Are You a European History Expert?


By: Melanie Buer

6 Min Quiz

Image: Matteo Colombo/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

From the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans to the creation of the printing press in the late Middle Ages to the launching of the Protestant Reformation and the beginning of the era of modern warfare, Europe's past is varied and full of incredible events that shaped the course of human history as we know it. 

Nearly 2 million years ago, the first humans arrived in Europe. They made their way from Africa and settled in many places in Central and Southwest Europe. By the 7th century B.C.E., the civilization of Ancient Greece began to flourish. They built societies full of an educated populace that excelled in the arts and sciences. Great philosophers like Plato and Socrates walked the streets, and massive empires were formed.

In the Middle Ages, the great Roman Empire declined, and the Holy Roman Empire took its place. What followed were centuries of conflict, divisions in the church, and bloody wars over territory. Characterized as the Dark Ages, this period still saw movement toward the creation of what would become modern society.

As the world began to be more fully explored and industrialization took hold, Europe became the center of both devastating conflict and incredible growth, continuing to our modern day.
So, do you think you're a European history expert? Take this quiz to find out once and for all!

What was the cultural and scientific movement that was led by a renewed interest in ancient Greek and Roman texts called?

Beginning in the 14th century, the Renaissance (meaning "rebirth") greatly affected literature, philosophy, science and politics. It was inspired by a rediscovery of ancient Greek and Roman texts that created a renewed interest in these ancient arts and sciences.


In what country did the Renaissance begin?

The Renaissance first began in Italy and spread to other countries in Europe and England after more than 200 years. The Italian Renaissance was characterized by the flourishing of beautiful art, science and philosophy created by people like Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci.


Who is a famous Renaissance painter and inventor?

Leonardo Da Vinci was known for some of the most famous paintings and inventions that came out of the Italian Renaissance, including the "Mona Lisa" and "The Last Supper." A true "Renaissance Man," he left behind more than 6,000 pages of writing, drawings and other inventions.


In 1801, Great Britain joined with Ireland to create what union?

The United Kingdom is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, who joined the Union after the establishment of the Irish Republic in 1922. It was originally formed in the 1700s when Scotland and England joined in the first union that created Great Britain.


What is the period in the 19th century when major changes in agriculture, manufacturing and transport affected economic and cultural conditions in Europe?

Beginning in England in the late 18th century, the Industrial Revolution created new technology that brought about the rise of large metropolitan centers and factories. As these urban centers grew, more workers moved from rural areas into the cities.


In 1789, what event happened that kicked off the French Revolution?

The storming of the Bastille Prison on July 14, 1789 began a revolution that eventually saw the monarchy dismantled and the end of the feudal system in France. The revolution lasted 10 years from 1789 to 1799 and included the famous Reign of Terror.


In 1804, which famous French general crowned himself Emperor of France?

Napoleon ruled as Emperor of France until 1814, when he was violently deposed. He is often referred to as having a remarkably short stature, although contemporary accounts report him to be of average height.


The Unified German Empire lasted during which dates?

The German Empire originally consisted of 26 states, the largest of which was Prussia. Unified in large part due to the work of Otto von Bismarck, the German Empire lasted until the end of World War I.


World War I ended on what day?

November 11, 1918, remembered as Armistice Day, was the offical end of the war. The truce between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France notibly began on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918.


What were the two military alliances that fought each other in World War II?

Germany, Japan and Italy were known as the main Axis powers and the leading Allied powers included the United States, Soviet Union, China and England. The war, fought for six years between 1939 and 1945, is considered the deadliest conflict in human history.


What was the name of the plague that decimated 30-60% of Europe's population in the 14th century?

The Black Death most likely started in Central Asia and was then carried on the backs of black rats that traveled on merchant ships and in caravans along the Silk Road. An estimated 75-200 million people died during this horrid time.


What was the capital of the Ottoman Empire?

The Ottoman Empire was the center of trade relations between the East and West for nearly six centuries. Constantinople was at one time the largest city in the western world with over half a million people.


Who was the real-life inspiration for the Gothic horror "Dracula"?

Romanian ruler Vlad the Impaler earned his bloody nickname when he allegedly impaled 20,000 Ottoman Turks on long poles on the banks of the Danube River. His blood-thirsty nature became the inspiration for Bram Stoker's "Dracula."


How long did the Roman Empire last?

The Roman Empire started in the year 27 B.C. and covered more than 1.9 million square miles at its height. It lasted about 500 years — the first 200 years of their rule was called the "Pax Romana" because of its incredible stability and peace.


Who was the first emperor of the Holy Roman Empire?

Charlemagne was crowned by the pope as emperor around the year 800, with his empire being based in modern France and Germany. This French ruler was known as an even-headed man.


What were the Crusades?

Beginning in 1095 and lasting into the early 1400s, the Crusades were religious wars that were sanctioned by the Catholic Church, and fought for a variety of reasons including the spread of Christian faith beyond Europe.


Who created the first book to be produced by movable type?

The book, called the Gutenberg Bible, was produced on the newly invented printing press, which allowed written materials to be more easily printed and distributed to a wider public.


Who wrote the 95 Theses and sparked the Protestant Reformation?

The 95 Theses were written originally to protect the sale of indulgences by the Catholic Church, and lead to a break from the church and the beginning of the Protestant Reformation.


Who created the Church of England in order to have the freedom to divorce his wife?

Henry VIII wanted to divorce his wife, Catherine of Aragon, and therefore cut off all appeals from the English courts to Rome, abolishing the authority of the Pope in England, thus creating the Church of England, with the monarch as its head.


Who was the Italian explorer who landed on the island of Hispaniola in 1492?

When Christopher Columbus landed with his three ships in the Bahamas, he thought he had reached Asia and was disappointed that he found no gold. The ships he sailed with were the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria.


What was the last of the religious wars between Calvinism and Catholicism?

Fought from 1618-1648, The Thirty Years War began as a battle over religious differences and quickly became a devastating struggle over power in Europe, and ultimately created the conditions in which the Enlightenment flourished.


Who wrote "Leviathan"?

Thomas Hobbes believed that the state of nature was terrible and that a commonwealth with absolute authority would be the sort of society that would tame the animalistic instincts of the citizenry.


Who was the founder of modern feminism?

Mary Wollstonecraft wrote "Vindication of the Rights of Women" that argued for women to have the same rights as men. She argued that the only reason women appeared to be inferior to men is that they lacked the same education that was afforded to men.


Who is credited with saying "Let them eat cake"?

Although there is no evidence that Marie Antoinette actually said "let them eat cake" in response to the observation that the poor population of France had no bread to eat, the quote still stuck with her and helped stir anti-monarchy sentiment during the French Revolution.


Who was Dante Alighieri?

Dante Alighieri wrote "The Divine Comedy" in which the main characters take a journey through hell and purgatory. His writings often contained satirical depictions of his contemporaries.


The Cold War was the main focus of European global politics during what years?

The Cold War was a global conflict that was marked by the nuclear arms race and heightened tensions between its two main aggressors — the Soviet Union and the United States. It was considered a "cold" war due to the no physical aggression stance being taken on either side.


What is another name for The Enlightenment?

The Age of Reason, or the Enlightenment, was an intellectual movement that gained popularity during the 18th century. This age is known for its enlightened thinking and attention to reason as the primary source of knowledge.


What was Elizabeth I's nickname?

Also known as Good Queen Bess and Gloriana, Elizabeth I was the daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She was the last of the monarchs of the House of Tudor, and never married during her lifetime.


Which King of England has this rhyme describing his rocky marriage history: "Divorced, beheaded, died; divorced, beheaded, survived"?

King Henry VIII had six wives throughout his lifetime. He formed the Church of England to divorce his first wife because she was unable to produce a male heir, and died at age 55 with his obesity being a contributing factor.


In 1806, what major action did Napoleon take?

After Napoleon's armies defeated the armies of the last Holy Roman Emperor Francis II, Francis abdicated and allowed the empire to be dissolved and broken up into separate territories that formed the Confederation of the Rhine, a French satellite.


When were the Dark Ages?

The Dark Ages, also called the Early Middle Ages, was a period that experienced frequent warfare and saw a steep decline in urban life. Many scholars now agree that "the Dark Ages" is a misnomer, and have worked to shine a new light on some of the literature that was produced during this time.


What major event happened across Europe in 1848?

The Revolutions of 1848, also known as the Spring of Nations, saw a significant social and cultural change in each of the many countries who participated in political uprisings. Many of these uprisings were in reaction to the effects of the industrial revolution.


When was the Soviet Union founded?

The Soviet Union was founded in 1922, five years after a successful revolution (and subsequent civil war) to remove the Tsarist monarchy in Russia. It was formed by the signing of a treaty between the Russian, Ukrainian, Transcaucasian, and Byelorussian republics that were formed in 1918.


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