St Louis, Missouri, established 1764 – so make ice cream in cones…
Too cold? Try ice cream cone cakes:
… or make iced tea:
… drink 7 Up or make a 7-Up cake:
… watch the Judy Garland movie Meet Me in St Louis:
1971 Decimal Day (Britain changes its money to the decimal system) – so empty your wallet and play shop with real money. There are online games here.
2001 first draft of the complete human genome published in Nature – this blog has some great DNA activities:
Galileo born 1564 – so build a telescope, or visit your local observatory, or do his Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment and drop a heavy and a light object out of a window to see which lands first (hopefully they land at the same time!)
Charles Lewis Tiffany born 1812, founder of Tiffany’s – so make newspaper jewellery;
1874 Sir Earnest Shackleton, Antarctic explorer, born – so go exploring!
Serbia National Day:
Neolithic humans were settled in Serbia 8,500 years ago.
In the Iron Age the Thracians, Dacians and Illyrians developed there, and the Ancient Greeks expanded into south Serbia in the 4th century B.C.
A Celtic tribe of Scordisi invaded, then the Roman Empire in the 2nd century B.C.
17 Roman emperors were born in Serbia, including Constantine the Great.
When the Roman Empire was divided, Serbia remained in the Byzantine Empire.
In the 8th century the Principality of Serbia was ruled by the Vlastimirović Dynasty and adopted Christianity.
The Byzantine Empire annexed it, then it devolved into a Vojislavljević dynasty in Duklja, and the Vukanović dynasty in Rascia called the Serbian Grand Principality.
These two halves were united in 1142, and Stefan Nemanja assumed the throne.
His son, Rastko created the Serbian Church and wrote the world’s oldest known constitution.
Dušan the Mighty doubled the size of Serbia by taking land from Byzantium and becoming Emperor of Serbs and Greeks.
But by 1455 Serbia was completely conquered by the Ottoman and Hapsburg (Austro-Hungarian) Empires.
In the 18th century the word ‘vampire’ began to spread – the most widely used Serbian word in the world. The picture shows a sign in Serbia directing tourists to a mill haunted by a vampire.
In the Russo-Turkish War Serbia tried to gain independence from the Ottoman Empire, and it did, briefly, before the Great Powers decided it was now owned by Austria-Hungary. Ho-hum.
In 1912 the two Balkan Wars defeated the Ottoman Empire and increased Serbia’s land by 80%.
In 1914 Serbian Gavrilo Princip assassinated the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and kicked off WWI.
At the end of the war, King Peter I of Serbia became King of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. His son renamed the country Yugoslavia (meaning ‘southern Slavs’), but the Croats eventually became independent again.
In WWII Yugoslavia tried to stay neutral but the Axis powers (the bad guys) invaded, and 90% of Serbia’s Jews were killed.
Yugoslavia was also having a civil war, royalists against communists; 70,000 Serbs were killed in this inner war alone. The communists won.
In 1989 Slobodan Milošević came to power and Yugoslavia broke up, with only Serbia and Montenegro staying in. But ethnic Serbs living in Bosnia and Croatia were cross about not being part of Yugoslavia anymore, so wars broke out.
Serbia supported the ethnic Serbs until the UN imposed sanctions on them and so Serbia’s economy crashed.
In 1990 they were finally allowed democracy, although Milošević didn’t actually concede defeat in elections until 2000 (after NATO bombed Serbia to stop all the fighting in Kosovo).
When he fell, the UN lifted its sanctions and Milošević was sent off to a war crimes court, but died of a heart attack before any judgement.
In 2006 Montenegro separated from Serbia, and in 2008 Kosovo decided it was independent too. Serbia said nope.
Serbia is currently waiting to join the EU.
Serbia is the world’s second-largest plum exporter (after China) and the plum is its national fruit. Try making plum dumplings.
Listen to Stevan Stojanović Mokranjac’s music, Željko Joksimović or Boban Marković, or watch a kolo dance.
A special part of Serbian culture is the Slava, when Serbians celebrate their family’s patron saint’s day with Slava bread, red wine, and a bowl of boiled wheat.
Other events today that might inspire your play:
- Afghanistan Liberation Day (Soviet withdrawal, 1989) – see 19th August,
- John Frum Day (Vanuatu) – see 5th March.
- Canada’s Flag Day – see 1st July.
- Susan B. Anthony Day (US) (women’s rights/suffrage activist)