Can you guess these surprising facts in American history?

HISTORY

Maria Trimarchi

6 Min Quiz

Who lost the White House china collection in a poker game?

Warren G. Harding's presidency was full of scandal. But it was not full of fine china, because he lost that in a poker game.

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What are the three official colors of the American flag?

The American flag’s official colors are: Old Glory red, white and Old Glory blue.

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In 1836 an Army officer from Georgia first came up with the idea of importing what animals to America for Army transportation purposes?

Although never given the official designation of United States Army Camel Corps, by 1857 there were about 70 camels in the U.S., at Camp Verde in Arizona. Used for transportation on difficult terrain, the Camel Corps never really took off and by the Civil War was disbanded.

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In which city did the Great Molasses Flood happen?

This deadly industrial accident happened in the North End of Boston in 1919.

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Which U.S. president had a pet raccoon in the White House?

President Calvin Coolidge and first lady Grace had a pet raccoon Rebecca (as well as another, Reuben, for a short time).

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When was the "Year Without Summer"?

Because of an erupting volcano in the Dutch East Indies, it was cold and snowy in the Northeastern states during the summer of 1816.

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Which is the largest city in the U.S.?

At just 8,000, Sitka, Alaska, may not have the largest population of all U.S. cities, but it does have the most square miles. With nearly 3,000 square miles of land area, Sitka is larger than the whole state of Delaware. (And it's Jacksonville, Florida, that wins for most square miles (750) in the lower 48.)

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What's the crookedest street in the country?

In the 1940s, Robert Ripley (of Ripley's Believe It Or Not), observed that Snake Alley, in Burlington, Iowa, was the "crookedest street in the world. But it's Lombard Street in San Francisco, California, that's actually most crooked.

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The gold rush didn't begin in the West. In which East Coast state was the first gold rush?

Many believe the first happened in Dahlonega, Georgia, in 1828, but that's actually the second gold rush. The first was years prior, at the Reed gold mine in North Carolina.

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Which '30s gangster nicknamed the FBI "G-Men"?

That nickname came courtesy of notorious gangster Machine Gun Kelly.

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St. Thomas, Nevada, was flooded shortly after the Hoover Dam was built to create the largest reservoir in the U.S., now known as what?

St. Thomas, Nevada, originally a Mormon settlement, was flooded to make Lake Mead.

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Which state, and original colony, is the birthplace of more U.S. presidents than any other state in the union?

Virginia is the birthplace of more U.S. presidents than any other state. Native Virginians include William Henry Harrison, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Zachary Taylor, John Tyler, George Washington and Woodrow Wilson.

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Which U.S. president escaped injury while on board the USS Princeton warship when it exploded on the Potomac River?

John Tyler was on board, but he was below deck and not injured.

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In 1944, during World War II, Japan floated nearly 9,000 balloon bombs toward the U.S. West Coast. How many Americans were killed by the attack?

The only known casualties happened on May 5, 1945, when pastor Archie Mitchell, his wife and five children were killed when they found a balloon near Bly, Oregon.

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In what Tennessee city is there a full-size replica of the Parthenon?

The world's one and only full-scale reproduction of the Parthenon -- the original belonging to Athens, Greece -- can be found in Nashville, Tennessee's Centennial Park.

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What capital is the oldest capital city in the U.S.?

Despite their role in the revolution, Boston and Philadelphia are still younger than Santa Fe, New Mexico, founded in 1610.

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Where in the U.S. will you find the London Bridge?

The London Bridge, was moved from London to Lake Havasu, Arizona, in 1968.

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Each one of the seven rays on the Statue of Liberty's crown weighs about 150 pounds and each is as tall as 9 feet. Why are there seven?

The crown's seven rays represent the seven continents of the world.

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Who was the first U.S. president born a U.S. citizen?

Martin Van Buren, born in 1782, was the 8th president of the United States and the first to be born not a British subject.

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Which U.S. president was the first to be born in a hospital, instead of at home?

Jimmy Carter, 39th president of the United States, was the first U.S. president to be born in a hospital, at the Wise Clinic, in Plains, Georgia, on October 1, 1924.

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Which Midwestern state became a state on March 1, 1803, but it wouldn't become official until 1953 when the documents were signed by then-President Eisenhower?

There were 150 years between when Ohio, considered part of the Northwest Territory, became a state in 1803 and when the official paperwork was signed in 1953.

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The Battle of Baltimore at Fort McHenry inspired Francis Scott Key to pen what's now our National Anthem, "The Star-Spangled Banner." During what war were the rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air?

The first rockets to hit America occurred during the War of 1812, when the British launched them at us.

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How many Americans share DNA with at least one of the people who traveled here on the Mayflower in 1620?

It's estimated 35 million of the United States' 325 million people share DNA with at least one of those who traveled on the Mayflower.

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When were Native Americans given U.S. citizenship?

Under the 1924 Citizenship Act, all Native Americans were granted U.S. citizenship.

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Which former U.S. president's middle initial doesn't actually stand for anything?

In Harry S. Truman's name, the "S" stands for "s."

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How many ships were in the first navy, temporarily commanded by George Washington during the American Revolution?

While the country's Navy would be officially founded in 1798, George Washington commanded four ships during the American Revolution.

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Which is the deepest canyon in the U.S.?

The more-famous Grand Canyon in Arizona may be longer, but Hells Canyon of Snake River, in Idaho, is deeper. At its deepest, the Grand Canyon dips 6,000 feet (1,829 meters), while Hells Canyon plummets 8,043 feet (2,452 meters).

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Which U.S. president was arrested while he was in office, accused of running over a woman with his horse?

Franklin Pierce was arrested for allegedly running over a woman with his horse. His case was dropped.

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You wouldn't know it based on Hollywood's version of things, but one out of how many cowboys were black?

One out of every four cowboys in the American West was black.

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In the early 19th century, Robert Johnson publicly ate what fruit to prove to a disbelieving crowd that it wasn't poisonous?

Once called the "poison apple," the tomato wasn't always a salad staple.

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During the Prohibition years, what did the U.S. government add to some alcohol in an effort to get people to stop drinking?

Some victims fell ill, and some died after a federally-approved program added poisonous methyl "wood" alcohol or undrinkable, bitter-tasting compounds to liquor.

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Manhattan's Chinatown may have the most residents among U.S. Chinatowns, but where is the oldest?

San Francisco's Chinatown is not only the oldest in the U.S., but the oldest in North America, established in the 1850s during the California Gold Rush.

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How much of our American soil does the federal government own?

Although most of the federally-owned land is in the West, the government owns, in total, 28 percent of all U.S. land -- including 85 percent of Nevada, 69 percent of Alaska and 0.4 percent of Connecticut.

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What happened to the Roanoke Island Colony, off the coast of North Carolina?

Between 1583 and 1587, colonists arrived on Roanoke Island. But within a few years, every person in the colony was, inexplicably, gone. Scientists theorize it was disease that killed them off, but no one knows yet for certain.

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Whose White House pet parrot could -- and would -- cuss like a sailor?

Andrew Jackson, our 7th president, kept a parrot that was known for its filthy mouth.

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About This Quiz

Did you know no U.S. president wore long pants (instead of knee breeches) until James Madison took office? Or in what war Mexico lost roughly one-third of its territory (present-day Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah) to the U.S.? (That's the Mexican-American War.) See how much you know about White House pets, presidential gambling habits and American DNA.

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