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Quiz about Odd Bits about Explorers
Quiz about Odd Bits about Explorers

Odd Bits about Explorers Trivia Quiz


Explorers have to be a little odd in order to venture into unknown and dangerous situations, but their oddity is of a kind we respect. How many odd bits do you know about the 10 explorers in this quiz? (Third in a series of odd bit quizzes).

A multiple-choice quiz by NormanW5. Estimated time: 12 mins.
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Author
NormanW5
Time
12 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
322,642
Updated
Aug 26 22
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Difficult
Avg Score
5 / 10
Plays
447
1. We'll start with Christopher Columbus, who most people think of first when they hear the word "explorer." We all know he was the first European in written history to have discovered the Americas, but it's odd how few know exactly where he landed on his very first voyage. Do you? Hint

First Florida (probably in the Keyes), later Cuba
First Hispanola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), later South Carolina
First San Salvador (Bahamas), later Cuba
First Trinidad, later Florida (probably in the Keyes)

2. Roald Amundsen, another very famous explorer, specialized in polar exploration and was the first explorer to do three of the following impressive feats. If you're not impressed, you should be. Which of the following is the only first Amundsen did NOT collect? Hint

First to successfully navigate the Northwest Passage (Atlantic to Pacific).
First verified to reach the South Pole.
First to successfully navigate the Northeast Passage (northern Europe across northern Asia to Alaska).
First verified to reach the North Pole.

3. In the fourteenth century, 21-year-old Muslim law student Ibn Battuta left his hometown of Tangiers on his hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca. After Mecca, however, Battuta kept going, eventually visiting the land of every Muslim ruler of that era. In fact, before he returned home he performed the hajj four times over almost 30 years. The 120,700 kilometers (75,000 miles) he travelled makes him arguably the greatest traveller of the medieval period, and his travel writings contain lots of delightfully odd things of great value to scholars of medieval cultures. Which is the only feat among the following which is NOT part of the odd experiences Ibn Battuta collected? Hint

Battuta so enjoyed the Maldives' custom of women going nude above the waist that he stayed much longer than planned.
Battuta married eight times during his travels.
Dehli Sultan Muhammad bin Tughluq appointed Battuta ambassador to Yuan Dynasty China.
While Battuta prayed in a mosque in Calicut, his ship sailed without him, and he ended up captured by a Sumatran ruler.

4. Quoting from the UCLA website: "Upon the orders of the emperor Yongle and his successor, Xuande, Zheng He commanded seven expeditions, the first in the year 1405 and the last in 1430, which sailed from China to the west, reaching as far as the Cape of Good Hope. The object of the voyages was to display the glory and might of the Chinese Ming dynasty and to collect tribute from the "barbarians from beyond the seas." Merchants also accompanied Zheng's voyages, ...bringing with them silks and porcelain to trade for foreign luxuries such as spices and jewels and tropical woods.

"These voyages...came a few decades before most of the famous European voyages of discovery known to all Western school children: Christopher Columbus, in 1492; Vasco da Gama, in 1498; and Ferdinand Magellan, in 1521. However, Zheng He's fleets were incomparable larger." There were up to 317 ships and 28,000 men on the largest voyage, including 62 "treasure" ships along for trade. The fleet was larger than any fleet assembled anywhere up until World War II.

Which one of the following statements about Zheng He is NOT correct?
Hint

Records agree that Zheng He's ships were impressively large, especially for ships built without iron, some over 400 feet long and able to carry African giraffes.
Zheng He explored many areas to the west of China, such as East Africa and Aden, but not south to places like Malaya.
Zheng He's fleet included tankers that would transfer water to the other ships--tricky even today.
Zheng He's 7th voyage may have reached America, for a small brass disc inscribed "authorized and awarded by Xuande of Great Ming" was dug up near Asheville, North Carolina.

5. Russian expatriate Isabelle Eberhardt lived only 27 years, but her life was as full of adventure, excessive passion, and odd bits as would take most of us 87 years to achieve. In 1897 her mother and she traveled to Algeria, where they both converted to Islam. When her mother died, rather than returning to Russia Eberhardt settled in northern Algeria, which became home base for her constant exploring of the desert. The following are all parts of her odd, meteoric life...all except which one? Hint

She drowned in the desert when, in a Saharan hospital for malaria, she was caught by a flash flood.
Deeply religious, she became Sufi (an Islamic mystic) despite her alcoholism and active sex life.
She attempted the hajj, but when a half kilo of hasheesh was found in her pack she was refused entrance into Mecca.
She dressed as a man and passed as an Arab journalist named Si Mahmoud, wandering incessantly and earning a meagre income as a journalist.

6. Ahmad Ibn Fadlan was an Islamic scholar serving Baghdad's caliph in the early 900s. In 921 he was sent as a religious advisor to the king of the Bulgars (Turks) living along the Volga River (now Russia). The Bulgars were new converts to Islam, and Ibn Fadian intended to teach them Islamic law. Ibm Fadian's journal ended up being a very important record of the peoples and cultures of the time.

Probably the most well known part of Ibn Fadlan's travel writing is his vivid description of the Viking settlers living alongside the Bulgars. Ibn Fadian called them the "Rus" and considered them odd. They are considered the actual ancestors of the contemporary Russians.

Three of the following descriptions of the Vikings/Rus are from Ibn Fadian's journal. Which one is the false item?
Hint

The Rus are a "beautiful" people, with "perfect bodies" and high cheekbones.
The Rus' becoming-a-man ritual requires "either downing or elevating" (raping or killing) a stranger.
The Rus are "the filthiest race that God ever created. They do not wipe...[censored]...any more than if they were wild asses."
The Rus ask a deceased chief's young staff to volunteer "to go with him," and the volunteer is drugged, stabbed, and placed on the funeral pyre next to the chief.

7. John Rae was hired as a surgeon by the Hudson Bay Company and was stationed for a year at the Moose Factory at the southern end of Hudson Bay in Canada. Despite the harsh conditions, Rae found the "wild life" so satisfying that he continued there as surgeon for ten years. Unlike most of his contemporaries, he respected the Native Canadians, learned their language, dressed like them, and became the European authority on the Inuit's secrets of Arctic living. Rae became such a great snowshoer that the Inuit named him "Aglooka," meaning "he who takes long strides."

However, John Rae's relationship with Native Canadians led to his being condemned by Charles Dickens and many other notable English Victorians. Why?
Hint

Rae not only had two children with a Native Canadian woman, but married her. Horrible!
Commissioned to discover the fate of the lost Franklin Expedition, based on Inuit accounts Rae reported the party had resorted to cannibalism before starving to death. Impossible!
Rae succeeded in proving the existence of a Northwest Passage when the attempts of wealthy and influential explorers had failed. Usurper!
Rae was asked to report on the Hudson Bay Company's Canadian enterprises to Queen Victoria, and showed up dressed in animal skins. Barbarian!

8. Thor Heyerdahl is best known for his "Kon-Tiki" expedition, later written up in a book of the same name. Heyerdahl interpreted some legends and archaeological evidence as indicating that the Incas may have sailed to and influenced the south sea islands. When he was met with derision, Heyerdahl built a raft of the type used by the Incas, using only balsa wood and other local materials, and called it the Kon-Tiki. Heyerdahl and 5 others sailed this raft from Peru to the Tuamotu islands, demonstrating that not only was it possible but fairly easy for the Incas to have made the trip.

Thor Heyerdahl loved this type of anthropology/archaeology/ethnography, and led other adventures to demonstrate other theories. Which of the following is the only untrue odd bit about Heyerdahl?
Hint

Heyerdahl developed his theories on Fatu Hiva when he learned that the Polynesians knew about cats even though none were indigenous.
The Mormons use Heyerdahl's trip in a papyrus reed boat from Morocco to Barbados as support of their teaching that BCE Egyptians sailed to America.
Heyerdahl's last project looked to prove the Ynglinga saga literally true, mostly the Ăsir migration to Sweden where their chief Odin became a local god.
Heyerdahl's only failure was trying to construct Nazca "sky-drawings" with Etruscan tools and techniques.

9. Lewis and Clark, beloved by schoolchildren in the USAs (quite a bit because of Sacagawea), were hired to find out what President Jefferson had spent taxpayers' money on with the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson eagerly expected them to find a wooly mammoth.

Lewis and Clark's expedition succeeded in reaching the Pacific and returning with the loss of only one life and the gain of priceless information about riverways, many new species of birds and animals, almost 50 Indian tribes, and much more--but no wooly mammoth.

Despite no mammoth, there were many interesting odd bits along the way. Which of the below four bits does not belong?
Hint

Provisions for the expedition included a US ton (907 kg) of dried pork and 193 pounds (87.5 kg) of "portable soup" (a paste).
Lewis compares the mosquitoes, gnats, and cacti to the Biblical plagues of Egypt.
Pierre Cruzatte, hunting despite his terrible eyesight, thought Lewis was an elk and shot him in the thigh.
Sacagawea tried to teach Clark to swim, but ended up laughing at the "rock man."

10. We'll end with Kira Salak, unique in that she is the only explorer in this quiz who was still alive and exploring in 2010. Salak even has her own website, where I found the following:

"A National Geographic Emerging Explorer and contributing editor for National Geographic "Adventure" magazine, she was the first woman to traverse Papua New Guinea and the first person to kayak solo 600 miles to Timbuktu."

Three of the following were odd bits of success for Kira Salak. Which one was not?
Hint

In Mali, Salak had to mud wrestle a village chieftain in order to reclaim her kayak and continue her trip.
Salak was cured of severe depression by a shaman in the Amazon using ayahuasca.
Journalist Salak stayed in Bunia (in the Congo) while it was taken over by child soldiers, getting the story but experiencing horrors.
During Salak's hike as the first woman to cross Papua New Guinea, hunters chased her away for chasing their prey away with her poisonous female aura.


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. We'll start with Christopher Columbus, who most people think of first when they hear the word "explorer." We all know he was the first European in written history to have discovered the Americas, but it's odd how few know exactly where he landed on his very first voyage. Do you?

Answer: First San Salvador (Bahamas), later Cuba

San Salvador was apparently Columbus' very first landing in the "New World," but he visited Espa˝ola (now Hispanola) during each of his four voyages, and is buried there in what is now the Dominican Republic.

During his second voyage, the Native Americans who inhabited the end of Hispanola that is now Haiti gave Columbus information that should have encouraged Europeans to realize that Columbus was not the "discoverer" of the new world. They reported people in ships that had arrived before Columbus had landed. Columbus' record reports: "there had come to Hispaniola people who have the tops of their spears made of a metal which they call quanin." Columbus sent samples of these spears back to Spain to be tested, and the assay reported "of 32 parts, 18 were gold, six of silver and eight of copper." The composition of these spears was exactly the same as spears being made in African Guinea.

A similar event happened on the third voyage, which was sent to establish colonies--one in ten of the colonists on this voyage were women. At the Canary Islands, Columbus split his fleet of six ships in half, sending three along the now-familiar route to Hispanola and three to explore new territories farther south. The latter group are probably the first Europeans to see South America, but not the first to reach South America by ship. When some of Columbus' crew went ashore on what is now Trinidad, they found the the people living there were dressed in almost the same style that the Moors had introduced into Europe during the time that Islamic peoples dominated northern Africa and Spain.

Isn't it odd you knew that Columbus discovered America but you didn't know that Columbus discovered he wasn't the first?
2. Roald Amundsen, another very famous explorer, specialized in polar exploration and was the first explorer to do three of the following impressive feats. If you're not impressed, you should be. Which of the following is the only first Amundsen did NOT collect?

Answer: First to successfully navigate the Northeast Passage (northern Europe across northern Asia to Alaska).

Amundsen was not the first to navigate the Northeast Passage--but he was the second ever, making his impressive polar resume even more impressive. If you're not very, very impressed by now, you should be.

The "verified" in the south and north pole records is very important. I couldn't get this odd bit into a question, but the claims to have reached the North Pole of the three explorers who may have been there before Amundsen --and now I quote Wikipedia-- "are all disputed, as being either of dubious accuracy or outright fraud." No one disputes Amundsen's win over Scott in their race to the South Pole, and Amundsen's reaching the North Pole -- in another oddity, sailing in a dirigible named "Norge" -- is well verified.
3. In the fourteenth century, 21-year-old Muslim law student Ibn Battuta left his hometown of Tangiers on his hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca. After Mecca, however, Battuta kept going, eventually visiting the land of every Muslim ruler of that era. In fact, before he returned home he performed the hajj four times over almost 30 years. The 120,700 kilometers (75,000 miles) he travelled makes him arguably the greatest traveller of the medieval period, and his travel writings contain lots of delightfully odd things of great value to scholars of medieval cultures. Which is the only feat among the following which is NOT part of the odd experiences Ibn Battuta collected?

Answer: Battuta so enjoyed the Maldives' custom of women going nude above the waist that he stayed much longer than planned.

The women in the Maldives at the time did go nude above the waist, but Ibn Battuta hated the practice and criticised it.

Battuta married one of the Maldives' princesses, was made a local judge because of his Islamic legal studies, and was so strict in his rulings that he was sent packing after 9 months.
4. Quoting from the UCLA website: "Upon the orders of the emperor Yongle and his successor, Xuande, Zheng He commanded seven expeditions, the first in the year 1405 and the last in 1430, which sailed from China to the west, reaching as far as the Cape of Good Hope. The object of the voyages was to display the glory and might of the Chinese Ming dynasty and to collect tribute from the "barbarians from beyond the seas." Merchants also accompanied Zheng's voyages, ...bringing with them silks and porcelain to trade for foreign luxuries such as spices and jewels and tropical woods. "These voyages...came a few decades before most of the famous European voyages of discovery known to all Western school children: Christopher Columbus, in 1492; Vasco da Gama, in 1498; and Ferdinand Magellan, in 1521. However, Zheng He's fleets were incomparable larger." There were up to 317 ships and 28,000 men on the largest voyage, including 62 "treasure" ships along for trade. The fleet was larger than any fleet assembled anywhere up until World War II. Which one of the following statements about Zheng He is NOT correct?

Answer: Zheng He explored many areas to the west of China, such as East Africa and Aden, but not south to places like Malaya.

Zheng He was a major force in the development of southeast Asia. He turned Malacca, Malaya into a major port and is primarily responsible for the Muslim culture of Malaya and Indonesia. There is a statue honoring him at the Stadthuys museum in Malacca.

Conferences are making Zheng He better known in the West, especially those organized by Professor Jin Wu to honor the 600th anniversary of Zheng He's first voyage. Check out the interesting UCLA web site to learn more about them and other activities: http://www.international.ucla.edu/article.asp?parentid=10387

For more on the artifact that indicates that Zheng He may have reached the Americas, visit www.24hourforums.com/forum124/11984.html and www.asiawind.com/zhenghe/
5. Russian expatriate Isabelle Eberhardt lived only 27 years, but her life was as full of adventure, excessive passion, and odd bits as would take most of us 87 years to achieve. In 1897 her mother and she traveled to Algeria, where they both converted to Islam. When her mother died, rather than returning to Russia Eberhardt settled in northern Algeria, which became home base for her constant exploring of the desert. The following are all parts of her odd, meteoric life...all except which one?

Answer: She attempted the hajj, but when a half kilo of hasheesh was found in her pack she was refused entrance into Mecca.

The death of her mother affected Isabelle greatly. She dressed as a man and galloped into the desert, living as an Arab nomad for as long as she could. She spoke Arabic fluently, and the local Arabs treated her as the man she preferred to be--except that she enjoyed a regular stream of Arab lovers.

Isabelle married a soldier, Slimene Ehnn, in 1901. They appear to have been devoted to one another, but enjoyed only three years together before she drowned.
6. Ahmad Ibn Fadlan was an Islamic scholar serving Baghdad's caliph in the early 900s. In 921 he was sent as a religious advisor to the king of the Bulgars (Turks) living along the Volga River (now Russia). The Bulgars were new converts to Islam, and Ibn Fadian intended to teach them Islamic law. Ibm Fadian's journal ended up being a very important record of the peoples and cultures of the time. Probably the most well known part of Ibn Fadlan's travel writing is his vivid description of the Viking settlers living alongside the Bulgars. Ibn Fadian called them the "Rus" and considered them odd. They are considered the actual ancestors of the contemporary Russians. Three of the following descriptions of the Vikings/Rus are from Ibn Fadian's journal. Which one is the false item?

Answer: The Rus' becoming-a-man ritual requires "either downing or elevating" (raping or killing) a stranger.

Those with a strong queasy response may want to skip this. Among the many examples of "filthy" that Ibn Fadian offers was the following: "Every morning a girl comes and brings a tub of water, and places it before her master. In this he proceeds to wash his face and hands, and then his hair, combing it out over the vessel. Thereupon he blows his nose, and spits into the tub, and leaving no dirt behind, conveys it all into this water. When he has finished, the girl carries the tub to the man next to him, who does the same. Thus she continues carrying the tub from one to another until each man has blown his nose and spit into the tub, and washed his face and hair."

The Vikings countered by being disgusted by the filthiness of the Arabs: "You Arabs ... would take him who is the most revered and beloved among men, and cast him into the ground, to be devoured by creeping things and worms. We, on the other hand, burn him in a twinkling, so that he instantly, without a moment's delay, enters into Paradise."
7. John Rae was hired as a surgeon by the Hudson Bay Company and was stationed for a year at the Moose Factory at the southern end of Hudson Bay in Canada. Despite the harsh conditions, Rae found the "wild life" so satisfying that he continued there as surgeon for ten years. Unlike most of his contemporaries, he respected the Native Canadians, learned their language, dressed like them, and became the European authority on the Inuit's secrets of Arctic living. Rae became such a great snowshoer that the Inuit named him "Aglooka," meaning "he who takes long strides." However, John Rae's relationship with Native Canadians led to his being condemned by Charles Dickens and many other notable English Victorians. Why?

Answer: Commissioned to discover the fate of the lost Franklin Expedition, based on Inuit accounts Rae reported the party had resorted to cannibalism before starving to death. Impossible!

While he was most renowned for his traveling in snowshoes, other skills the Inuit taught John Rae included building a shelter in the snow and not becoming snow-blinded. Although he never appeared before the Queen in animal skins, the other answers were all true. But what British society attached him for was reporting that Sir John Franklin and his party had stooped to cannibalism.

The report that Rae sent back to England describing the fate of the Franklin expedition included the sentence "From the mutilated state of many of the bodies and the contents of the kettles, it is evident that our wretched Countrymen had been driven to the last dread alternative--cannibalism--as a means of prolonging existence." He later recovered some of the lost expedition's objects from the Native Canadians, including a medal that had belonged to Franklin. But because he relied on the accounts of his trusted Inuit friends and did not personally visit the death site, many in England were able to viciously criticize him.

The furious Lady Franklin sent an expedition to prove her husband innocent of Rae's "base charge" of cannibalism, but that expedition ended up revealing the true story to be much as John Rae had reported. The follow-up party found a small cairn at Point Victory, where Franklin's second in command, Lieutenant Crozier, had left a message that Franklin had died on June 11, 1847, and that survivors were starting out for Great Fish River. The condition of some of their skeletons were found, and confirmed the report of cannibalism.

Dr. John Rae continued to serve as an explorer much of his life, including helping find routes for Arctic telegraph cables. But his reputation never recovered from the Franklin controversy. During his lifetime his once-praised achievements were belittled. Members of Franklin's failed expedition were posthumously knighted while Rae received absolutely no recognition for actually finding the Northwest Passage. He died quietly in London and was buried in St. Magnus Cathedral in Orkney.
8. Thor Heyerdahl is best known for his "Kon-Tiki" expedition, later written up in a book of the same name. Heyerdahl interpreted some legends and archaeological evidence as indicating that the Incas may have sailed to and influenced the south sea islands. When he was met with derision, Heyerdahl built a raft of the type used by the Incas, using only balsa wood and other local materials, and called it the Kon-Tiki. Heyerdahl and 5 others sailed this raft from Peru to the Tuamotu islands, demonstrating that not only was it possible but fairly easy for the Incas to have made the trip. Thor Heyerdahl loved this type of anthropology/archaeology/ethnography, and led other adventures to demonstrate other theories. Which of the following is the only untrue odd bit about Heyerdahl?

Answer: Heyerdahl's only failure was trying to construct Nazca "sky-drawings" with Etruscan tools and techniques.

Thor Heyerdahl received 11 honorary doctorates, but his theories were usually rejected by other specialists. Heyerdahl seemed not to care, and argued for his theories in popular books.

Heyerdahl died of a brain tumor in 2002, and the Norwegian government gave him a state funeral.
9. Lewis and Clark, beloved by schoolchildren in the USAs (quite a bit because of Sacagawea), were hired to find out what President Jefferson had spent taxpayers' money on with the Louisiana Purchase. Jefferson eagerly expected them to find a wooly mammoth. Lewis and Clark's expedition succeeded in reaching the Pacific and returning with the loss of only one life and the gain of priceless information about riverways, many new species of birds and animals, almost 50 Indian tribes, and much more--but no wooly mammoth. Despite no mammoth, there were many interesting odd bits along the way. Which of the below four bits does not belong?

Answer: Sacagawea tried to teach Clark to swim, but ended up laughing at the "rock man."

Great as the Lewis and Clark expedition's results were, President Jefferson was not happy. He had asked Lewis and Clark to make celestial observations at important points to obtain data to calculate the latitude and longitude of those key points. Jefferson believed the level of precision resulting would justify the cost of the expedition. "From [these celestial observations] alone can be obtained the correct geography of the country, which was the main object of the expedition." But despite the measurements having been taken, somehow Jefferson could never find someone to perform the necessary calculations.
10. We'll end with Kira Salak, unique in that she is the only explorer in this quiz who was still alive and exploring in 2010. Salak even has her own website, where I found the following: "A National Geographic Emerging Explorer and contributing editor for National Geographic "Adventure" magazine, she was the first woman to traverse Papua New Guinea and the first person to kayak solo 600 miles to Timbuktu." Three of the following were odd bits of success for Kira Salak. Which one was not?

Answer: In Mali, Salak had to mud wrestle a village chieftain in order to reclaim her kayak and continue her trip.

Kira Salak is also an award-winning writer. Also from www.kirasalak.com: "Kira Salak won the PEN Award for journalism and has appeared five times in Best American Travel Writing."... "She is the author of three books--the critically acclaimed work of fiction, "The White Mary" (published by Henry Holt), and two works of nonfiction: "Four Corners: A Journey into the Heart of Papua New Guinea" (a New York Times Notable Travel Book) and "The Cruelest Journey: Six Hundred Miles to Timbuktu."

I had the pleasure of hearing Salak make a presentation at a travel writers' conference, and some of the other writers scolded her for taking such chances, urging her to be more careful.
Source: Author NormanW5

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor bloomsby before going online.
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