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Quiz about Charles XII and the Great Northern War
Quiz about Charles XII and the Great Northern War

Charles XII and the Great Northern War Quiz


Charles XII of Sweden was one of the most romantic figures in the history of war. What do you know about this warrior king and the war that made his legend but eventually destroyed his empire?

A multiple-choice quiz by rsh437. Estimated time: 8 mins.
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Author
rsh437
Time
8 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
282,778
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
25
Difficulty
Tough
Avg Score
13 / 25
Plays
332
Last 3 plays: Guest 68 (6/25), Guest 95 (9/25), Userandy (5/25).
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Question 1 of 25
1. The Great Northern War broke out in 1700 when Sweden was attacked by an alliance of Denmark, Russia, and which country? Hint


Question 2 of 25
2. What was Charles XII, then 17 years old, doing when the news reached him of the first wave of attack by Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony? Hint


Question 3 of 25
3. Attacked from three sides, Charles XII dealt with one enemy at a time. In July 1700 his army descended on Zealand, threatened Copenhagen, and forced Denmark to drop out of the war and surrender its conquests in which area? Hint


Question 4 of 25
4. In autumn of 1700 Charles XII moved to relieve Narva, besieged by Tsar Peter the Great. After marching 7 days through rain and sleet, the Swedish army of 8,000 immediately stormed the Russian garrison of 40,000 under the cover of ___, and achieved a sweeping victory. Hint


Question 5 of 25
5. The summer of 1701 saw Charles XII defeat his third enemy. Which river did he cross in this battle? Hint


Question 6 of 25
6. Charles XII had been called many things by his fans and critics. Which of these was NOT a nickname of his? Hint


Question 7 of 25
7. While on campaign Charles XII was known to always carry with him a biography of Alexander the Great and a portrait of whom? Hint


Question 8 of 25
8. The defeated King Augustus sent his mistress, Countess Aurora von Königsmark, to visit the Swedish camp with a secret peace offer. What did Charles XII do with the famed beauty? Hint


Question 9 of 25
9. In 1702 at the Battle of Kilssow Charles XII once again defeated Augustus, but lost a close friend. Who was it? Hint


Question 10 of 25
10. While Charles XII was devoted to chasing Augustus through Poland, Sweden's Baltic provinces were overrun by Tsar Peter's army. Which of these cities fell to the Russians during this time? Hint


Question 11 of 25
11. In 1704 Charles XII persuaded the Poles to depose Augustus and elect Stanislaw Leszczynski to the throne. Before offering the crown of Poland to Stanislaw, he offered to someone else, who declined it. Who was that? Hint


Question 12 of 25
12. In 1706 Augustus was forced to renounce the throne of Poland and recognize Stanislaw as the lawful King by Treaty of Altranstädt. Shortly afterwards another Treaty of Altranstädt was signed. What was it about? Hint


Question 13 of 25
13. While at Altranstädt, Charles XII was paid a visit by which great general? Hint


Question 14 of 25
14. Before turning against Russia, to hide his intention (more as a joke actually), Charles XII asked his men to find him maps from Leipzig to every capital city in Europe. His men hinted at their favorite destination when they put on top of the pile. It showed the route from Leipzig to which city? Hint


Question 15 of 25
15. En route to Russia, Charles XII led an attack on Grodno with the advance guards. Tsar Peter and his main army fled during the night and left the town to the Swedes. How many troops did Charles occupy Grodno with? Hint


Question 16 of 25
16. In September 1708, from the village of Tatarsk, Charles XII abandoned the march on Moscow and turned south towards Ukraine. This change of course proved to be the turning point of the war and of Charles's career. At the time though, it was backed by reasons that might have seemed quite sound. Which of these was NOT a reason for Charles's decision to march to Ukraine? Hint


Question 17 of 25
17. Mazeppa, the Cossack Hetman who cast his lot with Charles XII, seeking independence for Ukraine, was the title character of an epic poem by ___ as well as a tragic opera by ___. Hint


Question 18 of 25
18. At the Battle of Poltava in 1709 the Russian army under Peter the Great completely crushed the Swedes, signaling the fall of the Swedish Empire and the rise of Russia as the dominant power in Northern Europe. Which of these factors did NOT contribute to the Swedes' defeat at Poltava? Hint


Question 19 of 25
19. Having lost his entire army, Charles XII fled to Turkey and set up camp near the town of Bender. Which of these hobbies did Charles pick up to pass what he called "our lazy dog days" in Turkey? Hint


Question 20 of 25
20. In 1714 Charles XII decided to head home. Traveling incognito with a single companion, riding on horseback during the day and in post carriages at night, he covered the entire distance from Adrianople to Stralsund in two weeks. What alias did Charles assume on this journey? Hint


Question 21 of 25
21. After the fall of Stralsund, Charles XII returned to Sweden and settled in Lund, where he studied math and philosophy with professors from Lund University, and invented: Hint


Question 22 of 25
22. On the night of November 30, 1718, Charles XII died while besieging the fortress of Frederiksten, Norway. The alleged weapon he was killed with is now on display at the Fortress Museum of Varberg. What is it? Hint


Question 23 of 25
23. Sir Walter Scott likened Richard Coeur de Lion to Charles XII in "Ivanhoe", which ended with a quote about Charles's death from a poem. Who was the author of the poem? Hint


Question 24 of 25
24. When the Great Northern War concluded in 1721, Sweden had lost her status as a great power and most of her territories. Which of these cities did Sweden manage to keep? Hint


Question 25 of 25
25. Ending on a light note, Charles XII is credited with introducing what dish into Swedish cuisine? Hint



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quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The Great Northern War broke out in 1700 when Sweden was attacked by an alliance of Denmark, Russia, and which country?

Answer: Saxony

The anti-Swedish alliance was brought together by Johann Patkul, a Livonian exile. Although Elector Augustus of Saxony was also king of Poland, Poland itself claimed to be neutral at the beginning of the war.
2. What was Charles XII, then 17 years old, doing when the news reached him of the first wave of attack by Augustus the Strong, Elector of Saxony?

Answer: hunting bears

Bear hunting was a favorite sport with Swedish kings. Charles shot his first bear at 11. Later he thought the use of firearms or even steel was unfair to the animal, so from then on he only used wooden forks.
3. Attacked from three sides, Charles XII dealt with one enemy at a time. In July 1700 his army descended on Zealand, threatened Copenhagen, and forced Denmark to drop out of the war and surrender its conquests in which area?

Answer: Schleswig

The Swedish navy navigated through a narrow strait that had never been sailed through before and took the Danes by surprise. There was little resistance to the landing. However, Denmark rejoined the war after Poltava and drove the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp out of Schleswig.
4. In autumn of 1700 Charles XII moved to relieve Narva, besieged by Tsar Peter the Great. After marching 7 days through rain and sleet, the Swedish army of 8,000 immediately stormed the Russian garrison of 40,000 under the cover of ___, and achieved a sweeping victory.

Answer: blizzard

The blizzard blew in the face of the Russians so they could not see how small the Swedish force was. When the battle ended the Swedes were faced with a much larger number of prisoners than their own army. Charles set free all the ordinary Russian soldiers and only retained the officers.
5. The summer of 1701 saw Charles XII defeat his third enemy. Which river did he cross in this battle?

Answer: Dvina

The Swedes crossed the Dvina (now called Daugava) River just outside Riga to attack the combined Russian and Saxon forces. As usual Charles was one of the first to land. The battle was fought and won before the Swedish cavalry had reached the shore, thus Livonia was cleared of invading Saxons.
6. Charles XII had been called many things by his fans and critics. Which of these was NOT a nickname of his?

Answer: Machiavelli of the North

Charles XII was associated with Alexander for his military success at a young age, and with Don Quixote for his enthusiasm and obstinacy in fighting for an impossible ideal. He was also said to be a Viking born in the wrong century. An uncompromising moralist, he would be the last person to be called a Machiavellian.
7. While on campaign Charles XII was known to always carry with him a biography of Alexander the Great and a portrait of whom?

Answer: Gustavus Adolphus

The great Gustavus had always been Charles's hero. When visiting Lützen he said: "I've always tried to live like him. May God grant me the grace to die in the same manner."
Charles and Sophia were not engaged. Neither ever married, and it had been suggested (rather fancifully perhaps) that they had been waiting for each other and for the war to end.
8. The defeated King Augustus sent his mistress, Countess Aurora von Königsmark, to visit the Swedish camp with a secret peace offer. What did Charles XII do with the famed beauty?

Answer: He refused to receive her

Hard as she tried, Aurora could not get an audience with the king. Finally she waylaid him on his daily ride and knelt before his horse. Charles bowed low to her in the saddle, then galloped away without a word.
9. In 1702 at the Battle of Kilssow Charles XII once again defeated Augustus, but lost a close friend. Who was it?

Answer: Duke of Holstein

Frederick of Holstein was Charles's brother-in-law and they had been playmates when young. He was to command the left flank but was killed at the beginning of the battle.
10. While Charles XII was devoted to chasing Augustus through Poland, Sweden's Baltic provinces were overrun by Tsar Peter's army. Which of these cities fell to the Russians during this time?

Answer: Narva

Narva fell in 1704, followed by an indiscriminate slaughter of its residents, until Peter stopped it by cutting down Russian soldiers with his own sword. Reval (now Tallinn) and Riga fell in 1710, after the Swedish defeat at Poltava.
11. In 1704 Charles XII persuaded the Poles to depose Augustus and elect Stanislaw Leszczynski to the throne. Before offering the crown of Poland to Stanislaw, he offered to someone else, who declined it. Who was that?

Answer: Alexander Sobieski

His prime minister Piper advised that he take the crown for himself, but Charles refused as it would break his promise at the beginning of the war to give Poland a native king. The son of the great king John Sobieski was the only native candidate acceptable to the Poles. Knowing this, Augustus had two Sobieski brothers, James and Constantine, kidnapped and locked up in a castle. Charles offered the crown to the remaining Sobieski, Alexander, who declined it saying he could not benefit from his brothers' misfortune.
12. In 1706 Augustus was forced to renounce the throne of Poland and recognize Stanislaw as the lawful King by Treaty of Altranstädt. Shortly afterwards another Treaty of Altranstädt was signed. What was it about?

Answer: Emperor of Austria granted religious freedom to Silesian protestants

When Charles XII passed through Silesia, the mostly Protestant residents complained to him about religious oppression by the Habsburgs. Charles took up their cause, and made Emperor Joseph I sign a treaty to guarantee religious tolerance and liberty of conscience in Silesia, to the chagrin of the Pope.
13. While at Altranstädt, Charles XII was paid a visit by which great general?

Answer: Duke of Marlborough

Marlborough went as an envoy of the allies to probe Charles XII's intentions regarding the War of Spanish Succession. He was glad to find Charles only had Russia on his mind.
14. Before turning against Russia, to hide his intention (more as a joke actually), Charles XII asked his men to find him maps from Leipzig to every capital city in Europe. His men hinted at their favorite destination when they put on top of the pile. It showed the route from Leipzig to which city?

Answer: Stockholm

They wanted to go home! Not their king, who smiled and said: "Not just yet."
Charles enjoyed playing pranks with his men, such as at the low point in the Russian campaign, he ordered them to march into Asia just for the sake of having been to another continent. He had a good laugh when it was taken seriously.
15. En route to Russia, Charles XII led an attack on Grodno with the advance guards. Tsar Peter and his main army fled during the night and left the town to the Swedes. How many troops did Charles occupy Grodno with?

Answer: 600

It was not an event of significance, but a fine example of how Charles was used to bluffing his way to victory, like when he took Krakow with 300 men. When Peter found out the next day about the real size of the Swedish force, he sent 3,000 horsemen that night to sneak back to Grodno and capture Charles.

However during the melee in pitch darkness the Russians thought the Swedish force was much larger, and once again retreated.
16. In September 1708, from the village of Tatarsk, Charles XII abandoned the march on Moscow and turned south towards Ukraine. This change of course proved to be the turning point of the war and of Charles's career. At the time though, it was backed by reasons that might have seemed quite sound. Which of these was NOT a reason for Charles's decision to march to Ukraine?

Answer: He could not winter in Severia because the Russian "scorched earth" policy had left the region uninhabitable

Severia was not destroyed and Charles did intend to winter there. However the commander of his advance troops read the map wrongly and failed to get there before it was seized by Russians. Just one example of how everything went ridiculously wrong for the Swedes on this campaign.
17. Mazeppa, the Cossack Hetman who cast his lot with Charles XII, seeking independence for Ukraine, was the title character of an epic poem by ___ as well as a tragic opera by ___.

Answer: Byron, Tchaikovsky

Ivan Mazeppa was also a major character in Pushkin's epic poem 'Poltava', but not the title character. After their defeat, Mazeppa fled to Turkey with Charles. Peter offered to exchanged the captured Swedish prime minister Piper for Mazeppa, which Charles refused. Mazeppa died in Turkey shortly after.
18. At the Battle of Poltava in 1709 the Russian army under Peter the Great completely crushed the Swedes, signaling the fall of the Swedish Empire and the rise of Russia as the dominant power in Northern Europe. Which of these factors did NOT contribute to the Swedes' defeat at Poltava?

Answer: The harsh winter had the battle field frozen solid and slippery

The unusually harsh winter of 1708-09 devastated the Swedish army (and their powder), but the battle took place in the following summer so there was no problem with the field. Charles was wounded a few days before and had to give the command to Field Marshal Rehnskjold, who was not on speaking terms with Field Marshal Lewenhaupt and did not share battle plans with the latter. During the course of battle there was a lot of confusion caused by garbled orders.
19. Having lost his entire army, Charles XII fled to Turkey and set up camp near the town of Bender. Which of these hobbies did Charles pick up to pass what he called "our lazy dog days" in Turkey?

Answer: chess

There was a famous chess problem called "Charles XII at Bender". Charles stayed there till 1713 when the Sultan sent an army to drive him out. Charles defended his house with his handful of companions against an army of thousands for a whole day, but was finally captured and imprisoned. This colorful incident was called the Kalabalik at Bender.
20. In 1714 Charles XII decided to head home. Traveling incognito with a single companion, riding on horseback during the day and in post carriages at night, he covered the entire distance from Adrianople to Stralsund in two weeks. What alias did Charles assume on this journey?

Answer: Peter Frisk

I've always wondered what Charles was thinking when he picked the name 'Peter', but that's just what he did. Charles then took up the impossible task of defending Stralsund against the anti-Swedish alliance, which now also included Prussia and Hanover. The desperate defense lasted over a year, until Stralsund fell at the end of 1715.
21. After the fall of Stralsund, Charles XII returned to Sweden and settled in Lund, where he studied math and philosophy with professors from Lund University, and invented:

Answer: an octal numeral system

He believed a numeral system based on 8 would be useful for war effort because all the boxes used for materials such as gunpowder were cubic.
Charles XII created the Office of Supreme Ombudsman in 1713, the very first in Europe. It's an import from Turkey though, not his invention.
22. On the night of November 30, 1718, Charles XII died while besieging the fortress of Frederiksten, Norway. The alleged weapon he was killed with is now on display at the Fortress Museum of Varberg. What is it?

Answer: a bronze button

He was shot through the head and killed instantly. The bullet (and shooter) was never found. Since Charles had cheated death so many times, there was a legend that he could only be killed by something that belonged to him, such as a button from his coat. Some 200 years later someone dug up a button from their backyard, claimed it was The Button, and the museum accepted it.
23. Sir Walter Scott likened Richard Coeur de Lion to Charles XII in "Ivanhoe", which ended with a quote about Charles's death from a poem. Who was the author of the poem?

Answer: Samuel Johnson

"His fall was destined to a barren strand,
A petty fortress, and a dubious hand;
He left the name, at which the world grew pale,
To point a moral or adorn a tale."
Replace 'dubious' with 'humble' and it fits Richard perfectly! The two warrior kings indeed had a lot in common.
24. When the Great Northern War concluded in 1721, Sweden had lost her status as a great power and most of her territories. Which of these cities did Sweden manage to keep?

Answer: Stralsund

Sweden retained part of Pomerania, including Stralsund. It was later lost in the Napoleonic wars.
25. Ending on a light note, Charles XII is credited with introducing what dish into Swedish cuisine?

Answer: stuffed cabbage

Charles lived in Turkey for five years and borrowed a lot of money. His Turkish creditors followed him back to Sweden where they lived for decades until the debts were paid off. These were the mem who taught the Swedes about this dish.
Source: Author rsh437

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