18th February

1930 Pluto discovered – it’s smaller than our moon, takes 248 years to orbit the sun, it’s mostly ice and has no atmosphere, and might be one of Neptune’s moons that escaped (its orbit goes inside Neptune’s)

1978 the first Iron Man competition held – a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon 26.2-mile run in 17 hours.


1848 Louis Comfort Tiffany, glass artist, born – so try some stained glass:

This one uses tissue paper and glue – another blog used puffy paint to make the black stained-glass outlines.


Gambia Independence Day


Gambia used to trade with Muslim merchants in slaves, ivory and gold on the trans-Saharan trade routes. By the 12th century Gambian kingdoms had converted to Islam and had courtiers literate in Arabic.

In the 14th century Gambia was part of the Mali Empire. In the mid-15th century the Portuguese arrived and dominated sea-trade. In 1588 the Portuguese sold trading rights on the Gambia river to Britain.

During the 17th and 18th centuries Britain and France were fighting over West Africa, but Britain eventually won Gambia. In 1807 we abolished slave trade in our empire.

Gambia gained independence within the Commonwealth in 1965.They did quite well with democracy until 1981 when there was a coup and about 800 people died, Gambia tried joining up with Senegal to share resources but gave up after seven years. In 1994 Lt. Yahyah Jammeh became dictator and banned opposition parties, but since then they’ve moved back to democracy and Jammeh is still in power. In 2013 Gambia left the Commonwealth because it’s a neo-colonial institution.

Their traditional music is sabar; they love football.


Other events that might inspire you today:

  • Taj Mohatsav (2016): http://www.tajmahotsav.org/
  • 1898 Erenzo Ferrari born – so play with cars
  • Sepandārmazgān, Iranian mothers/wives day
  • Rashtriya Prajatantra Divas (Nepal National Democracy Day) – see 28th May

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