Are You a History Major? Take This World History Trivia Quiz!



By: John Miller

5 Min Quiz

Image: Mas'ud b. Osmani Kuhistani

About This Quiz

The world would be a better place if only we humans would remember where we’ve come from, and how hard we’ve worked to get to where we are now. Our shared history proves that we can evolve from simple violent ways to total world peace. OK, we’re still working on that last part. In this globe-trotting quiz, how much can you recall about some of history’s most important moments?

Moses led his people out of enslavement, only to find decades of wandering. Cleopatra made the wrong friends in the Roman Empire and resorted to suicide to avoid humiliation. A terrible plague called the Black Death killed so many people in the Middle Ages that entire cities reeked of death. A simple powder created in China went on to revolutionize warfare and change the balance of power around the world. What else do remember from your basic history lessons?

Which revolution came first: American, French or Russian? And how did those amazing rebellions affect one another? From wars to famines to political oppression by monarchs and dictators, our cultures are all interconnected.

Flex your mouse wrist for this intense world history quiz now! May you find the New World for the Crown … or die trying!

In 1848, an incredible gold rush began in which area?

In 1848, gold was discovered near a mill in California, sparking the Gold Rush. The people who arrived the following year were called "49ers."


In 1505, Martin Luther jump-started which era of human history?

Luther was a scholar and theologian opposed to the corruption of the Catholic Church. With his "95 Theses," he proposed changes to the Church … and kickstarted a tumultous time called the Reformation.


In 1836, Samuel Colt began to find commercial success with which product?

His guns were renowed for their reliability and affordability. And it all started in 1836, when Samuel Colt started making Colt revolvers.


What happened to the Roanoke Colony, a 1585 English colony established near modern-day North Carolina?

In 1585, Queen Elizabeth I sent colonists to the New World in hopes of claiming the lands for the crown. Instead, the Roanoke Colony vanished … and no one really knows why.


Beginning in 1845, the failure of the potato crop caused mass starvation in which nation?

The Irish Potato Famine demonstrated how dangerous it is to rely heavily on one crop. A potato blight ruined crops for years, causing the deaths of at least 1 million natives and forcing many more to flee for their lives.


Which major empire was established in 1206?

In 1206, Genghis Khan solidified his power and established the Mongol Empire. The empire eventually stretched across much of Asia and Europe … and killed millions of people in the process.


The Emancipation Proclamation was a highlight of which war?

In January 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, technically freeing all 3.5 million slaves in America. It was a strategic move after a momentous Union victory in the American Civil War.


Why was William Wallace executed in 1305?

In 1305, Wallace was executed in the grisliest possible way by the English. Why? He led a Scottish uprising against English rule.


On June 22, 1941, what grave mistake did Adolf Hitler make?

It was called Operation Barbarossa, the German assault on the USSR. It marked the opening of the Eastern Front, and it likely accelerated the downfall of the Third Reich.


In 1803, which war broke out between Britain and France?

In 1803, violence broke out between France and Britain, and it was what many historians called the beginning of the Napoleonic Wars. For years, Napoleon ran wild in Europe, with an army that seemed indomitable.


Which famously violent man of the sea was killed by Robert Maynard in 1718?

In 1718, British captain Robert Maynard clashed with the famous pirate Blackbeard near what is now North Carolina. Maynard beheaded the violent pirate and used his remains as a warning to other criminals.


In 1756, the Seven Years' War began. What do some historians call this war?

Some call it World War 0, the truly first global war. The Seven Years' War found major countries scrambling through complex diplomatic hoops and violent battles.


In 1825, the Erie Canal opened. It connected the Great Lakes to what?

The Erie Canal in New York, opened in 1825, was an engineering feat of the day. It created shipping routes between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic.


In 1439, what did Johannes Gutenberg invent?

In 1439, Gutenberg invented the printing press. The press made it much easier to create and duplicate written materials, forever changing the way humans communicate.


Which famous mail delivery service was founded in 1860?

In America, private businessmen were certain that a mail delivery service in the West could be profitable. They founded the Pony Express and charged a pretty penny for delivery on the frontier.


In 1816, weird weather from a volcanic eruption changes meant that much of the world didn't experience which season?

In 1815, Mount Tambora (in the Dutch East Indies) ejected so much volcanic debris into the atmosphere that it changed the weather. In 1816, global temperatures plummeted, ruining crops and causing starvation in parts of the world.


Who led the 1519 conquest of Mexico?

Starting in 1519, Hernan Cortes began the Spanish conquest of the Aztec Empire. He didn't need guns -- instead, he used his political wiles to cause all sorts of complicated military conflicts between the natives.


Which famous novel did Charles Dickens publish in 1837?

In 1837, author Charles Dickens published "Oliver Twist." It was a harrowing tale of abandonment and criminality in London.


In 1765, which country unveiled a reviled bit of legislation called the Stamp Act?

In 1765, King George III introduced the Stamp Act, which charged American colonists for ordinary paperwork. The over-the-top tax was a major escalation toward the American Revolution.


In 1821, Mexico used the Treaty of Cordoba to affirm its independence from which nation?

For centuries, Spain dominated much of the New World. But the Mexican people wanted no part of colonialism, finally earning their independence in 1821.


In 1587, what happened to Mary, Queen of Scots?

Many English Catholics hoped that Mary, Queen of Scots would rise to become queen of England. But instead, Elizabeth I (notably a supporter of the Protestant movement) had Mary famously executed by beheading.


The American Revolution essentially ended with which major battle?

In the fall of 1781, George Washington's men laid siege at Yorktown, Virginia. Weeks later, the British surrendered, and the promise of the Declaration of Independence was realized.


Thomas Jefferson authorized which momentous mission in American history?

With a bit of clever misdirection, President Jefferson found funding for the Lewis and Clark Expedition, which explored America's frontier starting in 1804. The mission's findings thrilled the American public.


In August 1945, which country declared war on the Empire of Japan?

After slaughtering the Germans in Berlin, the Red Army of the USSR headed toward Japan to take care of business. Many historians say it was the relentless brutality of the Russians -- not America's silly atomic bombs -- that ended the Pacific War.


In 1798, the Irish Rebellion attempted to cast off the rule of which nation?

The 1798 Irish Rebellion was sparked in part by the success of the American rebellion. But after half a year of fighting, their rebellion against the British had failed.


Which continent was discovered in 1820?

It's hard to believe that we humans have only known about Antarctica for two centuries. It was then that a Russian expedition first laid eyes on this massive continent.


In 1531, who was named as the head of the Church of England?

As a complicated religious struggle unfolded in Europe, Henry VIII was named as the head of the Church of England. Catholic leaders were infuriated at the Protestant power play.


During the Spanish-American War, which future American president became a true war hero with a unit called the Rough Riders?

Teddy Roosevelt charged into battle with his Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War. Later, he leveraged his heroism to attain the nation's highest office, where he became a well-regarded president.


Starting in 1846, American Mormons began a mass migration to which area?

In 1846, eastern Mormons pulled up their lives and headed west to the Utah Territory. There, they established one settlement after another, permanently altering the region's demographics and politics.


Which popular sport was invented in 1892?

In 1892, James Naismith invented basketball. He created it as a low-impact way to keep athletes engaged even in winter months.


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