175 History Trivia Questions to Put Your Knowledge to the Test

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Do you consider yourself a history buff? Or perhaps you’re just an average joe trying to learn more about history in a way that’s more fun than reading a boring textbook.

Well, in either case, you are in luck! This post features our favorite history questions and answers that will satisfy your curiosity and perhaps teach you something new.

From the fall of the Roman Empire to the American Revolution, ancient civilizations to WWII, there is a lot to learn. So, without further ado, let’s jump into it and see how many of these history questions you can get right!

* This post may contain affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more, but in the event of a sale, the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep this blog running/pumping out useful content. Thanks!

Before we get started — we invite you to bookmark or save some of these other history-related trivia quizzes for later!

History Trivia: General History

World Globe - History Trivia Questions

Who invented the light bulb?

Answer: Thomas Edison.

During the seventh, century, fireworks were invented by which country?

Answer: China.

What are the two main languages spoken in South America?

Answer: Spanish and Portuguese.

What man has been Time magazine’s Person of the Year twice since the new millennium, once in 2008 and again in 2012?

Answer: Barack Obama.

From what country did jazz originate?

Answer: The USA.

Which physicist published four breakthrough scientific papers in 1905, including his particle theory of light and his theory of relativity?

Answer: Albert Einstein.

Who was the first Western explorer to reach China?

Answer: Marco Polo.

How long does a U.S. president’s term in office last, in years?

Answer: 4 years.

A famous Christmas truce was a series of widespread but unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front during which war?

Answer: World War I.

What object is placed on the attorneys’ desks each day the court is in session, bowing to a long-held tradition–a bible, a wing, or a white quill pen?

Answer: A white quill pen.

What does the meaning of the word “zodiac” in Ancient Greek?

Answer: Circle of animals.

Who was the ancient Goddess of Love?

Answer: Venus.

Which of the Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World is still in existence?

Answer: Pyramids of Giza.

What is the Greek god of light called?

Answer: Apollo.

Who invented the cotton gin in 1793?

Answer: Eli Whitney.

Where did the Olympic games originate?

Answer: Greece.

In what year did WWII start and end?

Answer: Started in 1939, and ended in 1945.

In what country was the famous artist Leonardo da Vinci born?

Answer: Italy.

Sailors of the past suffered from scurvy due to a lack of what?

Answer: Vitamin C.

_____ is the goddess of love, sex, and beauty.

Answer: Aphrodite.

_____ is the goddess of reason, wisdom, and war.

Answer: Athena.

_____, an agricultural goddess, was the mother to Persephone, who was abducted by the underworld god Hades to be his bride.

Answer: Demeter.

_____ is best known as the Greek sea god, but he was also the god of horses and of earthquakes.

Answer: Poseidon.

Where did Amelia Earhart crash her plane on July 2, 1937?

Answer: The Lockheed aircraft carrying American aviator Amelia Earhart and navigator Frederick Noonan is reported missing near Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean.

Which famous explorer completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth?

Answer: Ferdinand Magellan.

What was the name of the ship that carried Charles Darwin on his voyage to the Galápagos Islands, where he developed his theory of evolution?

Answer: HMS Beagle.

Who was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize?

Answer: Marie Curie, awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903.

History Trivia: World History Trivia Questions

Parthenon Greece - World History Trivia Questions

Which former temple on the Athenian Acropolis in Greece serves as an enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, democracy, and Western civilization?

Answer: The Parthenon.

What country did Mexico gain its independence from in the 1800s?

Answer: Spain.

Which city in the world was the first to be attacked by an atomic bomb?

Answer: Hiroshima.

What ancient civilization built the Machu Picchu complex in Peru?

Answer: The Incas.

What was the name of the last Queen of France?

Answer: Marie Antoinette.

The modern-day city of Istanbul was known by what name in the 13th century?

Answer: Constantinople.

Which British ruler is the king in The King’s Speech, which won the Oscar for Best Picture in 2011?

Answer: George VI.

What European city became the first to allow LGBTQ people to marry legally when it permitted four same-sex couples to wed in its City Hall in 2001?

Answer: Amsterdam.

Which European principality is the home to Prince Albert Grimaldi and his wife, Princess Charlene, who gave birth to twins in 2014?

Answer: Monaco.

Which leader, whose given name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio, has ruled over the smallest country in the world since 2013?

Answer: Pope Francis, of Vatican City.

What president of Russia abruptly resigned in 2000, naming Vladimir Putin as his replacement?

Answer: Boris Yeltsin.

The fall of what city’s wall, allowing free travel from east to west for the first time since 1961, celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019?

Answer: Berlin.

What Greek physician is considered the “father of modern medicine?”

Answer: Hippocrates.

What Austrian’s assassination kicked off World War I?

Answer: Franz Ferdinand.

During WWII, what was the name of the machine used to create German and Japanese codes?

Answer: Enigma.

Which German physicist, who become involved in politics after the fall of the Berlin Wall, was elected the first female chancellor in 2005?

Answer: Angela Merkel.

Who was the prime minister of Britain during WWII?

Answer: Winston Churchill.

At its peak, what empire conquered more of the world than anyone else in history — was it the Roman, British, Spanish, or Chinese?

Answer: The British Empire is the largest empire in history. At its height, it controlled 13.71 million square miles on every continent.

In which country did Benazir Bhutto serve two terms as prime minister before she was assassinated in 2007–Pakistan, Iran, or Turkey?

Answer: Pakistan.

World War I began in which year?

Answer: 1914.

Who invited 12,000 people to attend an open-air pop concert in her gardens on June 3, 2002, to celebrate her Golden Jubilee?

Answer: Queen Elizabeth II.

The ancient Egyptians used to sleep on pillows made of what — stones, gold, hay, or diamonds?

Answer: Stones.

The disease that ravaged and killed a third of Europe’s population in the 14th century is known as what?

Answer: The Black Plague or Bubonic Plague.

What city was Poland’s capital in the fourteenth century?

Answer: Krakow.

Adolf Hitler was born in which country?

Answer: Austria.

Which peasant girl led the French army at Orléans during the Hundred Years’ War?

Answer: Joan of Arc.

Which German city and capital of Bavaria was the home of the original Oktoberfest?

Answer: Munich.

Which famous monument did Shah Jahān build to immortalize his wife?

Answer: Taj Mahal.

The Magna Carta was published by the King of which country?

Answer: England.

Which member of the royal family left the British Army in 2015 after 10 years of service, including two tours in Afghanistan?

Answer: Prince Harry.

Terracotta Army - World History Trivia Questions

The Terracotta Army is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang. What was his significance in history?

Answer: He was the first emperor of China.

Which country’s King Juan Carlos ended his 39-year reign in 2014 and handed the crown to his son, Filipe?

Answer: Spain (he wanted to make way for “younger people with new energies”).

What does “kamikaze” mean in the war sense?

Answer: It was a suicide bombing tactic used by the Empire of Japan during World War II, in which a pilot would deliberately crash an explosives-laden plane into an enemy warship.

Who discovered the Rosetta Stone near Alexandria, Egypt, in 1799?

Answer: Bouchard.

When was the wreck of the Titanic discovered? 1991, 1985, 1941, or 1920?

Answer: 1985.

In what country did the Battle of Waterloo take place?

Answer: Belgium.

Tsai Ing-wen was the first female president of which country?

Answer: Taiwan.

In what country are the ruins of the ancient city of Troy located?

Answer: Turkey.

What is the name of the imperial palace complex at the heart of Beijing, China?

Answer: Forbidden City.

What major Tuscan city is located northwest of Rome on the Arno River and is the birthplace of the Renaissance?

Answer: Florence, Italy.

Who founded the first film production company in France, which created more than 400 films from 1896 to 1913 — was it Pierre Étaix, August Lumiere, or Georges Méliès?

Answer: Georges Méliès.

Which famous 225-ton gift was given on Christmas Day in 1886?

Answer: The Statue of Liberty (from France to the USA).

World War II started after the invasion of which capital city?

Answer: Warsaw (Poland).

Which Nordic country was first to give women the right to vote, in 1906?

Answer: Finland.

What is the largest democratic country in the world?

Answer: India.

Which world-changing invention was patented on Valentine’s Day, 1876?

Answer: Telephone.

What British ruler’s long reign did Queen Elizabeth II surpass in September 2015?

Answer: Queen Victoria (she ruled for 63 years until her death in 1901).

Which civilization from the 15th and early 16th centuries considered cacao beans more valuable than gold?

Answer: The Aztecs. They believed cacao beans were a gift from the gods and used them as a currency that was more precious than gold. 

In the Middle Ages, wealthy women used a combination of water and what fruit as blush?

Answer: Strawberries.

In what modern-day country was Karl Marx, the communist philosopher, born?

Answer: Germany.

Who was the wartime nurse known as the “Lady with the Lamp”?

Answer: Florence Nightingale.

The people of which country were the earliest participants in the Age of Discovery (also known as the Age of Exploration)?

Answer: The Portuguese.

What French Emperor was notorious for both his height and his temper as he came into power after the French Revolution?

Answer: Napoleon Bonaparte.

The USSR and the United States faced a global stalemate during what infamous conflict?

Answer: Cold War.

After World War II concluded, what organization was created to prevent such conflict from ever breaking out again?

Answer: United Nations.

History Trivia: US History Trivia Questions

Astronaut - General History Questions

Who walked on the moon along with Neil Armstrong?

Answer: Buzz Aldrin.

Can you name the first 4 presidents of the United States of America?

Answer: George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.

What is the month and day when the US gained its independence?

Answer: July 4.

Whose face is on the penny?

Answer: Abraham Lincoln.

Whose face is on a $20 bill?

Answer: Andrew Jackson.

The state flower of Massachusetts shares its name with which British ship that arrived on its shores in 1620?

Answer: Mayflower.

Native Americans experienced oppression in the 1830s which culminated in the Trail of Tears. What was this event?

Answer: The forced migration of Native Americans to what we now call Oklahoma.

In a 2012 referendum, which US territory voted for the first time to become the 51st star on the US flag?

Answer: Puerto Rico.

Which of these U.S. presidents was also an actor — Woodrow Wilson, John Adams, Ronald Reagan, or George Bush?

Answer: Ronald Reagan.

The United States observes Flag Day on which date–June 14, July 1, or July 4?

Answer: June 14 — the holiday honors the 1777 adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the official US flag.

John F Kennedy - US Trivia Questions

Where was John F. Kennedy assassinated in?

Answer: Dallas, Texas.

American involvement in the Korean War took place in which decade?

Answer: 1950s (American involvement in the Korean war lasted from 1950-1953).

How many stripes are on the American flag?

Answer: 13. The stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from Great Britain.

The first American president to live in the White House was–Abraham Lincoln, John Adams, George Washington, or Thomas Jefferson?

Answer: John Adams.

Which US president delivered the Gettysburg Address?

Answer: Abraham Lincoln.

The group of men that drafted the Declaration of Independence and also built a new system of government under the Constitution are now known as what?

Answer: The Founding Fathers.

Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist, one of the most prominent leaders in what movement during what decade?

Answer: The civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968.

Which investment bank’s collapse on September 15, 2008 brought Wall Street to its knees, because Uncle Sam said no to a bailout?

Answer: Lehman Brothers.

Six activists belonging to which organization boarded a Russian oil ship in 2015 to protest drilling above the Arctic Circle?

Answer: Greenpeace.

Statue of Liberty - History Questions and Answers

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from which country?

Answer: France.

George W. Bush was governor of which state before becoming the President?

Answer: Texas.

Which war was fought between 1861 and 1865?

Answer: The American Civil War.

Which president led during the American Civil War?

Answer: Abraham Lincoln was president from 1861 to 1865, during the American Civil War. He led the Union armies against the southern Confederacy.

Which founding father is known for his large signature on the United States Declaration of Independence?

Answer: John Hancock.

What’s the second Amendment in the Bill of Rights?

Answer: The right to bear arms.

Which act was signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide a national old-age pension system?

Answer: Social Security Act.

Which US president said: “…Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”?

Answer: John F. Kennedy.

What was the political scandal that rocked Richard M. Nixon’s presidency?

Answer: Watergate.

What president signed the act creating the National Parks Service in 1916?

Answer: Woodrow Wilson.

Who assassinated President Abraham Lincoln?

Answer: John Wilkes Booth.

How many US Supreme Court justices are there?

Answer: 9.

What’s the third Amendment in the Bill of Rights related to?

Answer: The housing of soldiers.

During WWII, the bombing of which U.S. naval base prompted President Franklin D. Roosevelt to declare war on Japan?

Answer: Pearl Harbor.

On which coin did the US Mint begin featuring National Parks in 2010?

Answer: Quarter.

What 1930s outlaw couple was on the run for two years before being shot in Louisiana?

Answer: Bonnie and Clyde.

Who was the civil rights activist who refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in 1955?

Answer: Rosa Parks.

Which American Civil War general later became president of the United States?

Answer: Ulysses S. Grant.

During WWII, what was the code name for the Battle of Normandy?

Answer: Operation Overlord.

Which U.S. president was the first to appear on television?

Answer: Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Who was named president after Abraham Lincoln was assassinated?

Answer: Andrew Johnson.

What American president is associated with the Teddy Bear?

Answer: Theodore Roosevelt.

Which American president earned the nickname the “Comeback Kid” in 1992?

Answer: Bill Clinton.

What was the first continuously published newspaper in the American colonies?

Answer: Boston News-Letter.

Which leader was overthrown by the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003?

Answer: Saddam Hussein.

History Trivia: Ancient Civilizations Trivia Questions

What ancient civilization built the Great Pyramids of Giza?

Answer: Ancient Egypt.

Which ancient civilization developed the first known system of writing called cuneiform?

Answer: Sumerians (Mesopotamia).

Who was the first emperor of Rome?

Answer: Agustus.

What ancient city was the center of the Indus Valley Civilization?

Answer: Mohenjo-Daro.

Which ancient civilization built the city of Machu Picchu in the Andes Mountains?

Answer: The Incas.

What ancient civilization is credited with the creation of the first known democracy?

Answer: Ancient Athens (Greece).

Which ancient civilization developed the concept of zero and a base-10 numerical system?

Answer: The Maya.

What was the name of the ancient Mesopotamian law code, one of the oldest legal documents in history?

Answer: The Code of Hammurabi.

Who was the famous Carthaginian general who led an army, including war elephants, across the Alps to attack Rome during the Punic Wars?

Answer: Hannibal Barca.

What ancient civilization built the city of Petra, famous for its rock-cut architecture?

Answer: The Nabateans.

What ancient civilization is associated with the construction of Stonehenge in England?

Answer: The Druids or Ancient Britons.

What ancient civilization developed the first known system of centralized government and extensive road networks?

Answer: The Romans.

What ancient civilization built the city of Tenochtitlan, which later became Mexico City?

Answer: The Aztecs.

What were Roman public baths called?

Answer: Roman public baths were called thermae, and activities included relaxation, socializing, and getting clean through a series of baths, exercises, and massages.

How did ancient Romans keep track of time during the workday?

Answer: Ancient Romans kept track of time using the position of the sun and devices such as sundials, with the workday typically ending at noon.

What was the purpose of the Roman Forum, and what activities took place there?

Answer: The Roman Forum was the center of public life, where citizens shopped, socialized, attended gatherings, and participated in religious ceremonies and court proceedings.

Can you describe what the Great Sphinx of Giza looks like?

Answer: A giant statue with the head of a human and the body of a lion.

Who was the god of the sea in ancient Greece?

Answer: Poseidon.

What were aqueducts used for?

Answer: To channel water into Roman towns and cities.

Who was the god of the sun in ancient Egypt?

Answer: Ra.

What type of gladiator fought with a net and a trident?

Answer: Retiarius.

Which Greek physician devised the “four humors” theory in medicine?

Answer: Galen.

Which king built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon?

Answer: Nebuchadnezzar.

From which ancient civilization did Hippocrates come?

Answer: Greek.

What was the Roman name for the English town of Bath?

Answer: Aquae Sulis.

What was papyrus used to make in ancient Egypt?

Answer: It had multiple uses, but it was specially cultivated to make paper.

What was a “ziggurat” in Babylon?

Answer: A temple.

What was the name of the famous slave who led a revolt against Rome?

Answer: Spartacus.

History Trivia: World War II Trivia Questions

What event triggered the start of World War II?

Answer: The invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany on September 1, 1939.

What was the code name for the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944?

Answer: Operation Overlord.

What was the name of the secret project that developed the atomic bombs during World War II?

Answer: The Manhattan Project.

Which German city suffered a devastating firebombing raid by Allied forces in February 1945?

Answer: Dresden.

Which naval battle is often considered the turning point of the Pacific War?

Answer: The Battle of Midway.

Who was the leader of the Soviet Union during most of World War II?

Answer: Joseph Stalin.

What was the name of the aircraft that dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima?

Answer: The Enola Gay.

Which country suffered the most casualties during World War II?

Answer: The Soviet Union.

What was the main purpose of the Yalta Conference in February 1945?

Answer: To plan the post-war reorganization of Europe.

Which two Japanese cities were targeted by atomic bombs in August 1945?

Answer: Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

When did World War II officially end in Europe?

Answer: May 8, 1945 (V-E Day).

Who cracked the Enigma code used by the Germans during World War II, and what device did they create to decipher it?

Answer: British mathematician and scientist Alan Turing cracked the Enigma code and created the Bombe, a computing machine used to decipher encrypted messages.

What unit of Indigenous volunteers helped defend the coast of Alaska from invasion during World War II?

Answer: The Alaska Territorial Guard, composed of Indigenous volunteers from various tribes, helped guard the vulnerable territory from invasion.

What was the purpose of the Red Ball Express during World War II, and who predominantly operated the trucks?

Answer: The Red Ball Express was a trucking route established to transport supplies to Allied soldiers, predominantly operated by African American soldiers.

Who invented a torpedo guidance system during World War II, and what later technologies did it contribute to?

Answer: Actress Hedy Lamarr invented a torpedo guidance system called “frequency hopping,” which contributed to later technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

What was the purpose of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, during World War II?

Answer: Oak Ridge, Tennessee, was established as part of the Manhattan Project to produce materials for building nuclear weapons.

What policy did the Lend-Lease Act enact during World War II, and who were its primary beneficiaries?

Answer: The Lend-Lease Act allowed the U.S. to lend weapons to Allied powers, primarily benefiting countries such as Great Britain.

What role did Wernher von Braun play during World War II (hint: it’s related to space exploration)?

Answer: Wernher von Braun was a German rocket scientist who developed the V-2 rocket for the Nazis during World War II and later contributed to early NASA rockets, laying the foundation for modern space exploration.

Which famous baseball player served as a fighter pilot during World War II and the Korean War?
Answer: Ted Williams, a legendary hitter, served as a fighter pilot in both World War II and the Korean War.

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    And that about wraps up this week’s trivia quiz. We hope you had fun with our history trivia questions and answers!

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    Elle Liang

    Elle is a travel blogger and entertainment publisher by day and a trivia fanatic by night. Her favorite hobbies include hiking mountains, traveling anywhere in the world, watching documentaries, playing bingo, and brushing up on world knowledge through games like Trivial Pursuit.

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