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How Big of a Latin History Moron Are You? Find Out in 10 Questions

Take this diagnostic test before you embarrass yourself at John Leguizamo's Broadway show.

John Leguizamo lectures pugnaciously in Latin History for Morons at Studio 54.
(© Matthew Murphy)

Quick, what year did Mexico declare independence from Spain? Who was the last emperor of the Inca? What country did Augusto Pinochet seize control of in 1973 and rule for 17 torturous years? If you didn't answer "1810," "Atahualpa," and "Chile," here's another question for you. Are you a Latin history moron?

John Leguizamo's new solo show assumes that most Americans are. Latin History for Morons, which opens tonight on Broadway, calls out our ignorance while also dispelling it. Leguizamo marches through the history of Latin America from the pre-Columbians to Pitbull, occasionally calling on audience members for answers.

To prepare yourself, take this examen. It's not a cheat sheet for the show, but it will give you a feel for the material. Even better, it may prevent you getting a demerit from Leguizamo.

1. The Olmec, a people who lived in what is now Mexico, established the first major civilization of Mesoamerica. What does the word "Olmec" mean?

A) bloodletters
B) jaguar breeders
C) rubber people
D) chocaholics

2. The Maya civilization thrived in Mesoamerica from 250 to 900 CE. Like the Aztecs who succeeded them, the Maya practiced human sacrifice. What did they do to their victims?

A) fed and pampered them for years before burying them alive
B) painted them blue and threw them into a well
C) hung them upside down and tickled their feet until they begged for death
D) forced them to listen to an early version of the accordion as they were slowly eviscerated

3. In 1519, Spanish explorers reached Tenochtitlan, the capital of the Aztec empire. Tenochtitlan was bigger than any city in Spain, and many commonplaces of Aztec life were unknown to the Spanish. Which of the following had the Spanish never seen before?

A) chocolate
B) vanilla
C) a sewage system
D) all of the above

Among the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza stands the pyramid of Kulkulkan, built over an underground river in 900 CE.
(© Chichen Itza's Kukulkan Temple by Kyle Simourd under CC BY 2.0, resized)

4. The Inca built the biggest empire in the history of the Americas. Through it ran a network of roads known as the royal highway. What was the distance covered by the royal highway?

A) roughly 2,800 miles (about the same distance as the contiguous United States from
east to west)
B) roughly 2,900 miles (about the same distance as Europe from east to west)
C) roughly 8,000 miles (about the same distance as the diameter of the earth)
D) roughly 25,000 miles (about the same distance as the circumference of the earth)

5. The Taino people were living on what is now Cuba, Puerto Rico, and other Caribbean islands when Christopher Columbus reached their region in 1492. Which of the following words did they contribute to the English language?

A) caucus, shack, skunk, totem
B) cashew, chocolate, taco, tomato
C) barbecue, hammock, hurricane, tobacco
D) exploitation, genocide, rape, capitalism

6. What did the first Europeans to found a colony in what is now Brazil call it?

A) New Portugal
B) South Spain
C) Antarctic France
D) Mosquito Coast

Simon Bolívar's fight for Latin American independence from Spain in the 19th century earned him the nickname "El Libertador."
(© Simon-bolivar by lamcharles66 is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0, resized / Wikimedia Commons)

7. Simon Bolívar was a political and military leader whose victories made independence possible for which of the following countries?

A) Argentina, Bolivia, Chile
B) Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay
C) Bolivia, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago
D) Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Peru, Venezuela

8. What is the official name (in English) of the country better known as Mexico?

A) the People's Republic of Mexico
B) the United Mexican States
C) Great Mexico
D) Oaxaca

9. Who is the only Latinx artist to win an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award)?

A) Anthony Quinn
B) Lin-Manuel Miranda
C) Chita Rivera
D) Rita Moreno

10. John Leguizamo hasn't achieved EGOT status, but he has received an Emmy, Drama Desk, and Obie Award. What was one of the first distinctions he earned, back when he was in high school?

A) Most Talkative
B) Best Mustache
C) Class Flirt
D) Most Likely to Star in a One-Man Broadway Show

Answers: 1. C  2. B  3. D  4. D  5. C  6. C  7. D  8. B  9. D  10. A


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