History Guild General History Quiz 202
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History Quiz 202

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The stories behind the questions

1. Writing in the 1380s, who was the first to refer to Valentines Day on the 14th of February?

Geoffrey Chaucer – Chaucer’s poem from the 1380s, The Parliament of Fowls, is held to be the first reference to 14th February as a day about love. The narrator of the poem is unsuccessful in love, despairing that life is short compared with how long it takes to learn to love well. He falls asleep and dreams of a garden in which all the different birds of the world have gathered.

Every year on St Valentine’s Day the birds have come to pick their partners in accordance with nature’s rules. But this process causes confusion and debate: the birds can’t agree what it means to follow the rules because they all value different things in their partners.

2. Which country saw the 1974 Carnation Revolution?

Portugal – A military coup by left-leaning military officers that overthrew the authoritarian Estado Novo government, which had ruled since 1926. The coup eventually led to Portugal becoming fully democratic and 25th April is a national holiday called Dia da Liberdade (Freedom Day), that commemorates the revolution.

3. How did St Patrick come to Ireland?

Transported as a slave – Born in Wales as Maewyn Succat, when he was about 16 years old Irish raiders sacked his family estate, taking him back to Ireland as a slave. He became a devout Christian and after 6 years of captivity managed to escape.

4. Which conflict caused the most American deaths?

US Civil War – Around 800,000 deaths

WW2 – 419,400 deaths

Vietnam War – 58,220 deaths

US War of Independence – At least 35,000

5. Which country crowned Catherine de’ Medici as Queen in 1549?

France – Coming from the powerful Florentine House of Medici, Catherine married Henry, Duke of Orléans in 1533. Henry became King Henry II of France in 1547 and Catherine was crowned as Queen consort. After the deaths of Henry II and her son, Francis II she became Queen Regnant, ruling for her young son, Charles IX.

6. How long elapsed between the HIV virus being identified and an effective drug treatment being approved by the US FDA?

4 years – HIV was identified in 1983, and trials of treatments began shortly after. In 1987 AZT was approved as a treatment by the FDA.

7. Which of these was an Aboriginal Australian weapon?

Nulla-nulla – One of many weapons used by Australian Aboriginal Warriors, they are very well described in the excellent new book How They Fought: Indigenous Tactics and Weaponry of Australia’s Frontier Wars.

8. When did Brazil gain its independence?

1825 – In 1500, navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral landed in what is now Brazil and claimed it in the name of King Manuel I of Portugal. It remained a Portuguese possession until Brazil gained independence after a two year war in 1825.

9. Which country developed submarine aircraft carriers during WW2?

Japan – The giant I-400 class of aircraft carrier submarines could launch three Seiran attack floatplanes. These were 122m long, double the length of a typical German U-Boat, and carried enough fuel to circle the globe one and a half times. 42 Japanese submarines of all types with the capability to carry floatplanes were built.

10. What event caused the largest mass migration in human history?

The partition of India – 14 million Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims were displaced during the partition making it the largest mass migration in human history. Between 500,000 and 2 million people perished and 12 million became homeless as a result of the forced migrations.

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