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39

Columbus is traditionally (and indeed still) credited with the discovery of the Americas for a number of reasons, some dubious but others quite legitimate. First of all, we must qualify this discovery as discovery by Old World people. Clearly, the original "discovery" by the human species was some 40,000 years ago by the ancestors of the indigenous ...


25

Well there were a few reasons They pretty much had all they needed resource-wise in the country, trade was not a prerogative and even though Zheng He did go out exploring they were not interested in colonies or mercantilism. Mercantilism was pretty much frowned upon within the Confucian system, merchants did not produce goods they moved them around and ...


24

I don't think it is possible to idenitify a single point in history as beginning the "slope toward the end". Such thinking results from the simplistic model of an empire's history as consisting of two segements: "growth" and "decline". In reality, the history of the Byzantine empire is a complex sequence of alternating growth and decline. I'd say that the ...


21

The fourth crusade was the turning point. The crusade was high-jacked by Venice to take revenge on the Byzantines for past deeds: imprisonments, break of contract, etc... The crusade was aimed to land in Egypt originally, as it was seen as the main threat to taking Jerusalem back. However, since the crusaders could not pay for the large Venetian feet, it ...


18

As I recall from my readings, the floor of the theatre was where the masses sat, when they attended. Most would probably be drunk, considering the state of water sanitation at the time beer was the favored drink over raw water, and most would probably be ill-mannered. The well-to-do when they attended sat in the box seats above the "rabble", so that should ...


12

Columbus' origins are a bit of a mystery. He himself claimed to have been born in Genoa, but this may have been a ruse according to some. http://www.christopher-columbus.eu/birth-1492.htm lists the most notable claims, Poland is not among those. What all the possible locations have in common is that they're in southern Europe, a quick look at the map shows ...


10

This is highly speculative and subjective. After all, you put forth very valid contenders to hold the title, particularly the natives and the Vikings. But what I find most likely is that Columbus was the first to do it for profit. He (and those who paid him) were the first to capitalize on it. The Viking settlement didn't last all that long, and didn't ...


10

According to Ivan Gobry's Martin Luther, Luther thought that Sin is undefeatable, for lust will inexorably take residencde in each of us, therefore, to condemn oneself to celibacy, intending to please God, is to engage in self-deception and hypocrisy. Gobry also says that Luther believed the requirement that priests and monks stay celibate to be an ...


10

There wasn't such a huge distinction between high culture and low culture at the time, especially in the early english drama. Some of the earliest english drama, including the mirable and mystery plays, were put on by guilds, and had a rather amateurish quality.


9

This is still a mystery. It was probably a combination of several factors, though. The government's focus shifted. Coincidentally or not, after 1433 the Oirat Mongols emerged as a serious threat. Their chieftain, Toγan, united Mongolia under the figurehead Taisun Khan in 1434. Oirat power grew further under his son, Esen. He incorporated neighbouring ...


8

In Desmond Seward's book on the hundred years war, he introduces Henry thus: In the national legend Henry V remains the most heroic of English Kings. He is the glorious conquerer who broke the French chilvary at Agincourt and won the throne of France for his son's inheritance. Henry V is obviously best known for his military conquests. His military ...


8

One of the events that led to the War of the Roses was the birth of a son, Edward, Prince of Wales, to (Lancastrian) King Henry VI, and his Queen, Margaret of Anjou. Prior to that time, Richard, Duke of York (a cousin) had been next in line to the throne, and therefore had no incentive to fight. The birth of Henry's son "disinherited" him.


7

A prior article mentions the empire of Justinian (and Leo, by extension), but I would argue that these are 'Roman' empires which are terminated by the eruption of Islam over much of the East Roman Empire. This was a pretty traumatic event which led to some serious results. Among them, the abandonment of Latin, abandonment (with some exceptions) of universal ...


7

According to the official website of the Richard III Society, in their primer "A Brief Biography and Introduction to Richard's Reputation" by Wendy E.A. Moorhen: The Great Debate, as the study of Richard's reputation became known, truly began in the seventeenth century when Horace Walpole wrote his Historic Doubts and rattled the cages of the ...


7

First of all, at least a part of the reason for rejecting Judaism (and Islam) was circumcision. What the Chronicles say is not perfectly reliable. But, mostly, changing the state religion is a major revolution. One would not undertake that based on such a minor event as a fall of a neighbor. (cf. Raskol, when a relatively minor changes in the mid-17th ...


6

At Agincourt (1415) the English reportedly had 1,500 men-at-arms (aka: Knights) and 7,000 longbowmen. That would be a ratio of nearly 5 longbowmen per knight. The French side has a lot of conflicting estimates of size, but by all accounts was very heavily weighted toward men-at-arms. Estimates generally run north of 10,000, with only about 5,000 archers and ...


6

As the Portuguese gradually extended their explorations and trade ever further south along Africa's Atlantic coast during the 15th century they needed a larger and more advanced ship for their long oceanic adventures. Gradually, they developed the carrack from a fusion and modification of aspects of the ship types they knew operating in both the Atlantic ...


6

Manuel da Silva Rosa, an information technology analyst, claims that Columbus was the son of Władysław III of Poland (and Hungary, but for some reason nobody seems to mention that). To make this claim, he has to first claim that Władysław III, who died in a battle in 1444 without having children and had his head displayed on a pole, for no good reason faked ...


6

While the veracity of this site on the history of crime may be doubtful, it appears to be the only easily located English-language source The ban was put in place to protect sales of local suds in the city. All beer from outside the city, including that from Friesland’s biggest city, Haarlem, was banned. But despite this, one innkeeper kept ...


5

I would like to emphasize the role that the Chinese mindset played. As MichaelF mentioned, the attitude of the rulers dictated the direction of China's advancements. Belief that China was "perfect" and had everything necessary was reinforced by Confucian notions of harmony and society. Signs of political and military weakness that appeared near the end of ...


5

I think this is a valid question. But the answer is a rather resounding no. For one thing, we have no shred of evidence for such a conjecture. For another, this conjecture cannot be squared at all with the fact that Columbus to his dying day insisted on having actually landed in India - had he been dissimulating about his knowledge of the existence of ...


5

This is certainly a question that comes to mind when one reads about the developments under Ferdinand II, and after his marriage to Isabella in 1469, and especially when you see a series of maps showing the transforming landscape of the Iberian peninsula during the course of the reconquista. I haven't found anything in English which reaches into the mind of ...


5

This story was also noticed by all Polish media. In the Polish Radio channel 4 (link) there was an programme about Manuel Rosa, "Portuguese historian, from Azores. He works on Duke University in Northern Carolina. Fluent in seven languages​​, has been hailed as the greatest living repository of knowledge about Columbus. He studies [Columbus'] life for over ...


5

Some more info to complement what @PieterGeerkens has found: there's a very scholarly work on the subject on Google Books, Het Bier-oproer te Leeuwarden, in het jaar 1487, in zijne oorzaken en gevolgen by Jacob Dirks; sadly (for me), it's in Dutch and several passages are in Old Dutch or Frisian. But more or less, from what I managed to understand from ...


4

The equipment for a knight was very expensive to create and maintain, it was therefore reserved for the rich, the nobility. Those were of course also the main group of people who could afford horses trained for riding as warhorses (which is quite different training from general riding and draft horses), so my guess is it would be unlikely to see a knight on ...


4

Great is not the same as good. If you look at almost all great men, especially ones who won their primary glory on the field of battle, there are few if any who do not have dark deeds attached to them. Partly this is because brutality and atrocities were more common and more accepted historically than they are now - the conventional fate of besieged cities ...


4

In War Karl der Kahle wirklich kahl? Historische Beinamen und was dahinter steckt (Was Charles the Bald really bald? Historical epithets and their background), a book by Reinhard Lebe, the author quotes (p. 115 et seq.) from the writings of Burgundian chroniclers -- de la Marche, Chastellain, and de Commynes. Olivier de la Marche: Charles is ...


3

Interesting series of questions, but I'm afraid I don't have an answer to all of them. I'll answer the language-related in order to set them into context. It's very hard to read the the last line of the fist picture and I can only see: "[Anteque]ra que vinieron XXX con Señor XXX Don Fernando" The word you mention in your second question is not ...


3

Arguably, Henry V laid the foundation for a united, strong, modern England. After a misspent youth, he put down rebellions against the English crown by Percy, the "Hotspur" of the North, and Glendower of Wales, another dissaffected area. This was basically the last time that "England" threatened to fall apart. Overseas, his victories at Agincourt and ...


3

Personally, for me, the turning point was Manzikert. It wiped out a good portion of the fighting men of the empire, and caused the Seljuks to take the eastern part of Asia Minor, which was a large source of manpower for the emperors under the theme system. So with the threat of a Seljuk invasion, Empire responded with a plea for help to the West, launching ...



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