Giants were a big part of Ancient Greek Mythology, and their existence was “proved” to the Greeks by enormous bones that could be found buried throughout their mountainous landscape. Today, though, we know that these bones were really:
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Ancient Greeks are thought to have mistaken the bones of wooly mammoths and mastodons for those of giants. It's an understandable misunderstanding.
True or False: George Washington had wooden dentures.
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False! George Washington did have dentures, but they were luxurious for the time: they were reportedly made out of gold, lead, and ivory, and were a mix of human and animal chompers. But no wood!
In Ancient Egypt, Pharaohs often had their servants covered with honey and made to sit nearby. Why?
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Covering their servants in honey was how Pharaohs avoided being bothered by bugs. The insects would be attracted to the sugar in the honey, and go after the servants rather than the Pharaoh.
Before alarm clocks became common, people in the British Empire often employed men to come by their houses in the morning and tap their windows with a stick, waking them up.. What were these people called?
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Knocker-uppers were an important part of a functional city before the industrial revolution. The job was mostly done by elderly men, and occasionally women.
What did the "D" in D-Day stand for?
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It might be hard to believe, but the "D" actually stood for Day... That's right: Day-Day. The designation was traditionally used for the date of any important military operation or invasion. The day before was known as D-1, and the day after D+1.
True or False: In ancient Rome, it was totally normal to use urine as mouthwash.
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True! As gross as it is, they may have had a point too: When urine is left out in the sun, it decomposes into ammonia, which is a great cleaning product.
Genghis Khan was a ruthless warlord, infamous for his cruelty. What percentage of the world's percentage did he kill during his campaigns?
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Historians still debate to this day, but the general agreement is that the conquests of Genghis Khan killed about 40 million people... about 10% of the human population of his time.
King Tutankhamun (or King Tut) is probably the most famous Egyptian mummy. He died young, due to a few different deformations and injuries. What was the cause of his frailty?
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DNA studies of King Tut's mummy show that he was frail, sickly, and riddled with disease. The root cause of his health problems is thought to be the frequent incest within his immediate family, which led to a host of birth defects.
Adolf Hitler was one of history's most infamous villains. He was also a truly strange individual. Which of these statements about him is FALSE?
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Adolf Hitler wasn't just a genocidal maniac... he was also a strange, complicated human being. It's hard to believe that the same man responsible for some of the worst crimes in human history (and arguably all of World War 2 as well) also happened to be a dog lover. But there you go. Sometimes history is very odd.
According to the former Director of Intelligence in Cuba, roughly how many assassination plots did the U.S. attempt to carry out against the Cuban dictator Fidel Castro?
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As has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate, killing Castro was an official goal of the American government for years. In the words of the dictator himself, "If surviving assassination attempts were an Olympic event, I would win the gold medal."
Which of these infamous pirates was a woman?
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Ching Shih was a Chinese prostitute who became one of the most successful (and feared) pirates of her day. She eventually captained a fleet of over 1500 ships and 80,000 men.
Which of these famous figures was NOT nominated for a Nobel Prize?
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Hard as it is to believe, the notorious Soviet tyrant Joseph Stalin was nominated Nobel Peace Prize in 1945 and 1948. As was the Italian dictator, Benito Mussolini, in 1935. The only one on the list with no nominations? Oskar Schindler, the subject of the award-winning movie Schindler's List.
True or False: Pineapples were a status symbol in Victorian England.
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Although they didn’t make it over to England until the 1600s, pineapples became a massive fad in the UK in the 1700s. People would carry them around as symbols of their wealth and status, and everything from clothing to kitchenware was decorated with the exotic fruit. You could even rent a pineapple for an evening and take it out for a spin to impress all your friends.
Since written accounts of history only began about 6,000 years ago, most of human history is considered to be unwritten. What percentage of human history came BEFORE writing was invented?
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Modern humans emerged as a distinct species about 200,000 years ago. Since we've only been writing things down for the last 6,000 or so, we can assume that roughly 97% of our history was lost to the sands of time.
Which of these historical events happened most recently?
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It's hard to believe, but for a period of time, Wooly Mammoths and humans coexisted. And although most of the mammoths died off about 11,000 years ago, a few survived on isolated islands until about 4,000 years ago... right around the time period you would associate with Ancient Egypt.
For a very long time, people believed that diseases were caused by bad smelling, infected air. This was known as:
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For thousands of years, the miasma theory of disease was the most popular understanding of how illnesses spread. It was only given up by scientists in the 1800s, after germs were discovered and their role in spreading disease was understood.
What is the name of the device worn by the figure below?
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In the later years of the Bubonic Plague, doctors took to wearing beak-like masks, which were filled with pleasant-smelling aromatic items in an effort to ward off "bad air". These devices were called Plague Masks.
Which of these words was NOT invented by William Shakespeare?
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William Shakespeare added literally dozens of words to the English language. He was incredibly influential. The only one of the words we listed that he isn't responsible for is "Juicy". All the rest originated with the Bard.
Who was the last U.S. President without a college degree?
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Harry Truman was elected near the end of World War 2, and led the United States through the strange and hopeful postwar years. He was also the last American President to serve with only a high-school degree.
What was the shortest war in history?
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The Anglo-Zanzibar war of 1896 is the shortest war on record. It lasted for exactly 38 minutes.
During the U.S. Civil War, what was the name of the general who led the Union Army, which fought against the Confederate States?
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Ulysses S. Grant Commanding General of the Union Army through the years of the civil war, and later became the 18th President of the United States.
Which country boasts the oldest still-acting parliament in the world?
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The Parliament of Iceland has been in service since 930... that's more than a thousand years without disolving.

Your Results

History Fan.

You've clearly spent some time with your nose in the textbooks. While some of these questions might have slipped past you, that's surely only because we made this quiz as hard as we felt we could get away with. And yet you still got a bunch of them right! Well played, sir or madam. Well played.

Professional Historian.

We are honored. We can only assume you took some time away from writing your latest book, or maybe giving a dramatic lecture at some prestigious university. Either way, clearly this quiz wasn't quite tough enough for you. We apologize. How could we know we were going to be quizzing a master? We'll make it harder next time. 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.


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