How Well Do You Know European History?

John Miller

Image: youtube

About This Quiz

If Africa is the cradle of humanity, Europe is the place where humanity explored its limits. For thousands of years, the continent of Europe has witnessed some of humankind’s greatest moments and its darkest fears. Do you really think you know how many vital events have happened in Europe’s history?

Europe has been home to some of the mightiest kings and queens ever to walk the Earth. Can you name any of the people and governments who molded some of the important civilizations ever?

In the 20th century, Europe was home to the deadliest conflicts in the history of our species. Do you understand how those wars happened … and how the fallout continues to affect us today?

The continent isn’t all about dusty history. Very recent events continue to demonstrate that Europe is one of the hubs of power in the Western world. Do you understand any of the biggest political events posing challenges to Europe’s solidarity?

As Europe goes, so goes the rest of the world. Understanding this vibrant hub of humanity means better understanding our joined destinies. If we’re doomed to repeat history we don’t understand, it’s up to you to save us from ourselves. Take our European history quiz now!

In the 12th century, which entity started what's called the Inquisition?

To battle heresy, the 12th-century Catholic Church began the Inquisition. In many cases torture was used against political and religious opponents.

Around 980, a Viking named Erik the Red was exiled from Iceland. Then, he discovered which area?

Erik the Red lost one land and gained another … he found Greenland. The Vikings and their sense of restlessness helped greatly expand the waters and lands known to Europeans.

What happened in Europe during the High Middle Ages?

After 1000 (the High Middle Ages), circumstances in Europe improved. Warmer weather improved crop yields, and populations exploded. Quality of life (for some people) increased quite a lot.

in the mid-1300s, what killed up to 60% of Europe's population?

Beginning in the middle of the 1300s, the deadly Black Death swept through Europe, killing perhaps 60% of the entire population. Worldwide, it may have killed 200 million from 1347 to 1351.

How did the Black Death affect European history?

The Black Death turned Europe and much of the rest of the world inside out. From economics to religion, it changed the course of world history.

Which period of history started at the end of the Black Death?

After the Black Death, Europeans reflected differently on their lives. Thus began the Renaissance, an era in which art, particularly religious art, was manifested in many masterpieces.

Historians often view the Renaissance as the time between the ______ and the Modern Age.

The Middle Ages were the medieval period, essentially spanning the 5th to the 15th century. The Renaissance was the enlightened era between the Middle Ages and our Modern Age.

In 1430, which famous person was burned at the stake?

Joan of Arc helped France during the Hundred Years' War … but wound up captured by the English. She was burned at the stake even though she was just 19 years old.

Which book was printed using moveable type in the 1450s?

In the 1450s, the Gutenberg Bible was printed using moveable type. It was the book that jumpstarted book publishing in the Western world.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus began his explorations of which area?

In 1492, Columbus set sail from Europe to the New World in search of a route to the Indies. Instead, he found a whole swath of land that would immediately attract European settlers looking for new lives and vast riches. The New World changed Europe in countless ways.

In 1503, Leonardo da Vinci painted ______.

In 1503, da Vinci painted "Mona Lisa," the half-smiling woman who is an icon around the world. It is probably the most famous painting in the history of humankind.

Which civilization dominated European politics starting around 27 BC?

Starting around 27 BC, the Roman Empire began its climb to power. For about 500 years, Rome was the center of the European politics and war.

At its height, the Roman Empire had control (or major influence) over what percentage of the world's population?

It's hard to overstate the Empire's power. At its apex, the Romans controlled about 20% of the world's entire population, giving the country extreme influence over most human affairs.

Which important era started around 1760 in Great Britain?

Around 1760 in Great Britain, the Industrial Revolution took hold. Suddenly, machines could do the work of multiple people, forever altering the economics and culture of all of Europe.

Which European industry was the first to be transformed by the Industrial Revolution?

The textiles industry flourished at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. For the first time, machines and chemicals made it easier to process raw materials and turn them into fabrics and clothing.

Who became leader of France in 1804?

In 1804, after years of pillaging Europe with his massive armies, Napoleon was declared Emperor of France. His conquests of the continent are still among the most famous military exploits in history.

Which battle brought Napoleon's domination of Europe to an end?

In 1815, a coalition of European countries banded together to take on the French Empire. At the Battle of Waterloo, they defeated French forces, ended Napoleon's rule, and sent the man himself on the run.

In 1845, a terrible potato famine ravaged which European country?

In 1845, a blight struck the potato crop in Ireland, which relied (too) heavily on this plant for food. About 1 million people died and many people left the country looking for better lives.

In 1859, which book caused a major upheaval of science, religion and other cultural elements of Europe?

In 1859, Charles Darwin published "On the Origin of Species," ideas on the concept of evolution and species survival. His book changed the way many people perceived the way animals interact with their environments … and undercut religious explanations for changes in humankind itself.

Which major event began in 1914?

In 1914, a Serbian political extremist killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. The murder triggered a cascade of events that sparked World War I, which didn't end until 1919.

In 1600, what did Galileo do?

In the early 1600s, Italian genius Galileo used his observations of the universe to say that the Earth was not the center of the universe. His claims were met with accusations of blasphemy and he was forced to live his life under house arrest.

In 1933, which leader took control of a European country?

In 1933, Hitler became chancellor of Germany. He used his powers to bring Nazism into the mainstream, and he began readying his people for a years-long war.

In September 1939, which country started World War II?

On Sept. 1, 1939, Germany initiated an invasion of Poland. Hitler's grand plans for the Third Reich were in motion … and World War II was underway.

What did the "Reformation" reform?

In the early 1500s, a German professor named Martin Luther began tossing aside many of the Catholic Church's central teachings. His challenges sparked the Reformation, which drastically changed the church's role in Europe and the rest of the world.

In 1057, William the Conqueror conquered England for _____.

In the middle of the 11th century, William the Conqueror captured England for France. His conquest shaped Europe for centuries to come.

In what year was the European Union formally established?

In 1993, the Maastricht Treaty established the European Union as an official entity. The EU transformed business and politics in Europe and for many people improved quality of life.

In 1989, which country threw off the yoke of Communism?

In the decades following WWII, Poland and other European countries languished under Communist rule. In 1989, Poland was the first to rise up against the brutal political regime.

In what year did the Berlin Wall fall?

In 1989, after about three decades as a symbol of Communism's brutality, the Berlin Wall fell. In 1991, the USSR crumbled, all of Europe was forever changed.

Which currency became a standard in the European Union in 2003?

In 2003, one of the long-term goals of the EU came to fruition -- the Euro. The Euro created a standardized form of money for much of the continent, encouraging more business.

In 2016, which country voted to leave the European Union?

In 2016, the British people voted to leave the European Union. The move doesn't happen until 2019, but many economists fear that Britain will suffer negative consequences after leaving the Union.

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!

Explore More Quizzes