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59 votes
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Why does the Great Wall of China follow such a bendy route?

The Chinese designed the wall to be an effective barrier; that was the goal. To answer your question, we need to ask: what land barrier stopped foreign troops the best? The answer in China, and ...
Astor Florida's user avatar
51 votes
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Why did Europeans (and not people in other regions) dominate oceans?

Europeans had an incentive to explore the Atlantic because they were dependent on the trade routes which pass through Arab territory. The Arabs and other peoples living in the Middle East made a lot ...
Pablo's user avatar
  • 633
30 votes
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Why didn't the Black Death result in favorable results for surviving peasants in China?

Firstly, there's no reason to think it didn't. In fact, it's fairly routine for afflicted regions to receive government subsidies in Imperial China. As early as AD 218, the Book of the Later Han ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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23 votes

Why did Europeans (and not people in other regions) dominate oceans?

China was a single state. If the emperor decide to stop long distance sea voyages (as did the Hongxi Emperor) they would stop. Europe had the advantage of being split in many states. The ruler of one ...
José Carlos Santos's user avatar
20 votes

Why does the Great Wall of China follow such a bendy route?

The Great Wall of China: It is the longest man-made construction in the world. In the old times, it was of great military importance of preventing the enemies' intrusion and was regarded as the '...
Ken Graham's user avatar
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19 votes
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Why do some sections of Great Wall of China seem to be bidirectional?

The portions of the wall in your photos were rebuilt for tourism after 1970 or so. Looking at reconstructed wall is not a good method for determining the original design. You'd have to look at how the ...
Astor Florida's user avatar
18 votes
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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
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16 votes

What are some Chinese sources testifying the extreme weather events of 535-536 CE?

The chronicles Beishi 北史 "History of the North" and Nanshi 南史 "History of the South" have at least some of what you are looking for. The Nanshi chronicle mentions frost and snow. This is cited in ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
15 votes
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Why did the Mongols outlaw intermarriage between the Mongols and the Chinese and forbid the Chinese from learning the Mongolian language?

Under the Yuan Dynasty, although the Mongols were the most privileged group politically, they were not the dominant group demographically. In fact, Mongols were an extremely tiny minority in Yuan ...
Semaphore's user avatar
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14 votes

Why did Europeans (and not people in other regions) dominate oceans?

I suggest that the reason was the Mediterranean. European civilizations had lots of places to sail to that could be reached, profitably, with fairly primitive technology. Starting with the Illiad &...
jamesqf's user avatar
  • 2,885
12 votes

Why did Europeans (and not people in other regions) dominate oceans?

I think we first have to ask what we mean when we say that the Europeans “dominate[d] oceans.” You describe this as something that “becomes more obvious after the fifteenth century,” when Europe ...
Davislor's user avatar
  • 1,537
12 votes

How did China deal with the Black Death during the second plague pandemic?

We may not yet know: On the heels of the European epidemic, a widespread disaster occurred in China during 1353–1354. Chinese accounts of this wave of the disease record a spread to eight distinct ...
MCW's user avatar
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11 votes

Why have eunuchs been so influential in Chinese history?

Chinese eunuchs were the personal servants of the emperor and his household; being close and having the ear of the emperor gives you power. An eunuch could help you by putting in a good word; eunuchs ...
congusbongus's user avatar
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11 votes

Why did Europeans (and not people in other regions) dominate oceans?

Complex and disputed social, economical and cultural reasons With decent technology and a brave and enterpreneurish heart anyone can be a sea explorer. Leif Erikson from Iceland reached America, ...
b.Lorenz's user avatar
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11 votes

What are some Chinese sources testifying the extreme weather events of 535-536 CE?

The main descriptions of the abnormal weather is found as mentioned in the other answers from the 北史/南史 beishi/nanshi which mentions snow in September and August respectively. As for the highlighted ...
AlphaD's user avatar
  • 211
11 votes

What are the historical equivalents of cooperative storytelling like modern role-playing games?

This is only a partial answer (by challenging the frame) but way too long for a comment ... I believe that there will be no clear answer because wargaming and RPGs influenced each other in ways that ...
o.m.'s user avatar
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10 votes

How did East Asia circa 1500 produce cosmetics?

Many of the following are anachonistic; I wanted to test to see if there was information on Asian cosmetics in history. I think the answer is yes; I selected the following from pages of results. 3000 ...
MCW's user avatar
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7 votes
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Did Song troops spread black beans on the ground as a means to defeat the superior Jin cavalry? If so, in which battle?

Not sure if anyone will read this, but... From Baidu (https://baike.baidu.com/item/连环计/5842#ref_[2]_5340118): 1.毕再遇连环计 “Bi Zaiyu Uses Chain Stratagems” 宋代将领毕再遇就曾经运用连环计,打过漂亮的仗。他分析金人强悍,骑兵尤其勇猛,...
Guest's user avatar
  • 94
7 votes
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What was the de facto rule by which the imperial title was transmitted in various Chinese dynasties?

What was the de facto rule by which the imperial title was transmitted in various Chinese dynasties? What were the rules of succession during the different dynasties[?] The de facto rule of ...
lly's user avatar
  • 2,033
6 votes

Were there ever Taoist missionaries?

Taoism gained much popularity by the end of the Southern Song period. When the Mongol Empire started invading, they had the habit of massacring the whole population after a city was sacked. Taoist ...
Yu Zhang's user avatar
  • 199
6 votes
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How did the Chinese crossbows that shot bullets work?

"Rifle" is a bit ill defined here. A rifle is: a firearm designed to be fired from the shoulder, with a barrel that has a helical groove or pattern of grooves ("rifling") cut into the barrel walls. ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.9k
6 votes

Why did Europeans (and not people in other regions) dominate oceans?

My professional historian girlfriend points out that the question ignores the worldwide Arab traders who dominated ocean traffic, or the Phonecians. I'd add that my understanding is that much of ...
MCW's user avatar
  • 33.8k
6 votes

Were Mongol or Chinese cavalry charges among the largest in history?

While both Mongolian and Chinese mounted armies could easily outnumber those of the American or European at any point in history, it should be noted that the Mongols or Chinese hosts didn't really ...
Gavin Gnaster's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Were Mongol or Chinese cavalry charges among the largest in history?

I suggested in the comments above, earlier, that the Hindustan peninsula might have some appropriate examples. A cursory look at the Moghul, Maratha and Bengali armies, etc, did show that the cavalry ...
gktscrk's user avatar
  • 10.8k
6 votes

What are some Chinese sources testifying the extreme weather events of 535-536 CE?

I would like to conglomerate some of the supposed events here, as given from the primary historical sources from 《北史》 (History of the Northern Dynasties) and 《南史》 (History of the Southern Dynasties). ...
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 1,100
6 votes
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How much (area) territory did Chinese dynasties control?

According to this Wikipedia list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_empires1 The Xia dynasty was at its largest about 1800 BC with an estimated area of about 450,000 square kilometers or ...
MAGolding's user avatar
  • 19.3k
6 votes
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Where to find Cixi‘s 1865 decree dismissing Prince Gong?

This is the handwritten decree that it was referring to (relevant content boxed in red): Text (with corrections; courtesy of https://kknews.cc/history/epbl22y.html) 「恭親王從議政以來,妄自尊大,諸多驕敖(傲),以(依)...
dROOOze's user avatar
  • 1,100
6 votes
Accepted

Where/when does the wok start to differentiate itself from pot-style cooking vessels?

The Chinese word itself from which we borrowed our concept of this implement seems to be much older than the actual pan/pot we understand this utensil to be now. The frying/cooking methods this ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.9k
5 votes

Where does the phrase "behind the wind" come from?

I can't answer when the term was first used but I can take a guess on why it was called that. Arab sailors sailing the spice routes would have been dependent on the winds. Crossing the Indian Ocean, ...
Steve Bird's user avatar
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