a permanent seat in the UN in 1955?

As per this article, India was offered a permanent seat on the UN Security Council in 1955 but Jawaharlal Nehru turned it down and the seat went to China. In light of the current lobbying that India ...
43
votes
7answers
5k views

Why was Africa colonized last of the continents in the Age of Discovery?

One thing that I always wondered is during the time where European powers were dividing up the world amongst themselves (1500-1900 roughly), why was it that Africa seemed to lag behind in ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Are there any records that indicate a submarine vs submarine battle?

I am aware of only one which is the U-864 was sunk by the HMS Venturer but that was when both were being submerged -- according to wikipedia. Is that accurate? Which battles did happen between two ...
25
votes
5answers
8k views

How did Nazi Germany finance itself during WW2?

How did Nazi Germany finance itself during the war? They produced a large amount of war material during 1939-1945, but how was this production financed? What were Germany's revenue streams that ...
23
votes
2answers
4k views

When did homosexuality become unacceptable in Europe?

In the ancient greek world male homosexuality was common and didn't attract the same scorn as it did even 100 years ago. So 2,000 years ago, it was acceptable, and 100 years ago it was unacceptable. ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

What forces/incentives drove the Mongols to conquer a much larger land territory than they could comfortably settle or rule?

Internet resources on the Mongol Empire usually dwell on the Mongol conquests of a huge mass of territory. Unfortunately, seldom are the reasons behind the conquests explained. One gets the impression ...
10
votes
3answers
227 views

What are some indicators that distinguish pseudo-history from actual history?

It is sometimes hard for a layman to separate well-researched history from the writings of kooks (or what Mark Twain called "inspired idiots"). For example: my local library carries "A Secret ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

Did Hitler not intend a major war while invading Poland?

A J P Taylor in his book "The Origins of the Second World War" writes, "Hitler never intended a major war and at most was prepared for only a limited war against Poland." "In 1938-39, the ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Why Europe became more developed although metal was first discovered and used in Asia/Africa?

Copper was first discovered and used in Middle East. Iron was first discovered in Egypt. What were the factors that allowed the development of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations (the father of ...
7
votes
1answer
748 views

What was the status of specialized workers during Greek times?

In Ancient Greece, what kind of social status would specialized workers have? Did they have any extra privileges when compared to the average person, and did they have less rights than rulers and ...
19
votes
3answers
4k 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?
18
votes
13answers
15k views

Why didn't Alexander invade India?

Alexander conquered most parts of the Western World, but there is a great deal of controversy over his invasion of India. In BC 327 Alexander came to India, and tried to cross the Jhelum river for the ...
17
votes
2answers
3k views

How did the gold of the new world cause the Spanish Empire to collapse?

There are some arguments that Spain over-exploited the precious metal deposits of the new world, leading to wide-scale inflation. This, coupled with their expulsion of Jewish money lenders, caused ...
13
votes
3answers
951 views

How did the Soviets decide what to annex in WW2?

During and after World War II Soviet Union annexed some countries while others eventually became member states of the Warsaw Pact. What is known about how the Soviets made the decisions about which ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

To what extent did Native American cultures develop metalworking for tools and weapons?

When Europeans started showing up in the New World, the native cultures were technologically far behind. Many still used stone tools: North American tribes used flint, while some Mesoamerican cultures ...
11
votes
5answers
437 views

Have any armies equipped/fed their officers and enlisted men equally?

In the Soviet army during WW2 the officers had bigger food rations. They also had better boots (kirza vs. leather). The air force pilots were fed even better (but that is not very relevant). What ...
11
votes
1answer
669 views

Did the syphilis epidemic start the 16th and 17th century wig craze?

I've read that one reason that the nobility attending royal court in the 17th century had a passion for wigs, powdered faces, and gloves was the then prevalence of syphilis. By this reasoning those ...
8
votes
0answers
265 views

How successful were Einsatzkommando Tunis and how much was Rommel complicit?

This Einsatzkommando was headed by SS officer Walter Rauff and according to his wikipedia article it had great effect on the local Jewish population. An example is given, a quote from a German TV ...
8
votes
1answer
364 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, ...
7
votes
5answers
881 views

What are the latest publications demolishing the Aryan invasion/migration theory?

Recent findings in archaelogy and related fields have led scholars to replace "invasion" with "migration" in the "Aryan invasion" theory. E.g. Romila Thapar in this edition of The Penguin History of ...
7
votes
2answers
334 views

What sources or documentation exists to indicate Stalin's level of popularity in Russia today?

migrated from comments http://history.stackexchange.com/a/1710/682 To what extent is Stalin still loved and/or respected by Russians (and for extra points former USSR states) while articles like ...
6
votes
4answers
347 views

Was the American Civil War the first to include multiple multi-day battles?

Looking at wikipedia reveals that there were plenty of multi-day battles in the American Civil War. I looked at its article on the Crimean War, which as far as I know was the previous significant ...
5
votes
2answers
237 views

Who was the oldest recorded participant in a battle whom we know of?

This is a record of a eighy-year-old's participation in a battle -- the Battle of Vienna in 1683 -- from Andrew Weatcroft's The Enemy At the Gate: Habsburgs, Ottomans and the Battle for Europe; he ...

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