1749 Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks first performed
1810 Beethoven composes Fuer Elise
2005 the first Airbus flies
1791 Samuel Morse, inventor of the Morse code, born
Sierra Leone Independence Day (from UK in 1961):
Despite being a tiny country full of diamonds, gold, titanium and bauxite, and despite having the third largest natural harbour in the world at the Queen Elizabeth II Quay, 70% of its people live in poverty. Its name means ‘Lioness Mountains’.
From 1495 it was a slave-trading post for many countries; from 1787 escaped African-American slaves began to set up colonies there, becoming Freetown, the country’s capital.
I’m not sure exactly how it became British; it seems like we just casually took over, but after 1961 democracy lasted about 6 years, then they had all kinds of military coups and then a civil war. The UN tried to get involved, and 500 were taken hostage. So the British came in and sorted everyone out, and apparently now Tony Blair is quite popular over there for helping.
King’s Day (Netherlands and colonies) – everyone wears orange and celebrates the King’s birthday – so maybe dress up as kings and queens and have an orange feast!
Other events that might inspire your play:
- S. Africa Freedom Day (celebrates the first elections in 1994 when black people could vote)
- Togo Independence Day (from France in 1960 – see 13 Jan)