All Questions

18
votes
4answers
5k views

Was there a “secret” recording of the American founding fathers' deliberations?

I remember that there was someone who wrote down the stuff the founding fathers talked about behind closed doors. Can't remember his name. Who was he again?
8
votes
3answers
269 views

Why was Charles I not pressed by *peine forte et dure* to force him to plead to treason in front of the High Court?

Why was Charles I not pressed by peine forte et dure to force him to plead to treason in front of the High Court of Justice for the trial of King Charles I? Under English common law, peine forte et ...
4
votes
1answer
111 views

When did *wooden* 'nails' (pegs) for clay roof tiles go out of fashion?

Judging by Google searches, wooden 'nails' for fixing roof tiles are definitely a thing of the past. However almost all the searches I have attempted (in an area I don't know my way around) have only ...
40
votes
1answer
7k views

What led some people to (correctly) believe that there was no land under the ice cap at the North Pole?

In the 1595 Map of the Arctic, Mercator shows the North Pole as having a substantial landmass surrounding a rock. Source: Wikipedia A little over a hundred years later, Guillaume de L'Isle's 1714 ...
1
vote
6answers
765 views

Has any war in recorded history ever resulted in the complete annihilation (civil and military) of an enemy - all of them killed with no survivors?

Question In reviewing the Wiki topic on War of annihilation it is clear that there have been several examples (many of them in recent history) wherein the goal of a war was to utterly destroy an ...
5
votes
1answer
136 views

Is (or was) there a version of the Maltese Cross with the right arrowhead missing? Does it have a name?

I'm trying to answer a question (link in Spanish) in the Spanish language site about a funny definition a user found in the Royal Spanish Academy's dictionary. It follows: martillo m. Cruz ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

What % of slave owners in the antebellum south committed rape?

In David Blight’s biography of Frederick Douglas, he explains the young Frederick witnesses several violent beatings and or rapes by the age of 7 or 8. It’s also unclear weather or not the head of ...
3
votes
2answers
120 views

Border crossings between USSR and Afghanistan in the 1960s

For a (fictional, but set in the real world) story set in 1962, I need to get my protagonists from the USSR into Afghanistan. I've done some research and found no reliable information about the ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

What was the inheritance tax rate in the UK during WWI and WWII?

I've read somewhere that rich people were heavily taxed during World War I and World War II. What was the inheritance tax rate like in the UK at the time?
3
votes
2answers
207 views

When was the first confirmed circumnavigation of Africa?

There has been debate over the years about whether the Phoenicians and Egyptians circumnavigated Africa. An expedition beginning in 2008 set out to prove just that, with a Phoenician-inspired ship. ...
2
votes
2answers
280 views

What is the original French for Napoleon's quote “When your enemy is making a false move don't disturb him”?

Napoleon is well regarded as stating, prior to Soult's assault on the Pratzen Heights at Austerlitz, words to the effect of: When your opponent is making a false move, it is wise not to disturb him....
1
vote
1answer
112 views

What was the income tax rate in the UK during WWI and WWII?

I found that the highest income tax rate was 99.25% during the Second World War, but I can't find anything related to the income tax during the First World War. Would you have some numbers to give ...
4
votes
0answers
198 views

What was the average day like for a 15th century English peasant or agricultural Labourer?

Because I live in a major urban American city of nearly 500,000 (Colorado Springs), I am finding it difficult to wrap my head around the idea of medieval subsistence agriculture. I am particularly ...
0
votes
0answers
85 views

For the French Army under Jean Martinet (d1672) how and why were cavalry used instead of infantry?

For France's army of the period of Jean Martinet (d1672) in the Early modern, how and why were cavalry used instead of infantry? In European warfare the default company is the infantry company. This ...
23
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is North-Korean communist leader Kim Il-sung called Kim Ir Sen in some languages?

Looking on Wikipedia I see that in many of the languages of the former communist countries, namely East European, the North Korean leader Kim Il Sung (or Song) (1912-1994) is called Kim Ir Sen. (I am ...
2
votes
2answers
227 views

Has an encirclement ever succeeded with numerically inferior cavalry?

This is a follow up to my previous question. In all the examples given there was some other advantage that decided the battle and not encirclement. For example at Narva They attacked inexperienced ...
5
votes
1answer
41 views

Where to get historical Finland railways map for 1939 year?

Where to get Finland railways map for 1939 year ? Just want to compare logistics possibilities during Winter War. It is map of USSR: http://soldat.ru/files/f/00000583.jpg
2
votes
2answers
262 views

Why were the Japanese so much better at night flying early in WWII? [closed]

I have heard of stories of the Japanese conducting night aerial operations as early as the Guadalcanal campaign without the aid of radar while the Americans really didn't do anything until almost a ...
1
vote
1answer
150 views

What conditions have led to Abrahmism splitting into different religions sometimes, but not always? [closed]

What conditions cause the teachings and claimed revelations of certain religious figures in the Abrahamic tradition—e.g. Jesus, Muhammad—to lead to the formation of entire new religions, whilst others—...
8
votes
2answers
232 views

How did agricultural productivity change in Italy with the fall of the Roman Empire and through the early Middle Ages?

I have heard that overall agricultural productivity decreased with the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. In part at least it must be in relation to a general decrease of population - less people ...
2
votes
1answer
212 views

Why did Napoleon change his mind and continue the attack into Russia?

On July 28, 1812 some of his officers convinced Napoleon to end the Russian campaign due to huge losses due to typhus. A couple of days later, Napoleon changed his mind and the rest is, as they say, ...
1
vote
4answers
248 views

Has there ever been an encirclement without superior numbers or mobility

I can't find any examples. It seems like encirclement is always just a result of some other advantage, and doesn't affect the battle in itself. For example the classic case is Cannae. The ...
1
vote
0answers
116 views

Under the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, how many of each aircraft did the USSR receive?

The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact was signed 1939 Aug 23, and lasted till 1941 Jun 22. During that time, how many aircraft were delivered to the Soviet Union, and what types were they? I'm especially ...
1
vote
0answers
173 views

What did Harry Truman think about the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution?

The American Presidential succession process is interesting in that it starts off in the executive branch (with the VP), moves to the legislative branch (Speaker of the House, then President Pro Tem), ...
5
votes
0answers
185 views

In epic migrations, why keep going?

Over time human cultures tend to naturally migrate, influenced by various push and pull factors. According to the gravity model of migration and specifically the concept of distance decay, very few of ...
3
votes
0answers
111 views

How did medieval fishermen work a long line?

How did medieval fishermen use a long line? What did they use as bait? How many hooks were there? When was it put out? When was it pulled in? I want as many details as possible.
9
votes
2answers
353 views

Why did General Billy Mitchell regard war with Japan as inevitable as early as 1912?

llama stated in Comments about General Billy Mitchell's observation from March 1912 after touring Russo Japanese War Battle Fields, "war between the United States and Japan is inevitable". @llama ...
3
votes
0answers
133 views

Christmas trees - real or fake? When did the U.S. Christmas tree consumer begin preferring artificial trees to real trees?

Source: National Christmas Tree Association via Statista. Background Our family was watching (again) A Christmas Story last night, and during the scene where the Old Man is bargaining to purchase a ...
3
votes
1answer
366 views

How much leisure time was enjoyed by English peasants in the 16th century?

It seems like technological advances like seed drills, the cotton gin, reapers (grain harvesters), John Deere tractors, nitrogen fixation, steam engines, the internal combustion engine, cars, aircraft,...
1
vote
1answer
249 views

When was the last time that the U.S. as a country, state, or city was occupied by foreign troops?

Of recent wars (1900 to today) I can only think of instances of the U.S. sending offensive troops to occupy other nations. I understand that we've been attacked by the likes of Pearl Harbor and 9/11 ...
32
votes
6answers
13k views

Has there ever been a major migration from the New World to the Old World? If not, why?

Considerable research has been done on the ancient migration of humans from Northeast Asia to the Americas. Between that and Columbus, there were a few smaller migration events from elsewhere in the ...
3
votes
1answer
192 views

Perceptions and relationships of 14-15th century Spaniards / Romani / Moors

What perceptions of the Romani people were held by the Moors who occupied Granada around the time of the Reconquista? What were the relationships like between the Moors, Romani and the Sephardic Jews ...
26
votes
7answers
8k views

Was Japan known to be a potential threat to the USA in the 10 year period prior to 1941

In the years leading up to the Pearl Harbor attack, did non-military Americans see Japan as a potential threat to the USA?
9
votes
3answers
1k views

How was Hadrian's decree banning circumcision enforced? Were there mandatory body check or something similar?

Roman Emperor Hadrian issued a decree outlawing circumcision around 132 CE, under penalty of death. I am curious as to how such a decree may be enforced, given that circumcision/castration practices ...
2
votes
2answers
267 views

Did the United States taxpayer fund the development of China's backbone fighter plane?

I was reading this article which came out today.. China's J-10 Fighter Now Has Something In Common with the F-22, Su-57 and Su-35 which reports China has added advanced thrust vectoring to their J-10 ...
4
votes
1answer
292 views

What was the purpose of Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews' flight when he was killed in the Iceland crash on May 3, 1943?

Lt. General Frank Maxwell Andrews. Source: Wikipedia Question What was the purpose of Lt. Gen. Andrews' flight in May, 1943 aboard the B-24 Liberator Hot Stuff? Was it a routine inspection tour of ...
5
votes
1answer
185 views

What is the year of Ethelred the Unready's Laws of London?

I refer to De Institutis Lundonie (Laws of London) by Ethelred the Unready (or Æthelred II) (Google Books). According to Britannia and Jerome Arkenberg, it is of the year 978. According to this book,...
2
votes
1answer
192 views

In WW2, what was the barrel-change rate of the Bofors 40-mm?

I was just reading about the 37-mm 70K Naval gun that the Soviet Navy used for AA. I wanted to see how it compared to the Bofors 40-mm. These were both guns used on naval ships for anti-aircraft ...
1
vote
3answers
198 views

Has there ever been a case where a tribe/nation tried to reclaim the land they had left before? [closed]

A tribe or a nation (say tribe A) leaves their land for whatever reason (poor soil, threatening neighbours). Another tribe or nation (possibly with the members of the original tribe who were left ...
4
votes
1answer
184 views

Why did the price of eggs in Britain increase much more than for other basic foods during WWI?

At the beginning of WWI, Britain was only about 40% self-sufficient in food, a major problem given the tonnage of ships sunk by German submarines. Unsurprisingly, food prices rose. In First World War ...
0
votes
1answer
126 views

How did people wake up early before clocks? [duplicate]

Is there any historical evidence of methods that people used to wake up early before widespread use of mechanical alarm clocks? Or is the concept of 'getting up early' an invention of the industrial ...
4
votes
1answer
298 views

What is known about the origins of the “western given-name-first-surname-last system”?

I refer to the custom or "system" of having one's given name first and family name/surname last. I believe this is widely used in the west, with the exception of Hungary (and perhaps a few other ...
21
votes
1answer
5k views

Was there a Japanese equivalent of the Gestapo during WW2

Colonial Japanese rule on occupied territories has been described as harsh as has been their treatment of prisoners of war. In some cases, this was not a fleeting occupation but one lasting years or ...
6
votes
0answers
172 views

Why does Hungary not follow the “usual Western naming system”? [closed]

In the "usual western system" (I'm not sure if there's a more formal name for this), we have given names first, then family names last. In contrast, in the "eastern system", the order is reversed. ...
0
votes
2answers
113 views

Longest lasting government [closed]

The other week, my political science professor asserted in class that the United States is the longest-running stable government. I brought this up with my philosophy professor though, and he said ...
1
vote
2answers
160 views

What was the most effective instrument used to disenfranchise the black population in Louisiana?

According to the Wikipedia page on Jim Crow Laws: In Louisiana, by 1900, black voters were reduced to just 5,320 on the rolls, although they comprised the majority of the states population. By 1910,...
10
votes
1answer
337 views

Were there any elections under the Vichy regime?

My question is as in the title: during the Vichy regime in France, from July 1940 to, say, June 1944 were there any official election of any kind - for mayors, lawmakers, etc? If none, do you have a ...
4
votes
0answers
149 views

What's this flag flying on a fort at Kodiak, Alaska?

Naval captain Yuri Lisianskii drew a harbor scene in Alaska about 1805. It was engraved in England for an edition of his book. (High-res version) In the image, from left to right, there are flags ...
4
votes
1answer
220 views

Did people ever pour drinks on the floor to reject a toast or indicate an end to civilities?

In a fantasy book called "Jack of Shadows" by Roger Zelazny I read this: A disgraced member of a ruling party is being forced to ceremonially drink to the coronation of the new king, but instead ...
5
votes
0answers
121 views

How does one return “war booty” to their rightful original owners? [closed]

I honestly don't know where to ask this question, so here goes. My grandfather served on the Communist side during the Vietnam War. He shot down an F-104 (or an F-4) and removed a piece of flight ...

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