1825 Stockton-Darlington Railway opens – here’s some train activities:
and here’s snacks and party games!
1998 Google ‘born’
New Zealand Dominion Day – famous for its indigenous Maoris, and their haka war dance at rugby games. It was the first place in the world to grant women the vote. There are about ten times more sheep than humans in New Zealand! It’s so anti-nuclear that nuclear-powered ships can not land in their harbours.
European Day of Languages – here’s some Language Facts and Fun.
1066 King Harald defeats the Norwegian Vikings in Yorkshire at the Battle of Stamford Bridge. He’s killed at Hastings three weeks later, but this is seen as the end of the Viking Age.
1903 Rothko born.
1870 Georges Claude born (inventor of neon lighting) – here’s how they are made.
1936 Jim Henson born – so watch The Muppets or Labyrinth or Sesame Street or anything with Kermit and Miss Piggie.
Guinea Bissau National Day (independence from Portugal, 1973)
Guinea Bissau was part of the African Mali empire, then part of the Portuguese Empire, known as the Slave Coast, although the African chiefs (some of whom profited from the slave trade) kept the Portuguese in the coastal ports and didn’t let them inland.
An armed rebellion started in 1956 and quickly got support from the Soviet Union, Cuba, left-leaning African countries, etc. By 1973 they achieved independence. Afterwards the government killed all Guinean soldiers who’d fought on the side of the Portuguese and eventually managed democratic elections in 1994.
1846 Neptune discovered
1909 Phantom of the Opera published
Saudi Arabia National Day
Thimphu Tshechu (Bhutan, 2015)
Eid-ul-Adha (2015 – the one where they eat all the meat, usually sheep/goat, to celebrate that time Ibrahim – Abraham in the Bible version – was asked by Allah/God to sacrifice his son Ismail/Isaac. Allah gave him a goat to sacrifice at the last minute.
Autumnal Equinox: Day and night are the same length; first day of autumn.
1791 Michael Faraday born (electromagnetism)
Car Free Day (Europe, Canada)
Bulgarian Independence Day (from Ottoman Empire, 1908)
Prehistoric Bulgarians include the Stone-Age people who made the Kozarnika cave with its carved animal bones; and the Varnas, who left the Varna Necropolis, the world’s oldest treasure site.
The Thracians appeared in the Iron Age, later conquered by Alexander the Great and then the Romans. Under the Romans Bulgaria became Christian, even making the world’s oldest Germanic-language Bible, the Wulfila Bible, and setting up Europe’s oldest monastery, in the 4th century.
When the Roman Empire fell in the 5th century, it became part of the Byzantine Empire.
From the 6th century, South Slavs moved up and settled with the Thracians. In 680 the Bulgars, semi-nomadic Turkic tribes, drove out the Byzantine rulers and created the First Bulgarian Empire. It adopted the Cyrillic alphabet in the 9th century, when it was invented from the Glagolitic alphabet invented by Saints Cyril and Methodius. The Byzantine Empire reconquered Bulgaria in 1014.
In 1393 Bulgaria became part of the Ottoman Empire, who introduced Islam and made Christians second-class citizens.
In 1876 Ottomans killed 30,000 Bulgarians after they tried the Great Bulgarian Uprising; a year later Russia declared war on the Ottoman Empire because of this, and nearly created the Second Bulgarian Empire, except England and France were scared of a Balkan power and said no.So they just made a smaller Bulgaria that actually left out a lot of Bulgarians. This really annoyed Bulgaria and they kept trying to take their old land by force, becoming known as the Balkan Prussia.
From 1912 Bulgaria was involved in two Balkan Conflicts and fighting alongside Austria-Germany in WWI. Obviously that was the losing side, and Bulgaria lost more of its land again.
In WWII they again fought on the side of the Germans, but refused to join in with the Holocaust. In 1944 Russia invaded, and Bulgaria became Communist and fought for the Allies. Afterwards, Georgi Dimitroc led a Stalinist state that executed thousands of dissidents. It had its first free elections in 1990. It became part of the EU in 2007.
Hobbit Day – watch the Lego video here.
Mali Independence Day (France, 1960)
Mali was first part of the Ghana Empire, then the Mali Empire, then the Songhai Empire, all three being major West Agrican empires that ruled Saharan trade in gold, salt and slaves. But then sea trade became more important and the empires fell.
By 1905 most of Mali was ruled by France as part of French Sudan. Mali and Senegal became the Mali Federation, which gained independence from France on 20 June 1960. Then Senegal separated from it on 22 September.
(to be continued…)
1937 The Hobbit published
1874 Gustav Holst born – so listen to the Planets Suite.
Armenian Independence (from USSR, 1991)
Humans have lived in Armenia since at least 4,000 B.C. – archaeologists have found the world’s oldest leather shoe, skirt and wine-making kit there. Its capital Yeravan is the world’s oldest capital city, established in 782 B.C.
The people were Zoroastrians (Persian/Aryan) at first; then Byzantine Christians in 301 A.D.
After 636 A.D. Armenia became its own principality in the Arabic Empire, but in 1045 was taken back by the Byzantine Empire. During the 1230s the Mongols invaded.
From the early 16th century Armenia was fought over by the Turkish Ottoman and the Iranian Safavid Empires. When Christian Armenians tried to push for more rights under Ottoman rule in 1894-6, the emperor Hamid massacred about 300,00 of them.
In WWI the Ottomans and the Iranians worried the Armenians would take Russia’s side, so just tried to kill them all off. The Armenian Genocide saw many able-bodied men massacred; army conscripts were forced to do hard labour, and woman and children were sent on death marches to the Syrian desert.
[to be continued…]
Belize Independence Day (1981 from UK)
3,000 years ago the Mayan culture began here, and flourished until 900 A.D.
Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th century, and declared it a Spanish colony, but they didn’t actually settle it because it didn’t have any gold and the Mayans put up a pretty good defence.
In the 17th and 18th centuries British and Scottish Baymen (pirates) settled there and set up a port and used West African slaves to chop logwood. Spain granted the British settlement rights in return for their not being pirates and attacking Spanish ships any more.
On 10th September 1798, the Battle of St George’s Caye, between the Baymen and the Spanish, settled the matter and Spain gave up Belize entirely. Then Britain was officially in charge, and we tried to abolish the slave labour, but the Baymen ignored us.
In 1862 it became a British Crown Colony under rule from Jamaica, and named British Honduras.
The 1930s Great Depression plus a devastating hurricane Britain did nothing about really annoyed the people here. They fought with the Allies in WWII, but afterwards Britain devalued the Honduras Dollar, damaging the economy and leading Belize to demand independence.
They got independence in 1964 and was renamed Belize in 1973. Guatemala is pretty certain it owns Belize.
Belize is the birthplace of chewing gum and punta music. It’s home to the jaguar (with the world’s only jaguar reserve), howler monkeys and the third largest barrier reef in the world.
Malta Independence Day (from UK, 1964) – see 13th December