Questions tagged [europe]

It is the second smallest continent, forming the Western extension of Eurasia.

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101
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7answers
39k views

Why did Native Americans die from European diseases while Europeans didn't catch serious diseases from the New World?

Why did Native Americans die of European diseases while Europeans didn't have serious diseases from the New World? I read that most Native American victims of colonization in the new world died of ...
98
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13answers
24k 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 ...
95
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7answers
163k views

Why was Poland spared from the Black Death?

The featured image of the Wikipedia page for the Black Death is a gif showing the spread of the bubonic plague throughout Europe. There are a few places where the plague never spread to, including the ...
88
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9answers
23k views

Did medieval scholars believe the Earth was round?

There seems to be almost a consensus that the medieval belief on flat earth is a myth. Wikipedia even has a whole article dedicated to this subject, and the general argument is that the "flat earth ...
80
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7answers
28k views

Why is the consensus that WW2 started on September 1, 1939 and not July 7, 1937?

Looking at Wikipedia, dates given are 1 September 1939 – 2 September 1945, which end in the defeat of Japan. However why is the starting date when Germany invaded Poland and not when the Japanese ...
61
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6answers
21k views

Why are the German and French languages so different?

My understanding (which could be wrong) is the following: During and before the period of the fall of western Rome (roughly 400 AD), the Franks and the Alemanni were tribal people who moved around a ...
57
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17answers
17k 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 ...
54
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2answers
8k views

Why was the Scout movement so successful?

I find it amazing how fast the scout movement spread after its creation. What I got from Wikipedia: Robert Baden-Powell became famous (rightly or not) at home for his activity in the British Army. ...
52
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5answers
12k views

How did such a relatively minor event as the assassination of an archduke start World War I?

The assassination of the Austrian archduke was, considered in the context of all Europe's near-explosive politics, a relatively minor event. So how did it cause such a major war?
51
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4answers
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Why were the Romans unable to conquer Germania?

Emperor Augustus ordered his army to subdue the Germanic tribes in what is modern Germany. This was promptly achieved and by 6 AD the Romans controlled Germany up to the river Elba. The Romans were ...
47
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7answers
11k views

Why did Europe not see Roman-era numbers of men participating in battles until the 17th century?

Typical decisive battles in Roman times involve 4+ legions - around 20,000 men + auxiliaries giving a total of about 30,000 men, on the Roman side only. Battles in even the late middle ages and early ...
47
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5answers
10k views

Which European Languages are not Indo-European?

I saw this question asked on Twitter today. At first blush it seemed like an easy reference question, but I can't find any place that actually has this spelled out in one place. I ended up having to ...
46
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4answers
9k views

Was hay invented only in the Middle Ages in Europe?

I stumbled upon the following remark from Freeman Dyson: The most important invention of the last two thousand years was hay. In the classical world of Greece and Rome and in all earlier times, ...
45
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11answers
14k views

Why did Europeans (and not people in other regions) dominate oceans?

Having a brief look at civilization history, I find that Europeans have a significant dominance over other regions when it comes to sailing. This becomes more obvious after the 15th century when ...
42
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7answers
11k views

Why aren't there major cities on the Atlantic coast of France?

I see Bordeaux and Nantes, but they are a short ways inland. The U.S. has several like New York, Boston, Miami, Charleston.
41
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1answer
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What were the acceptance criteria in universities of medieval Europe?

Did they have entrance tests? Were certain groups officially banned from entering? How much did one have to pay? Did they have scholarships for talented studends? How these criteria differed between ...
36
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2answers
6k views

Why didn't Europeans before Gutenberg print with woodblocks?

Before the invention of the printing press and movable type (and some related innovations) by Johannes Gutenberg, books in Europe were generally only reproduced if someone copied them by hand. In ...
35
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3answers
4k views

Who is this young 'Prince'?

The photo below was found in an envelope among a bundle of family photos which were recently handed down on the English side of my family. Aside from the photo itself, the only clues are as follows: ...
34
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7answers
9k views

How were Martello towers supposed to work?

Having recently seen a Martello tower on the East coast of England, I tried to find-out what the defensive strategy was supposed to be - but the internet seems very short on information. The South-...
34
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3answers
7k views

Did people use to marry much younger during the last millennium?

I've frequently heard it stated that "people used to marry at much younger ages" historically. Recently, these kinds of statements have tended to show up in sociological discussions about young ...
34
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2answers
9k views

Did the Pope's crossbow and archery bans have any effect?

One of the more famous and certainly curious decisions at the Second Council of the Lateran in 1139 was a ban on using missile troops against Christians. Specifically, Canon 29 states that: We ...
33
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3answers
8k views

Did the Romans have winter uniforms?

Standard ancient Roman uniform consisted of a tunic, a cloak and sandal-type boots, resulting in a look like this. Now, this is all very well for Mediterranean climates but I really cannot fathom how ...
33
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9answers
18k views

Where did Medieval Europe's gold come from?

Medieval Europe processed copious amounts of gold into religious artifacts, jewelry and of course gold coins, as evidenced by the large number of those that survive to this day. Given that today, no ...
33
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3answers
15k 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 ...
32
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9answers
16k views

Was England considered a “colony” of France?

After the "Norman conquest of England", many things including languages, the ways of life, etc. have changed a lot in Europe. Especially it affected the English language significantly that a lot of ...
32
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2answers
5k views

How did cities operate in medieval times?

Modern fiction is often filled with fantasy versions of the Middle Ages, from Lord of the Rings to Game of Thrones, and everything in between, but how did the reality of this trope operate? There ...
32
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3answers
2k views

Did anyone in Europe predict the existence of the Americas?

According to the answer of this question, Columbus was pretty much unique in his belief that the world was small enough and Asia was big enough to make sailing west to Asia possible. Everyone else ...
31
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10answers
12k views

Why was Germany not as successful as other Europeans in establishing overseas colonies?

French, British, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch.. they all had vast outreach across the globe on multiple continents. Why did Germans not have this much outreach?
31
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6answers
12k views

Where does the name of the country “Belarus” come from?

I've read the German and English Wikipedia on this topic as well as the translated Belarussian version and some sites I googled. They all seem to argue that the 'Rus' part stems from the Region called ...
31
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5answers
16k views

What did squires do in the middle of a medieval battle?

According to wikipedia, a normal squire daily job included: Carrying the knight's armour, shield, sword, Holding any prisoners the knight takes, Rescuing the knight should the knight be ...
30
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3answers
22k views

How did Europeans first acquire gunpowder?

I know that gunpowder was first invented in China around the 10th century, and it seems that gunpowder likely made its way to Europe via the "Silk Road." However, there doesn't seem to be a ton of ...
29
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6answers
6k views

What is the most number of times someone has become leader of a European country?

Among monarchs, Henry VI (1422 to 1461, 1470 to 1471) and Edward IV (1461 to 1470, 1471 to 1483) both ruled England on two separate occasions. Hethum II of Armenia went one better, ruling three ...
29
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3answers
7k views

What is the oldest European royal house?

What is the oldest European royal or princely house, either enthroned or dethroned, that patrilineally survives nowadays?
29
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6answers
4k views

Besides Magna Carta and general decentralization, what specifically led to democratization in England?

In England, the gradual weakening of the central government (starting with the Magna Carta), and the gradual rights given to nobility slowly pushed England to a democratic form of government. Yet in ...
29
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2answers
4k views

Was a passport needed to travel between UK and France in 1972?

In Hitchcock's 1972 film Frenzy (at about the time 00:54:55) a character says: We can get a day trip to France. You don't need a passport. (He is a commoner, no diplomatic status etc, in fact a ...
29
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7answers
5k 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, ...
28
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5answers
5k views

Was the Dutch State independent when the Dutch East India Company was founded?

How were The Dutch able to build a successful trading empire by 1602 (with The Dutch East India Company) if the Dutch State gained independence after the Thirty Year's War in 1648? The war ends in ...
26
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2answers
12k 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. ...
26
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1answer
5k views

What was the Seven Years War called at first?

When the Seven Years War broke out, obviously they had no idea how long it would last. What did Europeans call this war at first? I know that in the North American Theater, it was called the French ...
26
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4answers
21k views

Why wasn't San Marino unified with Italy?

Why wasn't San Marino unified with the Kindom of Italy during the unification process? Were there plans or efforts at the time to unify the two states? Did either government at any time try to annex ...
25
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2answers
3k views

Did Muslim states hire Western European knights as mercenaries before the Crusades?

In the book Hattin by John France the following claim is made: The fighting qualities of western knights were widely recognized in the Mediterranean lands, and they were often employed even by ...
25
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4answers
2k views

How was the modern geographic boundary between Europe and Asia decided?

Wikipedia puts the boundary as: The modern definition of Europe delimits it from Asia at the Aegean Sea, the Dardanelles-Sea of Marmora-Bosporus, the Black Sea, along the watershed of the Greater ...
25
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2answers
1k views

Was there a European response to the trail of tears?

This question is pretty straightforward. While looking into Victorian British beliefs about Americans and American history I began to wonder about European attitudes toward American Indians; and more ...
24
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6answers
8k views

Why did the person in charge of a principality not just declare themself king?

I don't understand the concept of principalities, why wouldn't you just call yourself king? The job description appears to be exactly the same. When England was ruled by the Saxons we had a bunch of ...
24
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9answers
4k views

Who taught Russian in Eastern-bloc satellite countries?

After the USSR gained many satellites countries in central/eastern Europe in 1945, Russian became obligatory at school. It seems those Russian courses were highly unpopular and only a small minority ...
24
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4answers
4k views

Has there ever been an archbishop or bishop younger than the 16-year-old James of Nicosia?

In 1456, King John II of Cyprus appointed his illegitimate son James as Latin Archbishop of Nicosia. James was just 16 at the time. James soon lost his position, being forced to flee the following ...
24
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5answers
7k views

Who were the pre-Celtic inhabitants of Western Europe?

I've heard it said that the Basque are conjectured to be the last remnant of Pre-Celtic Western Europe. When would have these people existed? What evidence do we have for their culture and habitation ...
23
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5answers
6k views

How long did it take for a diplomat to travel between Berlin and Vienna in the 1770's?

I was reading the Wikipedia entry for the War of the Bavarian Succession, and it said (my emphasis): For some historians, the War of the Bavarian Succession was the last of the old-style Cabinet ...
22
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6answers
26k views

What factors enabled Europe to conquer almost the whole world? [closed]

As we probably all know, after ancient and medieval times European countries traveled to almost every part of the Globe. Today's heritage are, among many others, Roman law and alphabet, Gregorian ...
21
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6answers
6k views

Which was the last major war in which horse mounted cavalry actually participated in active fighting?

Which was the last major war in which horses were used for frequent fighting? Why were these horses used, and about how many were there? This is not a duplicate of the question (When was the last ...