r/history Nov 26 '22

Simple/Short/Silly History Questions Saturday! Discussion/Question

Welcome to our Simple/Short/Silly history questions Saturday thread!

This thread is for all those history related questions that are too simple, short or a bit too silly to warrant their own post.

So, do you have a question about history and have always been afraid to ask? Well, today is your lucky day. Ask away!

Of course all our regular rules and guidelines still apply and to be just that bit extra clear:

Questions need to be historical in nature. Silly does not mean that your question should be a joke. r/history also has a discord server where you can discuss history with other enthusiasts and experts

50 Upvotes

1

u/Born-Factor-2381 Dec 05 '22

In which region were most empresario land grants were located and why?

1

u/0bush Dec 03 '22

What would’ve happened if the U-2 incident never took place? The United States and the USSR would have met in the summit and Eisenhower would have still been invited to visit the Soviet Union. Would the Cold War have ended peacefully?

1

u/anonperson177 Dec 02 '22

It’s a long story to explain how I fell down this hole but I fell down a wikipedia hole regarding the United Kingdom, Crown dependencies, British Oversea Territories, stuff like that. I essentially understand all that stuff to the best of my abilities but there’s one thing I’m still confused about.

What is the difference between the British Empire and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

To my understanding, the UK refers to the actual modern-day country while the British Empire refers to its former colonies, territories, etc which essentially ended with the Handover of Hong Kong. But I don’t know if that’s like actually the differentiation between the two or not.

And also, was the British Empire ever the actual name of the whole thing? Or was it more like the United Kingdom had an empire called the British Empire? And does the term “the British Empire” refer to its former overseas territories as well as the United Kingdom as a whole entity or does it rather refer to its former colonies and such?

I’m from the US so there wasn’t exactly a whole like explanation on this stuff in our school curriculum. But understandably so of course.

2

u/en43rs Dec 02 '22

was the British Empire ever the actual name of the whole thing

Here's the thing that's confusing you: no it wasn't.

An empire is a very vague term. Depending on where, when and what you applies it to, it can mean:

  • a country/state ruled by an emperor (Roman Empire, Chinese Empire, Holy Roman Empire)
  • a state ruling over a vast number of different people (Roman Empire can be used to describe Roman power over the Mediterranean even when Rome was still a republic)
  • derived from this last definition: a colonial empire. A vast territories of colonies (which here can mean "overseas territory", a territory understood as not part of "the original country", but colony is also a term with a lot of definition). (example, French colonial empire, Spanish colonial empire)

So what does "British Empire" refers to? number 3. The British Empire means the British colonial empire (so the UK plus the colonies). These overseas territories had the status of "colony", what it meant could vary from place to place. They were understood as not part of England/the UK (that's in part where the American Revolution comes from, not part of the UK so no representative to Parliament).

In the UK in the 19th century when people said "the empire" it referred to the colonies. And more generally the "British Empire" was used to mean "vast and powerful state", but it was never an official term or an official entity. Officially there was the UK and several colonies governed from London with varying degrees of autonomy (from nothing at all to a lot).

1

u/[deleted] Dec 02 '22

Sorry if this is the wrong place for this. I will try to find the correct place to post this later but if a mod could move this post or forward it to an expert or other with access to the resources to research this (microfiche?) it would be appreciated. I first emailed Wikipedia a year or two ago to ask them to research this and got a positive response that indicated that by posting this to the talk page of 'the worst mass murders' or 'worst mass school massacres' that some research by the respondents would either confirm the validity or lack of of this information. Upon posting it the response was of course that some type of proof of it would be required to move forward so.... wasted my time. I suffer from very severe anxiety among other things and as a result have dropped out of high school and become an agoraphobic. However, bear in mind that at one time I was on track to become a doctor or lawyer or something as every teacher and all else around me said. I tried to post this to a history subreddit some time ago after failing to use wikipedia and was I guess automatically prevented from doing so due to the short age of my reddit account and got a, what seemed to be, an automated response that my post was "too political" or some nonsense and it didn't post. Copy and paste-

I believe fairly strongly that several, at least, very deadly post civil war mass murder school bombings in the United States of America that were quite a bit more deadly than the bath school bombing of 1927 have been overlooked by general media. The source of this information was a google search in 2014 that yielded a single webpage of pale yellow background color with information and what appeared to be artist sketches of what I will describe to the best of my knowledge below.

Worst mass murder of american school kids in history by fatality rate killed 236 (approx), all but approx. 33 between the ages of 5 and 10 with over or approx. 1000 pounds of tnt and dynamite in I believe 1878 or 1879 maybe. Suspected perpetrator was eyewitnessed on a day when class was in session walking in a grassy area behind the school which was elevated several feet or so(log cabin or plank 'country school' or whatever,like all the schools I will reference) by a male civilian across the way from the front of the school who said a man he was able to identify walked from the right side of the grassy area,from the mans perspective,behind the school and took somewhat longer than he thought he should have to emerge on the left side. some approx 45 seconds or 2 minutes later the school which housed 500 and change exploded sending body parts for miles. Several artists sketches and/or photos showed the following, the school before the blast, the school after the blast, a zigzag-like scorch mark in the grass behind the school where he lit the fuse which appeared to be 10,15 feet long, a woman in the towns street who was clutching her daughters boot she recognized with her leg still inside it, a man pulling the leg from the woman and then in turn vomiting in the street, and the scene in which the 14 lawmen who set out to find the bomber encircled his horse drawn covered wagon with revolvers pointed at him. they had been sent by the police chief to find the man the witness saw while the chief telegraphed the federals in the east for support I guess. They found him right as he was about to ride out of town and as they pointed guns at him he either reached into the covered wagon with a small item in his hand or an empty hand and instantly several hundred pounds of explosives killed the lawmen, his 2 horses but only fatally wounded him perhaps as they say he was moving around. The police chief heard the blast, came and saw what happened and shot him to death. At least 30 suicides were linked to the blast as well as approx 20,30 percent of the town population leaving due to the body parts everywhere, many of them never to return. The bomber was approx 40,50 years old white male and the school was in the post civil war south. Federal experts reenacted the walking of the man for the eyewitness and found he was behind the school for maybe 32 to 38 seconds too long given his pace.

The second deadliest american school mass bombing killed approx 178, all but approx 8 between the ages of 5 to 10 with approx 800 to 900 pounds of dynamite only. A Boston federal composite sketch of the suspected bomber depicted a white male with a mustache who was positively identified by a male civilian eyewitness walking into the front door of the school with a timeline that lined up with the witness account of a female teacher who was within the school during the blast. She said she couldn't ID the man positively as the one in the composite but that he was not a known parent or other person and that he walked straight to a very small room in the left rear corner of the school (from facing front of school). A trap door in the room was pretty much the only thing in there. She couldn't figure out why a man would want to go in there. The bomber piled the dynamite along the (front perspective) left and rear edge of the school with a greater amount under the very left-rear corner where the trap door was. A sketch illustrated the position of the dynamite. Teacher said after approx 45 seconds,1 minute that was all she could remember(school blew). Post civil war southern state and 40,50 year old white male.

Third deadliest mass murder school bombing killed approx 151 to 154, most between the ages of 5 to 10 with approx 500, 600 pounds of dynamite only. I don't remember anything else about it except it was a southern school.

Fourth deadliest mass murder school bombing killed approx 87 or so most between 5 and 10 with several hundred pounds of gunpowder only in approx 1787 or so, after revolution anyway. Not sure this was a southern school. Maybe someone with access to historical resources or historians can find something, I’ve not been able to. Was thinking someone with access to microfiche reels of the front page of Boston newspapers could look as it, I would think, would be front page news. The sketches and whole site and its information seemed legit, perhaps a historians.

I don't want to cause problems. I am sorry for this.

2

u/CaptainN_GameMaster Nov 29 '22

I started to go down the wiki rabbit hole of Operation Paul Bunyan but then stopped myself when I realized I'd much rather read a good book about it, if there is one. Are there any books that cover the Korean axe murder incident and its aftermath?

3

u/Larielia Nov 29 '22

What are some good books about (preferably ancient) India and South Asia?

4

u/[deleted] Nov 28 '22

Who was the greatest general of all time in terms of victories vs defeats, death tolls, etc? I only find different answers for it on Google. I imagine there must’ve been a study as accurately as possible to find out right? PS: I know information from medieval times and such are not very reliable.

1

u/testicle_fondler Dec 03 '22

I remember someone doing a statistic to this and giving every general a score based on their success and how outnumbered they were. Basically it found out that Napoleon Bonaparte had by far the highest score, which makes sense. He consistently won battles even when outnumbered and only really lost in the end because he couldn't be everywhere at once. Other honorable mentions are: Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Oda Nobunaga, Admiral Yi, Zhukov, Ulysses S. Grant, and much much more.

2

u/Atanar Dec 01 '22

Battles on the field in medieval times were rare. So you probably can ignore that period.

Alexander famously pulled off the most impressive victories with a small army. Numbers are really not reliable, though.

Wellington has a great record of decisive victories and well-managed defeats:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_career_of_Arthur_Wellesley,_1st_Duke_of_Wellington

1

u/[deleted] Nov 27 '22

Any books about the Sicani tribe of Sicily?

1

u/MeatballDom Nov 28 '22

How's your Italian?

1

u/[deleted] Nov 28 '22

Enough to ask where the bathroom is. 🥴

2

u/SannySen Nov 27 '22

For those who've read both, what's the difference between Empire of Liberty and The Creation of the American Republic? Both are by Gordon Wood, and both seem to cover roughly the same era.

3

u/elmonoenano Nov 27 '22

They don't cover the same era really. The Creation of the American Republic is pre Constitution and Empire of Liberty is post Constitution.

That's a big shift. The first book focuses on the problems of fighting the Revolutionary War and the development of a national government, and that failure. It deals with the rural uprisings, the depression, paper money issues, and ratification.

The second book deals with the development of the federal government and the associated institutions, the Barbary Wars, and the War of 1812.

Personally, I'd recommend Pauline Maier's books over Wood's, but that's my opinion.

1

u/MeatballDom Nov 27 '22

I haven't read them, but I was curious if it was an academic vs casual deal as that's fairly common and you can usually tell with the publishers.

However, just looking them up quickly to check that I see one is subtitled "1776-1787" and the other "1789-1815" so while close in area, one seems to be a continuation of the other chronologically.

An American Historian might have to fact check me here, but 1776 to 87 would cover the American Revolution and the Articles of Confederation (the first US Constitution) up until around the Constitutional Convention in 1787 which set to revise the Articles (but in reality started writing the new Constitution) while the second book would begin in 1789 when the US Constitution (the one presently used) was put in effect up until the end of the war of 1812, a period which saw a lot of early ideas of US Government get tested and altered with experience -- such as the creation of a standing military. So both, in my mind, would show the reasons for how both constitutions were created, and how they evolved and discussions around them continued in each one's early years.

So unless those subtitles are very misleading, I imagine that's what Wood is doing there.

2

u/_Dead_Man_ Nov 27 '22

Why are hessians during the revolutionary war depicted in both green and blue coats? Whats the background?

3

u/malthar76 Nov 27 '22

Regular hessian mercenaries wore blue uniform coats, Jaeger rifle units wore green coats.

In the American Revolution, the British also hired mercenaries from Brunswick and other German states. Some other uniform differences could have come that way too.

1

u/_Dead_Man_ Nov 27 '22

What makes the jaeger corps stand apart from regular hessians?

I'm designing a character and I want to give him a green coat but I wanna know what that would mean for him.

1

u/shantipole Nov 27 '22

The really short version is that blue coats indicated regular infantry armed with smoothbore muskets--your classic "let's stand in a couple of lines and shoot until one side gives up"--while the green coats were for skirmishers armed with rifles who acted as a screen, sharpshooters, etc.

1

u/malthar76 Nov 27 '22

Hessen-Kassel provided the British fifteen regiments of infantry, each with five companies of men, four grenadier battalions and two companies of Jäger (known as chasseurs or sharpshooters in English).[8] The Jäger in particular were in high demand.[9] Jäger, a German word that translates to “hunter” and can be used as both a singular and plural word, were recruited from huntsmen and foresters who were skilled in the use of rifled weapons normally used to hunt boar.[10] They were skilled shots, self-sufficient in battle, and swift, able to efficiently load and fire a rifle, a skill which took greater dexterity than firing the muskets of the day. Most importantly, they were valiant.

https://allthingsliberty.com/2015/05/the-hessian-jagerkorps-in-new-york-and-pennsylvania-1776-1777/

3

u/muskkanye Nov 27 '22

Ahhhhh I have a question. Why was the early medieval period referred to as Dark Ages?

3

u/jezreelite Nov 27 '22

The term was coined by the late medieval/early Renaissance scholar and poet, Francesco Petrarca, better known to Anglophones as Petrarch.

He viewed 14th century Italy as a corrupt and ignorant time and place in comparison to his (a bit overly rosy) view of Classical Antiquity. To be fair to him, 14th century Italy was not a particularly fun place to be, as it was wracked with internal political divisions, economic decline, and the threat of foreign invasion and it was about to get even worse when plague hit in the 1340s.

2

u/GSilky Nov 27 '22

Iirc, it's because of Petrarch, who was frustrated with the lack of written sources from the period. The term was also used by Voltaire for the same reason. It wasn't that dark, at least the people living during it didn't seem to think so. It's important to remember that all of those "invasions" tended to be more incremental, but by putting hard bounds on it, in our minds it comes across as German apocalypse. If you look at the sources, you find that it was even more a case of migration and attempted assimilation, hence why Germans were commanding Roman armies against other Teutonic forces. Not to stir up shit, but you can look at the current migrant issue around the world and see how people describe a rather prosaic event, with headlines like "Invasion" being popular a popular way to frame the scenario, it wasn't that different back then. No, it wasn't some collective trauma that is being referred to by "Dark Ages", just a current lack of sources. Those sources are being discovered and analyzed now and an interesting picture of an ingenious adaptation to circumstance is being developed.

-3

u/bangdazap Nov 27 '22

When the (Western) Roman empire fell apart, it led to a precipitous economic, cultural and scientific decline in Europe. Hence the "Dark Ages". This is also why the end of the medieval period is called the "Renaissance" (rebirth), a "rebirth" of the values etc of Rome.

Later historians have tried to nuance the story of the post-Roman period, but the fact remains that there was a great decline.

4

u/Doctor_Impossible_ Nov 27 '22

When the (Western) Roman empire fell apart, it led to a precipitous economic, cultural and scientific decline in Europe. Hence the "Dark Ages".

No. 'Dark Ages' refers to a lack of written sources from the time, not a cultural or intellectual decline.

but the fact remains that there was a great decline.

Also wrong. The idea of the Roman empire as some sort of peak is fuelled by people like Petrarch and Gibbon, who were nothing more than Roman empire fanboys.

2

u/LateInTheAfternoon Nov 27 '22

Originally, and well into the 19th century, "Dark Ages" meant a time of cultural decline (following the negative view with which Petrarch and other Renaissance scholars held for the time separating them from their venerated ancients). This changed with the rise of professional scholarship in history in the 19th and 20th centuries where instead the lack of sources as well as a perceived lack of quality in the sources (as compared with the illustrious historians of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece) became the important characteristics behind the term "Dark Ages". As of today most historians avoid the term as far as possible in favor for the less judgemental "the Early Middle Ages".

2

u/[deleted] Nov 27 '22

[deleted]

1

u/Atanar Dec 01 '22

If you count that the NSDAP party leaders were hugely corrupt and made a lot of backroom deals with industry and finance,the Nazis cone to mind. The entire point of the SA was your no. 5.

1

u/mutherlurker Nov 27 '22

Is it possible that without the aid of the other Native American tribes in the region, the colonists would not have been able to populate Connecticut and the northern American region due to the Pequot Nation? Doing research for my 3rd grader, and it's a simple project. I went deeper and started to understand that the Narraganset and Mohegan tribes allied up with the colonizers to rid themselves of the Pequots...resulting in the Pequot Massacre in 1637.

Simple question about this incredibly complicated historical event is this: is there evidence that if the Native American Tribes in that region had banded together that the English and Dutch colonies would not have taken hold, and the America we know today would not exist?

1

u/TheGreatOneSea Nov 28 '22

Many of the natives tried to build exactly the kind of alliance you're talking about, but practically, such a cause was always doomed: steel tools and gunpowder were simply too powerful as force multipliers to ignore, and weaker tribes saw no practical diffrence in being evicted from their land by a rival tribe instead of the Europeans.

And once a tribe takes to using gunpowder weapons and steel, it's stuck: killing all the Europeans is the same as signing one's own death warrant, because the skills needed to be independent are lost. Even if they accept that, all that changes is that the French take over instead.

6

u/MeatballDom Nov 27 '22

"Is it possible?" Sure, why not. But possible doesn't mean likely.

There's absolutely no way for a historian to answer what if questions. I've seen it best explained through an example of going to the grocery store.

Say you need groceries, you realise this at 7 o clock at night after getting home from a long day at work. You've got enough to last you til tomorrow, but not ideally. You could go to the store tonight, or you could wait until tomorrow. It's a scenario every adult has experienced.

So what happens if you go tonight, versus going tomorrow? In 99.9999% of the scenarios there's absolutely no difference maybe other than a bit of annoyance. But, for those small chances there are people that go out and get in a life changing car accident, or get food poisoning from stock that would have been replaced overnight, or run into an ex, or meet the person of their dreams in the queue, or a million different highly unlikely but entirely possible scenarios.

If you play that game for just ONE person it's highly unlikely that anything will change. But if you play that game with an entire population for hundreds of years, you're going to hit a lot of crazy odds.

So when we play the game of "what would happen if this entire group of people and this entire group of people combined with this entire group of people matched up differently..." we get into an absolutely unimaginable amount of scenarios and probabilities. Expand that over many generations and it's even more so. What if one of those people who would have been a great leader never existed because their parent died, etc. etc.

It may be fun to imagine, but there's no academic way of answering it. There is /r/HistoryWhatIf where they have a bit more fun with this, but again, take every answer with a dumptruck of salt.

-1

u/Tenlai Nov 27 '22

"History is written by the victorious." Eventually over time how will we know who was actually the "bad guys"? How do we know we aren't the bad guys and we aren't being propaganda'd? Also.. why do we never see war or (insert here) from the views of the other side? Example being ww2 and Adolf.

6

u/Doctor_Impossible_ Nov 27 '22

Is that why all the books on the Vietnam War are written in Vietnamese?

You could spend five minutes searching the internet and find out this isn't true. So. Why not give that a try?

8

u/Thibaudborny Nov 27 '22 edited Nov 27 '22

Because history isn't written by only the winners (see also the bot reply, it is quite informative). Have you never heard of for example Lost Causers or Wehraboos?

And who says we never see war 'from the other side'? Plenty of ego-documents left by people from all sides in historical events like for example, WW II. If you haven't seen it, it is not because it does not exist, it is because you haven't read it.

And as others have said, the study of history requires one to be very circumspect, and this is the focus of aby historian in training.

3

u/AutoModerator Nov 27 '22

Hi!

It seems like you are talking about the popular but ultimately flawed and false "winners write history" trope!

While the expression is sometimes true in one sense (we'll get to that in a bit), it is rarely if ever an absolute truth, and particularly not in the way that the concept has found itself commonly expressed in popular history discourse. When discussing history, and why some events have found their way into the history books when others have not, simply dismissing those events as the imposed narrative of 'victors' actually harms our ability to understand history.

You could say that is in fact a somewhat "lazy" way to introduce the concept of bias which this is ultimately about. Because whoever writes history is the one introducing their biases to history.

A somewhat better, but absolutely not perfect, approach that works better than 'winners writing history' is to say 'writers write history'.

This is more useful than it initially seems. Until fairly recently the literate were a minority, and those with enough literary training to actually write historical narratives formed an even smaller and more distinct class within that.

To give a few examples, Genghis Khan must surely go down as one of the great victors in all history, but he is generally viewed quite unfavorably in practically all sources, because his conquests tended to harm the literary classes.
Similarly the Norsemen historically have been portrayed as uncivilized barbarians as the people that wrote about them were the "losers" whose monasteries got burned down.

Of course, writers are a diverse set, and so this is far from a magical solution to solving the problems of bias. The painful truth is, each source simply needs to be evaluated on its own merits.
This evaluation is something that is done by historians and part of what makes history and why insights about historical events can shift over time.

This is possibly best exemplified by those examples where victors did unambiguously write the historical sources.

The Spanish absolutely wrote the history of the conquest of Central America from 1532, and the reports and diaries of various conquistadores and priests are still important primary documents for researchers of the period.

But 'victors write the history' presupposes that we still use those histories as they intended, which is simply not the case. It both overlooks the fundamental nature of modern historical methodology, and ignores the fact that, while victors have often proven to be predominant voices, they have rarely proven to be the only voices.

Archaeology, numismatics, works in translation, and other records all allow us at least some insight into the 'losers' viewpoint, as does careful analysis of the 'winner's' records.
We know far more about Rome than we do about Phoenician Carthage. There is still vital research into Carthage, as its being a daily topic of conversation on this subreddit testifies to.

So while it's true that the balance between the voices can be disparate that doesn't mean that the winners are the only voice or even the most interesting.
Which is why stating that history is 'written by the victors' and leaving it at that is harmful to the understanding of history and the process of studying history.

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

2

u/[deleted] Nov 27 '22

[removed] — view removed comment

6

u/Worsel555 Nov 27 '22

They teach about the rise of then NAZI party and the holocaust in German schools. It is mandatory. They were not the victors yet they have determined never to let such things happen again.

11

u/MeatballDom Nov 27 '22

Historians don't pick "good guys" or "bad guys" in fact, we're trained to purposefully avoid doing that.

And we have a lot of evidence from the German side of WWII, you can buy Mein Kampf in many bookstores (some country's don't allow it, but it's easy enough to find if you do). Our archives are also full of Nazi Germany plans, journals, manuscripts, etc. We really couldn't ask for more when it comes to WWII.

As for how to do we identify propaganda? Well, that's a huge part of what historians do. We don't just look at a source and say "well it says here that.." we need to take what the source is arguing, and investigate it. We need to compare it with other works, we need to compare it with other sciences and approaches. We can then analyse the data and produce an argument with that evidence. It's a process, but it's why there's so much training and credentials that historians need to acquire and why there's systems in place to make sure historians have followed the proper steps and didn't get caught up or tricked.

7

u/AutoModerator Nov 27 '22

Hi!

It seems like you are talking about the popular but ultimately flawed and false "winners write history" trope!

While the expression is sometimes true in one sense (we'll get to that in a bit), it is rarely if ever an absolute truth, and particularly not in the way that the concept has found itself commonly expressed in popular history discourse. When discussing history, and why some events have found their way into the history books when others have not, simply dismissing those events as the imposed narrative of 'victors' actually harms our ability to understand history.

You could say that is in fact a somewhat "lazy" way to introduce the concept of bias which this is ultimately about. Because whoever writes history is the one introducing their biases to history.

A somewhat better, but absolutely not perfect, approach that works better than 'winners writing history' is to say 'writers write history'.

This is more useful than it initially seems. Until fairly recently the literate were a minority, and those with enough literary training to actually write historical narratives formed an even smaller and more distinct class within that.

To give a few examples, Genghis Khan must surely go down as one of the great victors in all history, but he is generally viewed quite unfavorably in practically all sources, because his conquests tended to harm the literary classes.
Similarly the Norsemen historically have been portrayed as uncivilized barbarians as the people that wrote about them were the "losers" whose monasteries got burned down.

Of course, writers are a diverse set, and so this is far from a magical solution to solving the problems of bias. The painful truth is, each source simply needs to be evaluated on its own merits.
This evaluation is something that is done by historians and part of what makes history and why insights about historical events can shift over time.

This is possibly best exemplified by those examples where victors did unambiguously write the historical sources.

The Spanish absolutely wrote the history of the conquest of Central America from 1532, and the reports and diaries of various conquistadores and priests are still important primary documents for researchers of the period.

But 'victors write the history' presupposes that we still use those histories as they intended, which is simply not the case. It both overlooks the fundamental nature of modern historical methodology, and ignores the fact that, while victors have often proven to be predominant voices, they have rarely proven to be the only voices.

Archaeology, numismatics, works in translation, and other records all allow us at least some insight into the 'losers' viewpoint, as does careful analysis of the 'winner's' records.
We know far more about Rome than we do about Phoenician Carthage. There is still vital research into Carthage, as its being a daily topic of conversation on this subreddit testifies to.

So while it's true that the balance between the voices can be disparate that doesn't mean that the winners are the only voice or even the most interesting.
Which is why stating that history is 'written by the victors' and leaving it at that is harmful to the understanding of history and the process of studying history.

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.

6

u/wet_carrot420 Nov 27 '22

I don’t have a question but I love the idea of this thread

5

u/AngryBlitzcrankMain Nov 27 '22

You will be amazed when it comes back next week. But seriously, its one of the best kinds of thread in here.

1

u/Puidwen Nov 26 '22

Considering it's job, is there any proof that someone was having fun with the naming of the revenue cutter Surprise?

2

u/MalikC_ Nov 26 '22

what is the name of that warrior with the onion hat?

5

u/tired-alwayss Nov 26 '22

Onion hat = Suleiman the Magnificent in my mind. Hope it’s what you’re looking for!

2

u/shantipole Nov 27 '22

It's possible you're thinking of Captain Fluellen from Shakespeare's Henry V who famously wears a leek in his hat during the battle.

1

u/sung_hoon_ Nov 26 '22

What is imperialism? What is expansionism? How are they different? When westward expansion was happening in the US, did Americans use imperialism or expansionism?

1

u/KingHunter150 Nov 28 '22

The easiest way would be to view imperialism as an ideology, or policy of a country, and expansionism as more vague, but with the simple goal of increasing one's territory, however that may be.

Imperialism is viewed by most historians in this field as both a verb, the actions or forces of imperialism, and a noun, the Imperial state or project. In this understanding you have more nuance and can then see that many subjects of imperialism actually end up assisting in the Imperial Project or are affected by it in unseen ways in the verb sense. While in the noun sense an Imperial state or project has the metropole or the center, that is the imperialist, and the periphery, the colonies, or outer sphere of influence the metropole exercises hegemony over.

An example. India was an Imperial project of GB. As a project, GB is the metropole and India its periphery, the purpose being the exploitation of cash crops, and with the advent of globalism a cheap labor force for goods to send back to the center. Imperialism in action was done via trade companies asserting influence that were then nationalized by the British government. The agents of imperialism being in many cases sepoys of India itself to maintain control. The very population being exploited was part of that exploitation process. This was due to imperialism in action having many unforseen affects on Indian culture, mainly the regimented caste system the British used to organize Indian society benefiting the Indians on top who then had a vested interest in propelling the Imperial project forward.

In this case the British hardly expanded their natural territorial boundaries, but did so in a grand Imperial sense by having a massive area firmly under their exclusive sphere of influence.

1

u/MeatballDom Nov 26 '22

Imperialism doesn't always require the actual taking or claiming of land. US Imperialism can include things like McDonalds and Starbucks on every street (cultural imperialism). It can include things like bringing a region of countries under your political control so they'll be more likely to support your wider positions in things like the UN (think the Cold War and the First and Second World countries). Throwing your weight around to expand your own personal power in the global world falls under this.

Of course this can absolutely be achieved directly through expansionism, colonialism, invasion, coups, etc. So there are wavelengths where these things do match up in some sort of evil Venn Diagram, but there are still distinct factors which can separate the concepts to keep them from being one-to-one synonyms.

If I were to put it as briefly as possible: Expansionism is the means, Imperialism is the effect that is had on the affected people, the culture, etc. and the benefits given to the driving-power after the fact.

2

u/PippyTheZinhead Nov 26 '22 edited Nov 26 '22

What single historical individual has had the biggest impact on the world we live in today?

2

u/TheGreatOneSea Nov 28 '22

As a non-religious example, Columbus: while someone else would have done the same eventually, it was his accidental discovery of gold in the "New World" that dramatically changed the nature of Spain's interest. In general, a slower exploration of America would be likely, shifting the fortunes of Spain at a minimum, which would in turn massively shift events in the early modern world.

2

u/GSilky Nov 27 '22

Muhammad. Marx may be a close second, if he hasn't already overtaken first.

4

u/Flock_of_Bees Nov 26 '22

Caesar Augustus, aka Octavian. The first Roman Emperor.

9

u/AngryBlitzcrankMain Nov 26 '22

Mohammed or Jesus, depending on what level of historicity do you put on Jesus name.

1

u/PippyTheZinhead Nov 27 '22

I almost wrote ¨what non religious individual,¨ but you´re right about Mohammed and Jesus. I tend to think there was an historical Jesus, but we may never know for sure.

3

u/AngryBlitzcrankMain Nov 27 '22

I mean it in a way that you believe that historical Jesus is tied directly to the biblical Jesus. Mohammed its much more cleared example as with or without divine beliefs, we know about his actions and his direct followers. With Jesus its bit more complicated.

1

u/BlueApe462 Nov 26 '22

My family is from Slovakia, but I know almost nothing about the history of the region. What would be the most interesting period / event to read about?

5

u/AngryBlitzcrankMain Nov 26 '22

Well problem is that its very complicated. Slovakia used to be part of Great Moravia and then it was conquered by Hungarians and was part of Hungary for more than 1000 years before it became part of independent Czechoslovakia. I would recommend to read through Slovakian National Revival, where true Slovakian national identity was born.

4

u/malthar76 Nov 26 '22

Were there ever “benevolent” colonial arrangements? Or ones that were at least purely commercial, not aggressively exploitative or land grabbing?

3

u/GSilky Nov 27 '22

I think the worst colonies were purely economic in focus.

There have been attempts at starting benevolent societies on the lands of other people, tmk it hasn't worked out. The closest thing I am aware of in American history is Pennsylvania, but even they annoyed ended up cross with the native people despite their efforts. The mindset of colonization is not productive to benevolent relationships.

6

u/elmonoenano Nov 26 '22

The basic answer is no. Colonial powers were never thinking about how to get the consent and agreement of the local peoples, unless it was to legitimize a land grab, how to co-rule, etc.

However, a lot of the conversation around colonialism that goes on is cartoonish in the way it portrays colonialism. It wasn't the same process from decade to decade. Over time goals changed as technologies changed and economies changed, or as political theory changed.

Another issue is often what was though as benevolent wasn't. During the 19th century when political theory had changed enough that colonial powers did feel they had responsibilities to the people they colonized, their idea of benevolence was to send in missionaries, to destroy cultures, to separate families, etc. Under the treaty of Tordesillas, the Spanish and Portuguese thought they were being benevolent in bringing Christianity and saving pagan souls, but in reality they brought one of the largest, if not the largest, genocide in world history. The British may or may not have believed their own story about being benevolent by enslaving Africans to Christianize and civilize them, and thereby conducting the other main contender for the world's largest genocide.

Often things the colonial powers for their own benefit had actual benevolent outcomes. The British didn't build railways in India for the sake of Indians, but it turned out to reduce the impact of famines, to help the colony form a national idea, to put thinkers in touch with each other through the mail, and later through telegraphs, to build a national independence movement of a unified India. It was actually the complete opposite of what the British wanted, but achieved a huge benefit to Indian nationalists that they're loathe to admit, even today. Hong Kong is probably the best example of this. There's no question British rule was racist and discriminatory, but it helped Hong Kong build a lot of the institutions that allowed China as a whole to modernize their economy on Mao's death. That was never British intention, but that's what happened.

The other issue is the areas that were colonized may have been seen as homogenous by the colonizers, but they rarely were. Cortez didn't differentiate against the peoples of Mexico, but they sure did. And those differences allowed huge groups of peoples to fight off Mexica control of their lands. They thought it would be a benefit to them to align with Cortez against the Mexica, and it was for a short time. Cortez was a greedy, selfish, liar. He's almost cartoonishly self interested. But, to his indigenous allies he was seen as providing benevolent assistance in overthrowing the hated Mexica, until a combination of political decentralization, pandemic disease, and ruthless and blood thirsty Spanish control left them in just as poor shape as the Mexica.

1

u/malthar76 Nov 27 '22

The Western European arrogance, greed, and racism set the tone for pretty much all of it, right?

I’m still fascinated by the risk takers, and the struggles and the failures. Grew up in southern NJ, knew about the English colony, a small bit about the Dutch, but knew nothing about New Sweden until I went down a Wiki-hole.

2

u/elmonoenano Nov 27 '22

This is political, so it has elements of arrogance and greed and cultural chauvinism, but there's also a lot of politics. Part of the reason to colonize N. America for the English was to get rid of troublesome groups within the country. England had a lot of religious groups that were a pain in the ass to governing powers. They could warehouse them in North America where they were kind of out of sight, out of mind.

Spain had all these people that were no longer needed to fight the Moors. Having a large warrior class with nothing to do is dangerous. Letting them conquer another territory was unifying and focused trouble away from home.

France had severe budgetary problems. Colonies might provide the king with financial relief, and leverage against his own nobles, if enough wealth could be extracted.

The 30 Years War/War of Spanish Succession had put the Netherlands in a precarious position. Without population, they'd have to rely on mercenaries. Colonies provided a potential source of revenue to pay those mercenaries without levying heavy taxes on the local populations.

Countries were jealous of the wealth their competitors were achieving and wanted to gain stature against their neighbors.

This stuff is all very multifaceted and some reasons can be stated more openly than other reasons. Saying you want to Christianize the New World is great PR for Spain. Saying you need to find something to do with all these blood thirsty ruffians from Extremadura so you're going to send them to the edge of the world on some harebrained scheme is not. So you say one real loud and whisper the other.

The racism is a little more complicated. There's good research and writing on how it developed out of the needs of imperialism and probably wasn't a cause of imperialism, but it's awful offspring, until maybe beginning in the 17th century.

4

u/Karnezar Nov 26 '22

Has a notable person of power ever jeopardized their position solely to get laid?

8

u/elmonoenano Nov 26 '22

JFK is a good example of this. He was constantly putting his larger plans and hopes at risk for hook ups.

The Logevall biography gets at a specific instance during WWII. JFK was having an affair with a journalist, I think she was Dutch, who had had significant contacts with major Nazis before the war. The FBI was monitoring her. She doesn't seem to actually have been a spy but there were serious concerns at the time. While this was all going on JFK had an important post in naval intelligence and would have been an excellent source.

He was transferred to the PT boats partially b/c he was high profile and some serious backers wanted to highlight the boat and his stature would raise the boats profile, partially b/c it was seen as a good recruitment tool for the Navy to have Joe Kennedy's son serving in the Pacific on these boats, and partially b/c the Navy was sketched out by JFK's inability to keep it in his pants.

1

u/Elmcroft1096 Nov 26 '22

The name of the nobleman escapes me but there was once a Prince-Bishop who as a Catholic Cleric was committed to Clerical Celibacy but as he was in charge of some small minor German speaking state (this was well before Lutheranism) but when his I believe father died he became the ruler of the Principality and due to heredity and maintaining the power of that position the Pope actually released him from Bishop duites and allowed him to marry so that he could rule his state, marry and produce an heir which he did. Technically he didn't jeopardize his position in so much that fate forced him into the position of being a ruling Prince. If memory serves me he wasn't the original ruling Prince's first son I believe he was the third son which is why he originally chose a career in the Church.

6

u/Deuce232 Nov 26 '22

Kings have abdicated for love. Whole wars started over infidelity. Presidents and ministers disgraced over affairs.

I can't think of a region or era that doesn't have examples.

5

u/AngryBlitzcrankMain Nov 26 '22

Depends how much do you want see "having a relationship" view as get laid. One British monarch abdicated so he could live with women he did love. Franz Ferdinand greatly ruined his position in Austria-Hungary so that he could marry his future wife.

-1

u/Karnezar Nov 26 '22

Naw, I'm talking just to hook up, or pursue a lifestyle in which he could sleep with women all day.

2

u/Thibaudborny Nov 26 '22

One could say modern sex scandals in politics come to mind, think perhaps of famously Bill Clinton.

You'll find older examples, too. However, often they are more up for debate due to the context. Case in point, the case of the French king Philip I (1060-1108), who was put under Interdict by the pope (multiple times) for taking another (married) woman as his own. Whilst Philip repudiated his former wife, the Reform Papacy retaliated on moral grounds. The whole affair lasted years, and while Philip made it seem as if he broke of his second marriage, he stayed with his new woman. It went so far that the former husband (the Count of Anjou) of his new wife retracted his allegiance to the house of Capet & placed Anjou under the suzerainity of the Papacy... Clerical writers on the side of the Papacy couched this affair in terms of weakness of the flesh.

The reality was, however, more prosaic.

Philip's former wife was eventually barren, and with only one male heir, the king had his dynastic duty to consider and ensure more offspring. The feelings he might have held for his new woman we will never truly know. It is important to consider that in early medieval Europe, marriage as a singular concept was not yet established, and various forms of matching existed. Basically, noble and clerical values clashed as both sides were in the process of establishing social norms that in this regard, conflicted.

So the Pope and his cronies would say it was weakness of the flesh, but king Philip arguably had other things on his mind.

1

u/RanCestor Nov 26 '22

I think Caligula from Rome takes the cake. This guys was like "fuck you and your accusations of debauchery!" While he married his sister to a horse before the Senate. Clinton just tried to claim "I did not have sexual relations with that woman."

2

u/Ranger176 Nov 26 '22

When Woodrow Wilson was running for New Jersey governor, was there any suspicion/negativity of him because he was a Virginian?

1

u/Kinapak Nov 26 '22

Now that the "whisky war" is done, has there been any other border disputes between neighborign countries that have been as civil/non-combative?

1

u/calijnaar Nov 26 '22

You might want to have a look at the dispute about the border between Germany and the Netherlands in the Ems Dollart estuary. Basically Germany claims the whole river and estuary, the Netherlands claim the border is in the middle of the river. This goes back to a dispute about a deed of enfeoffment granting the whole river and estaury to East Frysia. At the time this was a dispute inside the Holy Roman Emperor and the main dispute is about the deed being backdated and forged. That border later became an international border when the Netherlands became independent, but the dispiute remained the same. There are various treaties regulating who can do what where, whose police is responsible where etc., with an emphasis on friendship and cooperation, but always with the caveat that nothing in those treaties can be constructed as either side giving up their claims...

If you are into 84 page treatises about bizarre border disputes, I'd recommend The Ems-Dollart Predicament

1

u/Kinapak Dec 18 '22

Thank you

1

u/McGillis_is_a_Char Nov 26 '22

Around what period did the Ottoman Empire start deploying permanent embassies to other countries, as opposed to temporary diplomats with specific mandates?

1

u/Bashstash01 Nov 28 '22

The Ottoman empire's embassies were first established in the 1830s.

3

u/getBusyChild Nov 26 '22

Were there cases of Crusaders converting to Islam then living the rest of their lives in say Egypt etc.?

1

u/TheGreatOneSea Nov 28 '22

It certainly happened: Robert of St. Albans being one of the more famous examples, when he joined Saladin. Leon Cazelier also famously betrayed a castle, and later converted.

The Templars even ended up with a reputation for converting to Islam, but it was mostly undeserved, since pretty much everyone had their share of traitors.

It was never a common occurrence, of course.

1

u/GSilky Nov 27 '22

People say Frederick II might have converted to Islam, I am not one but it's muddy, but he did know Arabic and the leaders he engaged to hand over Jerusalem without a fight were impressed by his knowledge of both Islam and Arab ways that he gained from his childhood in Sicily. There was some issue when later crusaders arrived in the crusader states that they had "gone native", adopting the clothing and manners of the very hot near east rather than dying of heat stroke in traditional Frankish clothing.

2

u/Elmcroft1096 Nov 26 '22

Vlad Tepes, aka Vlad Dracula and his brother Radu were imprisoned with their father Vald Dracul by the Ottoman Sultan, within a year Vlad Dracul was released but he supported the Hungarian King (a Catholic) during the Varna Crusades, Vlad Dracula and Radu were kept as prisoners to secure that Vlad Dracul didn't go too far in his Christian support. Eventually the boys were released Radu stayed and coverted to Islam, and Vlad Dracula went back to Wallachia and stayed an Orthodox Christian who had both Orthodox Christian and Roman Catholic allies.

2

u/[deleted] Nov 26 '22

I would imagine so, albeit very few. If you converted, then you would be freed from slavery. However, you were watched to ensure that you practiced.

1

u/getBusyChild Nov 26 '22

I mean like willingly.

1

u/[deleted] Nov 26 '22

Doubt it, but I’m sure several eventually took their new faith seriously.

2

u/feickus Nov 26 '22

I heard this before and I have read some history on it but mostly on blogs. "Was the USMC almost disbanded and the mission absorbed by the US Army?"

-4

u/Elmcroft1096 Nov 26 '22

Since the formation of this nation the United States Marine Corps has had a few people throughout the history of the United States who have tried to either disband them completely or roll them and their mission into the Army. George Washington didn't want any standing fighting force after the Revolution and we can debate as to why, personally I think he saw a standing military as a threat that potentially could overthrow him. To that end he did disband the Navy, sent sailors home, transferred the officers and ships to the Army. Then he was trying to disband the Army when he was convinced that shrinking it and keeping its mission limited was a better idea which he agreed and did and also tried to disband the Marines. The Marines saved themselves by becoming the military force specifically tasked with protecting the Nation's Capital in so much that they also had to police the streets and assist fire brigades if a fire broke out, all in the name of protecting the Capital.

3

u/KurwaStronk32 Nov 27 '22

Washington didn’t do any of that, the Continental Congress did.

7

u/elmonoenano Nov 26 '22

George Washington didn't want any standing fighting force after the Revolution and we can debate as to why, personally I think he saw a standing military as a threat that potentially could overthrow him.

This isn't remotely true. Washington's anger at militia forces is well documented. He hated their lack of discipline, saw them as little better than a mob, and was disgusted with their cowardice.

It's not hard to find sources for this.

George Washington was not a big writer, and still managed to turn out this long letter, probably one of his longest, just about problems with militia forces. https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/03-06-02-0305

5

u/LP-revolt Nov 26 '22

You might be thinking of the time - When the Revolution ended with the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the Marines, like the Navy, were disbanded. It wasn't until 15 years later, on July 11, 1798, that President John Adams signed into law a congressional act which created—or re-created, depending how you're counting—the United States Marine Corps. But if I remember correctly, so too the Army was disbanded, because there was no central miliary under the Articles of Confederation and only local states militias were supposed to make up the military forces until we got the Constitution in 1789 - BTW The USMC is not part of the Army, It has always been part of the US Navy - It is a Military Armed Naval force that fights on Navy Vessals (to repel enemy boarding parties) and is also used for naval invasions to occupy ports or strastigic landings for later (to arrive and occupy) other US armed forces. The most famous of this type of thing was the battle of Derma Tripoli 1805 when 8 US marines with 400-500 Arab-Greek mercenaries over threw the Tripoli Barbary Pirates. Other famous Marine events are, Halls of Montazuma (refers to the Battle of Chapultepec, during the Mexican-American War, where a force of Marines stormed Chapultepec Castle) and Iwo Jima (1945).

4

u/elmonoenano Nov 26 '22

The other thing probably to mention is that the military is constantly coming up with plans for reorganization. A lot of these plans are really about attempts to take some part of the military's budget from one branch to give to another. The Army and Navy do this constantly. Probably about 1% of any of these plans ever come to any kind of fruition. The army constantly is saying the Marines are redundant and should be phased out or switched over to the Army, along with their budget. This probably happens every single year during intraservice budget planning. There is probably some plan to do away with the marines by the army, or the naval airforce (world's 2nd largest airforce after the USAF) by the USAF, or something similar every year. These plans are rarely taken seriously or get farther than an op ed in some trade journal or a working paper that's circulated.

Just googling "Should the USMC be merged into the US Army" gets 3.5 million hits. It's a discussion topic that gets endlessly debated but never goes anywhere.

6

u/shantipole Nov 26 '22

Kind of.

The Marine Corps always struggles with how to justify itself as a separate force. The Army does the land fighting and the Navy does the ship fighting and where does that leave the Corps? In other militaries "marines" are just Army soldiers assigned to ships. Plus, you have the issue of it being a component of the Department of the Navy--it's not called the Department of the Navy because the Marines are top dog over there. So, there is a lot of pressure behind the idea of folding the Marines into the Army.

But, the Marines have always found a mission that they will excel at and that requires a different force composition, or mindset, or just particular brand of crazy than the Army--amphibious assault, guarding nuclear weapons on a carrier, or the first reaction force into a conflict zone. They also have done a very good job at building a very strong esprit. You can say that it makes sense from a bureaucratic perspective to do away with the Corps, but from a "winning wars" perspective they keep serving vital functions, so it's not likely they'll ever be disbanded.

-1

u/Worsel555 Nov 26 '22

No. The Marine Corps is still a major service organized with the Navy. They have about 180,000 active service.