12th July

1730 Josiah Wedgwood born, so make or paint a plate:

or make a fairy tea set


Kiribati Independence Day (from UK, 1979);

Kiribati is the local pronunciation of ‘Gilberts’, as the islands were named after British explorer Thomas Gilbert. The islands were originally inhabited by Micronesians after 3000 B.C. They became a British protectorate in 1892.

In 2008 Kiribati asked Australia to accept its citizens as refugees as they expect to be the first country to lose all their land to climate change.


Sao Tomé and Principe Independence Day (Portugal, 1975)

These two volcanic islands and archipelago were uninhabited when the Portuguese arrived around 1470 and named them after St Thomas (as they landed on his saint’s day) and the Portuguese prince. They imported slaves to grow sugar, and it became Africa’s main exporter of sugar. But by the mid-17th century its main economy was as a stopping place for slave ships.

Then they tried growing cocoa and by 1908 Sao Tome was the world’s largest producer of cocoa.

On 3rd February 1953 the Portuguese retaliated violently against the creole population who were refusing to work as slaves (illegally) on the estates. This is known as the Batepá massacre and led to rising nationalist ideals. Eventually the Portuguese dictatorship was overthrown in 1974, and they achieved independence on 12th July the next year.

In 1990 they actually had a democracy with opposition parties. The army seized power in 2003, ho hum, but moved out three years later.

Learn about how cocoa is used to make chocolate.


The Twelfth/Orangemen’s Day (Protestant Northern Ireland – anniversary of Battle of the Boyne 1690, Protestant King William III of  defeats Catholic King James II)


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