The Chinese philosopher Confucius once said: “Study the past if you would define the future.”
There is no denying that as human beings, we can learn so much from the past. Why? Well, the lessons left there are for all to see. We can see the trials, the tribulations, the hardships and the joys our ancestors went through. More importantly, we can learn from their mistakes. But as human beings, this is certainly not something we seem to be able to latch onto.
Looking back in history, we see many things. Perhaps the one thing that stands out is conflict. Time and time again, men have gone to war over their differences. And that's something that doesn't seem ever to go away, no matter how far we have come as a species. But we also see great leaders, men who did everything they could for a cause they believed in. Some, like Abraham Lincoln, gave his life for the cause. But we remember them for the selflessness.
So let's get straight to the task at hand. Can you ace this history quiz that has a range of questions about American history as well as that of the world?
Think you can? Then what are you waiting for?
One of the Founding Fathers, George Washington had the pleasure of been named as the first President of the United States. Prior to taking up the office, he served as the commander in chief of the Continental Army. Washington was in office for a period of eight years from 1789 to 1797.
Although the United States acknowledged the threat of Hitler and Germany, they were only prepared to supply Great Britain with equipment without getting involved. That all changed in 1941 with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th.
A Japanese carrier force was responsible for the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1942. Most of the U.S. Pacific fleet was at the base but not the aircraft carriers that the Japanese wished to destroy.
One of the main reasons for the United States entering World War I was a result of German U-boats sinking any ships that entered the war zone around Great Britain. The United States lost many cargo ships in this way, along with American lives forcing the US Congress to eventually enter the war on April 6, 1917.
On December 7, 1787, Delaware was the first state admitted to the Union. It was followed by a number of others in quick succession, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Georgia.
Ronald Reagan was just 69 days into his presidential reign when he was the victim of an assassination attempt. His would be killer, John Hinckley Jr., targeted Reagan after he left an engagement at the Washington Hilton Hotel.
One of the greatest symbols of American independence, the Liberty Bell is located at the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park. It was commissioned in 1752 and was one of the bells rung on July 8, 1776, to mark the reading of the Declaration of Independence four days earlier.
Soviet cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin was the first man in space on April 12, 1961. He achieved the feat aboard Vostok 1 and circled the earth for 89 minutes before re-entering the atmosphere. He became a national hero for his feat.
Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederate sympathizer while attending a play at the Ford's Theatre. Lincoln slipped into a coma and died nine hours later, making him the first U.S. president killed in office.
Construction on the Berlin Wall started in 1961, but with the fall of communism and the end to the Cold War, in 1989, many communist countries eased controls on their borders, allowing citizens to move to the West. In East Germany, massive protests eventually saw the wall demolished in November 1989.
Harvard University is the oldest in the United States of America. It was first established in 1636. And the name? Well, it comes from the first benefactor of the university, John Harvard. It is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The leader of the Branch Davidian sect, David Koresh and 75 of his followers died on April 19, 1993, at the end of a 51-day siege at their Mount Carmel compound. Koresh instructed his followers to set fire to the compound as law enforcement officers closed in. Sadly, 22 of those killed were 17 or younger.
The "unsinkable" Titanic didn't even complete her maiden voyage. Traveling from Southampton to New York City, the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank on April 15, 1912. One thousand five hundred three people died as a result of the incident.
The Spanish flu of 1918 killed up to 100 million people worldwide and infected 500 million. The flu itself originated at a troop staging area in France during World War II. But why the name Spanish flu? Well, wartime reporting was mostly censored in Britain and America, but as Spain was neutral, news of deaths as a result from the flu was reported, so it seemed it had started there.
Spirit of St Louis was a custom built aircraft for Charles Lindbergh to attempt to fly across the Atlantic. It was based on a Ryan M-2. It managed to get Lindbergh from New York to Paris in just over 33 hours.
Nagasaki was the second Japanese city to be bombed with a nuclear weapon. This occurred on August 9, 1945, after Hiroshima was hit three days earlier. All-in-all, 120,000 people were killed instantly in the attacks with many following of the next months, mostly from the effects of radiation.
Although the crash of the stock market was not the only reason for the Great Depression, it was the most significant factor in the economic downtrend, not only experienced by America but the world. Interestingly, before the main crash of October 1929, a mini-crash had occurred in March of the same year.
Billy the Kid was just 21 years old when he died, but his legend lives on to this day. Born Henry McCarty and also known as William H. Bonney, Billy the Kid killed eight men before he, in turn, was killed by Pat Garrett. Interestingly, rumors that Billy the Kid did not die began to surface with many claiming to be him over the following years.
"Mein Kampf," which means "My Struggle," was not technically penned by Hitler but actually narrated to Rudolf Hess. Hitler was in jail due to the failure of his attempt to overthrow the German government. His book became the blueprint for Nazi ideals.
The forces of Mexican General Santa Anna surrounded the Alamo Mission, which was under siege for 13 days. William Travis, James Bowie, and Davy Crockett all died defending the mission. The Mexicans were defeated a month later at the Battle of Jacinto which ended the Texas Revolution.
Abraham Lincoln led the United States during the American Civil War. Of course, the southern states would disagree. They elected their own president during the war, Jefferson Davis. Lincoln was eventually assassinated by John Wilkes Booth, a Confederation sympathizer.
Hitler's expansionist policies had brought Europe to the brink of war in the late 1930s. Both Britain and France warned Germany that an invasion of Poland would see them declare war. This did not deter Hitler, who invaded the country on September 1. France and Britain declared war two days later.
The United States joined up with Great Britain and its allies during both World War I and World War II. On both occasions, however, they joined the war late. In World War I they joined in 1917 and in World War II in 1941.
The Californian gold rush lasted from 1848 to 1855. It was James W. Marshall who first found gold. That led to over 300,000 people coming to California to try their luck in making a fortune. Sadly many indigenous people were driven off their land as a result.
Sally Kristen Ride was the first American woman in space. After joining NASA in 1979, Ride waited five years for her first space mission. She flew two missions; the first was Shuttle mission number 7 and spent 14 days in space.
Los Angeles was the host of the 23rd Summer Olympics. It was not the first time, however, that the city had hosted the games, the first being 1932. One hundred forty nations took part in the games with the Soviet Union, East German, and other Eastern Bloc countries boycotting. The games made a profit of around $200 million.
The North American Mustang is one of the most recognized fighter planes from World War II. Initially built for British use, the Mustang became one of the greatest aircraft of the conflict when converted to Rolls Royce Merlin engine power. Not only could it escort bombers way into Germany, but it was also a formidable dogfighter as well.
It's a day the Earth stood still. Many people can remember exactly where they were when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969. Armstrong, Michael Collins and "Buzz" Aldrin etched their names in history forever on that Apollo 11 mission.
The Space Shuttle, NASA's reusable space platform, undertook its first space mission on April 12, 1981. It was 20 years to the day that Yuri Gagarin had become the first man in space. Astronaut John W. Young commanded the mission while Robert L. Crippen was the pilot.
The sculpture of the American presidents on Mount Rushmore includes George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosevelt. It was sculpted between 1927 and 1941 by Gutzon Borglum. Each of the heads at Mount Rushmore is 60 feet high.
Settled in 1820, it took Hawaii another 139 years to join the Union. It did so on August 21, 1959, thus becoming the 50th and last state to do so.
A gift from France, the Statue of Liberty was unveiled in 1896. The statue, which is made of copper, is constructed out of 200,000 pounds of copper and stands 93 meters tall. The design was by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, although the statue was built by Gustav Eifel.
The American Civil War between the northern Union forces and the southern Confederate forces ran from 1861 to 1865. In the end, 11 states out of 34 formed the Confederate forces who eventually lost the war.
Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun were married for a period of 40 hours before both committed suicide with the Russian Army closing in on their bunker towards the end of World War II in 1945.
Certainly the most prominent African American civil rights leader at the time, Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968. King was known for his inspirational "I have a dream" speech and based his push for African American rights on the basis of his Christian believes and non-violence.