History Guild General History Quiz 184
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History Quiz 184

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The stories behind the questions

1. Who did the Athenians defeat at the battle of Marathon?

Persians – The Battle of Marathon took place during the first Persian invasion of Greece. It was fought between the citizens of Athens, aided by Plataea, and a Persian force. The battle was the culmination of the first attempt by Persia, under King Darius I, to subjugate Greece. The Greek army inflicted a crushing defeat on the more numerous Persians, marking a turning point in the Greco-Persian Wars.

2. Which country experienced the ‘Six o’clock swill’, an hour of heavy drinking between finishing work at 5 pm and pubs closing at 6pm?

Australia – For at least some of the period 1916 to 1967 all Australian states had restricted hours for the sale of alcohol. Tasmania was the least restrictive, with the the laws only in place from 1916 to 1937. Victoria and South Australia were the most restrictive, keeping the laws in effect for over 50 years.

3. When did Thomas Hobbes write his seminal work on social contract theory, Leviathan?

1651 – Hobbes was the first modern philosopher to articulate a detailed social contract theory that appeared in his 1651 work  Leviathan. In it, Hobbes set out his doctrine of the foundation of states and legitimate governments and creating an objective science of morality.

This was informed by the chaos of the English Civil War Hobbes saw in the preceding years.

4. Which European powers did the British East India Company compete against for dominance in India in the 1700s?

All of the above – Initially, the company struggled in the spice trade because of the competition from the already well-established Dutch East India Company and the Portuguese Estado da Índia, which had established bases in Goa, Chittagong, and Bombay. The French had significant power until their defeat at the Battle of Plassey in 1757.

5. Which of these computer programming languages was created first?

COBOL – Created by Rear Admiral Grace Hopper in 1959, COBOL is still in use today.

6. Which regime utilised the ‘Night and fog’ doctrine to deal with political enemies?

Nazi Germany – ‘Nacht und Nebel’ saw opponents of the Nazi regime in occupied countries deported to Germany before being executed or sent to concentration camps. Field Marshall Keitel described its objective, ‘to be transported to Germany secretly, and further treatment of the offenders will take place here; these measures will have a deterrent effect because – A. The prisoners will vanish without a trace. B. No information may be given as to their whereabouts or their fate.’

7. When did London first overtake Beijing to become the most populous city in the world?

1825 – Both cities had a population of around 1.3 million. London’s population exploded, reaching 4.2 million only 50 years later in 1875. Beijing stagnated over this period, with the population remaining the same.

8. Who wrote the first known history of the Greco-Persian Wars?

Herodotus – Herodotus was the first writer to perform systematic investigation of historical events and is known as ‘The Father of History’.

9. When did France develop their first nuclear weapon?

1960 – France became the fourth country in the world to develop nuclear weapons, following the USA, USSR and UK. The French ‘Force de frappe’ (Deterrence Force) is a key component of France’s belief in maintaining independent strategic capabilities outside of NATO.

10. Who led the Union army to victory at the Battle of Gettysburg?

General George Meade – Meade took command of the Army of the Potomac only three days before the battle. He was appointed after Lincoln lost confidence in the previous leadership of the army, which had seen two significant defeats and a withdrawal into Pennsylvania.

The Union achieved a significant victory, however the war continued for almost two more years before the Confederacy were finally defeated.

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