A typical History Bowl match features 4 students with buzzers on each team and a reader.

A typical History Bowl match features 4 students with buzzers on each team and a reader.

The International History Bee and Bowl are the world’s premier competitions in the subject of history for primary and secondary school students. Founded in 2010, IHBB organizes history quiz tournaments around the world, and is in the process of designing the inaugural International History Olympiad. The International History Bee is for individual students while the International History Bowl is for school teams. IHBB is headquartered in Washington, DC, USA, though our staff travels throughout the world to encourage students and schools to compete, and to direct our tournaments as well.

The International History Bee and Bowl currently consists of Asian, European, and USA divisions, though additional regions will be added in future years. Each division features qualifying tournaments, and then a regional championship at the end of the school year for the top students and school teams. Qualifying tournaments always last a single day and typically features a History Bee for individual students, and a History Bowl for teams. In the USA division, the elementary and middle school level works somewhat differently, and there is also a separate tournament solely on US history for high school students.

During a tournament, the Bee and the Bowl are held at different times so students can compete in both events. Students answer most questions by ringing in with a buzzer (like on certain TV quiz shows). The questions are structured so that more obscure information comes at the start of the question, and more familiar information towards the end. When a student knows the answer, that student rings in on the buzzer and offers an answer (interrupting the reader with an early buzz is allowed). If correct, that student (in the Bee) or the student’s team (in the Bowl) acquires points. In a History Bowl match, there are always two different teams competing while in most Bee matches, there are between 6 and 8 students who compete. After the preliminary matches are done, the top students and teams qualify for both the playoffs and their regional championships.

The quiz questions used in The International History Bee and Bowl can come from any era, field, or location in history. However, we make sure that the questions are of appropriate difficulty based on age class, and the location of the tournament. A question on King Louis XV might be appropriate for high schoolers in France, for example, but not for middle schoolers in Japan. Unsurprisingly, a greater percentage of the questions asked in the USA cover American history, a greater percentage in Europe deal with European history, and a greater percentage of the questions in Asia will focus on Asian history. You can find sample questions, a list of tournament sites and dates, the full competition rules, the registration page and more by clicking through to a particular IHBB regional homepage.

Although we are only three years old as an organization (the USA division began in the 2010-2011 school year, the Asian and European divisions in 2011-2012), we have already overseen hundreds of tournaments around the world, and are committed to growing for decades to come. In particular, IHBB is excited to be in the early stages of planning the inaugural International History Olympiad for the summer of 2015. The International History Olympiad will be an annual event for the top history students from around the world to meet one another and compete in a number of different ways (of which buzzer-based quiz tournaments will be just one). Click on the International History Olympiad tab on the menu bar for more information.

IHBB is overseen by David and Nolwenn Madden, an American/French husband and wife team. David is a graduate of Princeton University and the Freie Universitaet Berlin in Germany, where he studied history and international relations. He is also a former 19 day champion on the American TV quiz show Jeopardy! and the founder of the United States Geography Olympiad. Nolwenn holds a degree in management from the business school EM Lyon in France. She has worked for the European Union on youth outreach programs and in the technology field.

If you have any further questions, please see our FAQs page, or contact us at the email addresses or phone numbers provided under the Contact Us link on the menu bar. Thanks for your interest in The International History Bee and Bowl!