C Monsour
  • Member for 3 years, 7 months
  • Last seen more than a month ago
  • Chicago, IL, USA
What were paper airplanes called before there were real airplanes? (i.e. untethered winged flyers, not kites or balloons)
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94 votes

They were called paper darts in the 19th century, as evidenced in this article, which contains many detailed references going back as far as 1864, and many illustrations In fact, it appears that they ...

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Have any kings ever been serving admirals?
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55 votes

It turns out William IV wasn't called the "Sailor King" for nothing. He was a younger son of George III and thus didn't expect ever to become king. His naval career began at the age of ...

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Did the Byzantines ever attempt to move their capital to Rome?
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43 votes

No, they did not try to move their capital to Rome, but the Emperor Heraclius at one point--around 620 or so when the war against Persia was going very badly--did consider moving the capital even ...

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What were Germany's long-term aims in World War I?
23 votes

With the arguable exceptions of Austria and Serbia, no country that got involved in 1914 had long-term war aims in WWI. They got involved in the war first and tried to invent aims later. It worked ...

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Which countries (or comparable geographical units) have a lower population now than they used to at some point in history before 1950?
18 votes

One answer that hasn't been mentioned yet is Sakhalin. (I agree that West Virginia and East Germany are great answers, by the way, and upvoted both of those ) At 500,000 today, Sakhalin appears to ...

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Is there any example of one country devastating a third?
13 votes

The British bombardment of Copenhagen in September 1807, to deny to the French the possible use of the Danish fleet, seems to fit the bill. The impacts, explosions, and fires resulted in nearly 1,000 ...

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What authority did the Catholic Church have over European monarchs from 900–1450?
11 votes

The coronation of Charlemagne was important, but Charlemagne had the upper hand in his relationship with Leo III. Eastern Roman emperors were crowned by the Patriarch of Constantinople. No one ...

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Were there any monarchs of England or the United Kingdom who were not technically first in the line of succession?
11 votes

Many, including William II, Henry I, Stephen, Henry II, John, Henry IV, Edward IV, Richard III, Henry VII, William III, Mary II, Anne, George I (i.e., were not next heir of previous monarch by ...

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Why did the United States not resort to nuclear weapons in Vietnam?
11 votes

The ostensible war aim was to keep the South Vietnamese people free of communism so that they could thrive. Dropping nuclear bombs on their fellow countrymen in the North would have been self-...

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How can there be a "final edition" of a morning paper, in the morning?
8 votes

Yes. Earlier editions were run for home delivery (often arriving at homes around 5AM) and later editions for newsstands. For East Coast papers, there would be major differences between the two in ...

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Why did the person in charge of a principality not just declare themself king?
8 votes

Sometimes sovereigns had to downgrade their title. We often think of Franz Josef as Emperor of Austria-Hungary after the creation of the dual monarchy (with Hungary having won autonomy from Austria ...

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What was the persecuted group that was formally banned from leaving France?
7 votes

I think you are indeed thinking of the Huguenots. They were mostly in the south and the revocation of the Edict of Nantes (Edict of Fontainebleu 1685) specifically exiled Protestant (i.e., Huguenot) ...

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In Dutch history two people are referred to as "William III"; are there any more cases where this happens?
7 votes

There were two Henry VII rulers as kings of Germany, the first of whom co-ruled with and pre-deceased his father. He is often referred to as Henry (VII) to distinguish him from the later Henry VII, ...

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Has an heir ever made the country believe the current ruler died in order to take over the throne?
7 votes

Another example was the (Byzantine) Roman Emperor John Komnenos. This was done according to some sources (Runciman, I think, but Wikipedia does not seem to agree) with the explicit consent of his ...

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Are there any examples of technologies have been lost over time?
6 votes

One very familiar example is the Greek Dark Age, when they not only lost much of their architectural technology but also lost the art of writing for 200-300 years.

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Have the officials/leaders of the winning country ever been punished for war crimes?
5 votes

I will assume you are looking for examples of someone of the victorious nation being punished by an international tribunal, not just by their own country's courts (because, as T.E.D. pointed out, ...

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What is the difference between the Ancient Greek religion and the Ancient Roman religion?
5 votes

You would do well to remember that there were very few similarities between Roman and Greek religion until the Romans began borrowing from the Greeks. For an idea of how utterly different Roman ...

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Did Roman citizens vote in more than one legislative assembly?
5 votes

Not only were they not mutually exclusive, but the Centuriate Assembly and Tribal Assembly had precisely the same members (all adult male Roman citizens), just organized into groups differently (the ...

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Why is the leap day on February 29th?
5 votes

The Wikipedia reference on February omits quite a bit of information. Simply put, the Roman religious year ended on 23 February (a.d. VII Kal. Mart. in the Roman counting backward and inclusively way....

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Have there been any instances of US states trading land, not related to the creation of a state?
5 votes

The Wikipedia article on West Virginia makes it appear that Berkeley and Jefferson counties were not originally part of the state and subsequently (but in quick sequence) asked to be annexed to it, ...

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Who was the last English king whose first language was French?
4 votes

It looks like there has been an incorrect answer (Richard II) to this question up for years and missing the mark by centuries. The last king of England (of Great Britain, actually, of which England ...

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Before Idriss Deby, who was the last head of state to be killed in combat?
4 votes

Michael Collins was ambushed and killed 22 August 1922 during the Irish Civil War. He was the head of the provisional government and arguably the closest thing Ireland had to a head of state at the ...

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Why did Romans use the sesterce in written monetary records when the coin itself was so rarely used?
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4 votes

While in this case plenty of sesterces were actually coined, in general you might ask why the Carolingian Empire (and most of Europe for several more centuries) used librae in its accounts or why ...

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Were there any developed countries that became "undeveloped" for reasons other than war?
4 votes

The Ottoman Empire was highly developed in the 16th century and pretty backward by 1850. This was not primarily the result of wars, but of the world passing it by.

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Where is the bloodiest area with most deaths within a single day?
4 votes

If you want within a single day and within a very confined area like a square kilometer, then the final suppression of the Nika riots on or about 18 January 532 AD is a good contender. (See here and ...

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Why was Edward I of England the first Edward?
3 votes

Yes, the kings of England are traditionally numbered post-conquest. Additionally, monarchs who held England and another country in personal union are often given both numbers, like James VI/I, James ...

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Why did the Ottomans 'never' enter wars during Napoleon's invasions?
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3 votes

Doesn't getting attacked by Napoleon count as being "in the fray"? Remember the famous invasion of Egypt. The Ottoman Empire governed Egypt at the time.

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What is the most common calendar for pre-Julian dates?
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3 votes

Proleptic Julian for most dates in ancient history. See here, last paragraph. There is a third possibility, by the way: For events from the Roman Republic, dates are often given according to the ...

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What is the average travel speed for railways between European capitals in the late 19th century?
3 votes

Since the other answers don't answer the question about border crossings, I will answer it: They wouldn't have introduced much of a delay at all. Due to the increased international travel brought ...

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Was it illegal to blaspheme God in Antioch in 360.-410.?
2 votes

To blaspheme which god? In 363, if you blasphemed the pagan gods, an emperor wrote disparagingly about your city. If you blasphemed Christ, the Persian army slew you at Samarra. This doesn't apply ...

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