Five Commonly Asked History Questions

Here is a list of frequently asked questions about all topics of history – I’m going to try and answer them in the best way. Please keep in mind some answers may be written with my personal opinion, but it will still be facts.

1. Who Found America?

No one really, there have probably been people in America for a very, very long time so we can’t just say who appeared there for the first time.

You can ask “who found Europe” and “who found Australia” but what you’re really asking is “who from another place went to this place, kicked everyone out and made it their home”.

But, to answer this particular question, we can’t say Christopher Columbus, because we are quite sure that the Vikings appeared in North America, and if not, then almost certainly Canada. Additionally, there are theories that Ancient Egyptians made it there. Seriously.

I honestly don’t know what all the evidence and information for these ideas are, but I’m assuming they’re founded on something logical, even if it is a group of people from the Middle East sailing all the way through the Mediterranean and the Atlantic to get to a continent literally on the other side of the world – one that is much different to their home lands and likely not valuable to them at all.

2. Why Did Rome Fall?

I see this question everywhere, because it’s such a confusing topic, and is still being debated today, much like how people argue over the factors that triggered WW1.

It comes down to multiple points, and I’m actually planing to write a blog post going into more depth about it. Anyway, here is a list of a few key causes:

  • Barbarian and Germanic tribes were attacking from many sides of the Empire. Although Caesar managed to conquer much of Gaul, eventually soldiers of the Roman Empire became disloyal and military discipline started to disintegrate. For example, many troops no longer wore decent armour, or any armour at all, into battle. Rome was sacked several times and with too much strain on Roman lands (which stretched over Europe) the Barbarians finally found their way in and claimed Rome.
  • Inflation was causing serious financial problems. Some Emperors tried setting fixed prices for goods, but of course that upset vendors who desired higher prices than the ones enforced. Relentless fighting took its toll as well – too much money was spent on war.

  • It wouldn’t stop growing! The rule of thumb is that the greater your lands, the harder they are to govern. Rome had a way of justifying their endless conquests – by saying that they were “defending the Empire by expanding”. Apart from Gauls, who may have posed a considerable threat, this seems to be utter rubbish. Most likely the Emperors just wanted to take land to one-up their rivals, and so they could charge high interest rates on defeated foreign folk who couldn’t resist borrowing money from the Romans.
  • Government began to… rot. Everyone was only out for themselves. Praetorian Guards repeatedly assassinated the leaders they didn’t like and dumped yet another guy at the helm. Civil war broke out. Furthermore, Christianity was rising in popularity and the new religion almost completely undermined many of the traditional Roman values and beliefs.

If someone were to ask me how Rome fell, the short answer I’d give is that in a sense it didn’t. The Eastern side of Rome (which was based in Constantinople) grew rich and fairly powerful, and only dissolved when the Ottomans sacked the capital in the 15th century. In my personal opinion, classical Rome began to crumble when the ADs started.

3. Why Did The Industrial Revolution – In Britain -Happen?

  • The agricultural economy boomed, and there was a surplus of food. With the money made from selling the extra crop, families could buy new technology. Manufacturers who gained money from this were provided with better funds to continue researching.
  • With many people migrating to urban areas, there was great development in cities – meaning more jobs and higher wages. Put simply, this meant a lot more people to work the machines, make the machines and use the machines.

  • Expansion of the British empire. Her far spread lands were constantly in need of fresh supplies and tools, so devices were speedily engineered to produce these products in mass and as quickly as possible.
  • Universities and academic studies had improved. Over decades – even centuries – of British people working on their schools, operating theatres and workshops, they had finally mastered the art of science and engineering. This new ability allowed Britain to conquer new areas of discovery and put them into practical use, developing steam engines and more useful contraptions.

There are heaps more reasons why the Industrial Revolution (in Britain) fired up. People research and write extensively on this topic, trying to fully identify the ways it was catalysed and encouraged.

4. How Is Prehistory Defined And When Did It Begin?

I’m going to state my opinion that the disciplined recording of history properly appeared with the Greeks. By that I am not implying that people before them couldn’t write – the Egyptians wrote language for thousands of years, and many other civilisations had their ways of jotting down information – but the Greeks were the first to diligently train academically and respect history in a way that few other tribes and kingdoms did.

Shortly, prehistory is anything before events were recorded in a way that historians today can understand.

5. What Does The D in D-Day Stand For?

Despite common belief that the D means Deliverance, it actually has nothing to do with this. Rather, the D simply stands for day. Day-Day. It’s a term used in military operations. The day before when the action would take place would be called D-1, for Day -1, basically 24 hours before the big day. Days after would be D+1, +2, +3, etc. Confusing, but true, and effective for planning.

Instead of having to rewrite all their dates for the invasion, Allied leaders in 1944 didn’t have to do this because the only days they had were D-1, D-Day, D+1, so the actual time it happened could be anything, but it was always possible to identify the times by finding the time relative to D-Day. And that’s a lot of days for you.

Hey! You’ve reached the bottom!

If you had a question answered in this article, show your appreciation by sharing with a couple friends.

If you want more of these “Common Historical Questions” comment below, and I’ll be sure to make one ASAP!

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