History Quiz 1Starter level quiz about the long history of China.
1. The 'Treaty of Tianjin' was signed during which conflict?
There were two Opium Wars with the U.K.: 1840-42 and 1856-60. In the 2nd War the Anglo-French force beat the Chinese and the Treaty of Tianjin was signed in 1858, which legalized the opium trade.
2. Which historical figure made Chinese silk the must have fabric in ancient times?
Queen Cleopatra of Egypt
It was the queen of Egypt who set the fashion trends in Rome. Soon the demand for Chinese silk was damaging Rome's balance of payments. Emperor Tiberius forbade the wearing of silk by men.
Children wearing traditional silk clothes
3. Who ordered the construction of the famous marble boat at the Summer Palace, Beijing?
Dowager Empress Cixi
After the Anglo-French force destroyed the Old Summer Palace in 1860 the Dowager Empress Cixi build a new Summer Palace. By the side of Kunming Lake she had built a marble boat. Many say that Dowager Empress Cixi diverted funds earmarked for building a modern navy but there is no proof for this. Parts of the boat are made of wood but painted to look like marble..
A long corridor at the Summer Palace, Beijing
4. Marco Polo originated from which European city
Marco's father Niccolò and uncle Maffeo Polo traveled with him to China in 1275 and stayed there for 17 years. The second-hand description of China as a land of marvels greatly influenced early European attitudes. He was born in Venice in 1254 and died there in 1324.
Marco Polo in Tartar costume. Source: Scann? de Coureurs des mers, Poivre d'Arvor. Photo by Grevembrock, available under a Creative Commons license ➚.
5. Which Emperor built the Forbidden City in Beijing?
It was Ming Emperor Yongle who moved the whole Imperial administration from Nanjing to Beijing in 1421. The huge and lavish Forbidden City is spread over 178 acres.
Forbidden City, Beijing. Copyright Richard Wingfield, October 2017.
6. Japan took control of which province in 1914?
Japan took the side of Britain and France in the First World War in 1914. The Japanese ejected Germans from Shandong province, their occupation was supported at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
7. The Great Game was played out on China's western borders in the 19th century between Russia and which other country?
The British Empire wanted to protect its prized possession: India. To stop Russia threatening northern India (now Pakistan), Britain invaded Afghanistan and controlled both Nepal and Tibet.
Russian style Saint-Sophia Cathedral, Harbin, Heilongjiang
8. What was Zhou Enlai's position in the Chinese government 1949-76
Zhou Enlai helped mitigate some of the worst effects of Mao Zedong's reformist policies. As premier he was responsible for implementing policy rather than devising it. He was greatly loved by the Chinese people and the huge outpouring of grief at Zhou's funeral demonstrated massive support for his political ethos (compassionate and pragmatic) and signaled the end of the Gang of Four hard-liners.
9. The Yellow Emperor is believed to have lived how long ago?
4,500 years ago
6,500 years ago
3,000 years ago
The legendary Yellow Emperor (Huangdi) is credited with many Chinese inventions and laws that have lasted centuries. The traditional Chinese year is numbered from the year of his birth in 2697BCE. His tomb is said to be at Huangling, Shaanxi
Modern sculpture of two legendary Chinese Emperors
10. Bronze vessels reached their zenith of intricate design in which dynasty?
The artistry of Shang dynasty bronze vessels is amazing. They are very large with intricate designs, and often are decorated with Chinese characters. Some were made by joining parts made from several molds.
Early bronze tiger mask
11. The robot that trundled around the moon's surface in 2013 was called what?
In December 2013 Chang'e 3 landed on the moon and launched a rover called ?Jade Rabbit? 月兔 Yùtù that trundled around for a day or so before suffering an electrical failure. The rover is named after the legend that a rabbit lives on the moon.
嫦娥奔月 Chang'e Flying to the Moon Image by Ren Shuai Ying available under a Creative Commons License ➚
12. What was the highest grade in the old civil service examination system?
The Jinshi qualification guaranteed a government position and a life of relative luxury. The Jinshi examination took place at Beijing every three years and the top essays were judged by the Emperor himself
Examination hall in Beijing. John Clark Ridpath (1899)
Image available under a Creative Commons license ➚
13. The ancient Shu kingdom is centered on which modern province?
Chengdu has been a prosperous city for many centuries, protected by mountains on three sides and the Yangzi to the south; this made Sichuan easy to defend as an independent kingdom. The Shu Han Kingdom had similar boundaries in the later Three Kingdoms period.
14. The Art of War was written by which ancient author?
Sun Wu (Tzu)
The Art of War 孙子兵法 was written about 2,500 years ago by Sun Wu (Sun Tzu). It was the standard text on military strategy for over two thousand years.
Clay model of Mongol warrior
15. The flag of Hong Kong shows which flower?
The semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong retains its own flag and currency. The flag has the flower of the orchid tree (Bauhinia ? blakeana) has large thick leaves and striking purplish red flowers. The hybrid originates from Hong Kong botanical gardens in 1880.
The Po Lin Monastery Hong Kong with its famous Big Buddha statue
16. Who led the Mongol conquest of southern China which ended the Song dynasty?
Genghiz Khan died in the conquest of the Western Xia kingdom in 1227. It was his grandson Kublai Khan who conquered southern China in 1279.
A Chinese red lacquer tray over wood with engraved golden foil, from the Song Dynasty (960-1279 AD), dated 12th to early 13th century. As the Freer and Sackler Galleries museum description states, in China the gold-engraving technique is called qiangjin. The museum caption states that this method has existed since roughly the 3rd century AD, although it was not until the Song Dynasty era that gold engravings were found on luxury lacquerwares. After a wooden tray was covered with multiple layers of cinnabar-colored lacquer, fine lines were then incised into the new surface. These incisions were then filled with an adhesive of clear lacquer, followed by the pressing of gold foil into the grooves. The two long-tailed birds and a peony plant depicted in this tray are symbolic of longevity and prosperity in Chinese culture, since the Chinese word for "long life" (shou) sounds similar to the words for long-tailed birds (dai shou). Image by PericlesofAthens ➚ available under a Creative Commons License ➚
17. Which Chinese city was known as the 'Paris of the East' in the 1920s?
Shanghai became a cosmopolitan city under the influence of foreign powers in the early days of the Republic of China.
18. Bao Zheng has a temple commemorated him near Kaifeng, what he is remembered for?
Bao Zheng 包拯 (Bao Gong) lived [999 - 1062] in Song dynasty China. He stood up against anyone who was corrupt or evaded justice, even members of his own and the Imperial family.
19. The Diaoyu islands were a cause of international tensions in 2012 between China and which other country?
The Diaoyu Islands lie to the north of Taiwan and their sovereignty has been disputed for a long time. The Japanese name for them is the Senkaku Islands. They are small and uninhabited.
SOUTH CHINA SEA (Oct. 15, 2012) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) is underway in the South China Sea. George Washington and embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 provide a combat-ready force that protects and defends the collective maritime interest of the U.S. and its allies and partners in the Asia-Pacific region. The U.S. Navy is constantly deployed to preserve peace, protect commerce, and deter aggression through forward presence. Image by U.S. Navy ➚ available under a Creative Commons License ➚
20. In 1762 the population of China had reached how many?
The huge population of 200 million was the major factor in the decline of the Qing dynasty. There was insufficient food and infrastructure to support such large numbers of people.
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