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74

Europeans were introduced to at least one important disease from the Americas (syphilis), but far more Old World pathogens were introduced to the Americas than vice versa. There are several reasons for this imbalance. European agriculturalists lived in closer proximity to disease vectors than did most Native Americans. A number of important diseases ...


68

Poland wasn't actually "spared", it was merely less affected than the rest of Europe. That graphic is incorrect (or rather, incomplete), since a substantial number of both Poland and Milan's population did in fact die of the plague. Their death rates were only "low" in comparison to the rest of Europe - if it happened today, it would be horrifying to us. ...


39

China (or at least its core) had a central, unifying culture built around philosophers such as Confucius and Lao-tse that was attractive to people over a wide land area. Also, the Chinese written language was developed from pictograms that represented "words," which although pronounced differently in different locations, could have the same meaning over wide ...


38

A major reason would be logistics. It's not all about population sizes. The strength of an army is constrained not just by its manpower sources, but also by the logistical infrastructure available to pay for, feed, and equip it. The Romans in particular were much better at this than the feudal states of Medieval Europe, which tended to be quite factious and ...


36

Based on what you've told us, your teacher is most likely thinking of the Proto-Indo-European people (Note: I am NOT saying it is accurate to call the PIE people "Proto-Ukrainians"). According to the most mainstream theory, the Kurgan hypothesis, these speakers of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language emerged from the Pontic-Caspian steppes some 6-8,000 ...


33

To sum it up: The costs simply outweighed the benefits. You have to consider that Germania at this time was essentially one huge forest, which was very, well empty. No cities to conquer, the first German cities were actually founded by the Romans, like e.g. Aachen, Cologne or Trier. The Germans were primitive tribesmen and had little to offer to the Roman ...


31

They were not supermen by any means :) But yes, temperatures were higher, by more than 1 degree (Kent and Wales were famous for their wines, right now it's far too cold there for that for example). And don't forget that in the Roman era, wars were fought in summer almost exclusively, later expanding into spring and autumn as the conscript army was replaced ...


27

Another simple but important reason besides economic changes starting at this time is the spread of printing technique. A scientific community really only works when scholars can cite each other and share their ideas in a cheap and fast way, thats why internet boosted scientific progress in our time. If you study the link, the Gutenberg printing technique ...


27

Things to consider: First, it is difficult to assess the size of armies in the Middle Ages. Roman troop strength is relatively easy to calculate by knowing the legions involved (the legions usually having the same size), but medieval armies usually had no such regularity. Smaller polities (kingdoms and or counties instead of empires) meant smaller ...


26

It is important to note that the modern Western conception of homosexuality as an essential property of a person did not exist in Antiquity: men and women might perform certain acts, but everyone was expected to marry the opposite sex and procreate. No "deeper" theories about these inclinations were entertained, at least not by most. One "was" not ...


26

Several good answers have already been suggested, but there are a few very important points that are worth mentioning: Native Americans were badly unprepared for the emergence of epidemic disease among their populations, both genetically and culturally. According to this article from 2002, there was a major genetic component to it: far less immune system ...


25

Your question embodies large amounts of modern fantasy. Firstly, imagine that nothing can be bought or sold by the vast and overwhelming majority of the population. Coin does not exist or circulate for most people. There obviously would have been farmers, creating and selling produce in markets Nope. Farmers are a modern institution related to ...


21

I wouldn't characterize post-Magna Carta England as having a weak central government. Compared to the Holy Roman Empire it had a very efficient central government, in which the parliament played an important role alongeside the king. The early English Parliament already had a House of Commons. Hence not only the nobility was given rights but the common ...


21

There are many reasons, and I'm going to present the materialistic one championed by the Marxists (collective thud as the audience of History.SE falls off their chairs and faints). One of the requirements for having scientific progress is economic - you need enough surplus to enable the resources devoted to scholarship. This was enabled at the beginning of ...


21

Yes, there were extensive rapes by American soldiers during the Second World War. During the Second World War American GIs in Europe raped around 14,000 civilian women, in England, France and Germany. There were around 3,500 rapes by American servicemen in France between June 1944 and the end of the war ... some Allied troops were punished for sexual ...


19

That's not exactly how it worked. As not everybody was able to become a knight (especially without richness), many squires were adult, sometimes more than 30 years old, and because of their experience, they were well-trained fighters. Don't think of heavy cavalry only as knights. For example, the regular heavy cavalry unit in Poland was called Chorągiew ...


18

This is, in fact, the big question of history. Subquestion 1 here: Why didn't Native North Americans (let's say the Mound Builders, for the sake of argument) conquer the world? The problem here, by the very logic you go over in your own question, is that the MB's were inhabiting a continent that was relatively biologically deprived. By comparison to ...


17

The “bela” stems from the common Slavic root for “white”, as has been discussed in the other answers. There were also historical regions called the “Red” and the “Black” Rus’ (Ruthenia) on the territory of todays Belarus and Ukraine-- the Grand Duchy of Lithuania of the middle ages. The origin of the “Rus” part of Belarus is somewhat uncertain. It is first ...


17

In Rome and China: Comparative Perspectives on Ancient World Empires, the first chapter by Walter Scheidel, From the "Great Convergence" to the "First Great Divergence", makes the case that the Chinese style of government focussed on centralising power while the Roman style allowed for a great deal of autonomy for appointed officials. The Warring States era ...


17

In Europe, armies were often of generally the same size and makeup (at least in the instances you mention) and tactics codified, so in open engagements equipment and (that being equal) minor differences in proficiency could well mean the difference between winning and losing a battle. In the Chinese example you mention, sheer force of numbers caused Qing to ...


16

I'm afraid any answer to this question must begin by considering what is understood to be the 'Renaissance' and the 'Scientific Revolution'. And that consideration, in turn, inevitably reveals a number of historiographical difficulties. The first of these is that neither of these were 'events', at least, not in the sense of a war or an assassination. They ...


16

Straight-line distance from Berlin to Vienna is 523 kilometers or 325 miles according to Wolfram Alpha. In a car traveling at a constant speed of 55 miles per hour (ca. 88 km/h), total travel time would be 5 hours and 55 minutes. However, roads are not perfectly straight. According to Google Maps the shortest route is 678 km long and you would need at least ...


16

Several memoirs of the period suggest that the Berlin to Vienna journey very likely could be completed in 12 days or less. This matches up fairly closely to @Eugene's estimate of two weeks. However, one account suggests that someone with more limited resources and unexpected delays could easily take much more time. The route they [1,2,3,4] usually seem to ...


16

Yes, the name of the process to which you are referring is subinfeudation. It's important to remember that most people only had a few meaningful things to trade - land, food, fighters, and protection. Feudalism is giving the people above you food and fighters and giving the people below you land and protection. The King was at the top and granted rights ...


15

All the sources I've perused can, just as Wikipedia does, only surmise on the how and why gunpowder made its way to Europe. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology offers a nutshell overview of the possible routes that might have been taken: Just how the secret of gunpowder traveled west-ward to Europe will probably never be ...


15

It is a wrong assumption that Europe was never unified politically. First, in the ancient times the cultural development of different European peoples was very diverse. The most advanced peoples of Europe adopted the Greek culture, alphabet and gods. You can see this on the example of Etruscans who used the Greek alphabet and worshiped the Greek gods. The ...


15

As legend says, after they lost Battle of Kosovo (1389) Serb units, most notably their light cavalry, have spread to Hungary and then further over Europe. In Medieval Hungary, these became known as hussars since about 1432 (Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology, p. 306); they were greatly developed by Matthias Corvinus ...


15

In the Greek and Roman Era there were a number of sources in Europe tapped for gold.. These were often alluvial (alluvium is loose soil or sediment, usually around water) deposits near the mouths of rivers in Lydia, Greece, Egypt, and Asia Minor. Later more standard mines were found in the Balkans. Rome found similar river deposits in North Italy, Spain, ...


15

There are three types of plague, Pneumonic, Bubonic, and Septicemic all of which are caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis. People infected by fleas get the bubonic form of the plague. However, if the bacteria reaches the lungs, it becomes pneumonic plague which is more virulent spreading via person to person by coughing then no rats are needed since the ...


14

South East Asia (SEA) isn't totally full of sky-scrapers-- just the wealthy cities like Hong Kong, Singapore, or Shen Zhen. What all these cities have in common is fast, recent growth and limited space. England or France, or many other European states have been developing for hundreds of years. 200 years ago, there was no technology for sky scrapers; so, ...



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