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110 votes

Have American urban rioters ever looted residences?

To pick just one notorious example, 99 years ago to the day, black people's homes were heavily looted by whites in the Tulsa riots of 1921. As this article describes, at least 65 looters were arrested....
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64 votes
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Could women be crucified under Roman law?

In Antiquities of the Jews, the ancient historian Josephus reported an incident where the Emperor Tiberius explicitly ordered a woman to be crucified: Mundus had a freedwoman, who had been made ...
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47 votes
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Has chattel slavery ever been used as a criminal punishment in the USA since the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment?

Yes, but for fixed periods of (for example) six months or 1 or 2 years rather than for life. This section of the 13th Amendment, ratified on the 6th of December, 1865, was controversial from the ...
45 votes
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How did German unification affect existing sentences for criminal convicts?

Thanks to some hints provided in the comments to my original post here, I have been able to locate some sources that answer my questions, at least on a high level: Beginning in 1989, even before the ...
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44 votes

Have American urban rioters ever looted residences?

Yes. In San Francisco, 1849, a gang called the "Hounds" looted and destroyed residences in the district of Little Chile: "The Chileans in large numbers are living in tents on the outskirts of town. ...
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40 votes
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Is this medieval picture of hanging 5 royals showing an historical event?

This is from the so called Crusader Bible: Image icon MS M.638, fol. 11v An Execution, Joshua's Final Commands, Joshua's Passing Old Testament Miniatures with Latin, Persian, and Judeo-...
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39 votes
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Rape perpetrated by American soldiers during WWII?

Yes, there were extensive rapes by American soldiers during the Second World War. During the Second World War American GIs in Europe raped around 14,000 civilian women, in England, France and ...
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37 votes
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What was the criminal charge of "pretending sodomy" in 1719 England?

"Pretending sodomy" here is just that: claiming that 'sodomitic practices' have taken place, with the accuser starting or 'pretending to start'/feigning to begin such an act. This means that ...
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33 votes

How much evidence is there regarding the naval punishment of keelhauling?

The earliest evidence for keel-hauling that I'm aware of is actually from ancient Rhodes (~800BC) in the Lex Rhodia. There are also depictions of the practice known from ancient Greece (one is ...
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27 votes
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When did one-way mirrors become widely used by police?

Surprisingly enough, in England, screens for identity parades did not come in at all until the late 1980s. A poke around the British Newspaper Archive (paywall, sorry) found this article from Nov 1986,...
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17 votes
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From 1936-45 what was the prescribed punishment in Nazi Germany for failing to join or participate in the Hitler Youth?

There was no upper limit to sanctions. From to 1936 to 1939, membership in the HJ was "voluntary". So actual punishment was not put into law until the Second Executive Order on the law about ...
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16 votes
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Were there ever actual organizations of pirates?

Its been two years since this question was scribed, and nobody else be bringn' it up, so perhaps now be th' time to be tellin' th' tale o' th' Red Flag Fleet. It be also th' tale o' Cheng I Sao, th' ...
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15 votes
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How much evidence is there regarding the naval punishment of keelhauling?

It would seem that by the mid-18th Century, the act of keel-hauling was considered (by the British public, at least) to be a Dutch punishment. A contemporary dictionary gives the following definition: ...
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15 votes

What was the criminal charge of "pretending sodomy" in 1719 England?

"Pretend" comes from the Latin praetendere, from prae- ("before, in front of") + tendō ("stretch, strive for"). In the 1884 legal book "Commentaries on the Laws of ...
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14 votes

In England in 1700, would defending property with lethal force be illegal at all?

The Killing a Thief Act of 1532 (24 Hen. 8, c. 5) legalised using lethal force against highway robbers or home burglars as justifiable homicide. Eventually the British Parliament closed this gap in ...
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14 votes
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Who was the last person "Hanged, Drawn, and Quartered" under British jurisdiction?

The punishment of being "Hanged, drawn, and quartered" (sensu stricto, it should always be 'hanged', rather than 'hung') was abolished in England by the Forfeiture Act 1870: From and after the ...
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13 votes

Rape perpetrated by American soldiers during WWII?

Semaphore's answer is excellent, as usual. Let me add just an anecdotal perspective. Is their any evidence that rape was perpetrated by American soldiers during WWII? My grand-mother, a teenager ...
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13 votes

What documentary evidence is there that Roman crucifixion victims were completely nude?

Most lower class Romans and slaves wore only a knee length tunic, if they even had that much clothing. Many in modern times have indicated that wearing an undergarment was considered being naked, yet ...
13 votes
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Did Britain send convicts to Canada during the colonial era?

Yes. In 1730 and again in 1789, Britain sent convict ships to Newfoundland. However, neither experiment was successful as they found that St. John's could not incorporate the scores of new residents. ...
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13 votes
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What is this crime, "F and A", from the 1890's US?

The crime reported in the newspapers as "f. and a." was "Fornication and Adultery", as in this case from 1922: The penalty handed down to Oakey Ferguson in this case of "one year on road" meant ...
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12 votes

How and why did trade unions in America become influenced by organised crime, but unions in Britain didn't?

I don't know if there is a proven definitive answer to this, but let me propose an explanation from first principles. At the time that Labour Unions were organizing in North America, and lobbying for ...
12 votes
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Why was the Halifax death penalty reserved for thefts of at least 13½ pence?

13½d is a historical value called a loonslate. According to William Hone, it has a Scottish origin, being two-thirds of the Scottish pound, as the mark was two-thirds of the English pound. The same ...
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11 votes
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Why did the Nazis guillotine criminals but mostly hang political enemies, and why were the White Rose group an exception?

The key distinction was not between beheading and hanging, but rather "good" and "bad" beheading and "good" and "bad" hanging. Which in turn depended on the skill of the executioner. More highly ...
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11 votes

From 1936-45 what was the prescribed punishment in Nazi Germany for failing to join or participate in the Hitler Youth?

The Hitler Youth Act states: Section Four All regulations necessary for the execution and completion of this law will be issued by the Führer. This is government by decree, and is how ...
11 votes

Is this medieval picture of hanging 5 royals showing an historical event?

Apparently the illustration is from the Morgan Bible, depicting the execution by Joshua of the Amorite kings. For biblical context, see Joshua 10-11. According to Wikipedia, "The prevailing scholarly ...
  • 27.4k
10 votes

Rape perpetrated by American soldiers during WWII?

I just watched a report on TV in Germany about a book recently published Als die Soldaten kamen (When the soldiers came). The author researched the subject and interviewed numerous survivors all ...
10 votes

What documentary evidence is there that Roman crucifixion victims were completely nude?

Ancient sources are pretty vague about crucifixion. My understanding is that the naked element comes from two sources: a single sentence in the Oneirocritica and from ancient Jewish practice/law. In ...
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9 votes

How and why did trade unions in America become influenced by organised crime, but unions in Britain didn't?

I feel that answers linking crime to ethnicity should at least try to provide some documentation relative to the ethnicity of union ranks. I would say that the factor more important was the use of ...
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9 votes
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Meaning of the words "Wanted Dead Or Alive"

In the USA, people acting as Bounty Hunters have been (and in some cases still are today) legally allowed to arrest fugitives who have a valid warrant out for their arrest. If said fugitive uses ...
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