Throughout history, there have been people so important or so famous that everyone knows who they are. You don't even need a clue, you don't need prompting. Sometimes all you need is a photograph. Take this quiz and see how many historical figures you can name from a picture!
You might recognize the woman in this photo as a Nobel Peace Prize-winning nun and missionary who inspired the world with her humanitarian efforts. What is her name?
Mother Mary Teresa Bojaxhiu honoured in the Catholic Church as Saint Teresa of Calcutta was an Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun and missionary. In 1950, Mother Teresa founded the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic religious congregation that had over 4,500 nuns and was active in 133 countries as of 2012. The congregation manages homes for people who are dying of HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis.
You might recognize the individual in this photo as the 16th president of the United States. Can you name him?
Abraham Lincoln was an American lawyer and statesman who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War and succeeded in preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, bolstering the federal government, and modernizing the U.S. economy.
The historical figure in this photo was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia, and played a huge role in the American civil rights movement. Who is it?
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was an American Baptist minister and activist who became the most visible spokesman and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. An African American church leader and the son of early civil rights activist and minister Martin Luther King Sr., King advanced civil rights for people of color in the United States through nonviolence and civil disobedience.
This important figure served as the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990. What is her name?
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990 and Leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. The longest-serving British prime minister of the 20th century, she was the first woman to hold that office. As prime minister, she implemented policies that became known as Thatcherism.
You might recognize the individual in this photo as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York. Who is it?
Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II is Queen of the United Kingdom and 14 other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). Her father acceded to the throne in 1936 upon the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII, making Elizabeth the heir presumptive.
Name the athlete in this photo, best remembered as one of the most influential sports and cultural figures of the 20th century.
Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer and activist. Nicknamed The Greatest, he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century, and is frequently ranked as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time.
The historical figure in this photo was born on August 15, 1769, in Ajaccio, France, and is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest military leaders. Who is it?
Napoleon Bonaparte (born Napoleone di Buonaparte; 15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the French Revolution and led several successful campaigns during the Revolutionary Wars. He was the de facto leader of the French Republic as First Consul from 1799 to 1804.
Who is pictured in this photo, famous for being a motion picture and television producer, showman and for revolutionizing the entertainment industry?
Walter Elias Disney was an American animator, film producer and entrepreneur. A pioneer of the American animation industry, he introduced several developments in the production of cartoons. As a film producer, he holds the record for most Academy Awards earned and nominations by an individual, having won 22 Oscars from 59 nominations.
Born November 30, 1874, in Blenheim, United Kingdom, this man is best known for successfully leading Britain through WWII. What is his name?
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, during the Second World War, and again from 1951 to 1955. Best known for his wartime leadership as Prime Minister, Churchill was also a Sandhurst-educated soldier, a Boer War hero, a Nobel Prize-winning writer and historian, a prolific painter, and one of the longest-serving politicians in British history.
If you know anything about American history, then this one is a gimme. Name this former U.S. president.
George Washington was an American military officer, statesman, and Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the Continental Congress as commander of the Continental Army, Washington led the Patriot forces to victory in the American Revolutionary War and served as the president of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, which created the Constitution of the United States and the American federal government.
The historical figure in this photo was born on July 24, 1897, in Atchison, Kansas, and was later awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Who is it?
Amelia Mary Earhart was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She set many other records, was one of the first aviators to promote commercial air travel, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences, and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots.
What historical figure in this photo is best remembered as the last queen of France before the French Revolution?
Marie Antoinette Josèphe Jeanne née Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna was the last Queen of France before the French Revolution. She was born an archduchess of Austria, and was the penultimate child and youngest daughter of Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis I.
Known for her painted sandstone bust, this historical figure’s name means “a beautiful woman has come.” Who is she?
Neferneferuaten Nefertiti was a queen of the 18th Dynasty of Ancient Egypt, the great royal wife of Pharaoh Akhenaten. Nefertiti and her husband were known for a religious revolution, in which they worshipped one god only, Aten, or the sun disc. With her husband, she reigned at what was arguably the wealthiest period of ancient Egyptian history.
You might recognize the individual in this photo as the brilliant writer behind Murder on the Orient Express. What is her name?
Dame Agatha Mary Clarissa Christie, Lady Mallowan was an English writer known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections, particularly those revolving around fictional detectives Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. Christie drew on her experience of international train travel when writing her 1934 novel Murder on the Orient Express.
The historical figure pictured here is famously known for having discovered radium and polonium. Who is she?
Marie Salomea Skłodowska Curie was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and the only woman to win the Nobel Prize twice, and the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two scientific fields.
The woman in this photo served as First Lady of Argentina and played a major role in shaping the freedom of the poor and equality for women. What was her name?
María Eva Duarte de Perón better known as just Eva Perón or by the nickname Evita (Spanish: ), was an Argentine actress, politician, activist, and philanthropist who served as First Lady of Argentina from June 1946 until her death in July 1952, as the wife of Argentine President, Juan Domingo Perón (1895–1974).
What historical figure – seen in this photo – was born on March 30, 1853, in Zundert, Netherlands, and is remembered for both his revolutionary artwork and tumultuous personal life?
Vincent van Gogh
Vincent Willem van Gogh (30 March 1853 – 29 July 1890) was a Dutch Post-Impressionist painter who posthumously became one of the most famous and influential figures in Western art history. In a decade, he created about 2,100 artworks, including around 860 oil paintings, most of which date from the last two years of his life.
The intimidating person in this photo is sometimes referred to as the “scourge of God.” Who was this fearsome enemy of the Romans?
Attila frequently called Attila the Hun, was the ruler of the Huns from 434 until his death in March 453. He was also the leader of a tribal empire consisting of Huns, Ostrogoths, Alans and Bulgars, among others, in Central and Eastern Europe. He is also considered one of the most powerful rulers in world history.
Known as Gyalwa Rinpoche to the Tibetan people, who is this historical figure awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989?
Dalai Lama is a title given by the Tibetan people to the foremost spiritual leader of the Gelug or “Yellow Hat” school of Tibetan Buddhism, the newest and most dominant of the four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism. The 14th and current Dalai Lama is Tenzin Gyatso, who lives as a refugee in India.
Annelies Marie Frank was a German-Dutch diarist of Jewish heritage. One of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust, she gained fame posthumously with the 1947 publication of The Diary of a Young Girl, in which she documents her life in hiding from 1942 to 1944, during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. It is one of the world’s best-known books and has been the basis for several plays and films.
What historical figure in this photo is best known as a national heroine of France for her role in the Hundred Years’ War?
Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc who called herself “Joan the Maiden” and is now nicknamed “The Maid of Orléans” is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War. She was convicted and burnt at the stake as a heretic, but her conviction was later overturned. She is a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.
The Raven and The Tell-Tale Heart are among the most popular written works of what historical figure pictured here?
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer, poet, editor, and literary critic. Poe is best known for his poetry and short stories, particularly his tales of mystery and the macabre. He is widely regarded as a central figure of Romanticism in the United States, and of American literature. In January 1845, Poe published his poem “The Raven” to instant success.
The figure in this photo is fondly remembered as the first teacher in China to strive towards making education widely available. Name him
Confucius was a Chinese philosopher, poet and politician of the Spring and Autumn period who is traditionally considered the paragon of Chinese sages. Confucius’s teachings and philosophy underpin East Asian culture and society, remaining influential across China and East Asia to this day.
Born May 5, 1818, in Trier, Germany, this man is famous for his theories about capitalism and communism. What is his name?
Karl Heinrich Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, critic of political economy, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary. His best-known titles are the 1848 pamphlet The Communist Manifesto and the three-volume Das Kapital (1867–1883). Marx’s political and philosophical thought had enormous influence on subsequent intellectual, economic, and political history.
You might recognize the individual in this photo as the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees. What is her name?
Dame Jane Morris Goodall formerly Baroness Jane van Lawick-Goodall, is an English primatologist and anthropologist. Seen as the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees, Goodall is best known for her 60-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees since she first went to Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania in 1960, where she witnessed human-like behaviours amongst chimpanzees, including armed conflict.
Here’s an easy one. Assassinated on November 22, 1963 while traveling in a presidential motorcade in Dallas, Texas, who is pictured here?
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States from 1961 until his assassination near the end of his third year in office. Kennedy served at the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his work as president concerned relations with the Soviet Union and Cuba. A Democrat, he represented Massachusetts in both houses of the U.S. Congress prior to his presidency.
Remembered as the leader of the American Revolution, this person also served as the second president of the United States. Name him.
John Adams (October 30, 1735 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, attorney, diplomat, writer, and Founding Father who was the second president of the United States, serving from 1797 to 1801. Before his presidency, he was a leader of the American Revolution that achieved independence from Great Britain and during the war, served as a diplomat in Europe. He was twice elected vice president of the United States, serving from 1789 to 1797 in a prestigious role with little power.
The historical athlete in this photo remains the shortest player to have ever won a grand slam in tennis. What is her name?
Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King is an American former world No. 1 tennis player. King won 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 in singles, 16 in women’s doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. She often represented the United States in the Federation Cup and the Wightman Cup. She was a member of the victorious United States team in seven Federation Cups and nine Wightman Cups. For three years, she was the United States’ captain in the Federation Cup.
The historical figure pictured here is famously known for having transitioned Rome from a republic to an empire. Who is this statuesque figure?
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman. A member of the First Triumvirate, Caesar led the Roman armies in the Gallic Wars before defeating his political rival Pompey in a civil war, and subsequently became dictator of Rome from 49 BC until his assassination in 44 BC. He played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire.
The woman in this portrait was known as the “conductor” on the Underground Railroad, guiding enslaved people to freedom. Name her.
Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist and political activist. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people, including family and friends, using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad. During the American Civil War, she served as an armed scout and spy for the Union Army.
Who is the historical figure in this photo? We’ll give you a hint: She was the Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 and the second wife of King Henry VIII.
Anne Boleyn was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536, as the second wife of King Henry VIII. The circumstances of her marriage and of her execution by beheading for treason and other charges made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that marked the start of the English Reformation.
This VIP united the nomadic tribes of the Mongolian plateau and established the largest land empire in history. Who is it?
Genghis Khan was the founder and first Great Khan (Emperor) of the Mongol Empire, which became the largest contiguous empire in history after his death. He came to power by uniting many of the nomadic tribes of Northeast Asia, and, after being proclaimed the universal ruler of the Mongols, or Genghis Khan, he set in motion the Mongol invasions, which ultimately conquered much of Eurasia, and witnessed raiding as far west as Legnica in western Poland and as far south as Gaza.
Who is the historical figure in this photo? We’ll give you a hint: He’s an artist best known for a painting that depicts melting watches.
Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquess of Dalí of Púbol gcYC was a Spanish surrealist artist renowned for his technical skill, precise draftsmanship, and the striking and bizarre images in his work. Born in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain, Dalí received his formal education in fine arts in Madrid. Influenced by Impressionism and the Renaissance masters from a young age, he became increasingly attracted to Cubism and avant-garde movements.
Name the historical figure in this photo who changed the face of baseball when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.
Jack Roosevelt Robinson was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) in the modern era. Robinson broke the baseball color line when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947. When the Dodgers signed Robinson, it heralded the end of racial segregation in professional baseball that had relegated black players to the Negro leagues since the 1880s. Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.
The man in this portrait had an extensive resume, including painter, polymath, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor, and architect. Who is it?
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian polymath of the High Renaissance who was active as a painter, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor and architect. While his fame initially rested on his achievements as a painter, he also became known for his notebooks, in which he made drawings and notes on a variety of subjects, including anatomy, astronomy, botany, cartography, painting, and paleontology.
Who is the historical figure pictured here, remembered as a prolific and influential composer of the Classical period?
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart baptised as Joannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart, was a prolific and influential composer of the Classical period. Despite his short life, his rapid pace of composition resulted in more than 800 works of virtually every genre of his time. Many of these compositions are acknowledged as pinnacles of the symphonic, concertante, chamber, operatic, and choral repertoire.
This German musical genius continues to be among the most popular composers in the history of Western music. Name this legend.
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. Beethoven remains one of the most admired composers in the history of Western music; his works rank amongst the most performed of the classical music repertoire and span the transition from the Classical period to the Romantic era in classical music.
Who is the prominent figure in this photo, best known for his discovery of the four most massive moons of Jupiter?
Galileo di Vincenzo Bonaiuti de’ Galilei commonly referred to as Galileo, was an Italian astronomer, physicist and engineer, sometimes described as a polymath, from the city of Pisa, then part of the Duchy of Florence. Galileo has been called the “father” of observational astronomy, modern physics, the scientific method, and modern science.
Who is the historical figure in this photo? Here’s a hint: She was a pioneer crusader for women’s suffrage in the United States.
Susan B. Anthony
Susan B. Anthony (born Susan Anthony; February 15, 1820 – March 13, 1906) was an American social reformer and women’s rights activist who played a pivotal role in the women’s suffrage movement. Born into a Quaker family committed to social equality, she collected anti-slavery petitions at the age of 17. In 1856, she became the New York state agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society.
What prominent figure in this photo developed rules for deductive reasoning and discovered how to plot points on the Cartesian plane?
René Descartes was a French philosopher, mathematician, scientist and lay Catholic who invented analytic geometry, linking the previously separate fields of geometry and algebra. He spent a large portion of his working life in the Dutch Republic, initially serving the Dutch States Army of Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange and the Stadtholder of the United Provinces.
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