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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) ...
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62 votes

What was the point of horse armour?

I would contend that we tend to overestimate the effectiveness of bows vs armour, and that the armour would likely prevent at least some percentage of the damage to the mount. If we look at the wiki ...
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58 votes
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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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In 19th century France, were police able to send people to jail without a trial, as presented in "Les Misérables"?

This is a plausible description. Probably not 'the norm' in how it went down exactly, but easily filed under 'could have happened'. But it is essential to not generalise this too far. Since the ...
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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 ...
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51 votes
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Why did the population of Descartes, France increase by so much in the 1960's?

Based on this page from the French School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, it appears that the neighbouring Balsesmes merged into La Haye-Descartes in 1966, before the combined commune was ...
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48 votes
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What happened to these buildings near the Seine?

They were not regular construction, but exhibits for the Exposition Universelle (1900), showing different cultures side by side: Each country funded, designed and on occasion constructed their ...
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46 votes

Why did Great Britain switch its alliance to France?

British policy on the continent has traditionally been to maintain the balance of power (this is also really a general European thing). This amounted to shifting alliances all over the continent. ...
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38 votes
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Was a passport needed to travel between UK and France in 1972?

Piecing together various sources, it is clear that there was a no-passport agreement between the United Kingdom and France from 1961 until 1984 and that, even after the termination of this agreement, ...
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37 votes
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Why was France given such a lenient peace after Napoleon was defeated?

The attitude in the early 19 century was somewhat different. No one considered these wars as wars "against France", I mean against the French people. These were the wars against Napoleon, and earlier ...
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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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35 votes
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How did slavery become permissible in the French West Indies when it was forbidden in France?

Louis X's decree in 1315 did not abolish slavery. That's a historical myth. First, the ordonnance did not say anything about slaves, and explicitly mentioned that it was applicable to persons "...
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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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29 votes
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Did Napoleon plan to invade India?

The answer is a very solid yes although I'd prefer the word Intervene rather than invade. India was one of the key possessions of British and Indian trade was crucial to British economy at that time....
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28 votes

Why did Great Britain switch its alliance to France?

I agree with much of Semaphore's answer, which shows that actually Britain and France were not in a state of perpetual war. But I think your question really relates to "What changed?" so I'll try to ...
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  • 607
26 votes

When was France fully liberated?

Atlantic pockets The answer is surprisingly difficult to find on Wikipedia. I persisted in searching and finally found this: German military administration in occupied France during World War II ...
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  • 569
25 votes

Why are the German and French languages so different?

The Franks were a German tribe, speaking a Germanic language. They conquered part of the Roman Empire roughly corresponding to modern-day France. However, the common folk in that area spoke Latin, ...
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25 votes
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Do any historians consider superior German airpower as the most important factor in the Battle of France?

To my surprise, this may be somewhat accurate. In the critical Battle of Sedan on May 13, Guderian fielded 1st and 2nd Panzer divisions, reinforced by Grossdeutchland infantry regiment, one regiment ...
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24 votes

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

Bordeaux and Nantes are major cities and their proximity to the Atlantic coast was key to their development so there is nothing unusual about France in this respect, it does have some major port ...
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23 votes

Was England considered a "colony" of France?

It shouldn't. Before conquering England, William the Bastard was Duke of Normandy, a political entity that had been separate from West Francia (by 1066, the Kingdom of France) since 911 C.E. The ...
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  • 380
23 votes
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Which king was this?

This anecdote is from Walter Scott's novel Quentin Durward. The king is Louis XI. The guy who predicts the future is Martius (Marti) Galeotti, Italian astrologist. The guard who is supposed to kill ...
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22 votes

Was the Battle of Trafalgar strategically pointless?

In order to be strategically pointless, it must be the case that a victory the other way would have had a negligibly different effect on subsequent historical events. Consider the possibility that as ...
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20 votes
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Was either side legally in the right in the Hundred Years War?

The legal situation was not as clear as the question assumes, because neither of the reasons cited were valid at the time. While people often apply Salic Law to the dispute in 1328, this is ...
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  • 95.8k
20 votes

Did 17th Cent. French Gentlemen Necessarily Use a Scabbard for Dress Swords?

A scabbard is paired with the sword it is supposed to encase, not with the belt to which it is attached. Carrying a sword without a scabbard is not a very good idea (to put it mildly): not only it is ...
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20 votes
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Did French people in 19th century not bathe every day?

This does seem to be the case. Since the story is set in Paris, we can look at some relevant info. A reference relates fear of bathing to the plague, spoken of here: The habit of bathing took ...
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20 votes
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What are the dates of these panoramas of Paris?

Acknowledgement: this answer owes a debt to some of the comments posted under the question and under this answer, especially Kimchilover. There is conclusive evidence that all three images are from ...
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20 votes

What was the point of horse armour?

Knights didn't just face longbows. There were also swords, pikes, maces etc. on the battlefield and good plate armor also protected against firearms. Two knights fighting on the battlefield - they're ...
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19 votes
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Were there elections in France under the absolute monarchy?

Yes. Absolutism is rarely, if ever, as absolute as the name suggests. Even after the ascension of Louis XIV, the Estates of France continued to meet in assemblies. The most famous and powerful was of ...
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  • 95.8k
19 votes

What type of military uniform is this?

This is a French soldier from the 13th Batallion Chasseurs Alpins. They are light infantry mountain troops.
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18 votes
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Why were Morocco and Tunisia made a French protectorate, but Algeria annexed as part of France?

One of the main differences between Algeria and other Maghreb countries controlled by France was the extensive settlements established there. European settlers began arriving immediately after the ...
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