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77 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) ...
NSNoob's user avatar
  • 8,175
63 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 ...
justCal's user avatar
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57 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 ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
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52 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 ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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47 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 ...
justCal's user avatar
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39 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, ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
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 ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
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 "...
Semaphore's user avatar
  • 97.5k
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 ...
KillingTime's user avatar
  • 4,781
29 votes
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Were any U.S. founding fathers present at the storming of the Bastille?

There are 2 founding fathers (that I found) that were in France at the time of the French Revolution. 1. Thomas Jefferson On July 14, 1789, the U.S. Ambassador to France, Thomas Jefferson, was a ...
OldPadawan's user avatar
  • 1,729
28 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....
NSNoob's user avatar
  • 8,175
26 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, ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
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24 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 ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
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 ...
Alex's user avatar
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22 votes
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Why did the Schlieffen Plan prioritize invading France?

Plan, what plan, exactly? The "Schlieffen Plan" did not "prioritize" invading France. That plan was a relatively short memorandum and solely about invading France, with the ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.8k
21 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 ...
Fruit Monster's user avatar
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 ...
sds's user avatar
  • 26.9k
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 ...
justCal's user avatar
  • 39.7k
20 votes
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What do these terms in Caesar's Gallic Wars mean?

It is, perhaps easier to understand when compared with a map: image source Wikimedia CC BY-SA 4.0 Now, Caesar's meaning should be a little more clear. When he says: "The Belgae rises from the ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
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.
jjack's user avatar
  • 1,313
19 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 ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
19 votes
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Does it make sense to point cannons at a city (Marseille Fort St Jean)?

You answered your own question yourself: on the orders of Louis XIV who was displeased that the Marseillais had toppled the local governor It depends very much what you find more important: to ...
Jos's user avatar
  • 21.9k
18 votes
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What did Winston Churchill mean by this quote?

The speech was part of a secret session briefing on the situation in North Africa on 10 December 1942. The original papers are held at the UK National Archives under reference PREM3/442/12. That ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
18 votes
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Why did the French Army melt film during WWI?

SHORT ANSWER Films at the time were generally considered to have little, if any, artistic value. Nor was it believed that they had any commercial value once they had been seen by the public. Thus, ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
18 votes
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The WWI Christmas truce of 1914 resulted in no consequences, in spite of clear warnings against such beforehand - why were there no courts-martial?

First, for clarity, it is worth noting the commanding officers of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in December 1914: Sir John French was the Commander-in-Chief of the BEF. Under him were ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
17 votes
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What are the "sexual causes" for the French Revolution cited in Wikipedia?

That section seems to have been added without any supporting citation by an anonymous user on 1 November 2019. Given France was a Catholic country in which polygamy was illegal at that time, I'd say ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
16 votes

When did French become the official language of France?

In 1539, the Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts established (among many other things: 192 articles) that all legal and notarised documents were to be written exclusively in French (articles 110 and 111). ...
mat's user avatar
  • 453
16 votes

Why conceal the innocence of Alfred Dreyfus?

The short answer is that we do not know for certain. The most likely answer, and the one that has gained consensus with most historians, is simply that the French high command considered that its ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
16 votes

Is that armistice wagon photograph authentic?

French Wikipedia may be in error here. The English version shows the same photo but no specific time or date for it is mentioned. Given the timing involved, the 05:30 time may of course well be ...
jwenting's user avatar
  • 11.3k
16 votes
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Were there any elections under the Vichy regime?

As per the decree law of 16 November 1940, elections were only allowed for the "smallest communes". This law was published in the Journal Officiel 12 December 12, 1940 and ...provided for the ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar

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