30th August

Kazakhstan Constitution Day

Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world.

It was inhabited by nomadic tribes from the Neolithic period, who regularly raided Russia for slaves. From 206 B.C. it was an important part of the Silk Road.

Then the Mongols invaded led by Genghis Khan, and his descendants ruled the Kazakh Khanate 1456-1847. By the end, the Khanate was divided into three jüz or hordes. As it was weak, the Uzbek Khanate and the

From 1807 Russia took over as part of the ‘Great Game’, trying to build the Eastern Europe Empire before Britain took it. It imposed Russian language and the Kazakhs didn’t really like it.

The Russians encouraged immigration into Kazakhstan, which caused resentment and eventually the Central Asian Revolt in 1916.

Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, and subsequent civil war, the Russian Empire collapsed and became the communist Soviet Union. The collectivisation of the 1920s-30s caused a famine, while Stalin executed their intellectuals to repress their culture further. After WWII Soviet Russia put its main nuclear test site in Kazakhstan, with no regard for the people who lived there.

In 1953 Russian leader Kruschev decided to make Kazakhstan ‘Virgin Lands’ which would supply grain to the rest of the Union. They’d deported loads of their unwanted into Kazakhstan too, so now they only made up 30% of the population.

On 16 December 1991 Kazakhstan was the last Soviet state to declare independence. Its communist-era leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, became president and still is.

 

East Timor Popular Consultation Day (to have independence from Indonesia in 1999)

New Guineans and Australians migrated to East Timor about 40,000 years ago, with Austronesians migrating there about 3,000 B.C. It traded sandalwood, honey and slaves with China. Europeans arrived in the 16th century to trade sandalwood, and Portugal took it over from 1769 (the Dutch took West Timor).

In WWII Japan invaded, and the Allies fought the Battle of Timor with Timor volunteers.

In 1974 Portugal had the Carnation Revolution and withdrew from its colonies; East Timor became independent a year later. Indonesia were scared as its new leading party were left-wing, so invaded. Until 1999 the Indonesian rule of East Timor was pretty brutal, with thousands killed or dying from hunger.

In 1991 pro-independence protestors were gunned down by the Indonesian military. This was a turning point, and the UN helped East Timor vote for independence in 2002.

 

St Rose of Lima Day (Peru)

Turkey Victory Day (1922 War of Independence against the Allies after WWI) – see 29th October

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