112 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 ...
user avatar
90 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 ...
user avatar
  • 28.1k
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 ...
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 ...
user avatar
51 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 ...
user avatar
  • 37.3k
43 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 ...
user avatar
  • 619
37 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 ...
user avatar
  • 2,215
35 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 ...
user avatar
34 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 ...
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. ...
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 ...
user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

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 ...
user avatar
25 votes

What were the reasons for making Prohibition a constitutional amendment?

As other answers have mentioned, there were state and local laws that prohibited alcohol before the Constitutional amendment. And there is the obvious fact that a Constitutional amendment is a more ...
user avatar
  • 1,116
25 votes

What does it mean that the early supreme court "gave themselves" the power of judicial review?

It is in the Constitution - implicitly. The it "isn't anywhere in the constitution" argument is frequently popular to different groups on different topics, but in this case at least has no legal basis ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k
25 votes
Accepted

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 ...
user avatar
  • 73.7k
25 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 ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k
24 votes
Accepted

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 ...
user avatar
  • 421
23 votes
Accepted

Why did monarchy become common practice after the fall of Rome?

The short answer is that it didn't. Monarchies did not become more common, and Europe in general did not adopt absolutist rule, immediately after the fall of Rome. First, to answer your literal ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k
19 votes
Accepted

Why is the charter of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations signed "HOWARD"?

Most likely because it was signed by Sir Robert Howard of Ashtead, Surrey[1], son of Thomas Howard the 1st Earl of Berkshire. As a royalist, he was made Clerk of Patents in Chancery[2] in June 1660, ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k
19 votes
Accepted

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 ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k
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 ...
user avatar
  • 76.2k
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 ...
user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

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 &...
user avatar
  • 3,239
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 ...
user avatar
  • 16.7k
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 ...
user avatar
  • 76.2k
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, ...
user avatar
  • 1,727
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.
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 ...
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 ...
user avatar
15 votes
Accepted

Has there ever been a successful "Anarchy"?

The "persisted for at least a few generations" and "conscious educated decision" requirements really nailed the coffin in this case. Especially that latter. It is not altogether uncommon to find ...
user avatar
  • 95.8k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible