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History True or False #2

Try to guess whether these historical statements are true or false.
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: March 1, 2020
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First submittedMarch 1, 2020
Times taken33,599
Average score72.2%
Rating4.22
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1. A modern English-speaking person can more or less understand Old English
True
False
2. India was never colonized by a European power
True
False
3. The Soviet Union was the first country to launch a satellite into orbit
True
False
Sputnik 1 was launched in 1957, and orbited the planet for about three months
4. Henry Ford invented the automobile
True
False
Henry Ford invented neither the automobile or the assembly line. But he did make mass-produced cars a reality.
5. Russia has never been led by a woman
True
False
Four women ruled over tsarist Russia, the most famous being Catherine the Great.
6. Despite his reputation as a general, Napoleon actually lost more battles than he won
True
False
Napoleon was a brilliant commander who won the vast majority of his battles
7. Julius Caesar's given name (praenomen) wasn't really Julius
True
False
His first name was Gaius. Julius was his family name. Caesar was an inherited nickname, originally bestowed on one of his ancestors.
8. At one time, most of the Iberian peninsula was ruled by Muslims
True
False
9. The Battle of Marathon took place in ancient Greece
True
False
10. The Incans were a matriarchal society, with nearly all the important political decisions being made by women
True
False
Most anthropologists hold that there are no known societies which are unambiguously matriarchal.
11. As a young man, Adolf Hitler wanted to be an artist
True
False
12. More people died in WWII than in WWI
True
False
13. Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican to be elected President of the United States
True
False
14. Cape Town was originally founded by the French
True
False
It was founded by the Dutch in 1652
15. In Europe, in the Middle Ages, the majority of people worked on farms
True
False
16. Mead is a beverage made from fermented grains such as barley or rye
True
False
Mead is made using fermented honey
17. Emperors in imperial China typically had many concubines
True
False
18. Che Guevara was a pacifist
True
False
70 Comments
+25
Level 82
Mar 2, 2020
Kinda amazed that most people apparently believe Napoleon lost more battles than he won.
+36
Level 81
Mar 2, 2020
I don't think they actually believe that. The claim is just phrased that way so that people who don't know the historical facts (and most of them obviously don't) find it easy to believe.
+10
Level 76
Mar 2, 2020
Though you have a point, I think a major factor is the oh so common anti-French propaganda in anglo media, especially the demonization/ridicule directed to Napoleon, and the "French cowards" myth.
+8
Level 82
Mar 3, 2020
I think vitriden is probably correct. If there's any other factor it might be that Waterloo and his disastrous campaign in Russia are more famous than any of his many victories.
+1
Level 33
May 7, 2024
He is most famous for his career and defeat, and the question sounds like a commonly phrased piece of trivia.
+2
Level 76
Mar 3, 2020
And why is Waterloo the battle he's most remembered for? With most other generals, it's generally their greatest victories that are the most remembered. The reason it's not the case with Napoleon is in no small part due to british propaganda.

Aside from that, are you going to deny there's a negative portrayal in the anglosphere of the French as cowards or useless in a war, who constantly get defeated? Would you say that myth does not apply when talking about one of the most famous French generals in history?

+4
Level 81
Jul 18, 2023
His losses were most famous for Napoleon due to the fact that he overwhelmingly won his battles, so his victories became less impressive due to the number of them while his losses were significantly more surprising as he was know for his military prowess.
+1
Level 67
Mar 18, 2020
I didn't bite on the Napoleon question, but there were definitely others (the Chinese emperors & concubines, farmers in the Middle Ages) where I ignored common sense because I thought the question was trying to trick me. In any event, I always understood the "French cowards" thing to regard France's performance in 20th-century wars. I think everyone acknowledges that Napoleon was a great military leader. Americans make fun of the French a lot, but our history books usually place a lot of importance on France's critical role in helping us win the Revolutionary War.
+1
Level 75
Mar 18, 2020
Most of the trues were answered correctly at a higher rate than were the falses. Without running numbers, it looks statistically significant to me. Change the questions to "Napoleon won..." and more people probably get it right.
+1
Level 83
Jun 21, 2020
Waterloo being Napoleon's most famous is by no means just British propaganda. It is likely the most famous in France as well, and was certainly a cornerstone event in the decades following it, if mention in art and literature is anything to go by.
+1
Level 44
Jun 16, 2021
I fell for it, exactly for the reason you said.
+1
Level 68
Aug 17, 2022
@brandybuck - in France, Austerlitz or Iena are probably just as famous as Waterloo, and if they're not, it's because of ABBA.
+2
Level 58
Mar 18, 2020
the idea of french being cowards and being constantly defeated is more a russian/american/german concept than british.

Generally speaking the british generally though quite highly of the french during the early modern and modern periods either as a powerful but respectable enemy or as a major ally.

As for why waterloo is more remembered than any of Napoleons other battles when most other generals are remembered for thier greatest victories.

One: many great generals are often remembered by thier biggest defeats, Romel and elAlamaine, Cornwallis and Yorktown, Xerxes and Darius and Marathon and Salamis, Leonidus and Themopoli, Richard I and the 3rd crusade.

Two most of the Napoleonic wars tend not to be taught at schools only the pivotal battles of trafalga and waterloo get any real focus which is farly common with History general knowledge, think of how many battles you would have studied for the hundred years war, usually just crecy and agincourt, mayby the siege of orleans

+1
Level 65
Apr 4, 2021
Thanks for telling us the result of Waterloo being more well known. Do you mind saying the actual reason now?
+1
Level 78
Mar 18, 2020
This one was so counter-intuitive that I didn't assume one would make it up. Figured that maybe Napoleon had lost many unimportant battles and made that up by winning Austerlitz etc.
+1
Level ∞
Mar 18, 2020
In fact, Napoleon may have been the greatest general of all-time.
+1
Level 70
Jul 18, 2023
Interesting article but it fails to address the potential consequences of certain battles. For instance, if Nelson (granted he's an Admiral not a General, but the point remains valid), had lost at Trafalgar, Napoleon would probably have continued with his plan to expand his empire, probably into Belgium next and maybe even into Britain itself.

The fact that Nelson achieved victory with fewer ships than the enemy meant that the British Navy retained naval supremacy throughout the 18th century and everything else, good and bad, which followed.

If Wellington had lost at Waterloo, Napoleon would certainly have marched in Belgium, so no more waffles and we would have a differently named waterproof boot.

So really, it's the magnitude and consequence of the loss that retains the greatest after-image. That and history being written by the victors.

+1
Level 78
Mar 18, 2020
This conforms to the general view. Or are Napoleon's skills downplayed in the Anglo-Saxon world so much that many people don't know he was a genius?
+2
Level 31
Mar 18, 2020
I dont know anything about Napoleon other than people arguing if he was short or not so I just assumed the statement was true.
+2
Level 72
Apr 8, 2020
I think it's because that was a leading question. If it was just worded as "Napoleon lost more battles than he won" less people would be inclined to believe it.
+2
Level 71
Jul 18, 2023
I agree. I hesitated. I don't think it has anything to do with anyone's opinion about Napoleon. There's a trivia question meta skill of thinking to yourself "Why is this a trivia question?" and it's one of the guessing skills you get when you try to answer trivia questions.

For example, think of all those questions about European cities being at the same latitude of (surprising) American cities. The interesting fact is how far north those cities are, so asking a question where the answer is "Yes, just as you'd expect, warm Rome is further south than cold Minneapolis" is just not an interesting trivia question. Surprising someone with a counterintuitive answer is the point of questions like that.

So it's a clever question, because it runs counter to this meta-gaming of wondering why you're asking if one of the greatest generals in history lost more battles--because it's an interesting fact if true, and a boring fact if untrue.

+1
Level 36
Jun 28, 2021
Well as an American I don't know much about the Napoleon Wars, but given that he lost those wars, it seems reasonable to me that he also would have lost more battles than won
+8
Level 68
Mar 2, 2020
I presumed you were looking for false for the first one, but it is rather subjective. And somewhat based on intelligence. It is like asking if French people will understand Italian, some will do better than others. Some will not even recognize a word when only one letter is changed, others can look through things and see the root of the word even if it is changed a lot. Comprehension has as much to do with the reader as it does with the subject matter.

Old English is a lot more different from modern English than Middle English is, but not incomprehensible imo. English is not even my language but I can decypher most of old texts (or at least after I have seen it written phonetically). I have an interest for it though, that helps. I love seeing the connection of words through different languages and see each word as a puzzle

Especially when the question is phrased "more or less". Personally I would be tempted to say yes. Now if it was phrased "perfectly completely easily"

+5
Level 68
Mar 2, 2020
Ðú genóh wel understentst ðæt ic ðé tó sprece.

This is a line of king Ælfred's version of Boethius "consoliatione philosophiae". I came across it while roaming around just now, falling deeper and deeper into the subject as one does (for some it is catvideo's though..) I found it rather fitting ;).

It means loosely translated; "You understand well enough what I am saying to you".

More literal "You well enough understand what I speak to you"

And verbatim " You enough well understand what I you to speak"

+9
Level 86
Mar 2, 2020
There's a difference between understanding the spoken language versus the written language. If the average modern English speaker saw the example sentence you posted, they would probably guess that that word in the middle is "understand," and then be clueless about the rest. If they heard it spoken aloud, maybe there's a chance they could make something of it.

Given that Old English has zero native speakers, people are probably going to be encountering it written down.

+6
Level 86
Mar 2, 2020
Also, based on your knowledge of (even the existence of) King Ælfred's version of Boethius' "consoliatione philosophiae", I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that you are not a typical modern English speaker ;)
+3
Level 79
Mar 2, 2020
Yoda?
+11
Level ∞
Mar 2, 2020
Here's Beowulf in Old English. Can you understand it?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CH-_GwoO4xI

Old English is almost perfectly incomprehensible to the modern English speaker, although you might be able to pick out a word or two once in awhile.

+1
Level 65
Mar 18, 2020
Even though most cannot understand it, there are some who can which automatically makes this question invalid as a true/false question. It would have to be worded differently to account for the fact that there are some who do understand old english.
+3
Level ∞
Apr 22, 2023
No. There are zero people who can understand Old English unless they have studied it. This is not subjective.
+1
Level 71
Jun 19, 2023
I don't understand why people are arguing this. Old English is a different language altogether from modern English. I, as a native English speaker with little-to-no knowledge of other Germanic languages, would likely have an easier time understanding Frisian or Norwegian than I would Old English.
+2
Level 78
Mar 18, 2020
Knowing German helps a bit. Ðú - Du = you. genóh - genug = enough. sprece - sprechen = speak. But not nearly enough to make sense of Beowulf.
+1
Level 65
Apr 4, 2021
+2
Level 69
Mar 2, 2020
I cannot agree more with this comment. I don't think the way this question is asked make it eligible for a true/false quiz, it is too subjective. It should be removed imo. For the rest. great job as usual Quizmaster
+6
Level ∞
Mar 2, 2020
What if I changed "Old English" to "French". Would you disagree then? Language is subjective. I listened to several videos of people reading Old English. I couldn't understand them at all. It's a fact that the language has changed so much that it sounds completely different.
+8
Level ∞
Mar 2, 2020
Now, if we are talking about Middle English, that's a whole different story. But we're not.
+3
Level 74
Mar 3, 2020
Heck, even Shakespeare isn't all that well understood tho most people get the gist. So many words are no longer in common use or their meanings have changed enough to make some lines completely misunderstood. Classic example: Wherefore art thou Romeo? He's standing right below her, just a couple meters away! They hear "wherefore" and understand it as "where" which obviously doesn't make sense - He's standing right below her, just a couple meters away!
+1
Level 72
Mar 4, 2020
QM, could the question be altered slightly to elaborate as to what time period you mean by “Old English”? The phrase “Middle English” is a new one to me. Foolishly I took ‘Old English’ to be kind of stuff around 300-400 years ago. Clearly I was well out.

I appreciate the distinctions may be well known to linguists or those who study the changing nature of languages, but to pleb like me .........

+1
Level ∞
Mar 5, 2020
Old English generally refers to the English spoken prior to the Norman conquest. It is very different than Shakespeare (Early Modern English) or Chaucer (Middle English). It sounds like a totally foreign language to modern ears.
+3
Level 67
Mar 18, 2020
I thought the answer was "True" because I understood most of Canterbury Tales...but it turns out that's Middle English. I understand the objection to the subjectivity of "more or less," but I just listened to some Old English, and it's incomprehensible. I have a degree in English literature, went to some really good schools, and am very good with language generally...and I cannot make any sense of Old English. The only people who could understand it are professors and other professionals who have made it their business to learn it, which is probably like 1% of the population. The answer to the question is definitely "False."
+6
Level 82
Jan 17, 2022
Absolutely. Old English in not intelligible to modern English speakers, no two ways about it. And it has nothing to do with intelligence, whatever earlier posters may think about the matter.
+1
Level 73
Mar 2, 2020
I must be going crazy, I could have sworn that question said "Ronald Reagan" when I was doing the quiz and I laughed at it before choosing false. When I read through the questions afterwards and saw that it was Abraham Lincoln, I felt dumb.
+2
Level 46
Mar 3, 2020
1 wrong for some reason i thought henry invented the automobile...
+3
Level 67
Mar 18, 2020
He popularized it with what he actually invented: the assembly line.
+4
Level ∞
Mar 18, 2020
He didn't invent that either. It's been around for centuries with the Venetian Arsenal being the preeminent example during the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

What Ford did do was improve the processes for making automobiles to such a huge degree that they became affordable to the average American. Between 1909 and 1925 the inflation-adjusted cost of the Model T fell by more than 80%. By 1929, the vast majority of American families owned a car, and 79% of the world's automobiles were located in the United States.

+4
Level 67
Mar 19, 2020
You know what, when I wrote that, I thought "I should confirm he actually invented the assembly line too, because he probably didn't," but I was too lazy to bother, and I really should know there's no getting away with that on this site.
+1
Level 71
Jul 18, 2023
The whole concept of "invention" is actually pretty squirrelly when you try to pin it down.
+1
Level 75
Mar 20, 2020
I believe Jerry Reed sang it most poignantly, "Well Lord, Mr. Ford, what have you done?"
+3
Level 37
Mar 3, 2020
I understand Shakespeare well. Would not even attempt Beowulf or any old english books.
+1
Level 78
Mar 11, 2020
I scored 13/18 and beat or equaled 44.2% of test takers. Hmmmmm.
+6
Level 50
Mar 18, 2020
🤣🤣🤣 how did people think che was a pacifist. Easy 100
+5
Level 67
Mar 19, 2020
That one actually made me chuckle because I can understand how someone would think so. Lots of young liberal people wear his image on t-shirts, and if all you knew is that he is some famous revolutionary figure, you might guess he was famous for pacifism, and not...the other stuff he actually did.
+3
Level 64
Jul 18, 2023
Some of that stuff is very cool though, namely fighting to overthrow American puppet governments and exploitation from American industry.
+2
Level 75
Mar 20, 2020
Even seeing those written words stunned me for a moment.
+2
Level ∞
Jul 9, 2020
It shouldn't. People near my home in Seattle painted Che into a Black Lives Matter mural. Then they were embarrassed because it turns out Che was a racist who believed that black people are inferior. Don't ever be surprised by people's ignorance. JetPunk users are much smarter than average. If you gave this quiz to an average American (or European), they would fail miserably.
+6
Level 46
Dec 3, 2020
Although we shouldn't go away from the topic of the quiz, this is false. Che Guevara was a racist in the beginning of his life, but as he gained experience he renounced his past views and even went to Africa to help liberate Africans. The man changed throughout his life.
+1
Level 69
Oct 16, 2023
What a ridiculous statement. Che Guevara literally died while helping the Congolese fighting against their colonial oppressors.
+2
Level ∞
Dec 13, 2023
He died in Bolivia.
+2
Level 81
Oct 16, 2022
He went to the Congo to spread communism and considered the native soldiers largely incompetent.
+1
Level 37
Mar 31, 2020
Great quiz!
+1
Level 65
Apr 4, 2021
Got 3 'cause of hidden figures.
+4
Level 56
Mar 4, 2022
I can kind of understand old English. Well, by understand I mean I can make out two words in a story.
+1
Level ∞
May 3, 2022
Today I learned that I understand German, Italian, and Portuguese!
+1
Level 33
May 7, 2024
My fluency of all romantic languages went up by 95% just now
+1
Level 24
May 3, 2022
the ussr was not the first country to put a satellite into orbit, i was germany. during ww2 a v2 rockets targeting computer had a bug which sent it into space.

source

https://www.space.com/v2-rocket

+3
Level ∞
May 3, 2022
Space != orbit
+2
Level 67
Jul 18, 2023
Oh my god I got 100% I was not expecting that
+2
Level 33
Jul 18, 2023
one hundred percent first try for the first time in my jet punk life. thank you, everyone.
+1
Level 48
Jul 18, 2023
Imagine that 23 % people believe, that WWI had more casualties than WWII...
+1
Level 33
May 7, 2024
As a general rule, wars get deadlier as time goes on. Maybe people thought there would be a detail to counter that, having not seen the casualty counts.