1937 The Hobbit published
1874 Gustav Holst born – so listen to the Planets Suite.
Armenian Independence (from USSR, 1991)
Humans have lived in Armenia since at least 4,000 B.C. – archaeologists have found the world’s oldest leather shoe, skirt and wine-making kit there. Its capital Yeravan is the world’s oldest capital city, established in 782 B.C.
The people were Zoroastrians (Persian/Aryan) at first; then Byzantine Christians in 301 A.D.
After 636 A.D. Armenia became its own principality in the Arabic Empire, but in 1045 was taken back by the Byzantine Empire. During the 1230s the Mongols invaded.
From the early 16th century Armenia was fought over by the Turkish Ottoman and the Iranian Safavid Empires. When Christian Armenians tried to push for more rights under Ottoman rule in 1894-6, the emperor Hamid massacred about 300,00 of them.
In WWI the Ottomans and the Iranians worried the Armenians would take Russia’s side, so just tried to kill them all off. The Armenian Genocide saw many able-bodied men massacred; army conscripts were forced to do hard labour, and woman and children were sent on death marches to the Syrian desert.
[to be continued…]
Belize Independence Day (1981 from UK)
3,000 years ago the Mayan culture began here, and flourished until 900 A.D.
Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th century, and declared it a Spanish colony, but they didn’t actually settle it because it didn’t have any gold and the Mayans put up a pretty good defence.
In the 17th and 18th centuries British and Scottish Baymen (pirates) settled there and set up a port and used West African slaves to chop logwood. Spain granted the British settlement rights in return for their not being pirates and attacking Spanish ships any more.
On 10th September 1798, the Battle of St George’s Caye, between the Baymen and the Spanish, settled the matter and Spain gave up Belize entirely. Then Britain was officially in charge, and we tried to abolish the slave labour, but the Baymen ignored us.
In 1862 it became a British Crown Colony under rule from Jamaica, and named British Honduras.
The 1930s Great Depression plus a devastating hurricane Britain did nothing about really annoyed the people here. They fought with the Allies in WWII, but afterwards Britain devalued the Honduras Dollar, damaging the economy and leading Belize to demand independence.
They got independence in 1964 and was renamed Belize in 1973. Guatemala is pretty certain it owns Belize.
Belize is the birthplace of chewing gum and punta music. It’s home to the jaguar (with the world’s only jaguar reserve), howler monkeys and the third largest barrier reef in the world.
Malta Independence Day (from UK, 1964) – see 13th December