History Guild General History Quiz 175
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The stories behind the questions
1. How long has Rome been continuously occupied?
3000 years – There is evidence of settlement on the Palatine hill as early as the 10th century BCE, well before Rome’s legendary foundation by Romulus in 753 BCE.
2. In 1963 the USA asked the USSR if they would consider joint military action to prevent another country obtaining nuclear weapons. Which country did they want to stop getting nuclear weapons?
China – The USA sought to secure Soviet cooperation “in taking action, if necessary physically, against China.” In a meeting with the Soviets it was proposed by US advisors that the president “think out loud,” saying, “You know, it wouldn’t be too hard if we could somehow get kind of an anonymous airplane to go over there, take out the Chinese facilities—they’ve only got a couple—and maybe we could do it, or maybe the Soviet Union could do it, rather than face the threat of a China with nuclear weapons.”
This was early in the Sino-Soviet split, and the Soviets were concerned with the flippant way Mao Zedong approached the risks of nuclear war. Ultimately neither the Soviets or the USA chose to take action.
3. When did the first terrorist bombing campaign in the UK begin?
1881 – The Fenian dynamite campaign saw the IRA planting explosives in public buildings. Dozens of bombs were detonated over the next four years, leading to the establishment of Special Branch to track down the perpetrators.
4. Where did the Space Shuttle Challenger crash?
Florida, USA – In 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members aboard. The explosion was caused by a known issue of an o-ring failing to seal.
5. Which of these cataclysmic European events occurred first?
The Bronze age collapse – a time of widespread societal collapse between c. 1200 BCE and 1150 BCE.
The Mongol invasion – 1237 CE
The Black Death – 1346 CE
The 30 years war – 1618-1648 CE
6. The oldest sentence ever written in an alphabetic language was recently discovered. What did it say?
May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard – It was written in Canaanite on an ivory head lice comb around 1700BCE. Canaanite differed from earlier writing systems such as cuneiform by letters representing sounds, rather than words. This gave rise to many modern languages.
7. Where was the composer Vivaldi born?
Venice – Creator of the famous The Four Seasons, Vivaldi trained as a priest before becoming a violin teacher. His work was fairly obscure until the early 20th century, when it gained its current popularity.
8. When was the state of Israel founded?
1948 – Created from the British mandated territory of Palestine, Israel had to fight the surrounding countries immediately upon its formation.
9. Who did the Greeks fight against at the Battle of Salamis?
Persians – A naval battle fought in 480 BCE, between an alliance of Greek city-states under Themistocles, and the Persian Empire under King Xerxes.
10. Where did the 1549 Prayer Book Rebellion occur?
Cornwall – A popular revolt in Cornwall and Devon caused by the imposition of the first Book of Common Prayer, as well as enforcement of the English language and the imposition of new taxation. Over 5,000 people died in the rebellion before it was crushed by the government.