As everyone knows, we live in the worst times in all of history. The horrors of war, the ravages of nature, the perils of technology, and a terrible pervasive apathy about the concerns of others have led us to our current state of endemic violence and social injustice. This week, the New Monday Quiz takes your mind off the state of the world by reminding you about a happier, simpler time: the world of 100 years ago.
1. January 13 – This tower was damaged by, but survived, the Avezzano Earthquake, in which roughly 40,000 people perished. Now repaired, it commemorates the Roman Emporer who, along with his highly successful 60-year reign, is remembered for the Meditations, a treatise on Stoic philosophy that is still read today. Who was he?
2. January 26 – Trouble in the Middle East: the country shown on this map begins an attempt to seize control of the Suez Canal. What was the name of this country?
3. February 8 – A movie about the heroic role of the Ku Klux Klan in the Reconstruction South is screened for the first time. A runaway commercial success, it will remain the highest-grossing film of all time for nearly 25 years. What was the name of this blockbuster?
4. April 5 – In a prize fight held in the city indicated on this map, White boxer Jess Willard defeats African-American Jack Johnson. Willard, the "Great White Hope," is heralded for "bringing back the championship to the white race." Where did Willard and Johnson fight?
5. April 22: At Ypres, France, the wold sees the first successful, large scale use of the chemical weapons that would kill or maim around 1.3 million people over the rest of the first world war. On this particular day, the simple chemical involved was the Element shown here. What is its name?
6. June 9 – The United States Secretary of State, a three-time unsuccessful Presidential candidate, resigns his office in protest of the Wilson administrations aggressive response to the sinking by Germany of the passenger liner Lusitania earlier in the year; "why be so shocked by the drowning of a few people," he asked, "if there is to be no objection to starving a nation?” In this, as with almost everything else, he found himself on the wrong side of history. Who was this famous man?
7. July 24 – The passenger ship Eastland, made top-heavy after being outfitted with lifeboats in response to the recent Titanic tragedy, rolls over and capsizes in twenty feet of water. Eight hundred and forty eight people die from drowning, falling, or being crushed by toppling furniture. Here's a map showing the site of the disaster -- in what city did it occur?
8. July 28 – Following a popular uprising against and lynching of the short-lived dictator Jean Vilbrun Guillaume Sam, United States Marines sieze control of his country. It will remain under U.S. occupation until 1934. What is the country?
9. October – France, Russia, and Italy declare war on a country; in Germany, this boring postcard is published to celebrate the event. What is the country?
10. Alfred Lothar Wegener publishes Die Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane in an attempt to advance his most important theory. Although his reasoning seems pretty straightforward in retrospect, his ideas are refuted and ridiculed by almost everyone in his field until the 1960s, thirty years after his death, when the accumulating weight of evidence shows that they are undeniably correct. What was Wegener's big idea?