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94 votes
Accepted

Was murdering a slave illegal in American slavery, and if so, what punishments were given for it?

Yes, murder of a slave was illegal in the antebellum South, and it was a capital offence. An example is the case of John Hoover of North Carolina. He was arrested on 28 March 1839 for the murder of ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
69 votes

Why are so many metros underground? Isn't that more expensive than an elevated system?

In Moscow, under former mayor Yuriy Luzhkov, it was built a line (Butovo line) which is mostly elevated. I think the practice was not considered quite successful as a result. There are many drawbacks: ...
Anixx's user avatar
  • 32.8k
58 votes

What would have been the typical drinks for a US farmer in the late 18th/early 19th century?

The time period of interest is entirely prior to the rise of the railways, and even to the construction of such infrastructure as the Erie Canal (completed 1825). Thus anything regarded as a typical ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
57 votes

Why are so many metros underground? Isn't that more expensive than an elevated system?

This is mostly about urban planning, and how much change the local government can or will be able to make to the existing streets. In London, the central parts of the city (Westminster and the City) ...
Carmi's user avatar
  • 3,312
57 votes
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Who is this young 'Prince'?

I don't know uniforms well enough to be completely affirmative, but all your clues and the physionomy of the boy remind me of French Imperial Prince Napoleon, son of Napoleon III. He was born in ...
Evargalo's user avatar
  • 5,873
47 votes
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What happened to these buildings near the Seine?

They were not regular construction, but exhibits for the Exposition Universelle (1900), showing different cultures side by side: Each country funded, designed and on occasion constructed their ...
justCal's user avatar
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47 votes

Was there really a navy officer named Picard at the Battle of Trafalgar?

Conclusion from the below, as well as other answers: There was a senior French naval officer named Picard, who by 1814 was Captain of Vessel (namely Scipion (1813)) equivalent to a Royal Navy Captain....
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
46 votes
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Why were diamond mining plots 31-foot squares?

I visited the historic diamond mine at Kimberley as a boy. We were told that the claims at Kimberley were 30 Dutch feet square, which equated to 31 English feet. It seems the standard size for ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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43 votes
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Why were helmets and other body armour not commonplace in the 1800s?

Looking at this slightly backwards, you could ask what are the factors that have enabled the supply of body armor to the modern infantry soldier? Modern ballistic materials, such as kevlar, are ...
Steve Bird's user avatar
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41 votes
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Did this "sledge rigged like a sloop" vehicle ever exist, or was it an invention of Jules Verne?

Yes, and this wikipedia article and this other one describe it. The first article talks about ice boats in America (invented in Poughkeepsie, etc), but the second makes it clear that the Dutch had ...
kimchi lover's user avatar
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40 votes
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Did Lord Acton ever say "freedom faces four major challenges"?

That appears to be adapted from a passage in "The History of Freedom in Antiquity", which was both an essay and a lecture Lord Acton once gave. Liberty, next to religion, has been the ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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39 votes
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How long was a sea journey from England to East Africa 1868-1877?

We can find record of Thomas Wakefield's 1870 trip in the 1904 publication Thomas Wakefield : missionary and geographical pioneer in East Equatorial Africa at archive.org. The ships and trips start is ...
justCal's user avatar
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36 votes

Why were helmets and other body armour not commonplace in the 1800s?

Quality of steel was not sufficient enough to be practicable for body armor and helmets Historically speaking, use of armor, shields and helmets declined with the advance of firearms. During the ...
rs.29's user avatar
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34 votes
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What were the criteria for class ranking at West Point prior to the Civil War?

In Volume I of his four volume biography of Robert E. Lee, Douglas Southall Freeman outlines (Chapter 4, pp 81-82 (html page)) the calculation of Lee's graduating score of 1966.5 out of a maximum 2000;...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
33 votes

How did muzzle-loaded rifled artillery solve the problems of the hand-held rifle?

The answer lies in the age-old conundrum: how to muzzle-load a firearm whose bullet is supposed to tightly engage with the barrel. I'll rewind back to the 1700s and work up how rifles worked to get ...
Smith's user avatar
  • 2,091
32 votes
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What was life like for an adult Victorian chimney sweep?

Actually, by 1881 the use of children as chimney sweeps had been abolished in the UK. In 1840, the UK Parliament had passed a revised Chimney Sweeps Act which had raised the minimum age at which ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
32 votes
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What was a plausible timetable for a train journey across Europe in 1870?

The excellent Timetable World website makes old railway, bus, and airline timetables available on the Internet. Obviously covering every possible route on every possible date would be a monumental ...
Matthew's user avatar
  • 434
31 votes
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Anyone know what this stone building is?

It's a "single pot lime kiln", adjacent to the beach, at Wallog. Coal and limestone would have been landed on the beach from small sailing vessels. The burnt lime would then be used to improve the ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
30 votes

Why are so many metros underground? Isn't that more expensive than an elevated system?

For New York, the answer is related to real estate value. In New York City, the construction of the metro was performed by real estate developers. The idea was to build homes, then connect them to ...
Astor Florida's user avatar
27 votes

What (else) happened July 1st 1858 in London?

The first place that I would search is the British Newspaper Archive. Note that this site requires a subscription to actually view the newspapers, although it is free to search. If you have a ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
26 votes

How have European microstates survived?

The individual reasons for the survival of the European microstates can be read from their histories on their respective wikipedia pages but in general it comes down to two main factors; firstly by ...
Steve Bird's user avatar
  • 19.8k
26 votes

Why are the ceilings so high in older houses?

Smoke. The high ceilings provided somewhere for it to dissipate above mouth and eye level. It's rather hard to imagine how prevalent smoke was before mid-20th century. Not only was tobacco smoking ...
pjc50's user avatar
  • 863
26 votes

Why does the first decade of the 21st century start with 2000?

A decade is simply a time span of 10 years and a century a span of 100 years. The start dates of each are determined by how they are being used. The first decade of 21st century is 2000s I think ...
KillingTime's user avatar
  • 4,781
25 votes

Was murdering a slave illegal in American slavery, and if so, what punishments were given for it?

As sempaiscuba has said, it was illegal to kill a slave in the slave-holding states of the United States. Premeditated murder of a slave has always been illegal in the slave-holding states. However, ...
David D's user avatar
  • 1,126
25 votes
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Who are these people in this satirical cartoon of the Congress of Verona?

Note that a satirical sketch like this does not necessarily portray the actually participants at a conference. Often, they feature a personification of the nations involved. In this case, as Denis ...
Semaphore's user avatar
  • 97.5k
25 votes

Was the name 'Valerie' used during the Regency Era (1811-1836)?

The names Valeria and Valerie were not in common use in Britain during the Georgian era, but they were certainly known by some via Saint Valerie of Limoges and also because Valerie (in particular) was ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
24 votes
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Who is in this c.1866 photo?

It looks to be a photograph of Abdül Aziz, the 32nd Sultan of the Ottoman Empire. He reigned between 25 June 1861 and 30 May 1876, which fits with the 1866 date. Here is a similar photograph by an ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
23 votes
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Which languages would be most useful in Europe at the end of the 19th century?

This is quite complicated. We still see a mosaic of languages in Europe today, after centuries of nationalism, suppression of minority languages, ample migrations and quite a bit of warfare. As such, ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.8k
23 votes

What is this symbol in a financial record from Wisconsin, USA, in 1860?

That looks like the archaic form of the letter "s". Shown here in the word "Congress" from the original US Bill of Rights: The Latin name for that long-s glyph is "solidus&...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
23 votes
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What was a turf rick in Ireland, circa 1833?

I found the answer to this while trying some other Google searches before posting my question. The answer is that "turf" is actually peat, which was the primary source of fuel in Ireland at ...
Curious Layman's user avatar

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