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61

Despite common misconception, both Hong Kong Island and the Kowloon Peninsula were ceded to the United Kingdom in perpetuity, via the Treaty of Nanking and the Convention of Peking, respectively. London was under no legal obligation to return them to China. However, most of the Crown Colony of Hong Kong actually consists of the New Territories. That was ...


33

Columbus was not, in fact, the first to cross the Atlantic. There were Norse communities living in Greenland from the 10th Century. They even had some temporary settlements in North America proper. However, the Norse weren't as good at eking out a living in the North Atlantic as the Inuit, and (after 500 years) eventually got wiped out by some combination of ...


19

Complimentary to Tom's answer, you have to ask yourself which side they'd come in on. There's nothing really useful in terms of territory they could get out of Germany or Austria-Hungary, since both were way on the other side of Europe. If they'd gone in on the other side, they could perhaps have gotten useful territory from France. However, French forces ...


17

Sure, it's possible. Many things are possible. Likely, however, is another question. The link you posted describes a vague story of sailing west into the Atlantic, finding an island, trading with the locals, and returning home. Could the island be in the New World? It could, but it could just as easily be one of the islands in the Atlantic. For me to ...


16

Gibraltar was defensible, but Hong Kong was not. In the 1990s, the distance from the UK would have made Hong Hong impossible to defend. Also, Hong Kong is primarily occupied by Chinese, unlike Gibraltar, which is occupied by UK citizens, many of whom are soldiers. Gibraltar is a fortress, and it is relatively close to the UK and hence easily suppliable. ...


13

I'm kind of suprised nobody has brought up the Siesta. In Spain and many other subtropical and tropical climes they have a tendency to nap during the hottest parts of the day. You'd logically have to then work that much later to put in the same amount of work. That would shift your entire calendar back likewise, including the evening meal. Its is actually ...


13

It is commonly accepted that the Spanish Empire, which rose to the pinnacle of its strength under Charles V/I and Philip II was in decline by early seventeenth century and, in spite (or perhaps because?) of strenuous efforts to arrest and reverse that decline during the early 17th century, it declined and by 1643 or 1659 (not random dates..) it was a shadow ...


11

There were two power blocs, the Triple Alliance (Germany, Austria-Hungary, Italy), and the Triple Entente (Britain, France, Russia). Spain was part of neither and had no reason to support one or the other.(Italy later switched sides). Spain was fortunate to be outside of the main battle areas: France, Belgium, Poland, the Balkans, western Russia. It had no ...


11

The most important "paradigm shift" of the early 19th century was the Industrial Revolution. That was the harnessing of the steam, and later, internal combustion engines, for manufacturing advances that led to an "order of magnitude" gains (five to ten times) in the standard of living. The great powers of the time were also among the earliest beneficiaries ...


11

Spain is in the western end of the Central European Time. This means despite the same clock, they have later actual sun cycle (e.g. later actual sunrise, noon, sunset, etc.) than other countries. Human activities are partly influenced by the sun cycle, so it is logical that their meal schedule is later than the rest of Europe as well. For example, for 21 ...


10

"The best thing that Euskara could contribute to the humanity is to die out" - Miguel de Unamuno Euskara, Basque language, is a very interesting subject. It survived on two time levels. First, being an ancient language which is still in use, and now, being a minority language which is still in use in 21st century, where we have to deal with stronger and ...


10

In "Mein Kampf," Hitler opined, "We stop the endless German movement to the south and west, and turn our gaze toward the land in the east...If we speak of the soil of Europe today, we can have primarily in mind the soil of Russia and her vassal border states." He was concerned primarily with conquering Russia and eastern Europe. Fought France and Britain ...


10

I don't believe there were any wanted posters in Spain in the 1500's. If you have evidence, please document your preliminary research in your question. The first record I can find of a wanted poster in Europe was 1881; although the comments suggest that wanted posters were common in the US at that time. True West Magazine suggests (non-conclusive) that ...


9

"The nail that sticks out gets hammer down" While a Japanese saying, it holds true for all the super powers. Be their outside enemies, inside corruption, or just economic bad luck, the hammers are numerous indeed. Spain in particular, was cripple by mega inflation due to all the gold coming from the Indies. Portugal was assimilated into Spain and then ...


8

I can tell you why Spain was neutral. (Sorry, don't know much about Portugal) Germany and Italy helped Franco during Spanish Civil War. When Second World War started Germany 1939 was not very interested in Spain. As you know in May 1940 Italy joined the Axis while France was being conquered. After defeat Germans prepared themselves to conquer UK and Africa. ...


7

Spain changed the time zone in 1940 from GMT to GMT+1, Franco thought that it would be a good idea to have same time than nazi Germany and fascist Italy (his political allies), after Germany occupied France. The United Kingdom modified the time zone too, but return back in 1945. In the 80s, the PSOE (political party at government) institutionalized the ...


7

Primarily for convenience of trade and communications across national borders. As the countries of Western Europe have become ever more closely linked, it makes life easier if people can agree on what time it is. The initial standardisation of times, in Great Britain at least, came with the railway - Bristol time was 11 minutes different to London, based on ...


7

How would it matter if people support war when Spain was not the aggressor? They supported it as it was a defensive war. In these times it was obvious to fight. I read a Polish book, some years ago, later on the evening (I live in CET zone) I will provide this as a source if someone is interested, but the main idea was that Spanish knew they were about to ...


7

Peter C. Scales:The Fall of the Caliphate of Cordoba: Berbers and Andalusis in Conflict (Medieval Iberian Peninsula, Vol 9), the source linked in the answer by @Mr.lock / @Kobunite actually hints at a plausible answer to OP's question, namely that Abd al-Rahman was recognized when he arrived in al-Andalus because members of the Umayyad family had already ...


7

Naming conventions can seem a bit weird. For example, here in the States we know the Seven Years' War (well, to the extent that we know it at all) as the French and Indian War because... it was fought between the French and... the English, with various Native American tribes joining in on the French side. Southern sympathizers liked to call the American ...


7

I find interesting that many answers just belong to "armchair generals" that point only to the military power, logistics, *1 but forget to mention the issues that could lead to a war in the first place. Remember, war is the continuation of politics.... First of all, I would point the main issue would be noticing how these issues affect the internal ...


6

Actually, Portugal and England have the longest alliance in the world -- one signed in the Treaty of Windsor (1386). The Portuguese and English agreed that neutrality for Portugal was the most viable stance though Portugal helped the alliance in other ways like evacuating civilians from Gilbraltar to Madeira and allowing later in the war, bases in the ...


6

Easy: through his mother, who was Ferdinand and Isabella's daughter.


6

There isn't anything approaching annual time series data on these questions, so economic historians have to estimate them from other data. Kugler and Bernholz estimate that Spanish inflation averaged 1.1-1.4% per annum in the 16th century. This may sound low by modern standards, but it was quite high considering that early modern economies generally exhibit ...


5

For many years, the Extremadura region was the border region between Christian and Moorish Spain. As a result, their inhabitants were quite literally "living at the edge." Hence they produced the largest number of "desperado" type conquerors. It's like saying that America's most renowned Indian fighters (e.g. Buffalo Bill Cody or George A. Custer) were ...


5

Spain was involved in the invasion of the soviet union by sending 15k troops called "Blue Division". In order to not putting his relations to western democracies at risk, Franco set having the involvement limited to the eastern front as a condition. Already before WWII, ongoing from 1936, Germany supported Franco's forces during the civil war with secretly ...


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

After some reading up I have the beginnings of an answer here, I think. The partition of the Habsburg lands actually took place in 1521 (The pact of Worms) and 1522 (The pact of Brussels), way before Philip II was even born. By the Worms and Brussels agreements, which were actually family documents and not diplomatic instruments, Charles's brother ...


5

Quite simple really, and basic economics: More money circulating in the economy, combined with no comparable increase in things to do with that money, leads to an increase in prices. And as the Spanish government used the bulk of that silver to coin money to pay for their wars, the amount of money in the hands of people in Spain increased dramatically. If ...


5

The wikipedia page on Havana clarifies Less than a year after Havana was seized, the Peace of Paris was signed by the three warring powers thus ending the Seven Years' War. The treaty gave Britain Florida in exchange for the city of Havana on the recommendation of the French, who advised that declining the offer could result in Spain losing Mexico and ...



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