Do You Know the Leap Year These Historical Events Happened?

HISTORY

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By: Beth Hendricks

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Harris & Ewing

About This Quiz

It's our first leap year since ... 2016! Did you miss it? Eh, chances are you probably wouldn't have given it a second thought ... until you got to Feb. 29 and realized it was still February and not March. It's OK; we hadn't given it much thought either.

The Gregorian calendar (that's the one most everyone on the planet follows today) determines leap years by the following criteria:

1. The year is evenly divisible by 4.
2. The year is not evenly divisible by 100.
3. Or, the year is not evenly divisible by 100, but is divisible by 400.

Confused? Does it help if we throw in the bit about needing leap years to help keep our calendar aligned with the Earth's revolution around the Sun? Yeah, we didn't think so.

Let's face it: Leap year? It's kind of weird. People born on Feb. 29 only have an "official" birthday once every four years. That can make a grown man of 28 really only 7 years old. Those of us who work salaried jobs give our companies an extra "free" day during a leap year. And, well, if you happen to be incarcerated serving a year's sentence during a leap year? Congrats, you get to serve one more day.

But, it is just one day and the year goes on. And, some pretty significant things have happened in those leap years. Do you think you can name these monumental events that happened in these 366-day years? Hop through these leap year trivia questions - let's go!



Do you know which year Dr. Seuss served up "Green Eggs and Ham?"

"Green Eggs and Ham" was published in 1960 and fans of Dr. Seuss went wild. The book, which features Sam-I-Am offering green eggs and ham "with a mouse" (among other options), is one of Seuss's most beloved works.

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The "King of Rock and Roll" released his self-titled debut album in one of these years. Which was it?

Elvis' self-titled first album was released in March 1956 and promptly spent 10 weeks atop Billboard's Top Pop Albums. It earned platinum status in August 2011, awarded by the Recording Industry Association of America.

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Everyone's minute-by-minute obsession — Facebook — got its start in which of these leap years?

Facebook was launched in February of 2004 ... and the rest, as they say, is history. Mark Zuckerberg is credited with the social platform, which was named after a directory of student photos handed out at Harvard.

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This conflict between the United States and Great Britain was so significant, it derived its name from the year it began. Can you finish the War of _________?

The War of 1812 began, of course, in 1812, but it didn't conclude for three years — in 1815. The conflict was between the United States and Great Britain, over things like trade restrictions and land acquisition.

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In this year, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to successfully fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. When did it happen?

Leaving from Newfoundland, Canada, Earhart navigated a 15-hour, 2,026-mile flight, landing her Lockheed Vega on the coast of Ireland. Not only was it the first solo flight across the Atlantic from a female pilot, but it was also the longest nonstop flight by a woman.

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"Be prepared" to find the leap year that the Girl Scouts of the United States organization was founded. When was it?

The Girl Scouts started in March 1912 under the direction of Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low. The first meeting included 18 girls in a Savannah, Georgia, troop. We're forever grateful for that first meeting ... and Thin Mints!

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The first immigrants to America passed through the doors of Ellis Island in which of these years?

A 15-year-old was the first official immigrant to pass through Ellis Island Immigration Station, which operated for more than 60 years. Ellis Island lies in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, a compelling first impression of a new life.

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The very first Mr. Potato Head, who went on to star in movies like "Toy Story," was sold in which of these years?

Mr. Potato Head, a collection of eyes, ears and noses, was first sold to the public in May 1952. Its creator, George Lerner, was looking for a way to make vegetables more appealing to kids.

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Everyone's favorite toaster pastry, the Pop-Tart, was invented in which of these leap years?

Thank the leap year 1964 for the breakfast treat loved by millions. Pop-Tarts, Kellogg's most popular brand, were conceived of thanks to a shelf-stable moist dog food that didn't need refrigeration. (True story.) Think of that next time you're chowing down on your Brown Sugar Cinnamon.

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The most famous duel in America didn't happen on IG; it took place between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in which of these years?

The year was 1804 and nobody was there to upload it to YouTube, but it happened nonetheless. Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr met face-to-face in the dueling pistols event in Weehawken, New Jersey.

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Much has been made over Apple starting in a garage, but do you know what year it happened?

Apple Computer was founded in 1976 in a garage in Cupertino, California. And, though Steve Jobs is frequently credited with its creation, there were actually two additional co-founders: Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne.

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Honest Abe: America's 16th president was elected during which of these leap years?

The Lincoln Memorial is what stands today to remind us of the contributions of America's 16th president, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln served five years before he was assassinated at Ford's Theatre in 1965 — not a Leap Year, in case you were wondering.

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Do you know what year anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela was incarcerated?

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned from 1962 to 1990 for his anti-apartheid work in South Africa. He grew more popular even in prison and was eventually elected as his country's first black president.

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History was made in this leap year when the first African-American president of the United States was elected. When did it happen?

Barack Obama beat John McCain for the office of the president of the United States in November 2008. He was the country's first black president and renowned for his oratory skills.

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More than 156,000 American, British and Canadian troops stormed the beaches of Normandy on what has come to be known as "D-Day." What year did it happen?

The Normandy invasion in 1944, known colloquially as D-Day, changed the course of World War II forever. More than 156,000 troops from the United States, Canada and Great Britain stormed the beaches on Normandy in the largest sea invasion in history.

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The Republicans won the White House in this year when businessman Donald J. Trump was elected to office. Which leap year was it?

This one didn't happen all that long ago, so if you keep up with politics at all, you know that this year is an election year and Trump has been in office since leap year 2016. Trump beat Democratic contender Hillary Clinton for the office.

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The National Parks Service, which manages our nation's parks and monuments, was created in which of these leap years?

Created in 1916, the National Parks Service manages places like Yellowstone National Park and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The legislation that was approved by lawmakers placed the NPS inside the Department of the Interior.

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New Year's Eve's biggest party — in Times Square — has been going on for a long time, but do you know the year it started?

While it wasn't the world's first New Year's Eve, it WAS the first New Year's Eve party to go down in Times Square, way back in 1904. It would be another four years before the first "ball" would be dropped, however.

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Can you guess which of these years gave us the first modern Summer Olympics?

The Games of the I Olympiad, held in 1896, gave us the first international sporting event we know today as the Summer Olympics. The first took place in Athens, Greece. Tokyo will host the XXXII Olympic Summer Games in 2020.

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"Do you believe in miracles?" The "Miracle on Ice" hockey game between the U.S. and Russian hockey teams took place which year?

The U.S. hockey team defeated the Russians in a game dubbed the "Miracle on Ice" in February 1980. The game was particularly stunning because it pitted a bunch of collegiate players against international professionals.

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Seventy people died during the Ramstein air show disaster when three aircraft collided and fell to the ground. What year did it happen?

Considered one of the world's most deadly air show disasters, the 1988 Ramstein air show disaster in Germany had an audience of 300,000. A mid-air collision that fell to the runway contributed to the 70 deaths and more than 300 people injured.

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Franco Harris' "Immaculate Reception," one of the NFL's most iconic plays, happened during which of these football seasons?

Franco Harris, a running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, hauled in the catch known as the "Immaculate Reception" off a deflection, carrying it into the end zone for a touchdown. The sports moment happened two days before Christmas in 1972.

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Girl power! The first woman to run on a major political party's president ticket did so in which of these years?

The year was 1984 and Geraldine Ferraro found herself on the Democratic ticket with Walter Mondale, going against the Republican incumbent Ronald Reagan. Of course, Reagan ended up winning, but it was a major victory for women everywhere.

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An attack on the U.S. Navy destroyer, the USS Cole, happened during this Leap Year in Yemen. When was it?

The USS Cole bombing happened in October 2000 as the destroyer was sitting in the port of Aden in Yemen. The suicide attack claimed the lives of 17 American sailors and caused injuries to more than three dozen others.

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The inaugural Special Olympics Games took place for the first time in Chicago in one of these leap years. Which is it?

Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a sister of the late President John F. Kennedy, is credited with launching the modern-day Special Olympics we've come to know and love. Special Olympics supports activities for people with intellectual and physical disabilities.

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A movie about the Centennial Olympic Park bombing came out in 2019, but when did the actual event happen?

The Centennial Olympic Park bombing took place in 1996 during the Summer Olympics hosted in Atlanta. A presumed culprit was initially fingered, but authorities later discovered the actual culprit was another man entirely (and that's the premise of the film, "Richard Jewell.")

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Think hard! Do you know what year the Nazi party was formed in Germany?

The Nazi Party was birthed in 1920, but wouldn't rise to power for several more years. The party came to be as a result of a paramilitary culture that sought to move people away from communism to nationalism.

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The United States' largest shopping mall, the Mall of America in Minnesota, opened its doors in one of these leap years. Which was it?

The original mall, which opened its doors in 1992, covered nearly 80 acres at the site of the Minnesota Vikings' former home field, Metropolitan Stadium. Today, the mall is home to more than 500 stores and 60 restaurants.

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"The Dark Knight Rises" was playing at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater when a shooting that killed 12 people took place. When did it happen?

It seems like yesterday, but it's been almost eight years since the tragic shooting at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. The shooter, whom we won't name, entered through an emergency exit to commit his senseless act of violence.

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It was a dark day in history when the first concentration camp at Auschwitz was established. What leap year did it happen?

The largest of the Nazi-built concentration camps, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was opened in 1940 in south Poland. In the five years it was in operation, it is estimated that more than one million people perished on its grounds.

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The first telegraphic message — a Bible verse — was dispatched by Samuel Morse in this year. Which was it?

Samuel Morse is credited with the first telegraphic message to be dispatched, a Bible verse that made its way from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, Maryland. Morse is also known as the person who invented the telegraph machine.

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We first met Huck Finn in 1875, but Mark Twain published "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" a few years later. When did it happen?

"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" was published in 1884, several years after we first met Huck Finn in "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer." Mark Twain is widely considered one of America's greatest novelists.

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Custer's Last Stand, also known as the Battle of Little Bighorn, took place in which of these leap years?

It was late June 1876 when Colonel George Custer fought — and lost — at the Battle of Little Bighorn. Nearly 270 U.S. soldiers were killed in the confrontation with members of the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes.

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A drug many of us have taken — penicillin — was discovered by Alexander Fleming in a leap year. Which one was it?

The discovery of penicillin by Alexander Fleming in September 1928 would have a profound impact on the health and well-being of people for the next nearly 100 years. The antibiotic has been used to treat a multitude of illnesses and infections.

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Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray in April of this leap year. When did it happen?

Martin Luther King Jr. died after he was shot outside his motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. James Earl Ray was convicted in King's death. Many believe he had been planning the shooting for months.

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