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111 votes
Accepted

Has an individual ever purchased an entire country?

In 1699, Johann Adam Andreas von Liechtenstein bought Schellenberg and in 1712 the county of Vaduz. The county was operating under feudal principles, thus perhaps might not be considered a country in ...
Radovan Garabík's user avatar
94 votes

How did the USSR manage to innovate in an environment characterized by government censorship and high bureaucracy?

The USSR didn't tend to go in for economic competition, but it made good use of intellectual competition and competition for prestige. It was also relatively good at creating organisations that did a ...
John Dallman's user avatar
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55 votes
Accepted

Has there ever been a peaceful overthrow of a dictator or monarch?

The abdication of King Edward VIII of United Kingdom in 1936 was achieved without any bloodshed and resulted in ascension and coronation of his brother George as King of the United Kingdom. Although ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
53 votes
Accepted

Has there ever been an election where the two biggest parties form a coalition to govern?

Yes. This is called a grand coalition. That was the arrangement in Germany until a few years ago, and it has been very common in Austrian history too. Both of these countries use a system of ...
wonderbear's user avatar
51 votes

Has there ever been a peaceful overthrow of a dictator or monarch?

Murad V, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 30 May to 31 August 1876 was deposed by the Ottoman cabinet on the grounds of insanity. The Grand Mufti (seyhulislam) issued a fetva justifying the act ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
50 votes

Has an individual ever purchased an entire country?

In certain sense yes. Didius Julianus purchased the position of the Roman emperor in 193. This position was actually auctioned by Praetorian guards to the highest bidder, the Wikipedia article on ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 38.8k
44 votes

Has there ever been a peaceful overthrow of a dictator or monarch?

In 1946, Italy held a referendum to change from being a kingdom to a republic. The last king of Italy, Umberto II, left the country peacefully to live the rest of his life abroad. He also absolved ...
Rad80's user avatar
  • 629
38 votes

Has there ever been a peaceful overthrow of a dictator or monarch?

Queen Elizabeth II has been deposed many times and I guess holds the record for the most times someone has been deposed (peaceful or not). This has happened many times when a former British colony ...
JLK's user avatar
  • 2,213
36 votes

Who governed while Alexander the Great was away conquering Asia?

Alexander left Antipater in charge in Macedonia/Greece while he was off conquering. Antipater had previously served Alexander's father, Phillip II, and had also previously served as regent for ...
Kirk Andersen's user avatar
35 votes

How did the USSR manage to innovate in an environment characterized by government censorship and high bureaucracy?

Genuinely like John Dallman's answer, but I'll add some to it: Outside of Party political games, one way to live a better life in the USSR was to hold a position prized by the Party. And something ...
Italian Philosophers 4 Monica's user avatar
33 votes

Who had the shortest time in going from imprisonment to head of state within democratic processes?

Olusegun Obasanjo, President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 is a possible candidate. He was imprisoned in June 1995 on charges of being involved in plotting a coup and was released in June 1998. ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
31 votes

Has an individual ever purchased an entire country?

In 1846, The East India Company annexed the Kashmir Valley, Jammu, Ladakh, and Gilgit-Baltistan from the Sikhs, and then transferred it to Raja Gulab Singh of Jammu in return for an indemnity payment ...
Failed Scientist's user avatar
27 votes
Accepted

How could temporary surrender of self-government help Newfoundland with its debts?

Essentially, Newfoundland was put into a kind of receivership with its debt extensively restructured and then guaranteed by Britain, who additionally also supplied annual grants-in-aid. Suspending ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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26 votes
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In Britain, what was the "Junior Service" in 1913?

In British parlance the Royal Navy is The Senior Service due to having been created as a permanent establishment in Tudor times, while the Army only became permanent a few centuries later. The ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
25 votes
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How did Hitler imagine his succession? (for the case nazis would win the war)

The official, factual side As unsatisfactory as that might sound @JMS is rightly focussing on first Göring and then Dönitz/Goebbels, although the later declined to survive so that Schwerin von ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
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23 votes
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Which air minister said (before or during WW2) that parachute troops are just a circus?

this quote wasn't by ONE minister, it was by the whole French General Staff. page 3 The French military then dabbled briefly with the concept, creating two companies of paratroopers in 1936, but the ...
user50780's user avatar
  • 413
21 votes

Has there ever been an election where the two biggest parties form a coalition to govern?

In British history this has happened at least twice. Although major parties seem to prefer coalition with smaller parties, or after that minority government, over coalition with their greatest rival. ...
Ne Mo's user avatar
  • 14.1k
20 votes
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When did the White House get its current address, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?

The oldest mention I see of the White House being at "1600 Pennsylvania" is in The Advance 7 June 1906 which says: The President is not referred to in the rooms around Congress nowadays as &...
DavePhD's user avatar
  • 3,484
19 votes

Which air minister said (before or during WW2) that parachute troops are just a circus?

There are two questions here. The first question is about which Western air minister former Generaloberst Kurt Student was referring to in Chapter 32 of The Soviet Army. The second is whether that ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
19 votes

Has there ever been a peaceful overthrow of a dictator or monarch?

Augusto Pinochet, after 15 years as the dictator of Chile, stepped out of power because on the 5th October 1988 he lost a referendum with about 44% of votes and he accepted that result. Benito ...
José Carlos Santos's user avatar
18 votes

Has an individual ever purchased an entire country?

In 933 King Rudolph II of Burgundy and King Hugh of Burgundy both wished to rule Italy. So they made a deal. Hugh traded his kingdom of Burgundy to King Rudolph of the other kingdom of Burgundy, thus ...
MAGolding's user avatar
  • 19.3k
17 votes

Was there a time when a Senator was wheeled in from the hospital to cast a deciding vote not to do something?

Are you perhaps thinking of Maryland Senator George W. Vickers? He was elected to the US Senate in 1868, just as the impeachment trial of Andrew Johnson was getting underway. Apparently, men crossed ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
16 votes

Has there ever been a peaceful overthrow of a dictator or monarch?

The end of German Democratic Republic , a.k.a. East-Germany, was also quite peaceful. Prior to the German Reunification the GDR government applied some degree of oppression, yet the large-scale, ...
Dohn Joe's user avatar
  • 1,747
16 votes

Who had the shortest time in going from imprisonment to head of state within democratic processes?

I think the answer to your question is former Egyptian president Morsi, he escaped prison on January 30th 2011 and was sworn in as president on June 30th 2012.
thieupepijn's user avatar
16 votes

Who had the shortest time in going from imprisonment to head of state within democratic processes?

Józef Piłsudski was released from German prison on 8 November 1918 and became Chief of State 73 days later, on 20 January 1919. Some timeline in between: he was appointed Commander in Chief of Polish ...
Frax's user avatar
  • 261
16 votes
Accepted

How was the 1849 "Proclamation to the People of California" announcing the formation of a Constitution communicated to the people?

Territory Governor Riley, who had summoned the constitutional convention, had 1,000 English and 250 Spanish copied printed "post-haste" and distributed around the state. In addition, many of ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
15 votes

Which is the oldest, still current, government debt?

The definition of government debt is a bit problematic. What, exactly, constitutes a debt being "of the government" when we are looking at time frames much longer than most governments? I ...
DevSolar's user avatar
  • 14k
13 votes

Has there ever been a peaceful overthrow of a dictator or monarch?

Alfonso XIII of Spain, in 1931 On April 12, 1931, there were municipal elections. One year earlier, on January 28, 1930, the dictator Primo de Rivera resigned1. That dictatorship was a weird one, with ...
fedorqui's user avatar
  • 1,394
13 votes

How did the United Kingdom government come to be responsible for defence of the Channel Islands?

I'm afraid you're chasing a chimera. The answer really is there in the Wikipedia article on the Channel Islands, although perhaps it requires a bit of unpacking. And some details are scattered among ...
Spencer's user avatar
  • 5,295
12 votes

Was there any country/form of goverment that sustained itself with diverse population?

Most empires (Achaemenid, Roman, Eastern Roman, Osman, Austro-Hungarian and Russian) had very diverse populations and were quite sustainable. Even if you count Eastern Roman empire separately from the ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 38.8k

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