What's Your World History IQ?



By: Isadora Teich

6 Min Quiz

Image: Franz Xaver Winterhalter

About This Quiz

Think you are a world history buff? The human race has made leaps and bounds and had its ups and downs over the centuries. From learned conquerors to brutal dictators, from human triumphs to unspeakable tragedies, history has it all. While some people consider history a dull subject, those who know a little more about it are well aware of how strange, interesting and sometimes even funny the figures of the past can be.  

Since the dawn of time, people have done their best to record the events of their lives and societies, in various traditions and writing systems. Whether it's the cuneiform of the ancient Middle East or the hanzi characters used throughout thousands of years of Chinese history, there is a lot to be uncovered throughout the world. Mankind has been keeping note of its own activities for centuries. We can even find remnants of fallen civilizations, like the Ancient Egyptians and the Aztecs, all over the world. There might be thousands of years of history beneath your feet at this very moment.  

If you know your world history and can answer the tough questions about humanity's past, get ready to sink your teeth into this most historic quiz! 

What was Napoleon's last name?

Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military leader and emperor who built an empire throughout much of continental Europe over the course of a decade. While his empire did not last, he is considered to be one of the greatest military commanders of all time.


Which country is famous for the Inquisition?

The Spanish Inquisition was a centuries-long effort on the part of the Catholic Church to root out heretics and false converts in Spain. It lasted from the 15th to the 19th centuries, starting out bloody and largely fading to irrelevance.


What event prompted the US to enter World War II?

Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in 1941. This prompted the US to enter World War II, even though it had been a global conflict since 1939 and Japan had started invading other Asian countries in 1931.


When was the Victorian era?

The Victorian era is named after the British queen who reigned from 1837-1901. This era is known for industrialization, colonization, social inequality and strict manners and morals.


What language did Ancient Romans speak?

Ancient Romans spoke Latin, which is no longer spoken today. Latin gave birth to a number of other languages called Romance Languages. These include Italian, French, Spanish and Romanian.


____________ fell in 1991.

The Soviet Union was a one-party socialist state that included Russia and a vast part of Eurasia. It lasted from 1922-1991.


Who was the first president of the United States?

George Washington was the first ever president of the U.S. He was the only person to take this position to not belong to a political party.


Where was gunpowder invented?

Chinese alchemists invented gunpowder by accident in the 9th century. They were attempting to create a potion of immortality and created gunpowder instead.


How many U.S. presidents have been assassinated?

Four U.S. presidents have been assassinated, all with guns. They were Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy.


In Western Europe, the time between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance is called the ___________.

After the fall of the Western half of the Roman Empire in 476 AD, up until the Renaissance in the 14th century, was the period of European history known as the Middle Ages. It is known for its wealth inequality, disease, religious fervor, poverty and the consolidation of power and wealth of the Catholic church.


Which of The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World can still be seen today?

The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only wonder of the ancient world which can still be seen today. The rest were destroyed centuries ago, which the exception of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which may have never existed at all.


Who was the last ruler of Egypt?

Cleopatra was technically the last Pharaoh of Egypt, but by the time she ruled the title held little actual power. After her death, Egypt became a province of Rome.


Did anyone named in the Bible actually exist?

Dozens of biblical figures have been identified in archaeological sources outside the Bible itself. While the Bible is not thought by most scholars to relay a perfectly accurate record of events, it does name numerous kings and leaders of ancient cities and civilizations who were real.


Why was Stonehenge built?

Stonehenge is thought to have been built in phases between 3000-1500 BC in the UK. No one knows why it was built for sure.


"The sun never sets on the _________ Empire."

This phrase is usually used to describe the British Empire of the 19th and 20th centuries. It was the largest empire in human history.


A portion of the world's population is thought to be descended from which global conqueror?

Genghis Kahn had the largest contiguous land empire in world history, the Mongol Empire, which stretched throughout Eurasia from Eastern Europe to the Eastern coasts of China and Russia. It is estimated that about 0.5% of the world's total population is descended from him.


Where do the first historical accounts of coffee come from?

While no one is quite sure who invented coffee or where it came from. According to historical records, coffee started to be prepared like it is today in 15th century Yemen.


Were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon real?

According to legend, Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon for his wife. They were an engineering feat, and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. However, no Babylonian archeological or textual evidence exists of them.


What did Columbus hope to find on his expeditions?

During the era of Columbus, European countries were expanding, colonizing and trading. He hoped to find a trade route by sea to Asia and ended up in the New World.


What kind of warfare is the Cold War known for?

The Cold War was a period of tension largely between the USSR and the U.S. following World War II. While they did not directly attack each other, the Eastern and Western Bloc fought a number of proxy wars, such as the Korean War.


Why did the Roman Empire split in half?

By the 3rd century, the European Empire stretched throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East, and was too large to govern solely from Rome. Emperor Diocletian split it into Western and Eastern halves, and the Eastern half would become known as the Byzantine empire.


Which country had colonies in the Americas?

Great Britain was not the only country to set up colonies in the Americas. Spain's colonial empire at its height stretched from the tip of South America to the American Southwest and what would become Florida. France's colonial holdings stretched from Louisiana to modern-day Ontario, Canada.


Who was the leader and face of the Nazi party?

Adolf Hitler was the Fuhrer of Germany and leader of the Nazi Party. He is remembered as personally responsible for the atrocities of World War II.


Who is credited with inventing the telephone?

Bell patented the first working telephone in 1885. He also founded AT&T, the American Telegraph and Telephone Company.


During which war did the British burn down Washington, D.C.?

In the War of 1812, the U.S. took on Great Britain, which at the time was the greatest naval power on earth. In the summer of 1812, Britain captured and burned Washington, only to later be repelled by American forces.


While Western Europe languished during the Middle Ages, which civilization was thriving culturally?

During the Middle Ages, the Islamic world was more than three times larger than Western Europe. Thinkers, scientists, inventors, and artists flocked to cities like Cairo and Baghdad to create things like soap, windmills, our system of numerals, and write thousands of books on printed paper.


The Crusades were fought by Christians and ________.

The Crusades were largely centered around Christians and Muslims fighting for control of holy sites between the 11th and 13th centuries. They exposed Christians to Muslim ideas and technology, which would change Europe forever.


Who was the last czar of Russia?

Nicholas II was the last emperor of Russia. He ruled from 1894 to 1917, when he was forced to abdicate by the February Revolution.


The Great Pyramid at Giza was built under which Pharaoh?

The Great Pyramid at Giza was completed around 2700 BC. This was during Egypt's 4th dynasty, during the reign of Khufu.


Where is the area which is described as "the cradle of civilization" or "the fertile crescent"?

The Fertile Crescent refers to the area of land in North Africa and the Middle East where the Nile, Tigris, and Euphrates rivers supported early civilizations. These included the Ancient civilizations of Sumer and Egypt.


Which places did Alexander the Great's empire stretch into?

The empire of Alexander the Great stretched from Northern Africa and Greece into Northern India. He is considered one of history's most successful military commanders.


Which of these countries had colonies in Africa?

While Portugal is often forgotten as a global colonizer, it had colonies in Africa until 1975. It was also the last European country to have colonial holdings in Asia. Portugal handed Macau over to China in 1999, ending the Portuguese Empire and colonialism in all of Asia.


Which of these languages, which is still spoken today, has been in use for over 2,000 years?

Today, the Tamil language is spoken throughout Asia and the world by over 70 million people. It is one of the longest surviving classical languages on earth.


The oldest existing proof of written law is known as the Code of ________.

Hammurabi was a king of Babylon. His code of law dates back to 1754 BC.


Which of these Asian countries avoided colonial rule?

Thailand was never under colonial rule. The French and British decided to use it as a neutral territory to avoid conflicts between their colonies.


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