History Guild General History Quiz 139
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History Quiz 139

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The stories behind the questions

1. In the 1930s which country introduced deliberate errors into its maps in order to confuse potential invaders?

USSR – The Soviet Union’s systematic falsification of geographic location is an interesting part of the recent history
of cartography. In the late 1930s the NKVD took control of mapmaking, ordering the Soviet cartographic bureaucracy to begin to deliberately distort the position and form of villages, coastlines, rivers, highways, railroads, buildings, boundaries, and other features shown on maps and atlases sold for public use.

2. When were general anaesthetics first used in surgery?

1846 – American dentist, William Morton, demonstrated the use of ether as a general anaesthetic during an operation performed in front of a crowd of doctors and students at the Massachusetts General Hospital.

3. When was the first mass produced product with precisely made interchangeable parts made?

1798 – Eli Whitney built a firearms factory near New Haven, CT, USA in 1798. The muskets he made were the first to have standardised, interchangeable parts and were made using mass production methods.

4. What weapon is this soldier using?

Chauchat – The standard light machine gun of the French Army during World War I, over 200,000 were produced making it the most widely manufactured automatic weapon of the war. It was said to be easy to control, had a good sight picture, and was ‘actually quite reliable when not jammed with mud and dirt!’

5. From 1981 to 2011 Hosni Mubarak was President of which country?

Egypt – Egypt’s longest-serving ruler since Muhammad Ali Pasha, who ruled the country for 43 years from 1805 to 1848. In 1975, he was appointed vice president and assumed the presidency after President Anwar Sadat’s assassination in 1981. Mubarak stepped down during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 after 18 days of demonstrations.

6. When did the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapse?

1918 – Towards the end of the First World War, it was becoming apparent that the tide was turning in favour of the Allied Powers. The people of the Austro-Hungarian Empire were losing faith in the monarchy. They found themselves without a strong central government. They were facing food shortages and a weakened economy caused by the high costs and losses of war. The diverse nationalities of the empire began to declare independence and set up their own de facto governments. Learn more about the Long Tail of the First World War.

7. The word Tycoon entered the English language in 1857. Which language is it derived from?

Japanese – Derived from the Japanese word taikun, usually translated into English as “great lord” but has pejorative connotations, suggesting an excessive exercise of power and wealth. The word was introduced to the English language in 1857 with the return of Commodore Perry’s Great White Fleet to the United States after their visit to Japan.

8. The bacteria Yersinia pestis causes which pandemic disease?

Plague – A bacteria which can infect humans via the rat flea, it causes the disease plague, which caused the Plague of Justinian in 541 CE and the Black Death in 1346.

9. In 1864 Major General John Sedgwick said ‘They couldn’t hit an elephant at this distance’ moments before being shot in the head. Which conflict did this occur in?

US Civil War – Sedgwick was killed by a sharpshooter at the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. He was the equal highest-ranking Union officer to be killed in the war.

10. Where was the first major World’s Fair?

London – Officially known as ‘The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations’ it was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park in 1851. There had been previous Great Exhibitions, however they each featured only one or a small number of nations.

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