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57 votes
Accepted

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
  • 80.8k
44 votes

What is a major historical event historians are deeply divided over?

On a lighter note (compared to the suggestions in other answers), possibly more suited to 12-year olds and with no possible covert political/religious/etc message, try: Did Robin Hood exist? Did King ...
Allure's user avatar
  • 6,319
43 votes

What is a major historical event historians are deeply divided over?

The Anglo-Saxon invasion/settlement of Britain? It's agreed that in the space of a few centuries, most of Britain went from being: mixed Christian/Pagan in religion mostly Celtic-speaking by language ...
Vince Bowdren's user avatar
36 votes

What is a major historical event historians are deeply divided over?

How about the Late Bronze Age collapse? It would fit nicely into the background you provided under point three and I think could be explained at an age-appropriate level with lots of somewhat commonly ...
haarigertroll's user avatar
32 votes

Were Patton's and/or other generals' vehicles prominently flagged with stars (and if so, why)?

This is called a pennant (I hope I translated that correctly, "Stander" in German). Flying a pennant has disadvantages (as you mentioned), but it also has advantages. Allowing messengers to ...
DevSolar's user avatar
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25 votes
Accepted

Did medieval people wear collars with a castellated hem?

The basic form of this garment is like the gugel, a hood that protects the head and also covers the shoulders. The precursors for these are Roman paenula or Alpine Kotze made from various types of ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.8k
24 votes

What is a major historical event historians are deeply divided over?

Well it's a pity that the only civil war your class is aware of is a fictional one between superheroes, because otherwise the US civil war fits your criteria perfectly I think. My personal opinion and ...
thieupepijn's user avatar
22 votes

What is a major historical event historians are deeply divided over?

Troy You can start with the Schliemann discovery, the so-called Priam's treasure, the realization that there were different layers, pinpointing Troy VII as probable Homeric Troy. Fits into the ...
o.m.'s user avatar
  • 17k
19 votes

Are the Sabean people of Cushitic or Ethiopian origin?

tl; dr Are the Sabean people of Ethiopian origin? No. The evidence suggests that they originated in the region now known as South Arabia. Did the Sabean people truly exist? We have the remains of ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
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18 votes
Accepted

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms why do people still use bamboo sticks when paper had already been invented?

Yes, this is historically accurate. Writing on bamboo slips was not entirely abandoned until the 4th century CE---over a century after the Romance of the Three Kingdoms takes place. As the Wikipedia ...
Brian Z's user avatar
  • 20.9k
14 votes

Did a fallen-out red signal lens ever cause a railway accident?

A lot of confusion here, but a kernel of truth. The book Railroad Signaling (2003, pp. 47-49) gives a fairly detailed account of how the color coding of signals evolved over time. It mentions that the ...
Brian Z's user avatar
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14 votes

Is there any evidence in history to suggest that there was a Melanchro (dark-skinned) population in Colchis as claimed by Herodotus?

tl; dr The answer to the question in your title is that it depends on what you (and Herodotus) mean by 'dark-skinned'. There is certainly no evidence of any large black African population in Colchis ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
14 votes

What is a major historical event historians are deeply divided over?

Did Marco Polo Really Go to China? There are two major theories/groupings about Marco Polo's claims and publications that he travelled to China with his uncles and lived there for many years. It ...
RBarryYoung's user avatar
13 votes

Did medieval people wear collars with a castellated hem?

The hood and the 'distinctive castellated margin' mentioned by the OP are really two separate features, so this answer will focus on the decorative hem, which was called dagging. A very informative ...
justCal's user avatar
  • 39.7k
13 votes

What is a major historical event historians are deeply divided over?

The Kennedy assassination would seem a prime example of disputed history, as would the role of the Mafia in John Kennedy's election as President. The Rosenberg trial would be another. Whether the ...
JohnHunt's user avatar
  • 255
11 votes
Accepted

What is the reasoning behind these huge numbers for participants in the Battle of Grunwald 1410?

The first source below confirms: that given numbers in the past may be unreliable quotes the Lübeck Chronicle with similar numbers As tremendous as the battle and the decision of Tannenberg was, and ...
Mark Johnson's user avatar
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10 votes

Are the Sabean people of Cushitic or Ethiopian origin?

A few things that I think need to be cleared up here. First: When the ancients said "Ethiopia", they generally meant the territory directly south of Egypt, what we today call Sudan. They were not ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
10 votes
Accepted

How was Herodotus able to get accounts of the Battle of Thermopylae?

Firstly, your assertion that: > It is said he recorded the last words of the Spartans "stranger go tell Sparta we lie here obedient to her laws " is incorrect. That is actually the wording of an ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
10 votes
Accepted

How realistic is the food consumption in Astrid Lindgrens 'Emil of Lönneberga' books?

There are several aspects to observe: The narrated timeframe We have a fictional account of which the author claimed to have based it on her own childhood and that of her father. It is thus already ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.8k
10 votes

What is a major historical event historians are deeply divided over?

I recently read that some years ago, some scholars formed the view that there never was an Catharic heresy, much less a Catharic religion, not even a separate Catharic "church" organisation. ...
Jan's user avatar
  • 9,187
10 votes

What is a major historical event historians are deeply divided over?

Factors I'm using Preferably, it should be about some subject that they have already learned If possible, there should be only two big theories (and maybe a few alternatives with minority support), ...
January First-of-May's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Is Josephus' account for the length of the Jewish War generally accepted as correct?

I doubt that anyone has been bothered by this coincidence because it's not terribly unlikely. If there are 12 months in the year and if wars last a random amount of time, one war in twelve will end in ...
Mark Olson's user avatar
  • 7,688
9 votes
Accepted

How do historians deal with inconsistencies?

Those inconsistencies are exactly when historiography becomes crucial to historical understanding. Disagreement between sources raises questions about the quality of the sources and those who reported ...
Aaron Brick's user avatar
  • 27.5k
9 votes

How often were Soviet records faked?

The stated goal of existence of Soviet Union was to make its citizens happy, and to establish socialism in the whole world (to make all people happy). This does not mean that this stated goal ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 38.8k
9 votes

What is a major historical event historians are deeply divided over?

Who first discovered America? Common ‘wisdom’ in the US is that it was Christopher Columbus, and the public schools in the US generally say exactly nothing more. Prior to that though, the Norse ...
Austin Hemmelgarn's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Cryptography used by Red Army in Polish-Bolshevik war

Soviet Union in that time? As a quick aside, we would know that the Soviet Union did not use any forms of encryption at this time as the Soviet Union did not exist yet. The ratification of the USSR ...
Anaryl's user avatar
  • 3,145
8 votes

Is the use of flamethrower style naval weapons depicted in this game accurate?

Greatly exaggerated, but basically correct for a video game. You are correct that a fire ship is a ship deliberately set on fire, and possibly filled with explosives, and sent into an enemy fleet to ...
Schwern's user avatar
  • 55.1k
7 votes

How often were Soviet records faked?

The Soviet Union started as essentially 150 million illiterate slaves, and within a half century became one of the world super powers, with nuclear weapons, a space program, world class physics and ...
Astor Florida's user avatar
7 votes

What is the source for this story about Plato expelling a student?

This anecdote is quite common, many versions do not have "expel him", and it is more frequently associated with Euclid rather than Plato. Which is more natural. After all Plato did not teach ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 38.8k
7 votes

Cryptography used by Red Army in Polish-Bolshevik war

The information on this subject is scarce. We positively know that Tsarist army during WWI had all the sorts of contemporary cryptography, but the Red Army got only a small part of it. First special ...
Matt's user avatar
  • 4,338

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