From Caesar to Brexit: The English History Quiz


By: Staff

5 Min Quiz

Image: PeskyMonkey/E+/Getty Images

About This Quiz

England has a rich and storied history considering the British Isles were inhabited going back more than 800,000 years. From colorful and powerful rulers to modern-day politics, England gives us much to talk about it and it remains a powerful country. 

Much of what we refer to as English history began after the Romans lost control of the area. To watch Netflix tell the story, modern-day England started with the rule of the Tudors, specifically Henry VIII and the rest of the clan in 1845. Henry VIII is most famous for having six wives but during his 36 year reign he implemented changes (including his separation from the Catholic church so he can divorce his first wife) that led to the Protestant Reformation. He's also the father of Queen Elizabeth I, considered one of England's greatest and most prominent rulers. 

But beyond the country's famous royalty, how much do you know? Are you familiar with Hadrian's Wall? Can you explain the War of the Roses? 

If you think you know all about the Tudors, English conflicts, and the events that made England the country it is today, take a stab at this quiz (but don't lose your head if you don't get them all right!).

This pair of monarchs took the throne after the Glorious Bloodless Revolution of 1688.

Parliament wanted Mary to succeed James II, but she refused, so she and her husband William of Orange took the throne as co-rulers.


Why was it called the Wars of the Roses?

The House of Lancaster was symbolized by a red rose, and the Yorks by a white rose.


Which Norman king bested England's King Harold II at the Battle of Hastings in 1066?

King Harold II was the last Anglo-Saxon king. William the Conqueror of Normandy took over after the Battle of Hastings.


Which king established the Church of England?

Henry VIII's desire for a divorce started the ball rolling on his break with the Roman Catholic Church.


Which monarch holds the record for longest reign in English history?

Elizabeth II, who was crowned in 1952, passed her great-great-grandmother for the record in 2015 with 65 years as queen.


Who was the first nonroyal ruler of England?

Parliament leader Oliver Cromwell led a successful civil war against Charles I and installed himself as "lord protector" from 1653 until his death in 1659.


What was Margaret Thatcher's political party?

"The Iron Lady," Great Britain's first female prime minister, was a conservative. She was the leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990.


Which houses clashed in the Wars of the Roses?

The Lancasters and Yorks were two branches of the ruling Plantagenets that fought for control of the throne. The Lancasters eventually won, and Henry VII became king.


What percentage of British voters opted to leave the European Union in June 2016?

The "Brexit" vote ended with 51.9 percent opting to leave the EU. The process has not yet been finalized.


Who was the first prime minister of Great Britain?

Walpole is generally considered the first, serving roughly from 1721-1742.


Which country was excluded from the Kingdom of Great Britain when it was created in 1707?

England, Scotland and Wales were included in Great Britain, but Ireland stayed out until 1801. Then the name changed to United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.


Which border did the Treaty of York establish in 1237?

Henry III of England and Alexander II of Scotland signed the Treaty of York.


Which of the original British political parties evolved into today's Conservative Party?

The Tories became the Conservative Party, and the Whigs became the Liberal Party, which declined and was basically replaced by the Labour Party.


When did Ireland secede from the United Kingdom?

In 1922, Ireland broke from the United Kingdom to form the Irish Free State. Northern Ireland stayed in the U.K.


She was NOT one of Henry VIII's wives.

Alice of Lancashire was not one of Henry's six wives.


How many years did Queen Victoria reign?

Queen Victoria held the throne for 63 years (1837-1901), making her reign the second-longest in English history.


Why was Cromwell's son Richard known as "Tumbledown Dick"?

Things quickly fell apart after Oliver Cromwell's death, and his son held power very briefly.


Who built Hadrian's Wall?

Hadrian's Wall marked the northern edge of the Roman Empire. It extended about 75 miles (121 kilometers) from the North Sea to the Irish Sea.


Who was the first monarch from the following list?

Richard III ruled from 1483-1485


When was the Gunpowder Plot discovered and foiled?

In 1605, authorities foiled the plans of a group of Catholics, including Guy Fawkes, that was plotting to blow up the House of Lords and assassinate King James I.


How long did the German Blitz of England last during World War II?

The bombing lasted eight months, from September 1940 to May 1941 and about 40,000 civilians were killed.


When did Caesar land in Britain?

Caesar's army hit British shores in August of 55 B.C.E., but the Romans didn't conquer Britain until 43 C.E.


When was the monarchy restored?

The Restoration period started in 1660. England, Scotland, and Wales were united as Great Britain by the 1707 Act of Union.


When did the last Roman soldiers leave England?

Roman rule over England lasted almost 400 years — they cleared out in 407 C.E.


How many bombs were detonated when Islamic terrorists attacked London on July 7, 2005?

Three suicide bombers hit the Underground, and a fourth blew up a bus.


The Hundred Years' War with France started in 1337. When did it end?

The Hundred Years' War went a little overtime — it ended in 1453. (There were several periods of peace, though.)


Which Nobel Prize did Winston Churchill win?

The legendary prime minister won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1953 for his numerous memoirs and historical volumes.


In the 10th and 11th centuries, England was ruled by a long succession of E-named kings. This was NOT one of them.

Edwine is the only fake one on the list.


When did the United Kingdom join the European Economic Community (EEC), the precursor to the European Union?

The U.K. and Ireland joined up on Jan. 1, 1973 after Charles de Gaulle's resignation in 1969.


About one-third of London's population died from this disease in 1348.

The Black Death of 1348 was one of the worst pandemics ever; it killed up to 200 million people in Eurasia and peaking in Europe from 1347 to 1351.


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