BBC History Magazine


’Tis the season to test your knowledge of all things historical with our fiendish festive quiz


Twelve days of Christmas

1. 25 December: What was stolen from Westminste­r Abbey on this day in 1950?

2. 26 December: On this date in 1898, Marie and Pierre Curie announced a discovery. What had they been first to isolate?

3. 27 December: What eased a child’s entry into the world for the first time in 1845?

4. 28 December: Where was Constance Markievicz when she became the first woman to be elected to the British House of Commons on this day in 1918?

5. 29 December: Whose murder was witnessed by Edward Grim on this day in 1170, which he later documented?

6. 30 December: Who was murdered in the home of Prince Felix Yusupov in 1916?

7. 31 December: Who, in 1759, bought a 9,000-year lease on the St James Gate industrial site in Dublin for £45 per year?

8. 1 January: Which newspaper published its first edition under its current name on this date in 1788?

9. 2 January: On this date in AD 366, the Alemanni crossed which frozen river to invade the Roman empire?

10. 3 January: Which two men were excommunic­ated by popes on this day in 1521 and 1962, respective­ly?

11. 4 January: What technologi­cal marvel ended its life in a fireball on this day in 1958?

12. 5 January: Which French soldier was stripped of his rank in a “degradatio­n ceremony” on this day in 1895, leading Émile Zola to pen the open letter “J’Accuse…!”?

Festive feasts

13. Which of these wasn’t a meat dish on the first published Christmas menu (1660)? a. Swan Pye b. A kid with a pudding in his belly c. A turkey roast and stuck with cloves d. Carpe in puff paste

14. A shortage of which vegetable in 2010 saw its price by weight rise close to that of turkey?

15. Howard Hughes kept a ruler in his hotel room to ensure that he was never sent oversized whats?

16. Which vegetable was illegal in France between 1748 and 1772?

17. Kaiser Wilhelm II wore the uniform of a British field marshal when eating what?

Christmas cards

18. In which countries did 19th-century and early 20th-century Christmas cards show children being stuffed into baskets by a devil?

19. In 1927, which US president issued the first official Christmas message to the American people?

20. Who sent a Christmas card to every single Grenadier Guard in 1942?

21. Whose commission­ed surrealist Christmas card of a headless angel playing the lute was rejected by Hallmark?

22. What socially unacceptab­le act was on the first ever Christmas card in 1843?

Bah! Humbug!

23. According to George Bernard Shaw: “It is an indecent subject; a cruel, gluttonous subject; a drunken, disorderly subject; a wasteful, disastrous subject; a wicked, cadging, lying, filthy, blasphemou­s and demoralisi­ng subject.” What is it?

24. Possibly the most famous bank hold-up in Texan history occurred on 23 December 1927 in Cisco, provoking the largest ever manhunt in the state. What was unusual about the robber’s disguise?

25. Which oppressed group instigated the Christmas Uprising in 1831?

26. What was George Washington doing on Christmas night 1776 instead of celebratin­g?

27. What event at Christmas 1836 gave the Snowdrop Inn in Lewes its name?

History headlines in 2021

34. In January 2021, whose Massachuse­tts house came up for sale with a price of $2 million, despite being the scene of the grisly murders of a husband and wife there? a. Bonnie Parker b. Lizzie Borden c. Ma Baker

35. In March, 9,000-year-old items, including a stone tool, were uncovered on Skokholm island, off the Pembrokesh­ire coast. What was unusual about their excavators? a. They were convicted criminals b. They were schoolchil­dren c. They were rabbits

36. In April, a piece of the Wright brothers’ pioneering aircraft, known as the Wright Flyer, flew how far? a. 1 mile b. 6,433 miles c. 300 million miles

37. In May, what possession of Mary, Queen of Scots was stolen from Arundel Castle? a. Her rosary beads b. Her shoes c. Her dog’s collar

38. In June, a family put up for sale one stone from their garden rockery. What was unusual about it? a. It contained a fossilised dinosaur

b. It was a second-century AD Roman stela

c. It contained a gold nugget

39. In July, a school teacher in Germany found what hidden in the walls of his auntie’s house? a. His uncle b. The Iron Crown of Lombardy c. A hidden stash of Nazi memorabili­a

40. In September, the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet (pictured right), containing one of the oldest recorded stories in history, was returned to which country? a. Iraq b. Iran c. India

2022 anniversar­ies

41. After more than 3,200 years in hiding, who emerged from KV62 100 years ago?

42. Which sporting event first occurred 150 years ago at the Kennington Oval?

43. What did Lord Mansfield’s legal decision in the Somerset case, 250 years ago, find to have no basis in common law in England?

44. Which wife of two kings and mother of two more was born 900 years ago?

45. The 14th Roman emperor ordered the building of what 3 to 4-million-tonne structure, 1,900 years ago?

46. Fifty years ago, Shirley Chisholm became the first major party African-American and female candidate for what role?

 ?? ?? 27
 ?? ?? 6
 ?? ?? 18
 ?? ?? 40

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