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74 votes
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Why didn't line infantry tactics try to keep up a constant volley of fire?

That's actually exactly what they did. In the early 17th century, Maurice of Orange reformed the Dutch army and drilled them to use volley fire. This involved the first rank (i.e. the first row of the ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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48 votes

How serious was Fermat's statement about the ancients?

There is a difference between abstract knowledge and "inventions". In the 17th century it was still widely believed that the ancient Greeks had discovered and formulated pretty much the sum total of ...
fdb's user avatar
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47 votes
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Was it possible for a young Japanese woman to end up enslaved in Great Britain in the mid-1600s?

No. At least, not to any practical intent or purpose. Japanese in Britain Significant numbers of Japanese were actually sold into slavery overseas during the 16th century, mostly through Portuguese ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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36 votes
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What did the top minds of the late 17th century have to say about Salem witch trials?

As Stephen Burnap has already explained, it is unlikely that Newton would even have heard of the Salem Witch Trials. As for Newton's personal beliefs on the subject of witchcraft, I think most people ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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36 votes
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Was the Dutch State independent when the Dutch East India Company was founded?

Recognition of independence is different from de facto independence. While the Dutch Republic was officially recognised as independent only in 1648, it was actually founded 80 years earlier by the ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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27 votes
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Why did Robert Walpole get painted with a crown on his right side?

The painting shows Robert Walpole in his full regalia as First Earl of Orford. The "crown" is not, in fact technically a crown, but rather a coronet, which forms part of that regalia. The ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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25 votes

What would military spies in 17th century Europe be looking for inside a city, before a siege?

Supplies, Morale, Weaknesses Before a siege a spy would be most interested in the following information: Food/Water supply: This determines how long a city can withstand a siege. Remember that, ...
Dario Quint's user avatar
23 votes
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What's the reason behind the 17th century tradition of British monarchs being depicted on coins facing in the opposite direction to their predecessor?

I find the answer given by news outlets to be insufficient, as it still does not answer what the symbolic meaning or reason behind this tradition that began with Charles II is. And correctly so, ...
Mark Johnson's user avatar
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22 votes
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How serious was Fermat's statement about the ancients?

Other answers are good but I would like to add a bit of context. The OP states that it should have been clear by 1600 that some advance had been made since Roman times. However, the idea that by then ...
Pere's user avatar
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21 votes
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What is this 17th century Swiss coin?

The inscriptions are (note that the S's are backwards): Obverse (bear) - MONETA BERNENSIS (coinage of Bern) Reverse (cross) - SANCTVS VINCENCIVS (Saint Vincent) (The style of lettering can be compared,...
Meir's user avatar
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20 votes

Did 17th Cent. French Gentlemen Necessarily Use a Scabbard for Dress Swords?

A scabbard is paired with the sword it is supposed to encase, not with the belt to which it is attached. Carrying a sword without a scabbard is not a very good idea (to put it mildly): not only it is ...
sds's user avatar
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20 votes

Why did Charles I not borrow abroad?

SHORT ANSWER Charles I did borrow money from abroad but it was never enough to meet his needs. The financial drain of the Thirty Years War on much of Europe, a muddled foreign policy, and a lack of ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
20 votes

Why didn't line infantry tactics try to keep up a constant volley of fire?

That's roughly what they did. Both sides would line up their men, where the defender had the advantage: they could form two or more lines. The first line fired, then reloaded, while the second line ...
Jos's user avatar
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19 votes
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Who was Christophorus Uveida?

[I would like to thank @CarlosMartin for the helpful link to Christianson's book which I am referencing below]. The last name of the printer is written with a true double-U, so is actually Weida in ...
njuffa's user avatar
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18 votes
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How was Taiwan involved in the Thirty Years' War?

Spanish Formosa and Dutch Formosa were respectively Spanish and Dutch colonies in Taiwan. The importance of the colonies was not only in extracting value from the colonies themselves, but also in ...
Roger V.'s user avatar
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15 votes

What did the top minds of the late 17th century have to say about Salem witch trials?

As mentioned by Steven Burnap Salem was isolated, but we can have a look at other examples. During the witch processes in Stockholm 1678 Urban Hjärne (chemist, geologist, physician and writer) ...
liftarn's user avatar
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15 votes
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What is the meaning of the hand gesture performed by King James II in the portrait by Peter Lely?

The hand gesture showing the middle fingers together has been variously described as a ‘W’ or ‘pseudo-zygodactylous gesture’ or the ‘El Greco gesture’. It seems to have originated in late renaissance ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
13 votes
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What was the price of going from England to New England as a passenger in the 1600s?

It seems that the Massachusetts Bay company had a rule setting out some costs and the limits on the number of passengers that ships could carry. A ship of two hundred tons should not carry more than ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
13 votes

Was it possible for a young Japanese woman to end up enslaved in Great Britain in the mid-1600s?

1: Could there have been young Japanese women in Great Britain in the mid-1600s? This seems extraordinarily unlikely. According to the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan 1600 William Adams, a ...
RedGrittyBrick's user avatar
13 votes

Why did Britain, not the Netherlands, create the greatest overseas empire?

I believe the main reason for the decline of the Dutch Republic was certainly the combined rivalry with both France and Britain, but mainly it is owed to its own economic decline around 1730, its own ...
YokedSinger8062's user avatar
12 votes

What is the flag in this 17th century painting?

I would say it is the flag of Deventer. It's a city towards the east of the Netherlands, that prospered by trading with the various cities around the North and Baltic Sea coast as well as Scandinavia. ...
Folkert's user avatar
  • 221
11 votes

How was the dynamics of a naval battle in the 17th century?

The C17 was a period of evolution in naval tactics. At the start naval battles were generally conducted in a pell-mell fashion with small groups of ships supporting each other in an attempting to ...
Cy_'s user avatar
  • 111
11 votes
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What are these "Papal States" in Germany after 1648?

Those were the ecclesiastical states of the Holy Roman Empire. Germany as we know it today did not really exist in 1648 - the territories in question were part of the Holy Roman Empire, a highly ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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11 votes
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Did Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Finance Minister of Louis XIV, sanction mass executions for reasons of economic policies?

Author of The Mystery of Capitalism and the NYTimes article cited above, Hernando de Soto is a well-known Peruvian economist who has perhaps been a little careless with his words. Some (or even many) ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
11 votes
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Do we have any authentic Native American flute music from the 18th century or earlier?

Answer Sound recordings prior to the mid 19th century are anachronistic, however sound recordings since then of authentic music reproductions may be available, due to the existence of transcriptions ...
Kerry L's user avatar
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11 votes

How serious was Fermat's statement about the ancients?

Others have covered Fermat's note specifically, so I'll respond to this sub-question: I am extremely interested in the idea that there was a period in time when, at least in the west, people looked ...
Jamin Grey's user avatar
11 votes
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Would the gun crews have different responsibilities aboard a 17th century ship than on the USS Constitution?

Yes, they might have to crew a carronade. A R Leonard points out, most of the time gun crews are not crewing guns. Crewing a gun is their secondary role. Their primary role can be anything. Guns ...
Schwern's user avatar
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10 votes
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What did Catesby and crew expect to do after the explosion?

What we now know as the Gunpowder Plot began as a conspiracy between three men: Robert Catesby, John Wright and Thomas Winter. Only one of the three, Thomas Winter, survived to tell their account of ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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