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101 votes
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Why does this London Underground poster from 1924 have a Star of David atop a Christmas tree?

The hexagram is not an exclusively Jewish symbol. For that matter, the Star of David as a symbol of Judaism (as opposed to a symbol used by Jews) is far newer than people realize, dating only to 1897 ...
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82 votes

Why did Chamberlain remain Prime Minister of Britain until 10 May, 1940?

Didn't the British people recognize how ill-suited Chamberlain would be because of his former appeasement? No, because it's not true at all. Chamberlain may certainly be an inadequate war leader, but ...
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75 votes
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Why was it "acceptable" for Prince Charles to marry a divorced woman, when Edward VIII had to abdicate for marrying divorcee Wallis Simpson?

It is mostly due to the differing social attitudes of the day, but the legal position was also different in 1936. The Wikipedia page is pretty clear about the social attitudes, but I'll try to explain ...
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59 votes
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Why were British ships not of the same quality as French and Spanish ships until the latter part of the 18th century?

I think that N.A.M Rodger covers this quite well in chapter 27 of his book "The Command of the Ocean". It was for long an article of faith among naval historians that eighteenth century British ...
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56 votes
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Were Medieval Britons aware of the existence of the Roman Empire?

Educated Britons would've received an education deeply steeped in classical antiquity, so knowledge of the Roman Empire must have been inevitable among the literate. Unsurprisingly, therefore, many ...
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44 votes
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What date does a 1738 British author intend by "soon after the revolution"?

In the text, he describes the history of the game of Blind Man's Buff and other childrens' games through various reigns. At the bottom-right of the page, the text states: "At the Revolution, when ...
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42 votes
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When did Britain learn about the American Declaration of Independence?

The news reached London on the 10th of August. It was, of course, known by British officials in the colonies much earlier, but It is astonishing how casually the Declaration was first reported to ...
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36 votes
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How much materiel was shipped to Continental Europe per month, after D-Day?

In the second volume of his series Logistical Support of the Armies, Roland Ruppenthal provides a table of materials shipped into Europe from June 1944 to April 1945, broken down by port (including ...
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35 votes

Was it possible for a message from Paris to reach London within 48 hours in 1782?

The French Postal Service started operation in the fifteenth century and by 1632 - 150 years before your inquiry - there was already a network of over 623 coaching inns operated by it across the ...
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34 votes
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Did early northern Europeans drink alcohol?

Yes. Residue analysis has found chemical signatures consistent with the presence of honey, and organic compounds associated with fermentation suggesting that mead was being drunk by the late ...
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33 votes

Why was it "acceptable" for Prince Charles to marry a divorced woman, when Edward VIII had to abdicate for marrying divorcee Wallis Simpson?

One thing I'm not seeing in the answers so far is that having been married prior wasn't the only strike against Wallis Simpson. She: Was not nobility Was not British Had been divorced not once, but ...
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32 votes

What is this flag?

Technically, it's not a flag it's a surcoat. It represents the coats of arms of her family. In heraldic terms, the display of these arms are known as impalement. In this case, the arms on the dexter ...
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31 votes

Why did Chamberlain remain Prime Minister of Britain until 10 May, 1940?

Some context to support Semaphore's answer... drawing (partially) from John Terraine's "Right of the Line". The policy of appeasement is sometimes used to portray Chamberlain as a pacifist under whom ...
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30 votes

How likely is it that any non-Celtic language was spoken in the British Isles when the Romans invaded?

The answer appears to be "We don't know." We're sure that there were spoken languages in the British Isles before the arrival of the Celtic languages, because the archaeology tells us that ...
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29 votes
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What is the name and meaning of a World War 2 CCC Medal with both the Polish Eagle and British Statant Gardant Lion?

This would appear to be the badge of the No. 300 Polish Bomber Squadron which fought alongside the Royal Air Force and operated from airfields in the United Kingdom. Above: Badge with colour. ...
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29 votes

Why did Churchill become the PM of Britain during WWII instead of Lord Halifax?

In The Gathering Storm, Churchill describes the key scene with Chamberlain and Lord Halifax thus: At eleven o'clock I was again summoned to Downing Street by the Prime Minister. There once again I ...
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28 votes

Were Medieval Britons aware of the existence of the Roman Empire?

Educated people in the European Middle Ages knew Latin and read the Roman classics. They were thus very well informed about the Roman Empire. Even uneducated people were keenly aware of the contents ...
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26 votes

When did Britain learn about the American Declaration of Independence?

Not repeating info in the other answer(s), but it should be realized that by the time the Declaration of Independence was written, the Battles of Lexington and Concord were already more than a year ...
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25 votes
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Can anyone identify the regiment and rank from this WWI photograph?

I agree with Kobunite, but by a different route. I can't make out the cap badge well enough to identify it positively, but the collar badges are either Royal Artillery or Royal Engineers, which are ...
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23 votes
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Why did Latin disappear so completely in Britain after the Romans left?

The short answer is, of course, that Latin didn't completely disappear from Britain at the end of the Romano-British period. However, the use of Latin did decline much more than in Britain than it did ...
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22 votes

Were Medieval Britons aware of the existence of the Roman Empire?

The short answer: they were very aware of the Roman empire and its past glory. Long answer: This questions gets to the problem of "What was England Like in the 9th Century?" If you can answer this ...
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21 votes

Was there significant interbreeding between Romans and Native Britons?

The answer to your question is actually to be found in the two articles you have mentioned. Official figures show that the UK population was 65.6 million in June 2016. A little under 50% of the ...
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19 votes
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Are there any British peers whose surname matches their title?

It is very common to have titles based on the surname such as Barry Jones, Baron Jones or with a location so as to reduce ambiguity such as Nigel Jones, Baron Jones of Cheltenham There are others ...
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19 votes
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Was Celtic society promiscuous?

The perception that the Celts were promiscuous seems to be based on, at least in part, ancient writers’ interpretations of marital relationships and / or a superficial knowledge of Celtic customs and ...
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18 votes
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Were bookshops 'common' in the late 19th century, and how did they differ from modern ones?

Bookshops were certainly becoming more common in Victorian England. In fact, the entire printed world exploded in the 19th century. Most of it was concentrated in London, which by 1860 housed 812 ...
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17 votes
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How strong a land force did Germany need for a conquest of the British Isles in the summer of 1940?

Sea Lion had little chance of working. Everyone underestimated the complexity of a large scale amphibious invasion in 1940. The Germans considered Sea Lion to be like a river crossing on a broad ...
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16 votes
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What were British voting qualifications in the 1770's?

The country was divided into counties and boroughs. To vote for county MPs (usually two per county) a man had to own freehold property worth forty shillings per year. This means that it could be let ...
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  • 946
16 votes

Are there any British peers whose surname matches their title?

There have been several dukes whose titles match their surnames. These include Frederick Schomberg, a German-born general who, at various times, commanded forces for France, Brandenburg and Portugal....
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16 votes
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Are there any ideas as to what the English landscape was like before the arrival of the Angles?

The Angles, along with the Saxons and the Jutes, probably started arriving in Britain around the middle of the 5th century, some 50 years after Rome abandoned its northern-most province. They would ...
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16 votes

Is there a relationship between Gobekli Tepe and Stonehenge?

As others have pointed out in various comments, a connection between the two sites is extremely unlikely. In particular, Stonehenge became a cultural center only around 3100 BCE, 5000 years after ...
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