History Essay Questions Overview

To write history essay questions, you first need to select what part of history you want to deal with and then formulate the questions accordingly. It sounds simple, but it could turn out to be quite complicated in practice. This a good idea for 250 word essays or 1000 word essays.

When you research essay topics there is a wealth of options out there. In ancient history, for example, you could choose the Mediterranean area, if not just one country. It would be a simple question to ask the name of the volcano that erupted and destroyed Pompeii. It was Vesuvius. But how about a more detailed question or two? What was the name of the less-known city that was destroyed at the same time? Or what date did the eruption begin? A little tougher, isn’t it? The answers are Herculaneum and August 25th (see how long it takes for you to look up the year).

British history is replete with monarchs and their reigns. Questions about various kings and queens, as well as important dates involving them can get very complicated. For example, everyone knows that the Magna Charta was signed in 1066, but who was the king? What was the name of his queen?

More history questions can be about any phase of history that interests you. How about ancient Egypt? There’s a list of kings and dynasties to remember! Everyone knows Tutankhamen but who was his wife (hint, she was also a close relative) and what was his father’s name? Why was all mention of Tutankhamen’s father erased after his death?

American history is something that is taught less and less in American schools, unfortunately. Some history essay questions that might be asked would be: Who was Samuel Adams? Did he really own a brewery? How many children did George Washington have? Was slavery legal in Massachusetts? When asked, “What government have you given us?” Who answered, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

How about an essay on American history concerning just the presidents? That alone could give you dozens of history essay questions! Don’t go for just the usual, mundane questions. Everyone knows that Washington was the first and Obama is president today. Some can even name them in chronological order. How many people can name their wives? Or their children? Or their Vice-Presidents? What about their accomplishments and lasting quotes? What did they do after they left the White House? Which president drove back to his home town with only his wife (no Secret Service)? Hint, he’s the same one who refused to comment of subsequent presidents, stating that his opinions no longer mattered. Which presidents held church services in both the White House and the Capitol Building? Which president was constantly being lectured on proper manners by his wife (even at state dinners)?

As you can see, history essay questions can include lots of facts and details. The trick is to know the answers in advance and the fun is to watch people squirm while mentally searching for the answers! The more obscure the detail, the better. Being able to show off this knowledge can be either a great grade-getter or at least an ego booster!