North American History Quiz


By: Allison Lips

6 Min Quiz

Image: Matteo Colombo/DigitalVision/Getty Images

About This Quiz

How much do you really know about North America? If you're from the United States, your history class focused on American history from a U.S. perspective. However, Canadians would protest if you tried to convince them that the United States won the War of 1812 because a case could be made that the United Kingdom, which Canada was then a part of, actually won the war.

You also cannot forget the United States' southern neighbor. The United States fought Mexico in the Mexican-American War. While that war had a clear winner, both countries were left with some confusingly named places. New Mexico is not part of Mexico, but Baja California is. At least, it's not quite a case of the two Vancouvers. There's a Vancouver in Washington state and the well-known one in Canada. 

Further south, there are Mexico's southern neighbors, which are Guatemala and Belize, in Central America. If you go even further, you will find more countries. Eventually, you'll get to Panama, which has a history tied to the United States. We've touched on a lot of history, and we haven't even mentioned the peoples in North America before European settlers!

Are you confident you remember North American history from school? How much do you know about the shared history of Canada, Mexico, and the United States? Find out with this quiz!

Which people created a large empire in modern-day Mexico in the 15th and 16th centuries?

The Aztec Empire fell in 1521 to Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes. At its peak, the empire covered over 80,000 square miles.


Which city is the capital of Mexico?

Mexico City is located in the Valley of Mexico. Almost 22 million people live in Greater Mexico City.


If you want to drive from Seattle to Alaska, which country do you pass through?

The Alaska Highway connects Alaska with the rest of the United States. Mile 0 is at Dawson Creek, British Columbia. It ends at Historical Mile 1,422 in Delta Junction, Alaska.


What is the trade agreement between the United States, Canada, and Mexico called?

On January 1, 1994, NAFTA went into effect. It replaced the 1988, Canada-United States Free Trade Engagement between Canada and the United States.


What is the mostly widely spoken language in Mexico?

Mexico does not have an official national language. However, Spanish is the de facto national language. Nahuatl is the second most widely spoken language with 1.4 million speakers.


Canada is a commonwealth of which country?

Canada is one of the 53 countries that are part of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is home to over 2 billion people.


Which country does not border Mexico?

Belize and Mexico share a border that is 155 miles long. Most of the border follows the course of the Hondo River.


Which U.S. state does not border Canada?

The United States-Canada border minus Alaska is 3,987 miles. The Alaska-Canada border is 1,538 miles.


Which country has a maple leaf on its flag?

Prior to 1965, Canada used the Union Jack and then the Canadian Red Ensign. On February 15, 1965, the current Canadian flag with a maple leaf flew over Parliament Hill for the first time.


Which country is not in Central America?

Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Belize make up Central America. Ecuador and El Salvador use the U.S. dollar as their currency.


What war took place between 1846 to 1848 because the United States wanted to expand its territory south?

In the Mexican-American War, Mexico lost approximately one-third of its territory. The United States gained the territory that today makes up California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico.


What are Canada's two official languages?

The Official Languages Act of 1969 gave both English and French official federal status throughout Canada. Quebec and New Brunswick have French as their official language. New Brunswick also has English as an official language.


What were the Spanish conquerors of Mexico and Peru called?

In 1518, Hernan Cortes set up a base at Veracruz. His troops then marched inland, set up an alliance with the city of Tlaxcala, and captured modern-day Mexico City.


Which Mesoamerican people used a hieroglyphic writing system?

The center of the Maya Empire was in modern-day Guatemala. This empire reached its peak around the sixth century A.D.


Which country has never been a commonwealth of the United States?

The Philippines became independent in 1946. From November 15, 1935 to July 4, 1946, the Philippines was under United States control.


Which explorer is associated with the myth about the Fountain of Youth?

Juan Ponce de Leon went to Florida looking for gold. He would later become Puerto Rico's first governor.


What is Canada's national anthem?

Calixa Lavallée wrote the music of "O Canada." Sir Adolphe-Basile Routhier wrote the French lyrics. In 1908, Robert Stanley Weir would write English lyrics for the song.


Which American city is the United Nations' headquarters in?

On October 24, 1945, the United Nations Charter was ratified. Currently , the United Nations has 193 member states.


Which is not a Canadian Province?

Ontario is the most populated province in Canada. It is home to the largest city, Toronto, and the capital, Ottawa.


Which city is the capital of Canada?

In September 26, 1826, Ottawa was founded as Bytown. In 1855, the city was incorporated as Ottawa.


What was the Aztec capital called?

Mexica and the Aztecs are both names used to describe the people who ruled what we call the Aztec empire. The Aztecs also called themselves Tenocha.


What is the federal legislature of Canada called?

The Parliament of Canada is made up of the Senate and the House of Commons. Members of the House of Commons are called members of parliament.


Which is not a Mexican state?

Mexico has 31 states. Like Washington, D.C. in the United States, Mexico City is a federal entity, but is not considered a state itself.


Which country's flag never flew over Texas?

There are six countries whose flags have flown over Texas. The first flag was Spain, who had control from 1519 to 1685 and again from 1690 to 1821.


Who was the U.S. president during the War of 1812?

The Battle of New Orleans took place after the United States and the United Kingdom agreed to a peace treaty. However, the battle occurred in January of 1815 and the War of 1812 did not officially end until February of 1815.


Who presides over the U.S. Senate?

The vice president's two constitutional duties are to preside over the Senate and succeed the president in cases of death or resignation. When the vice president is not available, the president pro tempore presides over the Senate in his place.


What name is commonly used to refer to natives of Canada?

First Nations, Inuit, and Metis are collectively known as Aboriginal Canadians or indigenous Canadians. First Nations technically refers to natives who are not Inuit or Metis.


Which group consisted of the first Europeans to reach Canada?

Leif Erikson landed at L'Anse aux Meadows around 1000 A.D. This Viking settlement was discovered in the early-1960s.


Which Canadian city was founded by Samuel de Champlain?

In 1608, Chaplain founded what would become the city of Quebec. He had 32 colonists with him. However, only nine survived the harsh winter.


Which parallel divides most of Canada from the United States?

An 1818 U.S.-British agreement established the 49th parallel as the U.S.-Canadian border. While President James K. Polk's campaign did not coin it, he became associated with "Fifty Four Forty or Fight" because his supporters favored expansion into Canada.


What year did the United States return full control of the Panama Canal to Panama?

In September 1977, President Carter and Panamanian dictator Omar Torrijos signed a treaty to return control of the Panama Canal to Panama by the end of the 20th century. On December 31, 1999, at noon, control of the Panama canal returned to Panama.


On what date is Canada day celebrated?

Canada Day commemorates the 1867 joining of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and the Canada province. The Canada province was comprised of modern-day Ontario and Quebec.


What does Cinco de Mayo celebrate?

Mexican independence day is September 16. In Mexico, Cinco de Mayo is a minor holiday.


Who was the first prime minister of Canada?

Sir John Macdonald emigrated to Canada from Scotland. He was prime mister from 1867 to 1873 and again from 1878 to 1891.


How many Canadian provinces are there?

The ten provinces of Canada are Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Manitoba, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, Albert, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Canada also has three territories: Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.


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