Can You Match the Event to Its Historical Era?

By: Beth Hendricks

7 Min Quiz

Image: Wikicommons by National Photo Company Collection

About This Quiz

American historian Carl Becker once said, "History is the memory of things said and done." Pretty simple, right? In that case, this quiz will be part of your history a few minutes from now!

We've seen some pretty cool things "said and done" throughout history, haven't we? Even if you haven't been alive very long, you have written records of memorable events you can learn about: The journey to the New World, Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech, man's first steps on the moon, Woodstock, the dismantling of the Berlin Wall. Maybe you remember where you were when you first heard about JFK's assassination, the Challenger disaster, or 9/11. You may even be a history buff who knows all about the building of the Great Pyramids, the Cuban Missile Crisis, or D-Day. 

The great thing about history is that there's something interesting for everyone, from Britain's Elizabethan period to America's Progressive Era to the age of information and technology we're experiencing today. Not a fan of Shakespeare? No problem — try Steinbeck! Prohibition doesn't interest you? Read up on the potato famine.

Luckily, in this quiz, we've got enough to pique the interest of history amateurs and aficionados! From the painting of a particularly famous chapel ceiling to the sinking of a rather large ship, see if you can pinpoint these moments in history. Can you identify which era each of the events comes from? Let's see what you've got!

In the United States, the abolishment of slavery took place during which of these eras?

You have the American Civil War to thank, in large part, for both the fight to end slavery in the South and its abolishment by then-President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation declared "all persons held as slaves" to be free.

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Martin Luther King Jr. gave his iconic "I Have A Dream" speech in which of these historical periods?

Martin Luther King Jr. was known for his work throughout the Civil Rights Era, a period that encompassed the mid-1950s to the late-1960s. The speech, which took place during the March on Washington, happened right in the middle — August 1963.

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It was the "Summer of Love" known as Woodstock, but do you know when it happened?

Over a three-day period on a dairy farm in Bethel, New York, more than 400,000 people participated in the Woodstock Music Festival. The event went down in August 1969, a concert dubbed "three days of peace and music."

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The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gave all women the right to vote. When did it happen?

The Progressive Era, a time of great political change in the U.S. — from the late 1800s to the early 1900s — ushered in the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote. The amendment was passed by Congress in June 1919 and ratified a year later.

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John Adams called the date the Declaration of Independence was signed the "the most memorable Epocha in the history of America." Do you know in which period this happened?

The Declaration of Independence was a central component of the period of time known as the American Revolution, which included the fledgling country's fight for independence from its British roots. The document was not officially signed until August 2, 1776.

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The period of time when alcohol was illegal, known as Prohibition, occurred during which of these eras?

It may have been the Roaring Twenties, but it could've been called the "Dry Twenties" as well. The failed experiment known as Prohibition began in 1920 and continued until 1933 when the 21st Amendment nixed it.

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Affectionately known as the "greatest land deal ever," the Louisiana Purchase added 13 states to the Union for roughly three cents an acre. When did it happen?

The year was 1803 when then-President Thomas Jefferson helped broker a deal between the United States and France for a portion of land that would create 13 additional states in the U.S. Historically, it has been called the "greatest land deal ever."

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The stock market crash of 1929 was followed by a period of time in the United States known as which of these?

Historians say the stock market crash of 1929 would be the equivalent of losing nearly $400 billion today. No wonder it led to a depression — the Great Depression, that is, an era that lasted until the mid-1930s.

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It took four years, but during which time period did Michelangelo paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel?

The Renaissance was a period of time in which the arts flourished. Michelangelo was one of those contributing to the movement. His work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is still enjoyed by tourists from around the world who visit it today.

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This time period, fittingly, gave way to the 882-foot-long Titanic, but also included its sinking. Which is it?

It would've been extremely "progressive" in the period from the 1890s to the 1920s to have built an almost-900-ft.-long ship, but that's what the Titanic was until it struck an iceberg and sank in April 1912.

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Do you know in which decade the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki occurred?

Four years after the attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. troops detonated nuclear weapons over Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. A few days later, on August 15, 1945, the Japanese surrendered, effectively marking the end of WWII.

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Can you hear us now? In which era did Alexander Graham Bell invent the telephone?

The first telephone, an invention of Alexander Graham Bell, was developed in 1876 — near the end of the period known as the Reconstruction Era. It was a period of rebuilding following the American Civil War.

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Roughly 1 million people died as a result of the Irish Potato Famine, sometimes just called the Great Famine. When did it happen?

The Great Famine in Ireland, when potato crops failed in the country, led to the deaths of roughly 1 million people and the emigration of another million. This famine, which occurred from 1845 to 1849, was the biggest in Europe during that time period.

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The original bell for Big Ben, London's iconic landmark, was cast in 1856. Which historical era was it?

The Victorian Age, so named for the period of time when Queen Victoria reigned, encompassed the years from 1837 to 1901 in England. In the midst of that era, the country saw massive growth and expansion.

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Greece hosted the first modern Olympics during this historical period. Can you identify which one it is?

While the Olympics date back as far as 776 BC, the first modern Olympic games were held in Greece during the Age of Revolution (1896, to be specific). The Age of Revolution marked a period of change in countries around the world.

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"I am not a crook!" Which decade brought us the Richard Nixon-related scandal of Watergate?

The 1970s were a period of advancements for women following the "peace and love" era of the 1960s. It was also the decade that brought us the Watergate scandal, a black mark on then-President Richard Nixon's legacy.

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Well, it took a little while to complete, but when did construction on the Great Wall of China begin?

The building of the 13,170 miles of the Great Wall of China began during the 7th Century BC and continued until almost the early 1900s. The early parts of the wall were built as a means of protection during periods of warring and invasions.

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The United States endured the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but do you know in which decade it happened?

Many people who were alive when JFK was killed in November 1963 would tell you today that they remember exactly where they were when they heard the news. President John F. Kennedy was shot while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.

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More than 6 million Jewish people died during the Holocaust. Which period of history was it?

From 1941 to 1945 — the period of history that included World War II — more than 6 million Jewish men, women and children were killed in concentration camps at the direction of Adolph Hitler's Nazi regime.

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Neil Armstrong uttered these words, "That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," during the moon landing. In which historical era did this occur?

The period of history known as the Cold War — which began in the late 1940s — encompassed a lot of history, including the moon landing. Neil Armstrong's few steps on the moon during this historic era prompted this memorable quote.

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The tearing down of the Berlin Wall marked the end of the Cold War in which of these decades?

The period known as the Cold War effectively ended with the tearing down of the Berlin Wall. The wall's demolition started in June 1990 and was completed in November 1991. In June 1987, during a speech in West Berlin, then-President Ronald Reagan famously said, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

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Johannes Gutenberg's printing press invention paved the way for millions of books. What period of history did it come from?

The Renaissance was a resurgence for arts and culture, which makes it a fitting historical period for the invention of the modern printing press. Gutenberg's press was created in the mid-1400s in Germany.

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Which of these decades gave us the invention of the internet? (Thanks, Al Gore!)

You might have been tempted to say the 2000s (or even the 1990s) but it was the 1980s that gave us one of the world's biggest inventions of all time — the internet. Some of the foundational elements of the internet, however, can be traced back to the 1950s.

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Can you guess during which of these wars the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred?

The Cuban Missile Crisis happened in 1962, amid the Vietnam War and while President John F. Kennedy was still in office. The event was marked by the discovery of the Soviet Union's installation of nuclear weapons in Cuba.

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The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster took the lives of everyone on board 73 minutes after liftoff. When did it happen?

Millions of people were watching when the Challenger exploded during the live telecast of its liftoff. Seven people, including teacher Christa McAuliffe, were killed just a little over one minute after the space shuttle launched.

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It's hard to believe it has been almost 20 years since the 9/11 attacks on the United States. During which "age" did it happen?

The Information Age which, some may say still extends into today, could have begun as far back as the 1970s. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, occurred during this period, with millions watching the events unfold as they happened.

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Apple addicts, rejoice! In which decade did we get the very first iPhone?

Can you believe it has only been a little more than a decade since the first iPhone was released in 2007? Fast-forward 13 years and we've gone through various iterations of the smartphones and a whole new line of "smart" devices.

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There's some debate over who discovered the Americas first, but during which period is Christopher Columbus widely believed to have arrived here?

Do you remember the childhood rhyme: "Back in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue ..." This "discovery" occurred during the period known as the Renaissance. Of course, some believe the Americas were discovered much earlier. (Thanks, Leif Erikson!)

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Alexander Fleming is credited with the discovery of penicillin in which of these historical eras?

It was the Roaring Twenties when Fleming made the discovery in a London hospital, something that changed the course of history — and our health — forever. In medical circles, this discovery ushered in the "era of antibiotics."

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Can you pinpoint during which time period in history the event known as D-Day happened?

D-Day, also known as the Normandy landings, occurred on June 6, 1944, during World War II. On that day, more than 150,000 troops from North America and Europe landed on the coast of France, a turning point that led to the beginning of the end of the war.

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Chernobyl, the world's worst nuclear disaster, occurred during which of these decades?

The explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine took place in April 1986. Even today, there remain questions about the severity of its impact on the area surrounding its initial impact.

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The "Space Race," a battle to become first in space exploration, mirrored the dates of this historical era. Which is it?

The Cold War was a period of time that pitted the United States against the Soviet Union in many areas. One of those was the race to be first in space exploration, an era known as the "Space Race."

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Three years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Boston Tea Party protested "taxation without representation." In which historical era did it happen?

The Boston Tea Party, the dumping of tea in the Boston Harbor to protest taxation without representation, occurred in 1773 — three years before the Declaration of Independence was signed during the American Revolution era.

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Which of these decades brought us the legalization of same-sex marriage?

The 2010s were a time of growth and change — a piece of the Information Age in which we currently live. In 2015, the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states.

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The protests at Tiananmen Square in China took place during which one of these periods?

The protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989 were student-led demonstrations of up to 1 million people lobbying for democracy and freedom of the press, among other things. Chinese troops pushed back against the protesters, killing estimates ranging from several hundred to several thousand people.

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