The French History Quiz

By: Staff

Where did France get its name?

It's derived from "<i>francia</i>," Latin for "country of the Franks." The Franks controlled the area from the 5th century C.E.

What was it called before that?

"Gaul" was the term for the enormous area that included much of present-day western Europe.

Who controlled Gaul before the Franks took over?

There was a long period of Roman invasion before Caesar finally got the job done around 50 B.C.E. The area was then part of the Roman Empire until 486 C.E.

Who were the first kings of France?

Childeric I was the first of the Merovingian kings.

What title did King Charlemagne obtain in the year 800?

Charlemagne took the French throne in 768, and Pope Leo III made him the Holy Roman Emperor in 800.

There was something of a power vacuum when Charlemagne's three grandsons were left in charge for various reasons. The grandsons in question were Lothar, Louis the _____ and Charles the ______.

Louis the German had the German areas (duh), and Charles the Bald took the Frankish areas.

What name did the Vikings give to the area they conquered and colonized in the 10th and 11th centuries?

The Vikings, otherwise known as "Northmen," called the area Normandy.

For roughly 350 years, starting around 1000, this line of kings controlled the area around Paris.

The Capetians reigned over the Ile-de-France.

What was the deciding battle when William the Conqueror invaded England in 1066?

William, duke of Normandy, invaded England and eventually bested King Harold at the Battle of Hastings. He then became the first Norman king of England, ending Anglo-Saxon reign.

In the Hundred Years' War against England, the English House of Plantagenet battled the French House of _________.

The House of Valois finally won the war in 1453.

In which major battle did Joan of Arc lead France to victory?

Joan of Arc successfully stopped the English siege of Orleans.

In 1598, the Edict of Nantes gave religious freedom to this group of French Protestants.

The Huguenots were followers of John Calvin.

Which French king established absolute monarchy during his reign?

Louis XIII established absolute monarchy, and his son Louis XIV took it to new heights during his long reign.

What was Louis XIV's nickname?

"Nickname" is probably too trite a word for it, but Louis XIV was also known as the Sun King.

The storming of this prison by a Parisian mob marked the start of the French Revolution.

And that is why we have Bastille Day.

When is Bastille Day?

The storming of the Bastille happened on July 14, 1789.

The next month, the National Constituent Assembly passed the Declaration of ________, which strove to give all citizens equal status.

The Declaration of the Rights of Man is now considered an essential document in the history of human rights.

The conflict between the Girondins and this other French political group was the cause of the Reign of Terror in 1793 and 1794.

More than 30,000 French citizens were executed during the 10-month Reign of Terror, which started because of the ongoing conflict between the Girondins and Jacobins.

Who engineered a coup in 1799 and became the emperor of the French in 1804?

Army commander Napoleon Bonaparte installed himself as first consul of the republic in 1799 and stepped up to emperor five years later.

Where was Napoleon defeated?

Napoleon abdicated in 1814 but escaped from exile the following year and came back to power. The British finally defeated him at Waterloo, Belgium, in 1815.

Which royal family was restored to power after Napoleon was exiled again?

The Bourbons came back, with Louis XVIII taking the throne.

What happened on Aug. 3, 1914?

Germany declared war on France early in the day, and France responded in kind later on, thus setting World War I into motion.

What happened on Aug. 25, 1944?

Paris was freed from Nazi occupation on Aug. 25, 1944.

When was World War II hero Charles de Gaulle elected president?

De Gaulle became the 18th president of France in 1958 and ruled until 1969.

Which was NEVER a French colony or occupied by the French?

The French have held plenty of colonies over the years, but Saudi Arabia was not one.

Who was the first female prime minister of France?

Edith Cresson was prime minister from 1991-92.

Who was the longest-serving president of France?

Mitterrand was president from 1981-95.

In 2012, Francois Hollande was sworn in as the first French president from this party in 17 years.

Hollande was the first Socialist president since Mitterrand.

What is the name of the French magazine that was targeted by Islamic terrorists in 2015?

A pair of brothers shot and killed 11 people in the Charlie Hebdo offices on Jan. 7, 2015.

How many people were killed in the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris?

One hundred thirty people were killed in suicide bombings and mass shootings across Paris on Nov. 13, 2015.

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About This Quiz

Think you know your Louis XIV from your Louis XVIII, your Mitterrand from your Chirac? Take this French history quiz to find out.

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