17th June

Statue of Liberty arrives in New York 1885

1898 M.C. Escher born

1903 Ruth Graves Wakefield invents the chocolate chip cookie

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

Iceland National Day: Iceland is the most sparsely populated country in Europe, with the world’s most northern capital.

It was first populated from 874 A.D. by Norsemen and their Gaelic thralls (slaves).

Before then it may have been the home to some Celtic monks from Scotland and Ireland.

In the Middle Ages it mainly belonged to Norway, and was very poor, the climate being too harsh for much agriculture.

In 1783 the Laki volcano made the world’s biggest volcanic eruption; the ensuing sulphuric gases killed off a lot of farmland and livestock, and many died in the famine.

From 1814 Norway and Denmark were no longer united and Iceland became part of Denmark; meanwhile many moved to the New World as Iceland was still too bloomin’ cold.

During WWII Iceland stayed neutral, but for some reason Britain invaded (perhaps because Germany had invaded Denmark and Britain thought Iceland would be next) and then America did. America stayed throughout the Cold War (i.e., until 1990!) just in case.

Thanks to US financial aid (the Marshall Plan) Iceland’s fishing industry expanded and its economy grew; then its economy switched to finance and banking, which unfortunately ruined its economy from 2008 when all three of its major banks collapsed after running up huge debts.

They eat a lot of fish pickled in brine or smoked meat, particularly lamb. Play a magnetic fishing game – maybe cover it in crushed ice first to make it more authentic.

Make a snúður or a skúffukaka (kinds of cake).

Make a volcano – just drop a Mento in a Cola bottle. Listen to Bjork.

National Juggling Day: So learn to juggle.

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