Are You a History Expert?


By: Robin Tyler

6 Min Quiz

Image: zyxeos30/Moment/Gettyimages

About This Quiz

They say we can learn from history, usually meaning that we can learn from the mistakes of others. Although that should be the case, history shows us that this simply is not true!

Take World War I for example. Billed as the "war to end all wars," it took just 21 years after it was over for another world war to break out. And sure, both Germany and Japan's expansionist policies helped drive the world to war, but really nothing was learned from earlier conflicts. In fact, it was German philosopher Friedrich Hegel who wrote, “The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.”

But having said that, we hope that as a history lover, you have not learned from history but learned your history. Because over the course of the next few minutes, you will face a savagely difficult test of your history knowledge that covers a massive range of subjects from many different time periods. 

It's time to put on your Indiana Jones fedora and start cracking that whip. Do you think you have what it takes to end up at the top of the class in this test of your history knowledge, or will we get the better of you?

Only one way to find out...


Can you name the scandal that claimed the presidency of Richard Nixon in 1974?

Certainly the greatest scandal in US politics, the Watergate scandal forced Richard Nixon to resign before he was impeached. Recordings showed that Nixon was involved in the scandal, but while many of his underlings served jail time for their part, Nixon was pardoned by President Jimmy Carter.


Of the options below, which book was written by Adolf Hitler while in prison in the 1920s?

After his failed attempt to overthrow the German government in the 1920s, Adolf Hitler was jailed. It was during this time that he wrote "Mein Kampf," which laid out his future vision for Germany.


In what year did the American Civil War start?

The American Civil War started in 1861 and saw the southern U.S. states battle the northern U.S. states over differences in how slavery should be handled. The war broke out when the southern forces attacked Fort Sumter shortly after Abraham Lincoln started his presidency.


Who or what was "Fat Man"?

"Fat Man" was the name of the second atomic bomb dropped on Japan in August 1945. It destroyed the city of Nagasaki on August 9, killing a total 80,000 people, 45,000 of them outright.


We know Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon, but who was the second?

Neil Armstrong, the commander of the Apollo 11 mission, was the first man to set foot on the moon in 1969. He was followed by the missions pilot, Buzz Aldrin. The two astronauts spent just over 2 hours on the moon's surface.


From the list of countries below, which was not part of the U.S.S.R?

There are 15 current nations that made up the former Soviet Union, but Poland was not one of them. It was, however, a significant ally of the U.S.S.R. and formed part of the Communist Bloc.


During World War I, the territory known as South West Africa was a colony of which country?

Germany controlled the colony of South West Africa from 1884 to 1919. Only around 2,600 Germans lived here, but the colony was invaded by the Western Allies in 1915 during World War I and quickly was overrun.


Which European was the first to stand on the North American continent in 1513?

History tells us that Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León was the first European explorer to set foot on the continent of North America. He did so in 1513 near what is now the city of Miami, Florida.


The French Revolution, which saw the end of the French monarchy, started in what year?

The French revolution started in 1789 and ran for a period of 10 years. Ultimately, it saw the end of the French monarchy and established a democratic state that soon fell under the control of Napoleon Bonaparte.


In 1981, MTV showed its first music video. What was it?

MTV started broadcasting at 12:01 am on August 1, 1981. And their first video was a song by The Buggles, "Video Killed the Radio Star." Other artists to be aired included Pat Benatar and Cliff Richard.


From the list below, can you select the man who invented the steam engine?

Known as the "Father of the Railways," George Stephenson is credited with inventing the first working steam engine. One of his most famous machines was called "Rocket."


In 1773, tea from the British East India Company was famously thrown into which body of water in protest by American colonists?

American colonists were pretty angry that they were being taxed by the queen but didn't have any type of representation in England. For this reason, they tossed over 300 boxes of tea into Boston Harbor in what became known as the Boston Tea Party.


In 1803, the United State purchased land from France in what was known as the Louisiana Purchase. How much was paid to secure the land?

Before 1803, France held the territory of Louisiana, which stretched from the mouth of the Mississippi River near New Orleans and included much of the western United States toward Canada. The US decided to buy the territory from the French, who were willing to sell. The area bought, which cost $15 million, was around 530 million acres in size.


True or false? British tanks have equipment in them to brew tea for the crew.

We all know the British love a cup of tea. To allow their tankers to enjoy the beverage, since 1945, all British tanks include the ability to brew some tea for the crew without them having to leave their tank!


The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor had what callsign?

The Japanese launched two waves of attacks on Pearl Harbor on the morning of December 7, 1941. Hoping to destroy the United States' Pacific fleet, the Japanese did cause damage, but not to any aircraft carriers, as they were out of port. The attack was codenamed Tora! Tora! Tora! which incidentally means "tiger" in Japanese.


Who succeeded Margaret Thatcher as the Prime Minister of Great Britain?

John Major, a member of the Conservative Party, served as the British Prime Minister from 1990 to 1997, succeeding the first female Prime Minister of the country, Margaret Thatcher. He retired from politics in 2001.


Can you name the first dog in space?

Laika, a stray dog from the streets of Moscow, was the first animal in space as well as the first to orbit the Earth. She did so aboard Sputnik 2 in 1957. Sadly, she died in space.


Who was the Soviet leader responsible for allowing the Berlin Wall to come down and ultimately the fall of communism?

The eighth and final leader of the Soviet Union, it was the actions of Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s that led to the dissolution of the Eastern Bloc, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of communism.


Can you name the airline pilot who successfully landed his stricken plane in the Hudson River in 2009?

Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger was nothing short of a hero. After multiple bird strikes caused the engines to fail on his airplane after take-off, he performed an emergency landing in the Hudson River, saving the lives of everyone onboard.


The Allies invaded Europe at Normandy on which day?

The Allies' push to defeat Hitler started with the invasion of France on June 6, 1944. On what was often called "The Longest Day," troops from Britain, Canada and the U.S.A. made amphibious assaults at beaches on the French coast at Normandy.


We all know that George Washington was the first president of the United States, but who was the second?

The second president of the United States was John Adams. After serving as Vice President to George Washington, he was the next logical choice. Adams served one term, from 1797 to 1801.


Which U.S. mail service started in 1860?

For the short time it existed, the Pony Express was crucial for delivering mail across America. In fact, it reduced the time a letter took to go from the east to west coast and vice versa to 10 days. It ran for around 18 months before the telegraph became a far faster way of sending messages.


In 1066, French forces beat their English counterparts at which battle?

Led by William the Conqueror, the French forces, commonly known as the Normans, beat the English forces of King Harold on English soil at the Battle of Hastings. By winning the battle, William became the King of England.


What was New York City originally called?

The Dutch founded the settlement of New Amsterdam in 1625 but had been in the area even before that. New Amsterdam went on to become New York after the English took over the settlement in 1664.


Malcolm Little was a civil rights leader better known as ________.

A human rights activist and Muslim religious leader, Malcolm X was one of the foremost civil rights activists of the 1960s. A member of the Nation of Islam, he left the organization after converting to the Sunni Muslim ideology. He was assassinated in 1965 at age 39 by three members of his former organization.


Which of these is the smallest country in the world?

Surrounded by the city of Rome, the Vatican is a city state and the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. It encompasses an area of 44 hectares and is home to around 1,000 permanent residents.


Name the Hollywood star who became the governor of California in 2003.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was nominated at the governor of California in 2003. Known as the "Governator" in reference to his Terminator film character, he remained in the position until 2011.


Can you identify the Greek goddess of victory?

Also known as the winged goddess of victory, Nike was born to the Titan Pallas and the goddess Styx and counts Kratos, Bia and Zelus as her siblings. The Roman equivalent for Nike is Victoria.


Of the great wonders of the Ancient World, which still stands today?

The Giza pyramid complex was built from 2580 to 2560 BC. The three pyramids are known as the Great Pyramid (or the Pyramid of Cheops or Khufu), the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure.


Which of these countries was the first to allow women to vote?

Incredibly, New Zealand was the first country to allow women to vote, setting an example with the Electoral Act signed in 2893. The campaign to allow women to vote was led by suffragist Kate Sheppard.


In what year was India given independence from Great Britain?

India's independence was secured in 1947 when the British House of Commons passed the Indian Independence Act. With this act, the area of British India was partitioned into India and Pakistan.


Who invented the television?

John Logie Baird gave a demonstration of how television worked in 1926. Two years later, his company managed to broadcast a television signal across the Atlantic Ocean. He's also recognized for inventing color television.


Of the options below, which number represents the number of astronauts that have walked on the moon?

Of course Neil Armstrong was the first, followed by Buzz Aldrin. Others include Alan Shepherd, Edgar Mitchell and John Young, the commander of the first Space Shuttle flight in 1981.


Which river did George Washington famously cross in 1776?

General George Washington crossed the Delaware River in 1776 with more than 2,000 men during the American Revolutionary War. He did so to launch a surprise attack on the Hessian forces.


Can you name the first African American woman to be crowned Miss America?

Vanessa Williams became the first African American woman to be crowned Miss America, winning the title in 1983. She was later forced to step down, however, when "Penthouse" magazine published unauthorized nude pictures of her.


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