History Quiz 2Intermediate difficulty level quiz about the long history of China.
1. Westerners call the country ‘China’ in reference to what?
Latin word for silk
Malay word for the country
It is believed that the name for the country was in use before the Qin Dynasty (221-206BCE). Asian neighbors to the west would have first met people from the Qin kingdom as it was the westernmost of the kingdoms befre unification.
2. Who led the forces of the Han dynasty at the battle of Red Cliff?
History has treated Cao Cao rather unfairly, he is portrayed as brutal and selfish and the epitome of evil. This is because of the famous romantic novel ‘Romance of the Three Kingdoms’ by Luo Guanzhong. It would seem he just happened to be on the losing side.
Modern statues of the leaders of the Three Kingdoms, Langzhong, Sichuan
3. The city of Guangzhou was ransacked in 758CE by whom?
Muslim Arab sea traders had become a potent force in the 8th century. Guangzhou (Canton) was already an important port. At this time it was Arabs who controlled the trade in goods with China. The Chinese land army was defeated by Arabs at the Battle of Talas in 751.
4. The first bridge over the lower Yangzi at Wuhan was built in which year?
The Wuhan First Yangtze Bridge, a double-deck road and rail bridge, crosses the Yangzi River at Wuhan. It was a major breakthrough as previously all traffic had to cross the river in boats, even train carriages.
5. Zhu Yuanzhang spent much of his early life as what?
Zhu Yuanzhang founded the Ming dynasty under the reign name of Hongwu. After spending his adolescence at a Buddhist temple as a monk he joined the Red Turban rebels against the rule of the Mongols. He was born on 21st October 1328 at Fengyang, Anhui.
Photo by Anonymous, Chinese plate, Ming dynasty, Yongle period 1403-1424, porcelain with under-glaze blue, 23 inches [58 cms] diameter, Honolulu Academy of Arts. Available under a Creative Commons license ➚.
6. When was the Battle of Talas?
The Battle of Talas was an important event in the Tang dynasty. China's expansion West along the Silk Route was brought to a halt. An Abbasid army beat a Chinese army in 751CE. The change of allegiance of Karluk troops proved decisive.
Wall of Itchan Kala (Ichon Qala) on Silk Road - Khiva , Xorazm Province, Uzbekistan
7. Deng Xiaoping was known for a love of what type of cuisine?
Deng Xiaoping spent the years 1920-26 in France learning about modern Western ideas including Communism. He acquired a love for French cuisine and playing bridge.
8. Laos has a short border with China, it used to be ruled by which European power?
The small country of Laos officially the 'Lao People's Democratic Republic' became part of French Indo-China 1884-1953. It was never an important French possession, serving as a buffer zone between British Burma and the more important (for the French) Vietnamese region.
9. Which Ming Emperor has had his tomb excavated?
10. What must all Emperors possess to be able to rule?
Mandate of Heaven
From the Han dynasty onwards (206BCE) an emperor's legitimacy depending on possessing the Mandate of Heaven. If they lost it then rebellions are justified. It represents the key concept of an Emperor serving the people and heaven, he was not a total autocrat and ruled subject to heaven's approval.
11. Sun Yatsen was President of the Republic of China for how long?
Sun Yatsen proclaimed the foundation of the Republic of China on 1st January 1912 with himself as first President. In a compromise to appease the fears of the Western powers, Sun Yatsen stood down to allow the favorite of the Western powers Yuan Shikai to take his place.
Sun Yatsen Memorial Hall with bronze statue
12. Where did Emperor Qinshuangdi build his capital city?
Xianyang near Xi'an
The unifying Qin Emperor (Qin Shihuangdi) founded a massive new imperial capital city at Xianyang. After the fall of the dynasty in 206BCE the city was burnt to the ground. It is a few miles west of the modern city of Xi'an, Shaanxi
The famous terracotta warriors at the tomb of the first Qin Emperor Shihuangdi
13. In which year was Hong Kong passed back to Chinese control under the two systems agreement with the UK?
The hand-over took place on June 30th 1997. It is under joint Hong Kong-China administration 'two systems' for fifty years but Chinese backed appointments to the city's administration have made opposition to increasing Chinese influence difficult.
A pavilion located at Nan Liang Garden in Hong Kong
14. The Chinese coin used throughout dynastic history had which feature?
made of brass
image of sun
Qin Dynasty Emperor Shihuangdi standardized money back in 220BCE. Coins were made in a standard weight in the form of a round disc with a square hole. This shape of coin remained in use up to the 20th century. The hole makes it convenient to string together coins securely together.
15. Who was one of the leaders of the May 4th movement in Tianjin, 1919?
Zhou Enlai (Premier 1949-76) broke off his studies in Japan to work with a student organization in Tianjin. He became editor of the Tianjin Students Union newspaper and active in the Tianjin May 4th movement organization. He met and later married Deng Yingchao who was also an activist.
Students of Beijing Normal University (arrested at the May Fourth Movement) returned to the university on May 7th, 1918. Available under a Creative Commons License ➚
16. When did the Taiping Rebellion take place?
The Taiping Rebellion, as much as anything, marked the end of the Imperial system in China. It cost millions of human lives, with 20 to may be 50 million dead it rates above World War I in the number of fatalities. It so weakened the Qing government that it never recovered.
17. Which leader spent some time working at a tractor factory at Xinjian, Jiangxi?
Deng Xiaoping worked with Liu Shaoqi on a mixed economy model for China in the early 1960s. When Mao unleashed the Cultural Revolution in 1966 Deng was lucky to escape with his life. He worked in a tractor factory at Xinjian, Jiangxi in 1969, keeping a very low profile. He quickly returned to power after Mao's death in 1976.
Nanchang city, Jiangxi
18. The queue hair style was introduced by which dynasty?
All Chinese men were forced by the Manchu (Qing) rulers to shave the top and sides of the head and plait their hair from three braids into a queue 辫子 biàn zi dangling from the back of their heads, a continuous reminder of the rule by Manchu foreigners.
19. Bai Juyi's poem ‘A song of Unending Sorrow’ commemorates which event?
Death of Yang Guifei
Death of Emperor Xuanzong
Death of Wang Mang
Defeat at Battle of Talas
Tang Emperor Xuanzong became besotted by his son's wife Yang Guifei (or Yang Yuhuan) and during the An Lushan lost all sound judgment in pursuit of his passion. When An Lushan rebelled in 755, the Emperor fled and was forced to watch Yang Guifei being strangled.
20. Celadon is a prized form of porcelain often with crackled glaze, with which dynasty is it mainly associated?
The plain designs of Song celadon porcelain remain some of the most prized ceramics ever produced. Many have characteristic light green, crackled glazes in simple shapes without decoration. The high price of original celadon wares has encouraged forgers to produce 'replica' vessels that are very difficult to distinguish from the originals.
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