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40 Historical People that Everyone Should Know

Were you paying attention in history class? Name these famous historical figures!
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Clue
Person
Wrote "Hamlet"
Killed on the Ides of March
Christian Messiah
"Moonlight Sonata" composer
Invented the printing press
"Mona Lisa" painter
His "Great Leap Forward"
killed over 30 million
First female Prime Minister of the UK
"Discovered" the New World
First deaf and blind college graduate
Greek who conquered Persia
Started the Protestant Reformation
Lord Protector of England, 1653-1658
Led his elephants across the Alps
Father of the nation of India
Called the Liberator of Latin America
French woman who led troops
in the Hundred Years War
"Discovered" east coast of Australia
Gave the "I Have a Dream" speech
New Deal President
Clue
Person
First U.S. President
First man on the moon
"Discovered" evolution
Wrote "Great Expectations"
"Tao te Ching" author
"Discovered" gravity
UK Prime Minister during WWII
Wrote "Pride and Prejudice"
First Soviet leader
Founder of Islam
Virgin Queen of England
Supposedly wrote "The Iliad"
Aviatrix who disappeared
over the Pacific
French Emperor, 1804-1815
Creator of Huckleberry Finn
German WWII leader
Battle of Trafalgar admiral
U.S. Civil War President
Light bulb inventor
Refused to give up her
bus seat, in Alabama
Answer Stats
Clue
Person
% Correct
Your %
+1
level 37
Oct 14, 2016
Darwin did not discover evolution, what he discovered was "evolution through natural selection". Before Darwin, there were other scientists who were working on evolution, like Lamarck.
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level 49
May 4, 2017
The ideas regarding natural selection and evolution were surfacing throughout science during that time. However, the theories were not well supported. Darwin and Wallace were the first to present direct and observable evidence.
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+2
level 47
Oct 17, 2016
Edison borrowed, stole, or bought patents from a lot of other inventors - Joseph Swan invented a light bulb several months before Edison (it just didn't catch on because it was less efficient)
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+1
level 7
Oct 18, 2016
score is ok, 35
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level 34
Jul 29, 2017
Not when apparently everyone should know all forty
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level 28
Oct 19, 2016
Alexander the great was Macedonian, greek educated but still Macedonian
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level 63
Oct 21, 2016
Since Macedonia was one of the many states within the Greek world at the time, and its capital (and Alexander's birthplace) was inside the current frontiers of Greece, I don't understand why you feel the distinction necessary.
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level 70
Aug 12, 2017
Alexander was born in the ancient kingdom of Macedonia and was Macedonian (not to be confused with the modern-day nation-state the Republic of Macedonia, or the modern-day ethnicity or nationality); he shared a culture and language with the ancient Greeks (not to be confused with contemporary Greeks); his birthplace Pella is currently within the borders of the modern-day nation-state of Greece, which of course did not exist at the time. It's correct to say that he was both Greek and Macedonian, in the classical sense of each word. It's inaccurate to say that either Greeks, Macedonians, or Greek Macedonians today share an ethnicity or a nation with Alexander. The ancient Greeks and the kingdom of Macedonia are long gone.
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level 63
Oct 21, 2016
Keller, Earhart and Thatcher are definitely not someone that everyone should know about. The effect of their deeds and popularity is mostly limited to their respective countries. I'd say that the rest are reasonably famous historical figures, although as usual, the choice is very skewed (Cook but not Magellan or Vasco da Gama. Dickens, Austen or Twain but not Dante, Moliere or Ghoethe. Elisabeth I but not Louis XIV or Catherine the Great). It's very telling that out of those 40 historical people, only 19 did not have English as their language. The World is bigger than that. four writers in English, four US Presidents, two UK Prime Ministers,... . I'd say that Dante, Moliere, or Ghoethe would have made for a more diverse setup. It would also have been nice to include figures such as here are four presidents from the UK and two prime ministers of the UK.
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level 70
Oct 22, 2016
It doesn't say anywhere that these are the only 40 people you should know.
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level 59
Dec 18, 2016
rocamorar: I get it - 1) too many women; 2) replace some Europeans and Euro-Americans with other Europeans. And this adds up to greater diversity.
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level 40
Sep 25, 2017
Keller was an important person in history because of what she contributed to the millions of people with ailments. Personally, I think helping millions of blind and deaf people is a decent thing to do, and might deserve a bit of recognition.
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level 33
Oct 29, 2016
But Adolf Hitler wan't German
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level 64
Nov 1, 2016
That's not the point. It means he was the leader of Germany, not that he was German. But even at that, he still was German. He was born in Austria, yes, but in case you did not know, people can become citizens of other countries. Which he did.
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level 70
Nov 1, 2016
and German can also be an ethnicity.
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level 70
Nov 1, 2016
and ethnicity and naturalization aside, it doesn't matter, because the clue could just as easily be read to mean "leader of Germany" as "leader who was German."
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level 56
Dec 12, 2016
"Germany" was a pretty new concept at the time anyway - when Hitler was born, the German Empire was only a couple of decades old, and for centuries before that Austria had been the leading German power. Someone looking at the situation in 1750 would have more than likely guessed that if a unified German state was formed, Austria would be the place it would happen. National identity has historically been pretty fluid - German-speaking Pan-Germanist Adolf Hitler leading Germany is much less ironic than Italian-speaking Napoleone di Buonoparte becoming Emperor of France.
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level 70
Dec 25, 2016
^exactly. It's such a common source of errors that people just assume that these fabricated divisions like nationality, race, or contemporary nation states existed forever and go back for all time. They certainly did not.
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level 41
Jun 10, 2017
He was born in Austria. But you can become a citizen of another country, and Austria is german, so it doesn't really matter.
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level 68
Aug 20, 2017
Ever heard of Anschluss?
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level 3
Oct 31, 2016
smh some of these seem liberal
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level 55
Dec 21, 2016
I don't even....what? It's a list of famous people. Are you sad that Reagan isn't on it? Thatcher and Churchill aren't good enough? What kind of absurd comment is this?
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level 64
Apr 26, 2017
As long as you stay out of the comment section the liberal bias isn't bad on Jetpunk.
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level 34
Aug 14, 2017
Worse than any kind of political bias are comments that questionably claim bias at any opportunity.
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level 68
Aug 20, 2017
And some of them are appalling dictators. Nice balance
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level 45
Sep 21, 2017
So what? Can't handle opposing viewpoints, snowflake?
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level 48
Nov 24, 2016
Missed the messiah question
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level 39
Nov 30, 2016
mandela*
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level 34
Aug 12, 2017
I knew a guy who played mandela in a blue grass band.
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level 37
Dec 15, 2016
The only reason I know Laozi is because of an Epic Rap Battles of History
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level 30
Dec 16, 2016
Where's Sun Tzu, Ghengis Khan, George Patton, Joesph Stalin, Fidel Castro, Pol Pot, Nelson Mandela, Asoka, Franklin Roosevelt, Leaf Erickson
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level 55
Dec 21, 2016
Roosevelt is on the list. The rest of them are playing poker in Heaven's smoking room.
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level 46
Mar 20, 2017
They're on the follow up quiz you are going to write. I propose making it more comprehensive, say 'Twenty Thousand People Everyone Should Know'. Please allow adequate time.
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level 51
Mar 22, 2017
Will ten minutes be enough time...? ;-)
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level 51
Mar 22, 2017
Write a quiz with the people you want to see then, if you don't like this one. Everyone is a critic, aren't they.
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level 27
Dec 21, 2016
I study at Johannes Gutenberg University :)
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level 51
Mar 22, 2017
?
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level 34
Dec 22, 2016
*theory of evolution
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level 49
Dec 30, 2016
Missed one. That was Laozi
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level 5
Jan 4, 2017
Newton didn't discover gravity, he explained it. Same for Darwin's Evolution.
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level 63
Jan 8, 2017
Not quite right, at the time nobody was aware of Gravity as such. That is why it would not be possible to 'Explain it'. It was Newton that realised what drew one body to another, and why the planets and sun etc. behave the way they do. He also called this force 'Gravity'. So the question 'Who discovered Gravity?' is correct.
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level 40
Jan 5, 2017
To JMellor 13. Right'em strike'em. History did indeed begin in 1776 for the riff raff and rejects which were expelled from their one country and sent over here to loot and rape this land as they had their own.
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level 4
Jan 9, 2017
I wish I could spell!
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level 14
Jan 25, 2017
i feel you brother
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level 49
Feb 20, 2017
The Earth has been around for 4.5 billion years but history is pretty much the accomplishments of a few American and British men in the last 300 years. We're really living right at the start of history relatively speaking.
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level 36
Mar 2, 2017
However, humans weren't civilised if you like until about 10000 years ago and no 'history' really begins until the Roman time, just before and after 0 A.D.
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level 61
Mar 6, 2017
There's no such date. What you call 0 A.D. is actually 1 B.C.
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level 45
Sep 21, 2017
You mean American and British men who took credit for the work of others.
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level 37
Feb 25, 2017
Really fun puzzle - great job. But I am gonna nag for more time!
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level 32
Feb 26, 2017
who are the 9% who didnt get george washington and the 12% who didnt get hitler?
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level 24
Mar 6, 2017
I spelled Helen Keller wrong. Your kidding me...
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level 38
Mar 14, 2017
Surprised to see no Harriet Tubman
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level 46
Mar 20, 2017
Yeah, right? In fact there are several thousand people I'm surprised didn't make the list.
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level 24
Mar 21, 2017
I got 31 first try. I missed 3 I SHOULD HAVE GOT! Great quiz though
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level 2
Mar 21, 2017
I like the fact that this test seems, for the most part, a very fair test. The characters listed I felt was quite diverse.
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level 15
Mar 31, 2017
Christopher columbus didnt discover the new world, a group of norsemen found it in the 6th century.
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level 40
Sep 25, 2017
That is why the quotation marks are there, bud.
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level 55
Apr 8, 2017
My knowledge of tao te ching is pretty laozi
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level 54
Jul 20, 2017
Very funny!
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level 43
Apr 9, 2017
I got Laozi but missed Martin Luther King Jr. ???????
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level 28
Apr 19, 2017
Not to toot the America centric horn, but the Rosa Parks clue is really mostly important as it pertains to American history, not world history...Sure civil rights movements are important everywhere. But in the rest of the world, they happened at different times, and had different figureheads...Rosa Parks is the American symbol.
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level 56
Apr 22, 2017
Everyone learns about Rosa Parks at school in New Zealand. My kids know who she is.
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level 30
Apr 21, 2017
The lamest quiz ever! Hitler is there, but Nelson Mandela is not. Terrible! (just to mention ONE example)
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level 49
May 4, 2017
Mandela was a typical freedom fighter of the era. If South Africa didn't have white people then Mandela's cause would have been lost in history books as one of several African conflicts.
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level 55
May 14, 2017
You mention Hitler's inclusion like it's a mistake. Is there any one person who had a bigger influence on the 20th century? I don't think there was.
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level 51
Jun 16, 2017
Why are you placing so much importance on this quiz? This isn't something that children are going to have to know in schools around the world, it's just a small quiz meant for some fun and maybe for people to learn a little, not to get all angry about it.
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level 56
May 1, 2017
Pedantry I know but Soviet is a bit dodgy as demonym for USSR; first Soviet leader made me think of the Petrograd Soviet first. Perhaps Bolshevik or USSR leader might be better.
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level 49
May 4, 2017
I mostly agree with this list but not having Aristotle, Plato and Stalin on this list is a mistake. I have to disagree with having Hannibal and Nelson on this list. Great generals but Hannibal didn't conquer Rome and Nelson, well why?? He is a footnote in history if you are not from the UK. Aristotle and Plato's influence on our modern ideas of politics and science can still be seen. Stalin rapidly transformed an agrarian county into a industrial world superpower. Omitting them is foolish.
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level 51
Jun 15, 2017
What do you mean "you mostly agree"? This isn't some definitive list that EVERYONE should know, it's a lighthearted quiz. I think you're taking this far too seriously - perhaps a bit of perspective is in order.
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level 45
Sep 21, 2017
Yes. As the greatest leader in history, Stalin should definitely be on the list.
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level 38
May 30, 2017
Everyone needs to quit being so disrespectful to the people on this list. Just because someone wasn't as great of an influence to you, doesn't mean they weren't to someone else.
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level 66
Jun 2, 2017
Shouldn't Jefferson Davis be added as an option for Civil War President?
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level 9
Jun 7, 2017
Is it sad that the only reason I knew about Hannibal is from playing Age of Empires II?
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level 51
Jun 15, 2017
I wonder if they'll rename this quiz "40 Historical People Whose Very Inclusion Is Reason Enough For Many To Whinge and Complain About"...
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level 44
Jul 6, 2017
That name is about as accurate as they come.
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level 14
Jun 19, 2017
please accept shakespear
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level 42
Jun 30, 2017
Shakespear is not correct though.
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level 51
Jul 3, 2017
Or, please just learn to spell his name correctly.
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level 63
Jun 29, 2017
I have 27 General Knowledge quizzes in jetpunk and none of them get the comments like this and many others. Maybe my questions are too factual and not as controversial and contentious as these.
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level 31
Jul 8, 2017
Humphrey Davy was not English, he was Cornish from Penzance in Cornwall. I think the inventor of the steam locomotive Richard Trevithick (another Cornishman) is more worthy of knowing about than the great industrial destroyer Thatcher.
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level 20
Jul 17, 2017
Could you accept Lenon instead of Lenin?
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+2
level 51
Aug 1, 2017
Seriously?
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+2
level 70
Aug 12, 2017
I saw his corpse in Moscow. He looked great for having been married to Yoko Ono.
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level 15
Jul 27, 2017
That was harder than i thought
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level 34
Jul 29, 2017
Someone tell me why I should be expected to know who Helen Keller is. The others I can just about see why they're on the list, but not her
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level 51
Aug 1, 2017
It's called general knowledge. Quizzes are meant to test you, not to so easy that you get everything right all of the time. If you didn't know it, then you do now. It's not as though you haven't got a way of finding things out quickly afterwards.
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level 40
Sep 25, 2017
Well, for starters, she helped raise awareness for millions of people with natural ailments. So, unless you have something against the blind and deaf, I personally think helping millions of people around the world would be a decent thing to do, wouldn't it?
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level 20
Jul 30, 2017
31/40. Nice!
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level 13
Aug 7, 2017
Guessed Jefferson Davis before LIncoln. I guess I'm too southern.
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level 34
Aug 12, 2017
Where was Babe Ruthl........OK, too American. Roger Bannister? Pele?
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+2
level 70
Aug 12, 2017
Given the title, I concur completely with the number of athletes that appear on this quiz.
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level 33
Aug 20, 2017
i only guessed Leonerdo da Vinci... But Cool Quiz!
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level 20
Aug 25, 2017
I made a quiz similar to this. If you enjoyed this quiz, please check mine out.
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level 22
Sep 1, 2017
Darn, forgot about Lenin. I just did a WWII quiz and all I could think about was Stalin.
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level 47
Sep 2, 2017
Not everyonez should know but americans... USA is not center of the world. Rosa Parks isnt very know outside.
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level 56
Sep 18, 2017
Basically 50% England and english people, historical people nobody should know.
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level 45
Sep 21, 2017
40/40 with 4:30 remaining, and I'm a 3-year-old from Lesotho.
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level 18
Sep 25, 2017
Helen Keller, who? I knew who Amelia Earhart was but over here in the UK, I doubt anyone I asked would ever know who Helen Keller was. Also, as previously commented, Darwin on evolution is pretty iffy, as is calling Alexander a Greek.
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level 40
Sep 25, 2017
Eh, Keller wasn't really an influential person in history at all. I mean, it's not like she changed the world for the millions of blind and deaf people, who already struggle as it is.
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level 51
Oct 2, 2017
Well I'm British and learned about Helen Keller when I was a child at school. Also, I can recall watching a biopic on telly of her life. She's reasonably well-known. If you didn't know of her before, you certainly do now! This is a quiz after all which is testing your knowledge, not a list of people that you most definately do know (the title of the quiz shouldn't be taken too literally).
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level 62
Oct 15, 2017
Summed it up pretty well. Another Brit who learnt about her at school and has heard mentionof her periodically on tv, though I still couldn't remember her name in the time limit.
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level 28
Oct 16, 2017
Can Nikola Tesla be an acceptable answer for inventor of the lightbulb?
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