79 votes

Is it true that slavery was endemic in Sub-Saharan Africa previous to the establishment of the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

Africa Slavery is an ancient universal institution, which appeared independently in all cultures and societies which reached a certain level of productivity per capita. Early hunter-gatherers did not ...
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  • 25.6k
71 votes
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Has an heir ever made the country believe the current ruler died in order to take over the throne?

Yes. King John of England attempted to take the throne from Richard I while he was on crusade. Richard's delayed return was due to the fact that he had been taken prisoner by Leopold V, Duke of ...
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65 votes

Did slaves have slaves?

This happened in Roman Times judging by two notes in Slaves doing business: the role of Roman law in the economy of a Roman household by Richard Gamauf (2009): A Roman slave could hold property which,...
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63 votes
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Did slaves have slaves?

Short Answer Yes. There are examples of slaves owning slaves from different historical periods and in different regions of the world, including: Ancient Near East Early Medieval Sunni Islam Late ...
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52 votes
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What led some people to (correctly) believe that there was no land under the ice cap at the North Pole?

The answer lies in your second map, and the extensive exploration of Siberia's Arctic sea coast through the 1600's in search of a Northern Passage. Note how well mapped that area has become in the ...
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42 votes
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Has there ever been an archbishop or bishop younger than the 16-year-old James of Nicosia?

I'd imagine that the youngest ever bishop would have to be Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany, the second son of King George III. Image source Wikimedia Born on 16 August 1763, he was ...
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  • 76.4k
41 votes
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Why did piracy thrive in the late 17th and early 18th centuries?

The creation and expansion of European empires during the Age of Discovery resulted in the expansion of trade routes to new colonies and trading posts across the world. The vast areas of these trade ...
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  • 18.1k
39 votes
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What is the silver object on the desk and what is 'Elizabeth I' doing with it?

It's a pounce pot, being used to dry the wet ink without having to blot it. As noted here, the pounce itself could be made from any of powdered gum sandarac; crushed pumice (origin of pounce I ...
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35 votes
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Did galley captains put corks in the mouths of slave rowers to keep them quiet?

Yes, this does seem to have happened on some galleys but evidence for the widespread use of this practice is lacking. Concerning conditions in general on galleys (rations, clothing, treatment etc.), ...
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30 votes

Has an heir ever made the country believe the current ruler died in order to take over the throne?

Although he was not an heir to the French throne, general Claude François de Malet attempted a coup in France, in 1812. After escaping from captivity, he informed the National Guard that Napoleon had ...
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  • 409
30 votes
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What would have been the price of a loaf of bread in 1645 Amsterdam?

According to this database (specifically the spreadsheet file, column D) a 100kg of rye bread cost 8.22 guilder in the western Netherlands in 1645, which should at least give you a rough idea to ...
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  • 17.5k
27 votes
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Who are the three men standing and what are they holding at this University of Paris Doctors' Meeting?

The three man are, also according to the text, the three rectors present at a faculty meeting. The staffs they are carrying are rectorial staffs ("Rektorstab"), symbolising their honour and ...
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  • 77.2k
21 votes
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Did Peter the Great promote rights for women? If so, how?

The short answer is he didn't, not really. By "participated more actively", your source likely just means socialisation, rather than women's rights or activity in general society. To be sure, some of ...
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  • 96.2k
21 votes

Is it true that slavery was endemic in Sub-Saharan Africa previous to the establishment of the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

Islam dominated slave trade between the 7th and the 15th century, while the Christians entered the market of human flesh much later - 1519 to 1815 is the period of Christian slave trading. It is ...
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19 votes

What would have been the price of a loaf of bread in 1645 Amsterdam?

I don't think you're going to find anything close to the precision you are asking for here. And as DevSolar has commented I think you are way off the mark by specifying prices in gold. I do have one ...
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  • 3,143
18 votes
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How long did it take to get news of the sighting of the Spanish Armada from Land’s End to London?

It seems to me that there are a number of variables to this, many of which would vary from beacon to beacon, so getting an 'accurate' transmission time for the information is going to be almost ...
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  • 4,688
15 votes

What was the reaction to English monarchs using the title "King of France"?

How did other countries take/recognise this title (the largest/most important, like Spain, Holy Roman Empire, Austria, Poland/Lithuania, the Pope, Ottoman Empire maybe)? Was it just taken "it's ...
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  • 2,098
14 votes
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Why did Ottoman Army use camels in the Siege of Vienna 1683?

SHORT ANSWER The Ottomans used camels because they have several advantages over horses. Among other things, they can carry more than horses and adapt well to a variety of climates (even cold ones) ...
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14 votes

Has there ever been an archbishop or bishop younger than the 16-year-old James of Nicosia?

Hugh of Vermandois became Archbishop of Reims in 925, at only five years old. It was part of a rebellion by his father, Hugh II of Vermandois. Hugh II joined with Robert, Count of Paris, and father of ...
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  • 3,232
13 votes

Livery and Barons

No baron would ever wear the livery of another. Livery originated in Europe in the 14th century and was applied within the household and by followers of the noble they owed fealty to. A baron would ...
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  • 1,265
13 votes
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How did Jean Parisot de Valette, 49th Grand Master of the Order of Malta, die?

It seems that all those sources may preserve elements of how Jean Parisot de La Valette died. In his 1864 history, The Knights of Malta, Whitworth Porter described La Valette's death as follows: ...
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  • 76.4k
12 votes

Is it true that slavery was endemic in Sub-Saharan Africa previous to the establishment of the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

I am going to do something apparently silly, and answer my own question. That's because the question is not originally mine, but by a user named Maria BI. She asked this in Skeptics stackexchange, ...
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12 votes
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How many languages did Leibniz speak?

Among his other accomplishments, Leibniz was one of the pioneers of what we today call Linguistics. This means he studied a lot of languages, but would have had a smaller set he actually was good ...
11 votes
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How did society regard identical twins in the 17th century in Europe?

I think it's safe to say that they were regarded not that differently than they are today. An easy example is Shakespeare's A Comedy of Errors, from the beginning of the 17th century. That play ...
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11 votes

Has an heir ever made the country believe the current ruler died in order to take over the throne?

I'm not sure if this counts or not, since it wasn't a monarchy, the successor actually thought the ruler was dead initially (as a result of the detonation of the bomb that he had planted,) and it also ...
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  • 741
10 votes

Is it true that slavery was endemic in Sub-Saharan Africa previous to the establishment of the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

Slavery was common to most ancient societies. On a more specific question about Muslim slave trade in Africa, it lasted from the 7th to the 19th centuries, and some estimates claim 18.5 million ...
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  • 37.5k
9 votes
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How and why did the Cavalry lance temporarily fall out of favour during the 16-18th centuries?

Because lances were unwieldy but required significant training to be proficient in. Their usefulness was progressively declining against the increasingly attractive (and cost-effective) firearms. ...
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9 votes

Why didn't early modern Christians object to pagan symbolism in art?

I had a copy of 'Os Lusiadas' (the epic poem written by the Portuguese Camões), with a preface written by a contemporary (XVI century) bishop. I do not remember the exact words, by the general idea ...
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  • 3,842
9 votes

Why didn't early modern Christians object to pagan symbolism in art?

Not a specialist, but my understanding is there were multiple competing trends at work since Christianity has been a thing. As an answer, I'd stress that the introduction of christianity itself was ...
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9 votes
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Aside from Henry VIII, did a king ever take part in a joust as an unknown knight (incognito)?

Yes. King Edward III took part in more than 50 tournaments, sometimes incognito. His son and heir, the Black Prince, also jousted incognito, as did many knights during Edward III's reign. The Annales ...
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