Out of all the subjects taught in school, history may very well be the most important of them all. Sure, math teaches us how to count and how to think logically, English helps us to express ourselves and our feelings and geography lets us know where in the world we stand, but it is history that allows us to better understand the past, and in consequence, the present and the future. Why? Because at the most basic level history helps us to predict the future.
Without knowledge of history we would not be able to create a better tomorrow. It is history that shows us what worked and what didn't work for our ancestors and it is history that can help us avoid making the same mistakes that they did. At the same time, if we replicate the actions and the ideas that led to our ancestors' successes, we too are bound to succeed. Plus, interestingly enough, history can be found in almost every subject. After all, math would not exist without history - without someone having recorded the influential figures in mathematics and their thoughts and inventions.
History is all around us and that is why it is incredibly important to know it, if only at the most basic level.
1Who invented the first successful printing press?
Which one of the below four men came up with the first successful printing press? Was it Johannes Gutenberg, John Harrison, Benjamin Franklin or James Watt? As most will probably recall, this printing press was invented sometime in the 15th century and its most defining - and one may even say, revolutionary - feature was its metal printing matrices that were hand-molded and which resulted in a movable-type system. This movable-type system allowed for printing in larger quantities than ever before.
2Christopher Columbus landed in the New World in which year?
Today, Christopher Columbus is known as one of the most famous explorers of Europe. Columbus was born in the Republic of Genoa in Italy and during the course of his life went on four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. It was on his very first voyage that he landed in the New World as opposed to in Japan, which was his initial goal. But who knows what year was it when Columbus landed in the New World? Was it 1305, 1492, 1662, or 1750?
3Where was William Wallace from?
William Wallace was a fearless knight who was involved in a war of independence in the late 13th century. Today, little is known of Wallace's background or his family as he is most famous for his actions later on in life. In 1297 Wallace and his friend Andrew Moray defeated the English army but only a year later - in 1298 - he and his army were defeated at the Battle of Falkirk and seven years later - in 1305 - Wallace was captured and executed for high treason.
4The Wall Street Crash happened in which year?
The Wall Street Crash - sometimes referred to as Black Tuesday or the Great Crash - was a stock market crash in the U.S which followed the London Stock Exchange Crash and which partly resulted in the Great Depression which affected not only citizens of the U.S but also citizens of other Western countries. The Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression resulted in a serious financial crisis - and mass unemployment - and put a stop to the Roaring Twenties.
5What was the name of the spaceflight that landed the first two men on the moon?
Who knows the name of the spaceflight that landed the first two men on the moon? As most people will probably recall, this spaceflight was launched by a Saturn V rocket on July 16 in 1969 from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was the fifth manned mission of a specific space program in which three astronauts took part. Once in lunar orbit, two of the three astronauts switched to a lunar module known as the "Eagle" and landed in the Sea of Tranquility.
6Who wore these masks?
Who knows who wore these scary, bird-like masks? Was it members of the "no nose club" (a club for people who had lost their nose to a specific disease that was prevalent in the 19th century), astronauts, medieval tax collectors or Bubonic plague doctors? These masks were often filled with various aromatic items so as to protect the wearer from putrid air. It is believed that this mask was first invented in 1619 by a doctor named Charles de Lorme who worked for Louis XIII.
7What year did the Salem witch trials begin in?
The famous Salem Witch Trials were a series of hearings and prosecutions of supposed witches and wizards. The Salem Witch Trials began after three girls experienced mysterious fits during which they trashed around, threw things and emitted incomprehensible sounds. They blamed their fits onto a few local women who were then branded as witches and blamed for possessing the girls. Countless more people were questioned - and tortured - and many of them were convicted of witchcraft, which at best led to their imprisonment, and at worst, to their execution.
8Who invented paper?
Nowadays most of us can't imagine our lives without paper. Indeed, paper is integral to the lives that we lead and we interact with it on numerous occasions during the day, from the bills that we receive in the mail, to the tea packet that we open up in the morning and finally to the book that we read before we go to sleep. Paper has been around for quite a while. Indeed, it was invented all the way back in 100 B.C. But who invented it?
9Which of the below was NOT one of the original Thirteen Colonies?
The original Thirteen Colonies were British colonies in the Americas that were founded in the 17th and 18th centuries. These colonies were mostly inhabited by Protestant-English speakers and their populations grew quickly. Indeed, between 1625 and 1775 the population of these colonies grew from 2,000 people to over 2 million people! The Thirteen Colonies were self-governed and as such tensions quickly arose between them and Great Britain shortly after the French and Indian War. Eventually, the Thirteen Colonies began to collaborate with one another which led to the famous Revolution and eventually to their independence from Great Britain.
10When did the Boston Tea party take place?
The Boston Tea Party is a famous historical protest that took place, as the name suggests, in Boston, Massachusetts. The protest came about as a result of over taxation - the Thirteen Colonies were angry at Great Britain for “taxation without representation." At the time, Great Britain was greatly in debt and thus wanted colonists in the U.S to help them by making them pay high tax. However, the colonists were not prepared to bow down to the British and as such they decided to show their serious dissatisfaction at Britain's behavior by throwing 342 chests of British tea into the Boston harbor.
11Al Capone was eventually charged for…
Al Capone, also known by his nickname "Scarface", was one of the most notorious gangsters in the U.S who made most of his wealth during the Prohibition era. Initially Capone worked for the gangster Johnny Torrio (who was the boss of the Chicago Outfit mob) but when the latter retired Capone took over. Capone was the boss of the Chicago Outfit for seven years and it was during his reign that he attracted the attention of the federal authorities who eventually charged him for...?
12Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in…
Rosa Parks went down in history when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white bus passenger in Montgomery, Alabama. At the time, buses were segregated but if there were no seats left in the whites-only section, black passengers were supposed to give up their seats to white passengers without so much as grumbling. Parks was subsequently arrested for civil disobedience but the black community supported her by boycotting the buses. Parks became an international figure and worked with numerous civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., in an effort to end segregation.
13Where did the Renaissance begin?
The Renaissance was a period in European history that began in the 14th century and ended in the 17th century. As the dates probably make clear, this period came right after the Middle Ages. Today, the Renaissance is known for its revival of culture, art, science and literature. Thus, it makes perfect sense that the word Renaissance means "rebirth" in French. The English word for this period emerged into being sometime in the early 19th century. But which country did Renaissance spread from?
14When did the Titanic sink?
When the RMS Titanic was built, everyone wanted to be on it. Back in the day, this White Star Line ocean liner was the largest ship afloat and its first class accommodation was extremely luxurious comprising of an on-board gymnasium, a number of libraries and a swimming pool. Thus, it makes sense that some of the richest people in the world where aboard this ship when it went down after it collided with an iceberg. Of course, this ship did not only carry the rich, but also countless of emigrants from Great Britain and Ireland as well as other European countries who were looking for a better life elsewhere.
15The spy Mata Hari was from ...
How many people know who Margaretha Geertruida "Margreet" MacLeod was? And how many people know who Mata Hari was? The two were one and the same person. Mata Hari was an exotic dancer but it wasn't her dancing talents that ensured her a spot in world history, but rather her ties to the world of espionage. During World War II, Mata Hari was a spy for France but her career as a spy did not last long for she was accused of being a double agent (it is said that she also spied for Germany) which led to her execution.
16When did the First Crusade start?
The Crusades were religious wars that were ordered by the Latin Church. The first crusade was called on by Pope Urban II who wanted to help the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos after the latter had been beaten by the Turks. However, rather than just aiding the Byzantine Emperor the crusades decided to recapture the Holy Land and in particular the city of Jerusalem. Their mission was to free Eastern Christians from the rule of Muslims. So, who knows when the First Crusade began?
17Which U.S city was the first one to host the Olympics?
The Olympic Games are an international sporting event that takes place every four years. During the games, international athletes from around 200 nations compete in a variety of sport-related competitions. The first modern Olympics were held in 1896 in Athens, in Greece although the Games' history goes back centuries. Indeed, from 8th century BC to 4th century AD ancient Olympic Games (which actually started out as a celebration of the god Zeus) were held in Olympia, in Greece, hence the name.
18What was the name of the first man to walk on the moon?
Who knows the name of the first man to walk on the moon? This man was part of a spaceflight program known as Apollo 11. Him and his partner reached the moon in a lunar module known as the "Eagle" on 20th of July in 1969 although neither actually walked on the moon until the following day, six hours after having landed on it. Apollo 11 was this man's second spaceflight for he had previously been the commander of Gemini 8.
19What was the name of the first animal to be sent to orbit?
Back when the effects of weightlessness were not yet explored to a sufficient degree so as to send humans, animals were sent to space instead. Indeed, as is so often the case with testing things - think makeup products for example - it was animals who first tested both the safety and the side effects of space travel. The first animals to have ever gone to space were fruit flies and the first vertebrate was a monkey named Albert II who unfortunately did not survive the journey. But what was the name of the first animal (a dog) that was sent to orbit?
20When did the Woodstock Music Festival take place?
The Woodstock Music & Art Fair, nowadays better known simply as the Woodstock Festival or even just as Woodstock, was a world famous music festival that was held in the U.S. As far as festivals go, it attracted huge crowds of people - it is estimated that more than 400,000 people attended the festival. Indeed, the crowds were so big that the organizers gave up on checking the tickets and as such the festival became a free festival for those who had not purchased a ticket beforehand. The festival, which saw singers such as Jimi Hendrix and The Jefferson Airplane, is now viewed as a cultural phenomenon.
21The Silk Road facilitated trade between which two regions?
The Silk Road was an important network of trade routes that connected two regions together. While the name suggests that this network of routes was a "road", that is misleading for in actual fact it was a mixture of both terrestrial roads and maritime routes. The name of the route itself came from one of the most profitable items traded along the way - silk. But it wasn't just material objects that were traded. Religions, technologies, philosophies and even diseases were also brought from one region to another via this route.
22Who helped Karl Marx find the Marxist theory?
Karl Marx was a German man of many talents. Not only was he a philosopher and an a political theorist (which is what he is best known for today), he was also a historian, journalist, revolutionary, and sociologist. It was his political musings that led to his exile in London where he continued working on his controversial ideas, sometimes collaborating with other thinkers. Today, Marx is best known for his pamphlet called "The Communist Manifesto" and his ideas continue to influence intellectuals to this day.
23Where was the Titanic built?
We've already asked one question relating to RMS Titanic previously on this quiz and we've mentioned that this "unsinkable ship" sank after having collided with an iceberg which resulted in countless of fatalities, mostly as a result of a lack of lifeboats. Still, before this grand ship launched on its voyage, everyone wanted to be on it. At the time, it was the largest ship afloat and indeed, it took two years - and as many as 3,000 men - to build it. But where was it built?
24Who supposedly said “Let them eat cake”?
Who can recognize the famous figure in the image to the right? We're sure that most people know her name and if not, the hint above - "Let them eat cake" - is sure to give it away. However, most people are by now aware that the above phrase cannot actually be attributed to the figure in the image for there is no evidence to suggest that she ever said it. Indeed, according to historians the utterance of such a phrase would have been totally out of character for this famous historical figure.
25Isaac Newton is most famous for…
The man in the image to the right is none other than Isaac Newton. Newton was a talented Englishman with varied interests, most of them relating to science. Indeed, Newton was interested in mathematics, theology, astronomy and physics. Over the course of his life he contributed greatly to the field of science. For example, he predicted the shape of the earth, saying that it was probably an “oblate spheroid”. He also greatly contributed to the field of optics. But what is it that most people know him for nowadays?
26When did the Berlin Wall come down?
The Berlin wall was a concrete structure that divided Berlin - both physically and psychologically - into West Berlin and East Berlin (and consequently, East Germany) for 28 years. Officially, this cement wall was built to keep Western “fascists” out of socialist East Berlin and East Germany but in reality its purpose was to stop people from migrating from East Germany to West Germany. So when it was declared that citizens of East Germany could cross to the other side, the masses started tearing down the wall in their ecstasy.
27Historically, mercantilism was the...
Mercantilism is an economic policy that was popular in Europe between the 16th and 18th centuries. It is not practiced widely - if at all - nowadays although some say that some industrializing countries do still practice it to this day, at least when it comes to the rights of individuals. The purpose of this policy is to inflate the power of a specific nation at the expense of other nations by limiting the amount of imports via tariffs and by increasing the number of exports.
28Which came first - the Edwardian era or the Victorian era?
Who knows which came first - the Edwardian era or the Victorian era? History buffs will know that the Edwardian era is so called due to the reign of King Edward VII. Today, this era is often associated with luxurious garden parties and long, leisurely summer afternoons. The Victorian era was named after Queen Victoria, who was, at one point, the longest-reigning British monarch. Indeed, she reigned for 63 years, seven months and two days. As far as periods go, the Victorian era was a period of prosperity and peace, as well as of great change.
29What was the initial name of the theater William Shakespeare was a member of?
Nowadays William Shakespeare - also known as "Bard of Avon" - is considered by many to be one of the greatest writers in the English language. He was a prolific writer and over the course of his career wrote as many as 39 plays, 154 sonnets, and a number of other poems. It is also believed that some of his works have been lost. Today, he is best known for plays such as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and Othello.
30What were the names of the legendary founders of Rome?
The legendary founders of Rome were supposedly two twins that were born in an ancient city known as Alba Longa. According to the local legend, their mother was married to a former king who ended up being displaced by his brother Amulius. Fearing that the twins would conspire against him, Amulius had them abandoned at River Tiber where they were fortunately saved by god Tiberinus. Today, the two twins are best known for having been suckled by a she-wolf and of course, for finding Rome.
31What was the name of the first permanent English settlement in the Americas?
Who knows the name of the very first permanent English settlement in the Americas? This settlement stood beside the Powhatan (James) River and some say that it was there that the British Empire began. Initially the trusting natives welcomed the colonists that were to inhabit this settlement but their relations quickly turned sour. Disease and starvation made life in this colony a living hell and a great number of colonists perished. This colony was established in 1607, abandoned briefly in 1610 and then abandoned for good after 1699.
32What was the purpose of the Lewis and Clark expedition?
The Lewis and Clark Expedition, also known as the Corps of Discovery Expedition was commissioned by Thomas Jefferson in 1804. The expedition lasted for two whole years and was far more difficult than anyone could have imagined. Indeed, during the course of this expedition the two explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark came face to face with treacherous terrain, harsh weather conditions, diseases and hostile natives. Still, despite all of the difficulties they ran into, their journey was deemed a great success.
33Hippocrates thought that the human body was made up of four "humors." What were these "humors"?
Hippocrates, sometimes known as Hippocrates of Kos, was a Greek physician who lived during the period of Classical Greece. He was a man of medicine and the founder of the Hippocratic School of Medicine. Indeed, to this day he is known as a figure who made significant contributions to medicine. As such, it comes as no surprise that one of his nicknames is "Father of Medicine." Hippocrates is believed to have come up with the Hippocratic Oath (an oath promising to upkeep ethical standards) that is still in use today. But he also came up with the strange "humor theory."
34Who is this woman?
This woman, who was born in 1820 in the U.S, was a dedicated social reformer best known for her interest in women's rights and in particular the women's suffrage movement. However, she was also against slavery and it was at the mere age of 17 that she could be seen petitioning against it. This woman, with her friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton (who was, of course, also a social reformer) founded societies such as New York Women's State Temperance Society and the Women's Loyal National League, and the National Woman Suffrage Association among many others.
35When was the Mona Lisa stolen?
There is probably not a single person in the world who is not aware of the famous Mona Lisa painting. Mona Lisa is a portrait that was painted by the artist (and inventor) Leonardo da Vinci. Today, Mona Lisa is best known for her enigmatic expression and is considered to be one of the most famous works of art in the world. Mona Lisa has been exhibited in the Louvre ever since 1797. However, being so famous, it could not escape being stolen. Who knows the date when it disappeared from the Louvre?
36Marco Polo is famous for having traveled to...
Marco Polo is a famous historical figure who is nowadays best known for being one of the first few people from Europe to have traveled to a specific region. Who knows what that region was? As many will undoubtedly know, Polo was an Italian merchant and explorer. Many of Polo's adventures have been recorded in a book titled as "Livres des Merveilles du Monde" or, in English, "Book of the Marvels of the World", which was written by the romance writer Rustichello da Pisa, who befriended Polo in prison.
37Name this historical figure.
Who knows the name of the historical figure in the image to the right? This famous historical figure was a monarch who ruled England for almost 40 years (or 38 years to be exact). Today this figure is best known for his disagreement with the Pope which led to his separating the Church of England from the authority of the Pope. This figure is also known for having introduced to England the idea that monarchs are above everyone else and indeed, are almost god-like.
38Where was the explorer Vasco Da Gama from?
Vasco da Gama was a famous explorer who was born in mid 15th century and who is nowadays best known for being the first European to have traveled to India by sea. His discovery was a significant one and resulted in a number of great successes for his native country. Da Gama set out on his first voyage in 1497. He was accompanied by four ships - São Gabriel, São Rafael, Berrio and one other ship whose name is unknown.
39Who invented the first gasoline automobile?
This question is rather tricky because there were quite a few people who contributed to the invention of the automobile. For example, a French man named Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot came up with the first road vehicle for the army but it moved at an incredibly slow pace. However, there is one name that is almost always linked with the invention of the first true automobile. In fact, this man was the first person to invent a gasoline automobile and he wasted no time in getting it patented.
40True or False - During the Middle Ages most people believed that the earth was flat
Nowadays we all know that the earth is round but there was a time when people believed that it was flat. In fact, it is said that back in ancient times natives of countries such as Greece, India and even China believed in the Flat Earth theory. However, Pythagoras believed that the earth was spherical and Aristotle provided proof (albeit proof based on empirical grounds as opposed to proof based on scientific theory) that it was so. So, who knows whether the above statement is true or false?