Are You a U.S. Geography and History Expert? Prove It with This Quiz!


By: Monica Lee

6 Min Quiz

Image: George Norman Barnard

About This Quiz

Geography plays a role in history, in strategy, in accessibility to resources, and in the outcome of events. It's as if history cannot be accurately described without setting the scene via geography. That's why if you're a history expert, you know your geography. And if you're a geography expert, you know your history. For instance, The Trail of Tears is an upsetting historical event not just because Native Americans were relocated to Oklahoma, but also because of the geography and terrain that added to the cruelty of the event.

With this quiz you'll recall the battles, decisions and discoveries that formed our great nation. And, note the importance of geography and how it affects people and their opinions (take the Civil War for example). Although this quiz combines both geography and historical events, there will be some questions that separate the two, so you can show off your expertise. And remember, U.S. history can go beyond the borders of the United States. For instance, a U.S. president, Theodore Roosevelt, commissioned building a trans-isthmian canal known as the Panama Canal.

Now it's time to don your thinking cap and take this quiz. Whether it's the Lewis and Clark expedition, or the Gold Rush, you're on a wild ride through history!

Where was the Constitution signed?

Not only was the Constitution signed in Philadelphia, so was the Declaration of Independence at the same place. The Constitution itself was written during the Philadelphia Convention—now known as the Constitutional Convention--and signed on September 17, 1787.


What state were the Cherokee Indians relocated to in 1830?

The Cherokee Indians were moved to Oklahoma in 1830. This was called the Trail of Tears because only one out of five Indians lived through this horrendous journey.


Where was the first major land battle of the Civil War?

You may know it as the Battle of Bull Run. On July 21, 1861, Union and Confederate armies clashed near Manassas Junction, Virginia, in the first major land battle of the American Civil War.It was the first battle fought on land, whereas Fort Sumter was a battle over water.


In what state did the "Little Rock Crisis" occur?

In 1957, Gov. Faubus sent the Arkansas National Guard to prevent nine black students from entering Little Rock Central High School. In response, Eisenhower sent in U.S. paratroopers to ensure the students could attend class.


Against what state was the Miranda trial?

In the trial of Miranda vs. Arizona, it was agreed that the accused must be notified of their rights before being questioned by the police. The Supreme Court overturned Miranda's conviction on June 13, 1966.


Which countries were the first members of NATO?

NATO, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is an alliance made to defend one another if they were attacked by any other country. It includes Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, the United Kingdom and the United States.


Which important canal spans 40 miles and connects the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean?

Theodore Roosevelt oversaw the realization of a long-term United States goal—a trans-isthmian canal. However control of the canal is now in Panama's hands. On September 7, 1977, a treaty was signed to this effect by President Jimmy Carter and Omar Torrijos, de facto leader of Panama.


Where was the transcontinental railroad completed?

Completed in 1869 at Promontory, Utah, the transcontinental railroad linked the eastern railroad system with California's railroad system, revolutionizing transportation in the west.


What was the mission of Louis and Clark's expedition?

The Louisiana Territory was purchased from France in 1803. At the request of President Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led an expedition to survey this land west of the Mississippi. In the end, they reached the Pacific Ocean and cleared the path for westward expansion.


Ulysses S. Grant appears on the front of which denomination of U.S. currency?

The 18th U.S. president (1869-77), Ulysses S. Grant appears on the $50 bill. He has held his spot on this higher-denomination bill even through two legislative attempts were made to replace Ulysses Grant with Ronald Reagan.


In which state can you find Mount Rushmore?

The southeastern face of Mount Rushmore in South Dakota's Black Hills National Forest is the site of four gigantic carved sculptures depicting the faces of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.


Where is General Grant National Memorial located?

On a bluff high above the Hudson River in Manhattan, the imposing General Grant National Memorial commemorates the life and accomplishments of the victorious Union commander of the Civil War and 18th president of the United States.


Where would you find the Lincoln Memorial?

The Lincoln Memorial towers over the Reflecting Pool and is anchored at the western end of the National Mall, in Washington, D.C. The Lincoln Memorial was built to honor the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.


In what city is America's first shopping mall, which contained 48 shops?

Completed in 1928 in Providence, Rhode Island, The Arcade Providence was America's first shopping mall, hosting 48 different boutiques.


How many states border the Gulf of Mexico?

There are five states that border the Gulf of Mexico. From east to west these states are: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.


Which U.S. state has the longest coastline?

Alaska became a state in January 3, 1959 and with it, the United States inherited over 6,640 miles of coastline. Hawaii became the 50th state in August 21, 1959, but does not have the longest coastline.


In which state would you find Fort Knox?

Fort Knox is a United States Army post in Kentucky, south of Louisville and north of Elizabethtown. It is the site of the depository which holds the bulk of the nation's gold bullion in its vaults. Fort Knox sits on 109,000 acres of land and was built in 1819.


What is the smallest state in the U.S.?

Rhode Island is 1,212 square miles. It is known for its sandy shores and seaside Colonial towns. As comparison, New Jersey has 5,543 square miles.


Where is Mount St. Helens located?

The May 18, 1980 blast devastated 229 square miles and destroyed timber valued at several million dollars in the State of Washington. This was the deadliest and most economically destructive volcanic event in the history of the United States.


Frankenmuth, a U.S. city nicknamed "Little Bavaria", is located in what state?

Frankenmuth, Michigan is a German-style town in Saginaw County. It is well known for its hotels and old style German buildings. Try the wienerschnitzel!


Lake Tahoe is between the borders of which two U.S. states?

Lake Tahoe is a freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It is best known for its beaches and ski resorts.


Which is the longest river in the United States?

The Missouri River stretches for 2,341 miles and is the longest river in the US. The river starts flowing from the Rocky Mountains in Western Montana and drains into the Mississippi River. The second runner up is the Mississippi river at 2,320 miles.


Which fruit is Georgia famous for?

Georgia is known for having the best quality peach. Georgia became the official peach state in 1995 and has peach-inspired street signs and logos all around the state. How peachy!


Which is the oldest city in the United States?

St. Augustine, Florida lays claim to being the oldest city in the U.S. It is known for The Castillo de San Marcos, a 17th-century Spanish stone fortress with views of the St. Augustine Inlet, as well as its Atlantic Ocean beaches and Spanish colonial architecture.


On what island would you find the Statue of Liberty?

The copper statue, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was dedicated in 1886 and stands on Liberty Island. The Statue of Liberty is a figure of a robed woman representing Libertas, a Roman liberty goddess.


What is the first national monument?

President Theodore Roosevelt established the first national monument, Devils Tower in Wyoming, on September 24, 1906. Devils Tower is is an igneous rock intrusion and is located in the Bear Lodge Mountains, and it is also part of the Black Hills.


Which state is NOT one of the four corners?

The Four Corners Monument marks the quadripoint in the Southwestern United States where the states of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah meet. It is the only point in the United States shared by four states.


What U.S. territory has the slogan "Where American's day begins"?

If you know your geography, the hint was obvious. Guam is west of the International Date Line and, since the sun shines eastward over the Pacific, it is the first American territory touched by the sun's early morning rays, thus the slogan.


On which street was the New York Stock Exchange established?

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is the oldest stock exchange in the United States, and is located on Wall Street in lower Manhattan.


Which is the only U.S. state to produce coffee beans?

Think Kona coffee. With its tropical climate, Hawaii is the only U.S. state that produces coffee. However, it also produces pineapples, sugar cane and specialty crops — such as flowers and macadamia nuts.


Which Kentucky-born U.S. president is honored in the Wrestling Hall of Fame?

Abraham Lincoln is enshrined in the Wrestling Hall of Fame. The Great Emancipator, with his long limbs, was an accomplished wrestler as a young man. Defeated only once in approximately 300 matches!


Which founding father is known for his large signature on the United States Declaration of Independence?

As president of the Continental Congress, Hancock is credited as the first signer of the Declaration of Independence. His prominent, stylish signature became famous. Today, the term “John Hancock” is synonymous with “signature.”


What was the name of the U.S. mail service, started in 1860, that used horses and riders?

The Pony Express carried mail between Missouri and California on horseback. The Pony Express used horse-and-rider relay teams to speed mail along a 2,000-mile route between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California.


New York City was originally known by which Dutch name?

Nieuw Amsterdam became New York city on September 7th, 1664. Following its capture, New Amsterdam’s name was changed to New York, in honor of the Duke of York, who organized the mission to capture Nieuw Amsterdam.


Who invented the cotton gin in 1793?

The cotton gin was able to separate the seeds from the cotton quickly and efficiently. Eli Whitley's invention helped start the Industrial Revolution and which shaped the economy of the United States.


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