Who was the founder of the Mongol empire?
Gengis Khan was the founder and Great Khan (Emperor) of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death. He came to power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia. After founding the Empire and being proclaimed "Genghis Khan", he started the Mongol invasions that conquered most of Eurasia.
Which of these American Presidents had a stroke near the end of his term, leaving his wife to unofficially take over the duties of the Presidency?
For the last year and a half of US President Woodrow Wilson’s term, his First Lady Edith Wilson essentially acted as the real President. After suffering a stroke, the President was left bedridden. Edith took charge of all his meetings and controlled what issues were important enough to get his attention. So, unofficially, Edith Wilson was the first female President of the United States.
What was the name of the man who discovered penicillin?
Alexander Fleming was a Scottish microbiologist.
Who was Ching Shih? (Hint: she was also known as Madame Ching)
Madame Ching or Ching Shih was a Cantonese prostitute who was captured by pirates after her brothel was raided. In 1801, she married Cheng I, a notorious pirate. The name she is best remembered by simply means "Cheng's widow". When her husband died she ascended to his leadership position and went on to terrorize the China Sea in the early 19th century.
Who famously served in the military during WW2, and earned the nickname “Mad Jack” for his ferocious attitude?
Jack Churchill was a WW2 Commando who served with distinction in a number of theaters, his exploits earned him the Distinguished Service Order as well as the Military Cross. He was known as ‘Mad Jack’ by his men and his fellow officers for his ferociousness in combat. Unlike his more conventional peers his weapons of choice were not the traditional British fire arms of the period, instead he chose to rush in to combat with a long bow, a Scottish broadsword and his bag pipes.
Which actor from The Lord of the Rings was also a pilot for the British Royal Air Force?
Lee volunteered for the RAF in WWII and became a Flying Officer. His time as a pilot was short lived as he was soon diagnosed with a failure of his optic nerve and was grounded. He was transferred to RAF intelligence, the position he would remain in for the rest of the war.
What was the name of the man who helped to find the cause of London’s frequent cholera epidemics?
The road to an understanding of how cholera spread came in fits and starts. In 1854, right in the middle of the third cholera pandemic, a physician named John Snow nay-sayed all those miasma truthers and proposed a link between cholera and contaminated drinking water, developing a theory that cholera wasn’t spreading through polluted air, but through waterways. His 1855 review correctly identified a model for the disease and even mapped probable routes for two London epidemics. Nonetheless, it would take a long, slow 30 years for his model to be fully accepted.
Who was Frederick the Great?
Frederick the Great is one of the most underrated badasses in history. The guy took on Austria, France, Russia, Poland, Sweden, and a bunch of smaller German and Italian states and won with his tiny kingdom-Prussia. He turned a small obscure German state into the nation that would end up uniting Germany and guide it on its path to evoking the most powerful country on Earth until WWI.
How did Alexander Fleming discover penicillin?
In 1928, Alexander Fleming accidentally left an uncovered petri dish filled with the bacteria staphylococcus out in his lab when he left for a month's vacation. When he returned, he noticed that the bacteria in the dish wasn’t present where the mold was growing—the mold actually killed the bacteria! He had discovered penicillin, the very first antibiotic, which would eventually completely revolutionize the treatment of bacterial infections. Unfortunately, at the time of Fleming's discovery it wasn’t possible to produce the drug in large amounts, so his discovery slipped under the radar. Later, in the 1940s, other scientists would learn how to mass-produce penicillin, and soon managed to create new antibiotics, which have since saved millions of lives worldwide.
What did Stanislav Petrov do?
Stanislav was the lieutenant colonel for Soviet Air Defence Forces on September 26, 1983... the day the Earth almost tasted Armageddon. That day, Stanislav was the officer responsible for monitoring the Soviet missile early-warning system—the computerized program designed to alert Soviet forces of an incoming attack from the United States. Luckily for all of us, Stanislav chose to rely on common sense. He figured that if the US was truly attacking, they would be doing so with more than a measly 7 missiles. He chose to regard the warning as a computer error, despite having any way to know, and failed to report the incident to his commanders.
Simo Häyhä fought during the Winter War (1939–1940) between Finland and the Soviet Union, serving as a sniper for the Finnish Army and earning about 800 kills. What was his nickname?
Known as 'The White Death' Simo Häyhä fought during the Winter War (1939–1940) between Finland and the Soviet Union. Häyhä served as a sniper for the Finnish Army. He earned his nickname, The White Death, for the all white camouflage he would wear. In his career he earned 505 confirmed kills but it is estimated his actual kill count was closer to 800. The Soviet army tried many times to take him out using counter-snipers and artillery strikes. On 6 March 1940, Häyhä was hit by an explosive bullet in his lower left jaw, blowing off his lower left cheek. He was picked up by fellow soldiers who said "half his face was missing".
Tank Man is the nickname of an unidentified man who stood in front of a column of tanks on June 5, 1989, the morning after the Chinese military had suppressed which famous protests?
Tank Man is the nickname of an unidentified man who stood in front of a column of tanks on June 5, 1989, the morning after the Chinese military had suppressed the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 by force. As the lead tank maneuvered to pass by the man, he repeatedly shifted his position in order to obstruct the tank's attempted path around him. The incident was filmed and seen worldwide.
True or False: Genghis Khan once pardoned a man who had shot him with an arrow, and eventually made the man a general.
Genghis was once shot in the neck during a battle. When the enemy army was defeated, he asked which of the enemy soldiers had shot "his horse." The archer responsible stepped forward, and even corrected the Khan by saying, excuse me, he shot him in the neck. The man did not beg for mercy, and acknowledged that it was the Khan's choice to kill him. But he also swore that if the Khan spared his life, he would become his loyal soldier. Valuing the archer's courage and skill, Genghis recruited him, and the man went on to be a great general under Khan.
Which of these facts about Grace Hopper is NOT true?
Grace Hopper was many things, but she never did run for political office.
What was special about the cells that made up Henrietta Lack’s body?
She died of cancer in 1951 and after researchers took samples of her cells they found that they could make the cells “immortal” by reproducing them indefinitely. Ever since then, immortal cell lines have played a critical role in biomedical research and Henrietta’s cells are used in labs all over the world.
About what percentage of the world is thought to be descended from Genghis Khan?
It is believed that 0.5% (or 1 in 200) of the world's population are distant descendants of Genghis.
How did Anne Boleyn die?
When Anne Boleyn was brought to the scaffold to die, she begged leave to address the crown and was granted the right to do so. Despite the limited evidence against her, she said, “Good Christian people, I am come hither to die, for according to the law, and by the law, I am judged to die, and therefore I will speak nothing against it. I am come hither to accuse no man, nor to speak anything of that, whereof I am accused and condemned to die, but I pray God save the king and send him long to reign over you, for a gentler nor a more merciful prince was there never: and to me he was ever a good, a gentle and sovereign lord. And if any person will meddle of my cause, I require them to judge the best. And thus I take my leave of the world and of you all, and I heartily desire you all to pray for me. O Lord have mercy on me, to God I commend my soul.” As she awaited the executioner’s blade, kneeling on the block, she repeated the phrase, “To Jesus Christ I commend my soul; Lord Jesu receive my soul.”
True or False: before she was beheaded, Henry VIII’s wife, Anne Boleyn, participated in witchcraft.
Anne Boleyn manipulated Henry VIII into turning away from his beloved religion, kill his supporters who objected (Cardinal Wolsey), and broke with the church to marry her. She’s usually seen as conniving, a witch and evil, but in a male-dominated world she cut out her own path and became the queen of England. Sadly, after failing to produce a male heir for the king, she was accused of adultery, incest, and high treason and beheaded.
Which martial arts master invented the “one-inch punch”?
“He was a ruthless boxer, dominated street fights, and created his own style of martial arts, “the style of no style.” He could do one-handed two-fingered push-ups, fifty one-handed pull-ups, and play ping-pong with nunchucks. He’s the father of the “one-inch punch” and two human kids. He inspired the Tekken character Marshall Law, and his feature-length films made him a cultural icon.”
Which American military hero also starred as an actor in the film adaption of The Red Badge of Courage?
Audie Murphy, aka real-life Captain America. He was 16 in 1942, weighing 110 pounds and standing 5’5″. He applied to both the Marines and Air Force, but was turned down by both, and eventually managed to get into the Army, where he passed out halfway through training but insisted on going to fight. He contracted malaria in Italy but was still sent into France in 1944, where he found a German machine gun crew who pretended to surrender, then shot his best friend. Murphy lost his cool and killed everyone in the gun nest.
Hugh Glass was an American fur trapper who managed to survive a bear attack, and weeks in the wilderness alone. His life story inspired which Hollywood movie?
While the story is probably embellished some, it’s still amazing. While on a fur trapping expedition, he was mauled by a grizzly bear, which he killed with some help, then passed out. Later, he woke up to find his party abandoned him and he had no equipment. So he cleaned his multiple wounds and with the help of natives sewed the bear skin in place to replace his own. He spent the next six weeks making it back to civilization. Along the way, he fought off wolves and even made his own raft to travel down a river. Glass's story has recently been retold in the film The Revenant where Glass is played by Leo DiCaprio.
Who was Boudica?
Boudica was Queen of the Iceni tribe of ancient celts, until the Roman army swept through the region ignoring her rule. When she resisted the Romans invasion, they beat her up and raped her two daughters. She then led her ragtag army of Celtic tribes against the invading and highly organized roman army. Boudica didn’t mess around. She burnt Londonium (modern day London) to the ground and wiped out a decent portion of Roman forces.
Albert “Hard” Jacka won the Victoria Cross for his heroism during World War One. What is the Victoria Cross?
“On the morning of 7 August 1916, after a night of heavy shelling, the Germans began to overrun a portion of the line which included Jacka’s dug-out. Jacka had just completed a reconnaissance, and had gone to his dug-out when two Germans appeared at its entrance and rolled a bomb down the doorway, killing two of his men. Emerging from the dug-out, Jacka came upon a large number of Germans rounding up some forty Australians as prisoners. Only seven men from his platoon had recovered from the blast; rallying these few, he charged at the enemy. Heavy hand-to-hand fighting ensued, as the Australian prisoners turned on their captors. Every member of the platoon was wounded, including Jacka who was wounded seven times; including a bullet that passed through his body under his right shoulder, and two head wounds. Fifty Germans were captured and the line was retaken; Jacka was personally credited with killing between twelve and twenty Germans during the engagement.” That was the second time he had done something like that. The first time he was awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for gallantry "in the face of the enemy" that can be awarded to members of the British and Commonwealth armed forces, for single handedly retaking a trench held by turkish soldiers.
Who is only scientist ever to recieve a Nobel Prize for two different scientific disciplines?
The first woman to receive a Nobel was Marie Curie, in 1903. Curie was also the first person to receive the award twice and is still the only woman to have accomplished this feat. She is also the only person to receive the Nobel Prize in two different sciences.
Marie Curie made her name by developing a theory of…
What else did Marie Curie do first? Well, she was the first woman Professor at the University of Paris and the first woman to become entombed at the Panthéon in Paris on her own merits. She developed the theory of radioactivity. While coining its name, she discovered both polonium and radium, developed mobile radiography to aide field hospitals to be able to do X-rays during the war, and figured out how to isolate isotopes.
Who was the Norman leader who conquered Britain, and ended Saxon rule?
The Anglo-Saxons were the first to manage to unite and rule all of England, but after many years of war with Norse and Danish invaders, their reign was finally broken in 1066 when William the Conqueror sailed from Normandy (in Northern France) and invaded England. The Norman dynasty began after the Normans crushed King Harold at the Battle of Hastings, removed the last of the Anglo-Saxon rulers, and crowned the Conqueror himself as William I of England. This began several centuries where the rulers of England spoke french.
How did William the Conqueror die?
After surviving countless battles and assassination attempts, William the Conqueror died after an accident with his rearing horse that ruptured his intestines. An infection set in and he died several weeks later, but that wasn't even the worst of his fate. When priests tried to stuff the corpulent king into his coffin for his funeral, they pushed down on his abdomen, causing his intestines to explode everywhere. Reportedly, his loyal mourning subjects ran as fast as they could for the nearest exit when they caught a whiff of the putrid odor emanating from their ruler.
The Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann was responsible for discovering LSD. That day, April 19, 1943, is still celebrated today in psychedelic communities as…
The inventor of LSD was unaware of its effects until he unknowingly ingested more than ten times the threshold dose and then rode home on his bicycle. Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) was first synthesized in 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann. He was studying ergotamine, a substance found in ergot mould which grows on bread when accidentally ingested some LSD and felt strange. A few days later, he decided to see what the effects of the drug really were, so he took what he thought was a small amount, 250 micrograms (it turns out that a threshold dose is actually just 20 micrograms). He was escorted home by his assistant on a bicycle, and while he felt severe fear and anxiety initially, he eventually began to enjoy the hallucinogenic experience. That day, April 19, 1943, is still celebrated today in psychedelic communities as "Bicycle Day."
You’ve clearly been studying your trivia. Do you read textbooks in your time off? Sure, a few of those questions got past you… but that’s because we made this as hard as humanly possible. And you still did pretty dang well. Good on you.
Have you found some way to make a living off this knowledge you have? I mean your expertise is shocking. You must win every game of Trivial Pursuit you’ve ever played. Who could have such deep knowledge and understanding of the most obscure details about history’s most impressive people? Very impressive… well done.
Happy With Your Test Score? This video can help you do better on any quiz... even if you know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about the topic.
History textbooks are full of incredible stories and important events. But they tend to focus on just a few of the most well-known characters. Meanwhile, there’s a whole host of people who absolutely changed the world… but get very little credit? How much do you know about them? Time to find out…