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164 votes
Accepted

Why is the consensus that WW2 started on September 1, 1939 and not July 7, 1937?

Actually, good arguments can be put forward for both dates as the the 'start' of World War 2. In fact a number of other dates have also been suggested for the 'start' of World War 2, including: ...
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150 votes
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Did medieval scholars believe the Earth was round?

Lyon's theory is rather flawed. First of all, the Etymologiae was written in the 7th century. Just because one paragraph from one chapter in the book might possibly be construed as implying a flat ...
  • 96.3k
137 votes
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Why did Native Americans die from European diseases while Europeans didn't catch serious diseases from the New World?

Europeans were introduced to at least one important disease from the Americas (syphilis), but far more Old World pathogens were introduced to the Americas than vice versa. There are several reasons ...
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115 votes
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Why was Poland spared from the Black Death?

Poland wasn't actually "spared", it was merely less affected than the rest of Europe. That graphic is incorrect (or rather, incomplete), since a substantial number of both Poland and Milan's ...
  • 96.3k
99 votes

Why was Germany not as successful as other Europeans in establishing overseas colonies?

Which Germany do you mean? Something that can reasonably called a German nation-state was founded only in 1871, when Prussia first defeated France and then unified most German states under their ...
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96 votes

Was hay invented only in the Middle Ages in Europe?

The Roman writer on agriculture Columella, who died around AD 70, gives a detailed description of the manufacture of hay (Latin: faenum) in his de re rustica 2.18, which reads as follows in the Loeb ...
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78 votes
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Why are the German and French languages so different?

Defense of German heritage against Romans The biggest reason for how the lands east of the Rhine retained their German identity (unlike the Gauls of modern day France who lost their Celtic identity) ...
  • 8,133
75 votes

Did medieval scholars believe the Earth was round?

Thomas Aquinas wrote a number of works in the 13th century, some of which were introductory (at least to medieval students - less so to today's students, who are not familiar with scholastic ...
70 votes
Accepted

Which European Languages are not Indo-European?

Overview Since there are a fair amount of them, languages are grouped below by language family: Basque A linguistic isolate native to the Pyrenees mountains between Spain, and France. Source: &...
64 votes
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How did such a relatively minor event as the assassination of an archduke start World War I?

The assassination itself did not cause the war — it only caused the first declaration of war in World War One. What really happened between the assassination (June 28) and the eruption of war (...
59 votes
Accepted

Was England considered a "colony" of France?

I'm going to say that England should not be considered as having been a colony of France. From the wiki page for colony a colony is a territory under the immediate political control of a state, ...
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58 votes
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How were Martello towers supposed to work?

That was the whole idea behind it. Not every bit of coastline is liable to invasion. Only on certain beaches troops could be landed. Steep cliffs and dangerous shallows didn't need protection. Place a ...
  • 17.9k
57 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 5,493
56 votes

Is it true that Proto-Ukrainians conquered Europe and India?

Based on what you've told us, your teacher is most likely thinking of the Proto-Indo-European people (Note: I am NOT saying it is accurate to call the PIE people "Proto-Ukrainians"). According to the ...
  • 96.3k
54 votes

Why aren't there major cities on the Atlantic coast of France?

First because most cities in France are much smaller than cities in the US. Compare a list of French cities by population with the same for the US. There are 11 cities in the US bigger than the 2nd ...
  • 53.1k
53 votes

Why was the Scout movement so successful?

Baden-Powell had been besieged in the town of Mafeking during the Second Boer War. He had formed the Mafeking Cadet Corps, which was a group of youths that supported the defending troops by carrying ...
  • 76.5k
53 votes

What is the oldest European royal house?

In terms of continuously dateable genealogy, it is probably the Bagratids of Georgia, the current head of which is disputed between three branches. The Georgian branch was founded by Adarnase in the ...
  • 96.3k
53 votes
Accepted

How common were marital duels in medieval Europe?

Not that common. Very curiously, we do not see husband and wife, necessarily, in these pictures. Talhoffer only writes of man ("er") and woman ("frow"). (More illustrations, with ...
51 votes
Accepted

Why did Europeans (and not people in other regions) dominate oceans?

Europeans had an incentive to explore the Atlantic because they were dependent on the trade routes which pass through Arab territory. The Arabs and other peoples living in the Middle East made a lot ...
  • 633
47 votes

Why did Europe not see Roman-era numbers of men participating in battles until the 17th century?

A major reason would be logistics. It's not all about population sizes. The strength of an army is constrained not just by its manpower sources, but also by the logistical infrastructure available to ...
  • 96.3k
47 votes

Did medieval scholars believe the Earth was round?

Well, it isn't exactly true that medieval scholars understood the world to be round. They were much, much more subtle in their thinking that that. You see, it was quite clear that the world couldn't ...
  • 1,753
46 votes

Why did Native Americans die from European diseases while Europeans didn't catch serious diseases from the New World?

Several good answers have already been suggested, but there are a few very important points that are worth mentioning: Native Americans were badly unprepared for the emergence of epidemic disease ...
45 votes

Why is the consensus that WW2 started on September 1, 1939 and not July 7, 1937?

Because it was the participation of the British and French empires, beginning with Declarations of War against Germany on Sept. 3, 1939, that turned several isolated regional conflicts into a World ...
44 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 76.5k
44 votes

Are there any accounts of everyday life during the Black Death?

Chronicle of the Black Death There is a chronicle from the British Library which I will link to. It was written at the cathedral priory of Rochester between 1314 and 1350, and deals with everyday life ...
41 votes

How literate were common people in Medieval Europe?

Here are some semi-random quotes. I do not have time to chase the references, but they are coming from a modern professional historian, not from a You-tube personality, so I'd take his numbers ...
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40 votes
Accepted

Did people use to marry much younger during the last millennium?

Not really. Generally speaking, most European women since married in their early to mid twenties, to men in their mid to late twenties. The age gap for the commoners, i.e. the vast majority of the ...
  • 96.3k
39 votes
Accepted

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 ...
  • 96.3k
39 votes

What is the most number of times someone has become leader of a European country?

Aristide Briand was Prime Minister of France 6 non-contiguous times: Jul. 24, 1909 - Mar 2, 1911 Jan 21, 1913 - Mar. 22, 1913 Oct. 29, 1915 - Mar. 20, 1917 Jan. 16, 1921 - Jan 15, 1922 Nov. 28, 1925 ...

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