Our shared history is full of amazing events, some of which changed the world for the better — the Union winning the American Civil War — and some for the worse, such as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963. In this quiz, we’ll name some of the most famous events in world history, and your job is to identify the country where those events unfolded. Think you’re up for this amazing challenge?
You probably already know where Hitler died at the end of World War II. It was Berlin, Germany, the home of his Third Reich, and the Fuhrer’s death meant the end of the Nazi scourge that ravaged the continent. But do you know where the treaty that officially ended the war was signed? How much do you recall about the other major events of violence and reconciliation in world affairs?
No all big events are destructive. Do you know where the glory of the Eiffel Tower was unveiled? How about the Burj Khalifa, the tallest freestanding structure on the planet? What do you know about the nations that have witnessed other major human accomplishments in the past few centuries?
Maybe you know where the Emancipation Proclamation and Treaty of Versailles were signed. Or maybe you don’t. In this quiz, let’s see if you really know the countries where humankind’s biggest events happened!
In the wake of World War II, the Berlin Wall divided this major city into a free zone and a Communist area where people feared for their lives. In November 1989, as the USSR slowly dissolved, the wall came tumbling down.
On August 6, 1945, America dropped a single nuclear weapon on Nagasaki, Japan. Two days later, it dropped a second bomb on Hiroshima. The bombs are often credited with helping to (finally) end World War II.
In 1990, Saddam Hussein sent Iraqi troops to capture Kuwait. A huge coalition of troops backed mostly by the U.S. took up the fight, pushing back the invaders and devastating Iraq’s miltary ... but leaving Hussein in power, a fact that would later play a major role in the region’s politics.
On June 28, 1914, Serbian extremists killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo, a city in Austria-Hungary. His murder started the avalanche that became World War I.
Columbus was an Italian sailor hired by Spain to find new trade routes. He headed east and found the New World, beginning the era of European colonization.
In June 1815, Napoleon’s previously unstoppable army was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo in what is now called Belgium. The unexpected turn of events ended France’s domination of European affairs.
On December 7, 1941, Japan launched a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The United States responded by declaring war and diving headlong into WWII.
During the War of 1812, British troops briefly occupied Washington D.C. and then burned many buildings — including the White House — to the ground.
On April 30, 1975, North Vietnamese troops gained control of the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon. The event ended the Vietnam War and sent U.S. troops running for their lives.
Around 3000 BC, Egyptian rulers commanded the construction of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The huge pyramid is nearly 500 feet tall.
In the winter of 1903, the Wright Brothers (Orville and Wilbur) flew the first heavier-than-air airplane in North Carolina. Their success reverberated around the world, heralding a new era of transportation, one that made the world a much smaller place.
In 1917, a man named Vladimir Lenin led the October Revolution in Russia. The uprising would eventually give birth to the Communist-controlled Soviet Union.
The Greeks are famous in part for devising the Olympiad, a gathering of great athletes. The very first Olympiad was held all the way back in 776 BC.
The Treaty of Versailles was signed in Versailles, France in late 1918. The famous — and equally infamous — treaty ended World War I ... but also set the stage for World War II.
On September 1, 1939 Hitler sent his minions to capture Poland. German aggression triggered the start of the European theater of World War II.
She was the first female prime minister of India — and she made a lot of enemies. In 1984, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by members of her own bodyguard team.
And the town of Pripyat is still a radioative mess to this day. In April 1986, the USSR’s Chernobyl nuclear accident unleashed radioactive material all over the region, igniting fears about the dangers of nuclear energy.
In April 1961, CIA-trained Cuban exiles attempted to overthrow Communist leader Fidel Castro in Cuba. The event was a comical failure, one that had the Kennedy administration slapping their foreheads in shame.
In the 1840s, potato blight devastated crops in 1840s Ireland, and a major food shortage resulted. About 1 million people died — and another 1 million fled in search of a better place to live.
It was a day that terrified Americans and started the Space Race. On October 4, 1957, the USSR put the world’s first artificial satellite into orbit and left the Western world scrambling to catch up.
On October 29, 1929 — Black Tuesday — the New York Stock Exchange crashed. This event marked the start of a financial meltdown that became known as the Great Depression.
In the late ‘30s, the Spanish Civil War set new lows for human atrocities. It also served as a critical testing ground for Hitler, who conveniently had a chance to experiment with new weapons and tactics that would become useful during WWII.
Before she came along, no woman had ever been leader of a Western country. Margaret Thatcher’s election as prime minister of Britain in 1979 was a huge turning point in politics and culture.
On June 6, 1944, the Allies launched a major amphibious assault that became lauded as "D-Day," the invasion of Normandy, France. The successful attack began the unraveling of Hitler’s Third Reich.
In 1066, William the Conqueror led the Norman invasion of England. Then he became king of the region and spent much of the rest of his life trying to maintain control of his conquests.
In 1937, the Japanese killed and abused hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens in the city of Nanking, as part of the Second Sino-Japanese War. For weeks, Japanese troops ran wild, creating nightmarish scenes on every street corner.
After a decade of fruitless searching for the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, the United States — and karma — finally caught up to Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. U.S. special forces troops invaded his walled home and shot him to death in the night.
On April 12, 1961, USSR cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person ever to zoom into outer space. It still marks one of the highest points of the Soviet space program.
It was also called Operation Hummingbird, but it’s better known as Night of the Long Knives. Starting on June 30, 1934, Hitler’s allies murdered around 100 political opponents, cementing the Nazi leader’s grip on German power.
In 1983, the U.S. invaded Grenada after government turmoil posed a threat to U.S. citizens — and also presented the possibility of a new pro-Marxist government. In just weeks, American troops helped to install a pro-democratic power structure.