4th January

1903 Thomas Eddison electrocutes Topsy the elephant – not many people know Eddison did this, to show everyone that his rival Tesla’s AC current was more dangerous than his (it’s not). Learn about AC/DC and electric currents; I’d recommend getting a kids’ book out the library or trying this game.

Spirit Rover

2004 Spirit rover lands on Mars

Grimm tales

1785 Jacob Grimm born – so read some fairy tales

1809 Louis Braille born – so write your name in Braille.

Burma Independence Day (from UK, 1948)

Burma (officially called Myanmar) has been inhabited by humans for 400,000 years. In the 2nd century B.C. Tibeto-Burman Pyu people made cities and traded with India, which introduced Buddhism.

In the 1060s Burma became the Pagan Empire (named after the settlement at Bagan), building tens of thousands of Buddhist temples. Mogol invasions toppled it in 1287.

After that Burma was made up of Ava, Hanthawaddy and Shan states and the Kingdom of Mrauk U.

In the mid-16th century, a state of Ava, Taungoo, took over the whole of Burma as well as north-east India, a bit of China, Siam and Lan Xang and was the largest empire in south-east Asian history, but it collapsed by 1599.

Eventually Burma was reunited under the Kongbaung dynasty, but they did have to fight off Portugal, Siam, France and Britain. China also kept invading and eventually Britain, after three Anglo-Burmese Wars in the 19th century, took the whole thing. We brought English settlers and Indian workers, and absolutely no respect for Burmese culture, not even taking our muddy boots off to enter the sacred pagodas.

In WWII Burma was devastated. Japan invaded and the Brits and Americans followed to boot them out. The Burmese fought on both sides.

In 1948 Burma became independent from Britain, but not part of the Commonwealth.

In 1962 a military coup d’etat set Burma on the path to Soviet-style Communism, and it became one of the world’s most impoverished countries. This led to the 8888 (8 August 1988) Uprising, which saw thousands of protestors killed, martial law put in place and Burma was renamed the Union of Myanmar.

In 1990 Burma finally had free elections, the first for 30 years. But the military government wasn’t re-elected, as they’d clearly expected, and they said “Oh well, never mind”, ignored the votes and stayed in power until 2011. In 2007 a Saffron Revolution was led by Buddhist monks, and as the government tried to kill them a lot of the world stopped trading with Burma.

In 2008 a cyclone left 200,000 people dead or missing and 1 million homeless. American planes carrying aid weren’t allowed in in case they were spies.

Burma exports a lot of jewels…but most of the west can’t buy them because the miners’ working conditions are so awful.

Utah founded (1896) by Mormons


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s