74 votes
Accepted

Why did a young George Washington sign a document admitting to assassinating a French military officer?

Short answer George Washington relied on the translation of a mercenary he knew well and who had previously acted as his translator, Jacob Van Braam, and did not think he was signing a document in ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
66 votes
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Is the photograph "England’s Revenge in India" real, staged, or fake?

It seems to be the painting Suppression of the Indian Revolt by the English, a painting by the Russian artist Vasily Vereshchagin c. 1884 According to the annotation on Wikipedia: It ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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63 votes
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Why didn't the British Grand Fleet force an engagement with the German Imperial Navy in WW1?

tl;dr Sea control is good. Sea denial is not that much worse. Sinking an enemy ship at the cost of significant damage to your own is less desirable than keeping your enemy holed up in port (where his ...
DevSolar's user avatar
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61 votes

Why were slave owners even offered compensation via the 1837 Act if they'd lost the power in parliament to stop abolition in 1833?

To safeguard legal system and rule of law While it may sound strange to us, slavery was considered as something usual and almost natural for a long time during human history. This is especially true ...
rs.29's user avatar
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58 votes
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Why were slave owners even offered compensation via the 1837 Act if they'd lost the power in parliament to stop abolition in 1833?

Lord Wynford, though speaking in opposition, illustrated the reasons in the House of Lords, on Tuesday, June 25th 1833, why a payment was being considered and what arguments such a payment should be ...
gktscrk's user avatar
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51 votes
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Why did the UK allow India to be a republic rather than a democratic parliament under the British Monarch?

That's an interesting question. When India first gained independence from the United Kingdom on 15 August 1947 it was as The Dominion of India, with King George VI as king and Head of State. India ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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48 votes

When did Canada become truly independent?

There have been several stages in the history of Canadian independence. Canada became a self-governing dominion within the British empire on 1 July 1867 when the British North America Act was passed ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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37 votes
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Was the British Army a millionaire factory in the early 20th century?

Richard Meinertzhagen is known to be a serious liar. Refer to his Wikipedia article: for example, he stole numerous biological samples and presented them as his own in Europe. That said, the ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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31 votes

Why did Loyalists go to Canada during the American Revolution

Loyalists who lived in the 13 colonies fled to Canada because Canada was part of the British Empire. In Canada they could still be British. If they stayed in the colonies they would be traitors to ...
MCW's user avatar
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28 votes
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Was the Somerset Decision in 1772 in England the real underlying cause of the American Revolutionary war?

He's not 100% wrong that the desire of slaveholders in the States to protect their "property" and the institution itself has been drastically underplayed by Americans in talking about their own ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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28 votes
Accepted

Has the sun ever set on the British Empire? If so when?

The sun has not yet set on the British Empire, and is unlikely to for the near future. This question was extensively covered by xkcd. Britain [still owns] 14 overseas territories, [which are] ...
SleepingGod's user avatar
28 votes
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Why did it take over 100 years for Britain to begin seriously colonising America?

Here is a list with the major factors. This list focuses on the period Oct 1492 to April 1607 and is extracted from this Timeline of Colonial America. The timeline already contains links to sources ...
James's user avatar
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27 votes
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How could temporary surrender of self-government help Newfoundland with its debts?

Essentially, Newfoundland was put into a kind of receivership with its debt extensively restructured and then guaranteed by Britain, who additionally also supplied annual grants-in-aid. Suspending ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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26 votes
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In Britain, what was the "Junior Service" in 1913?

In British parlance the Royal Navy is The Senior Service due to having been created as a permanent establishment in Tudor times, while the Army only became permanent a few centuries later. The ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
26 votes
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Had there been instances of national states banning harmful imports before the mid-19th C Opium Wars?

"Banning harmful imports" was often done. Prime example being the satanic brew. Coffee was banned in Mecca, Italy, Contantinople/Ottoman Empire, Prussia. Similarly: tea was banned in East Frisia, ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
19 votes

Is the photograph "England’s Revenge in India" real, staged, or fake?

Radio Yerevan reports that: "In principle, yes, the photo is absolutely real. Except, that it isn't a real photo, its name isn't 'England's Revenge in India', and the propaganda book never ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
18 votes

When did Canada become truly independent?

The subject isn't nearly as simple as it is for the USA. The event in the 1980s was Patriation of the Canadian constitution, which removed the power of the UK parliament to amend the Canadian ...
John Dallman's user avatar
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18 votes
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Was the British Empire bigger than the combined empires of the Iberian Union in terms of claimed land area?

This question is a little more involved than it might appear, and has a few layers we need to tear through to solve. The basis is obvious, if the Spanish Empire was huge, and the Portuguese Empire at ...
justCal's user avatar
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16 votes

Why didn't the British Grand Fleet force an engagement with the German Imperial Navy in WW1?

Because if they did, they would have been playing into German hands. The Germans did not plan to match the British navy. What they did was create a Risk Fleet about 60% of the British fleet, one that ...
Tom Au's user avatar
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16 votes
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What happened to the British convicts transported to America after the American Revolution?

Transported convicts weren't imprisoned in the North American colonies. Much like the convicts transported to Australia after the loss of Britain's American colonies they were set to work. American ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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15 votes

In WWI, How were the Germans able to maintain a submarine blockade of Britain?

How come that in WWI, the Germans were able to maintain a submarine blockade of Britain... They weren't, at least not one which had a major impact on the war effort. Submarines and submarine tactics ...
Schwern's user avatar
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14 votes
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Has any country, other than Britain, given away its empire?

Question: does this have any historical precedent or parallel? Has any other country, peacefully and uncoerced, divested itself of so much territory and income? Let's talk about this premise that ...
Schwern's user avatar
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14 votes
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Who would qualify as British subject during the Victorian age of the Empire?

According to the Wikipedia Article on being a British Subject Before 1949, every person born within the dominions and allegiance of the English and later British Crown was, based on common law, an ...
Steve Bird's user avatar
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14 votes

Why did the colonies fight Cresap's War?

The colonies had governors/owners but all of their governing rights came from the king. Officially, colonies were not permitted to go to war but the governors/owners still occasionally participated in ...
Clint Eastwood's user avatar
14 votes
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What stopped the British from granting independence to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands?

On 30 June 1947 (one and a half months before the independence of India), there was a discussion in the UK House of Commons about Anglo-Indians and Europeans (alternative link): Mr. Gammons asked ...
Flux's user avatar
  • 1,311
13 votes
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Why did Bakht Khan switch sides in Indian War of Independence 1857?

For a possible reason, Encyclopædia Britannica says this about Bakht Khan (emphasis mine): Related on his mother’s side to the ruling house of Oudh (Ayodhya), which was deposed by the British in ...
Brasidas's user avatar
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13 votes
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Why did the US have a plan for the event of war against Britain in the 1920s?

There are many reasons for making such plans. They include: Keeping a planning staff active and in practice. Discovering what forces would be required for different kinds of war, so that the forces ...
John Dallman's user avatar
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13 votes

Had there been instances of national states banning harmful imports before the mid-19th C Opium Wars?

Assuming you accept books as an answer (and your comment suggests that you do) there are at least two wiki pages that list books that have been banned by governments: List of books banned by ...
Denis de Bernardy's user avatar
12 votes

Was the Somerset Decision in 1772 in England the real underlying cause of the American Revolutionary war?

I think that there were probably a great many factors that led to the American Revolution. Concerns about the growing anti-slavery movement in the UK were undoubtedly among them. Although it is true ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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