1992 discovery of the Hoxne Hoard. Can you dig for treasure? If you have a budding archaeologist on your hands, a kids’ metal detector might be fun.
Estonia’s Day of Declaration of Sovereignty (do not let your children find out about the Estonian sport of kiiking)
Humans have lived in Estonia for at least 11,000 years. The Romans called the natives the Aesti tribe, which might be who Estonia is named after. In the Viking Age the Estonians were known as Oesilian pirates.
Denmark got annoyed by the Estonian Viking raids, and took it over with the help of Germany in 1207 in the Livonian Crusade, to eradicate Paganism and make it a Christian country. The capital, Tallinn, is said to mean Taani Linna – ‘Danish town’ in Estonian.
In 1343 the Estonian natives tried to rise against the Danish and German rulers, so the king sold it to the Teutonic Order, a Germanic crusader state for 19,000 Koeln marks. There was a series of wars fighting over control of various bits of Estonia, so that by the 1620s the Estonian population was reduced to about 140,000 people.
In 1629 Estonia came under Swedish rule, and the Swedish king gave the peasants better rights. The Protestant Reformation arrived a bit before (1520s), literacy improved and under Swedish rule they gained a university and a printing press. The Estonians call this period the ‘Good Old Swedish Time’.
In 1721 Sweden lost Estonia to Russia. Serfdom was abolished and education became more widely available. The first national epic, Kalevipoeg, was published in 1862.
After WWI Estonia declared its independence, but the Bolsheviks (Lenin’s Russian Communists) fought them about it for 14 months.
In WWII Russia installed lots of military bases for ‘mutual defence’ and then easily took it over. Russia still claims it did not invade Estonia and that it gave Russia rule voluntarily. Then, fearing Germany would take it, destroyed as much of it as possible. Maybe a quarter of the population died at this time, and less than 30% of conscripted men survived.
Germany then ‘helped’ Estonia kick out the Russians – then Germany took it over. Then Russia took it back again in 1944. Tens of thousands of people were deported and not allowed back until the 1960s, after Stalin’s death. Half a million immigrants from other parts of Russia came to help with the military and industry.
In 1989 they had a Singing Revolution, and more than 2 million people formed a human chain through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
On 16 November 1988 Estonia declared itself independent. Russia recognised its independence in 1991, and the last units of the Russian army left in 1994. Estonia joined the EU in 2004.
Skype was invented in Estonia.
Iceland’s Language Day, so maybe learn a bit of Icelandic and learn about volcanoes and geysers
Oklahoma founded (1907): Oklahoma was given to the Native Americans…then the whites moved in anyway. State Capitol building, the Grapes of Wrath.