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Page last updated at 06:54 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009
History quiz

Making history

Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born on the same day: 12 February 1809. The scientist and the politician each changed the world in their own way. How much do you know about these 19th Century giants?

Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin

1.) Feckless youth?

Whose father scolded him with the words: "You care for nothing but shooting, dogs and rat catching, and you will be a disgrace to yourself and all your family"?

  1. Charles Darwin
    Charles Darwin
  2. Abraham Lincoln
    Abraham Lincoln

2.) Public opinion

Who said: "I have endured a great deal of ridicule without much malice; and have received a great deal of kindness, not quite free from ridicule. I am used to it"?

Lincoln mask
  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. Charles Darwin

3.) Great minds

Which man did Euclidean geometry as a mental exercise?

  1. Charles Darwin
  2. Abraham Lincoln

4.) Cold hard cash

Who was independently wealthy?

Darwin's letters
  1. Charles Darwin
  2. Abraham Lincoln

5.) Romantic inclinations

Who made a long list setting down the pros and cons of marriage before proposing to his future wife?

Wedding ring
  1. Charles Darwin
  2. Abraham Lincoln

6.) Scribbled thoughts

Who would sometimes squirrel away his written notes in his hat for later use?

Lincoln's suit and hat
  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. Charles Darwin

7.) To read or not to read...

Which man enjoyed Shakespeare and could recite long passages from memory?

Lincoln bible
  1. Abraham Lincoln
  2. Charles Darwin

8.) Father figure

Which of the two men did not go to his father's funeral?

Lincoln statue
  1. Charles Darwin
  2. Abraham Lincoln

9.) Origin of the species

Which man fathered 10 children?

Darwin's masterpiece
  1. Charles Darwin
  2. Abraham Lincoln

10.) Ill health

Which man suffered panic attacks, stomach disorders and palpitations?

Statue of Charles Darwin
  1. Charles Darwin
  2. Abraham Lincoln


  1. It was Charles Darwin, who stood in awe of his overbearing father.
  2. Abraham Lincoln wrote the words in a letter to JH Hackett dated 2 November 1863.
  3. Lincoln's law partner, Billy Herndon, tells how late at night, Lincoln would lie on the floor studying Euclid's geometry by candlelight.
  4. Charles Darwin's trip on HMS Beagle was as a self-financed gentleman, a companion to the 26-year-old captain Robert Fitzroy.
  5. Darwin was an inveterate list maker. He married his cousin Emma Wedgewood in 1839.
  6. Lincoln used his stovepipe top hat to carry notes, letters and even bills.
  7. While Lincoln enjoyed discussing Shakespeare and often quoted him, Darwin said: "I have tried lately to read Shakespeare and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me".
  8. On being informed that his father was ill, Lincoln wrote: "My business is such that I could hardly leave home now, if it were not, as it is, that my own wife is sick-abed." His father died in 1851.
  9. Abraham Lincoln and his wife had four children. Darwin's tenth child, Charles, was born in 1856 when his wife, Emma, was 48.
  10. Darwin suffered serious illness throughout the 1860s and his wife Emma acted as a nurse. He once vomited for 27 consecutive days.

What did you score?

0 - 3 : Descended from apes

4 - 7 : Created equal

8 - 10 : Conceived in liberty

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