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78 votes

Is it true that slavery was endemic in Sub-Saharan Africa previous to the establishment of the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

Africa Slavery is an ancient universal institution, which appeared independently in all cultures and societies which reached a certain level of productivity per capita. Early hunter-gatherers did not ...
sds's user avatar
  • 26.9k
60 votes

Why did the Ottomans not change their capital to an Arab city?

The Ottoman Empire was not an Arabian empire, but a Turkish one. So they had no reason to uproot their capital from Turkish lands and move it to an Arabian region. In addition, Constantinople ...
SPavel's user avatar
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44 votes
Accepted

How advanced was the satellite technology during the Yom Kippur War?

When we are comparing tech maturity here, it is important to remember that 1970s saw a change of technologies in satellite imaging - photographic satellites, which captured images on photographic film ...
Danila Smirnov's user avatar
37 votes

Why are most of the world's oldest buildings in Europe and not in the Fertile Crescent?

If you look at the details of the oldest buildings on your list, all of them are built from fieldstone or minimally-shaped quarried stone. Further, the building materials were either found on-site or ...
Mark's user avatar
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31 votes

Why did the Ottomans not change their capital to an Arab city?

Location: it is a strategic point, the central point for which Black Sea trade must pass. If you are under siege and you have a fleet, you can get supplied indefinitely; if the enemy assaults the ...
SJuan76's user avatar
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31 votes
Accepted

What was the function of the walls of Jericho?

The short answer (unfortunately but unsurprisingly) is that we can't be sure. However, the currently most accepted theory would appear to be that the walls were for flood control, but there are other ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
30 votes
Accepted

Was climate a factor in the spread of Islam?

The question is of course kind of entirely biased, as always when you take a statistical correlation and want to apply a cause on that. However, the question should still be answered. It just means ...
totalMongot's user avatar
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29 votes
Accepted

Did Saladin speak any European languages?

Short Answer Saladin is believed to have spoken Kurdish, Turkish and Arabic. When communicating with crusaders, he needed an interpreter unless he was speaking to a crusader who knew Arabic (and there ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
27 votes
Accepted

What is the origin of the names of planets in Arabic?

These are very confusing, even for Latin ones and all are still full of uncertainties and speculation, apparently stemming from quite some influence asserted cross-culturally and confusion among the ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.8k
25 votes

How did early Judaism and Zoroastrianism influence each other, if they were so far apart?

They weren't in fact far apart at all. Zoroastrianism was the state religion of the Achaemenid Empire, which encompassed Israel. Its actually even closer than this map implies though. In the period ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
23 votes

Kurds and their relation to the start of civilization?

That seems highly unlikely. The invention of agriculture in the Fertile Crescent was roughly 10,000 years ago, principally in the Tigris-Euphrates river valley system. The people living there when ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
21 votes

Why did the Ottomans not change their capital to an Arab city?

Two more factors: The Ottoman Turks considered themselves to be the successors of the Roman Empire. Before they captured Constantinople, their territory was known as the Sultanate of Rum. After ...
Jeffrey Painter's user avatar
21 votes

Why are most of the world's oldest buildings in Europe and not in the Fertile Crescent?

Actually, some of the oldest known man-made structures are in the Fertile Crescent (FC). The list in your question purposefully excludes sites like Göbekli Tepe, Tell es-Sultan, and Tell Qaramel, each ...
Denis de Bernardy's user avatar
19 votes
Accepted

Why didn't Saudi unification include the coastal states of Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Yemen, and Kuwait?

Under the terms of The Treaty of Darin with the United Kingdom, signed Dec. 26, 1915 in exchange for recognition of sovereignty, ibn Saud contracted to not attack Kuwait, Qatar, and the Trucial States ...
Pieter Geerkens's user avatar
18 votes

What was the reason Jesus allowed Christians to eat pork?

Jews and Pigs We don't really know. The problem with this one is that lots of people have plausible-sounding reasons for the prohibition. Lots of people have implausible-sounding reasons for this too. ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
17 votes

Were the Assyrians and the Akkadians different people or the same people under a different name?

No man ever steps in the same river twice. - Heraclitus Akkad was a long-lasting culture in the Tigris-Euphrates river system, which included a language of the East Semitic family, as well as an ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
16 votes

Why didn't Hitler invade Middle East for resources first before invading Soviet Union?

It is worth pointing out that Germany would always have been at a huge disadvantage in a war of attrition against the USSR, they have vastly fewer people, smaller industrial base and tactical depth. ...
sdrawkcabdear's user avatar
15 votes

Does the Ottoman Empire count as a colonial power?

Colonialism in its strict and historic sense means the practice of settling a large number of colonists in subject countries, as did the British in North America, Ireland, Southern Africa, Australia, ...
fdb's user avatar
  • 9,780
15 votes
Accepted

Why didn't China vote in UNSC Resolution 344?

China did not participate in the voting as it has a long-standing policy of not participating in votes on resolutions of which it does not approve. The reasons for not participating or abstaining: ...
Lars Bosteen's user avatar
15 votes

How are Kurds and Chaldeans related?

You are quite correct that the linguistics of the situation shows such association is nonsense. The two writers in question appear to have both been primarily active in the 1800's. Obviously, the ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
13 votes

Why did the Arab spring and Iranian Green movement failed for the most part, but the European revolution did not?

There were plenty of European revolutions which led to terrible casualties and not much democracy, both before and after the French revolution. The Hussite wars. The English revolution of 1688. The ...
o.m.'s user avatar
  • 17k
13 votes

Were Moses & Abraham historical figures?

When considering historicity, Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac have traditionally been considered together as the "patriarchs". There used to be some historians who seriously argued that they lived during a ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
13 votes
Accepted

Is David Graeber correct to assert that patriarchy did not exist in Sumeria?

This is preliminary, since comments are too limiting for this kind of discussion. Hopefully this answer will be evolving with the question. There are quite some intricacies involved in answering this ...
LаngLаngС's user avatar
  • 80.8k
13 votes

Why are most of the world's oldest buildings in Europe and not in the Fertile Crescent?

It's not just Europe but even narrower. You'll notice the top 3 listed are all in France. Of the rest of the top 10, 4 are in the British Isles. I think Mark has about half of the answer: These ...
T.E.D.'s user avatar
  • 119k
12 votes
Accepted

Kurds and their relation to the start of civilization?

It is certainly true that many of the foundations for later civilisations, like the development of agriculture, the development of writing, and even an invention of the wheel, can be traced to The ...
sempaiscuba's user avatar
  • 77.3k
12 votes

Is it true that slavery was endemic in Sub-Saharan Africa previous to the establishment of the trans-Atlantic slave trade?

I am going to do something apparently silly, and answer my own question. That's because the question is not originally mine, but by a user named Maria BI. She asked this in Skeptics stackexchange, ...
Luís Henrique's user avatar
11 votes

Why did Christianity disappear in North-Western Africa?

The decline of Christianity in the Maghreb is related to the Arab conquest and the rule of Muslim governors. An important step in that decline was the rule of Almoravids and Almohads, under which most ...
Pere's user avatar
  • 3,871
11 votes
Accepted

Did Muslims swear by "the beard of the Prophet"?

This is a classic case of false depiction which is not uncommon in fiction. The Hadith (Sayings of Muhammad) quoted in the question you linked is correct and Muslims follow the "Sahih Hadiths" (Which ...
NSNoob's user avatar
  • 8,195

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