59 votes
Accepted

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 ...
user avatar
  • 7,212
51 votes
Accepted

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 ...
user avatar
  • 633
30 votes
Accepted

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 ...
user avatar
  • 95.9k
25 votes
Accepted

How was security on the Silk Road between China and the West maintained?

Mentions of Bandits and robbers: Bandits and robbers were a constant threat on the Silk Road. Xuanzang mentions several encounters with bandits. Near Dunhuang, the Silk Road split in two to skirt ...
user avatar
  • 3,304
23 votes
Accepted

Did Hongwu Emperor flay 5000 women, and why?

The claim is sourced from 明興野記, lit. Unofficial Records of the Rise of Ming, by the contemporary Yu Ben. It was originally titled 紀事錄, lit. Chronicles, but a certain Zhang Da Tong later changed it ...
user avatar
  • 95.9k
23 votes
Accepted

Why did the Ming treasure fleet voyages end?

This is still a mystery. It was probably a combination of several factors, though. The government's focus shifted. Coincidentally or not, after 1433 the Oirat Mongols emerged as a serious threat. ...
user avatar
  • 95.9k
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 ...
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 '...
user avatar
  • 1,904
19 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 ...
user avatar
  • 17.5k
17 votes

How were Chinese Dynasties named?

There are no specific rules, it is completely up to the founders. Many dynasties ultimately took their names from one of the ancient states of China. In any case, usually the actual choice were made ...
user avatar
  • 95.9k
16 votes
Accepted

Why was East Asia more religiously tolerant than Europe in medieval time?

It's the same reason why Europe was more religiously tolerant in Roman times (except to Christians). Namely, a lack of religious exclusiveness in their native beliefs. When Buddhism was transmitted ...
user avatar
  • 95.9k
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 ...
user avatar
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 &...
user avatar
  • 2,855
14 votes
Accepted

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 ...
user avatar
  • 95.9k
13 votes

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 ...
user avatar
  • 7,212
12 votes

Was Tibet ruled by Yuan Dynasty empires?

There is an ancient relationship with Tibet, but it is with the Mongols, not with China. During the Yuan dynasty, Tibet was part of the Mongol Yuan empire, but not part of Yuan China. They were two ...
user avatar
  • 110k
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 ...
user avatar
  • 1,461
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 ...
user avatar
  • 31k
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 ...
user avatar
  • 14.3k
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, ...
user avatar
  • 4,326
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 ...
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 ...
user avatar
  • 16k
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 ...
user avatar
  • 31k
9 votes

Why did non-monarchic rule meet with so little success in ancient China?

I think you are not giving the Chinese their due credit. First, interestingly enough, there was a democratic (even anarchist) social movement that tried to create egalitarian communities in ...
user avatar
  • 1,734
8 votes
Accepted

Did Marco Polo write about or bring back fireworks from his travels?

Apparently, Europe was exposed to gunpowder prior to Marco Polo: the Wikipedia page references several sources speaking of Mongol usage of gunpowder at the Battle of Mohi (Hungary) in 1241; Marco Polo ...
user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

Did the Yuan Dynasty ever occupy Hainan?

Yes. Under the Yuan Empire, Hainan Island was administered as part of the Huguang Province. The Mongolians took the island when they conquered the Song Dynasty. Partial Chinese rule stretches back to ...
user avatar
  • 95.9k
7 votes
Accepted

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,...
user avatar
  • 94
7 votes
Accepted

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 ...
user avatar
  • 1,780
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 ...
user avatar
  • 199
6 votes
Accepted

Why do some sections of Great Wall of China seem to be bidirectional?

Google found a book that seems to indicate that fragment of the wall has been built after peace with Mongols has been achieved, therefore, implies the battlements probably had a decorative or ...
user avatar
  • 176

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