79 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 ...
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  • 25.7k
57 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 ...
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  • 4,534
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 ...
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36 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 ...
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  • 8,464
33 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 ...
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  • 5,184
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 ...
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30 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 ...
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  • 12.1k
27 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 ...
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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 ...
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  • 77.2k
24 votes

Did Arab policymakers have plans for the Jewish population, in case of victory in 1948 War?

What Arab plans can be inferred from three classes of sources: (1) Pre-war statements to the Arab population with promises that all would share in the booty of Jewish property won by the Arab Legion ...
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  • 5,108
24 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 ...
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  • 110k
21 votes
Accepted

What historical evidence do we have for the existence of Mohammed?

Your question touches on the problem how one would prove any historical fact when there is no living (and credible) witness or modern forensic analysis. Look at the sources, consider who wrote them, ...
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  • 16.1k
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 ...
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21 votes

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

Islam dominated slave trade between the 7th and the 15th century, while the Christians entered the market of human flesh much later - 1519 to 1815 is the period of Christian slave trading. It is ...
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20 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 ...
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  • 110k
20 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 ...
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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 ...
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18 votes
Accepted

Why did Baldwin of Boulogne proclaim Edessa a County, not a Kingdom?

This may sound unintuitive, but a new kingdom could not be trivially proclaimed. Calling yourself a king has very little meaning if it isn't recognised by anyone else. For maximum acceptance by your ...
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  • 96.2k
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. ...
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  • 110k
17 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. ...
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16 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: ...
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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 ...
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  • 110k
14 votes

How did Israel win the Six-Day War?

The answer to how Israel won the Six Day War has filled numerous books and cannot be done justice in a short-form resource like this. At best, one can only give a summary in this space, but even the ...
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  • 5,108
13 votes

How did Urdun come to be called Jordan?

This is because the English word for the country of Jordan is ultimately derived from the biblical Hebrew word for the Jordan River, not from the modern Arabic name for the country. After World War ...
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  • 17.9k
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 ...
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  • 16.1k
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 ...
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  • 110k
12 votes

Why didn't the European Christians take back Constantinopole?

There was no "good" time for Europeans to take back Constantinople. As late as 1683, the Ottomans had the upper hand, besieging Vienna. Up to that point, Europe was more concerned about defending ...
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  • 103k
12 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, ...
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  • 9,473
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, ...
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