10th February

Feast of St Paul’s Shipwreck. Malta has the most holidays in Europe. This one celebrates St Paul’s shipwreck (did you guess that already?) on Malta in 50 A.D. – so play Shipwreck.

Fenkil Day (Eritrea commemorates Battle of Fenkil, a victory in its quest for independence) – see 24th May

10th January

1929 The Adventures of Tintin first published

Benin Traditional Day:

Benin was formerly called the Dahomey Kingdom. The Dahomey people, men and women, were very good at fighting wars and the king of this realm made a lot (like, a lot) of money selling their prisoners of war into slavery in Europe. Any they didn’t sell were decapitated.

But the slave trade was banned by a lot of countries in the 19th century, and the Dahomey power was diminished until France saw their opportunity in 1892 and popped in to take over. They gained independence again in 1960.

In the ’70s their leader, Kérékou, decided Dahomey was going to be Marxist and called The People’s Republic of Benin (the country’s river) and nationalised oil and banks, and then nearly all businesses, so foreign investment dried up.

Kérékou accepted nuclear waste to try and prop up the economy. In 1990 the country stopped being Marxist as it clearly wasn’t working, and Kérékou was defeated in the next elections and stepped down – a first for a black African president.

Benin is famous for its bronze plaques that decorated the royal palace until Britain stole them all.

10th December

1868 first (gas) traffic lights installed outside Westminster

1824 George MacDonald born, author of The Princess and the Goblin

1884 Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn published

1903 Mary Norton born, author of The Borrowers

Sweden Nobel Day (award of Nobel prize)

Mississippi state founded 1817, famous for Mississippi mud pie; where Roosevelt invented the teddy bear; pecans and sweet potato.

Mavlana Whirling Dervishes Festival, Turkey (2015) – so play dizzy dizzy ducklings

Lyon’s Fete des Lumieres (2016) http://www.fetedeslumieres.lyon.fr/en

10th November

1871 Henry Morton Stanley finds explorer – ‘Dr Livingstone, I presume?” – go off on an adventure with a homemade explorer kit!


1969 Sesame Street debuts

1989 Berlin wall starts to fall

1960 Neil Gaiman born – so read Fortunately the Milk or Coraline or Chu’s Day or, well, any of these.

10th October

1813 Giuseppe Verdi born – he wrote operas, and his most famous songs are as “La donna è mobile, and “Libiamo ne’ lieti calici“.

1971 London Bridge dismantled and rebuilt in Arizona – can you build it out of Lego?

Fiji Day (independence from UK, 1970):

First inhabited by the Lapitas, ancestors of the Polynesians, Fiji was famous for cannibalism, with ‘Eat me!’ being the proper way to address a chief. New boats were rolled over men, crushing them to death, to ensure successful journeys.

The Brits took Fiji in 1874 and brought in Indians to work on the plantations so as not to disrupt native life.

In 1970 when Fiji became independent the Indian population was clearly unwelcome and many left. Try the Cibi or Bole war cry (rugby); weave a tapa cloth; dance a meke dance; make a canoe for a race.

Taiwan National Day (Double Ten Day, anniversary of Wuchang Uprising that led to Chinese Republic being founded)

Taiwan was attached to Asia until sea levels rose about 10,000 years ago. There have been humans there for at least 30,000 years ago, and about 8,000 years ago Austronesians arrived. As the Taiwan Austronesian languages are more diverse than other Austronesian settlements, Taiwan was probably the original home of Austronesians.

The Portuguese named Taiwan Formosa, meaning ‘beautiful’, in 1542. The Dutch and the Spanish arrived in the 16th century too, to establish fortified trading posts, but the the Chinese arrived and booted them out.

In 1895 China were defeated in a war with Japan and Taiwan became part of Japan, but Taiwan declared itself the independent Republic of Formosa. Didn’t work – Japan squashed them.

Japan industrialised Taiwan, with sanitation and education, and ended headhunting, the spoilsports. But the Taiwan natives were treated as second-class citizens. In 1935 Taiwanese culture and language were banned, to encourage people to feel more Japanese.

In WWII Taiwan fought alongside Japan; after WWII any Japanese living there were sent home. China ruled until 1952; one uprising in 1948, now called the 228 Incident, resulted in the Chinese killing thousands of Taiwan people.

In 1949 the Nationalist Chinese government were defeated by the Chinese Communist Party, moved to Taiwan and declared it to be the new Republic of China, bringing about 2 million nationalists, national treasures, gold reserves and foreign currency reserves. Meanwhile Communist China declared itself the People’s Republic of China including Taiwan, and that the Republic of China didn’t exist.

The Republic of China declared martial law in Taiwan to suppress any opposition. About 140,000 people were imprisoned or executed.But US funds and demand for Taiwanese products actually helped the economy, and because of the Cold War the West only recognised Taiwan as the official China until the 1970s.

In 1987 martial law was lifted, and the country slowly became democratic. In 2007 Taiwan decided to be a ‘normal country’ called Taiwan.

Karaoke is very popular, as are bubble tea and milk tea drinks. The national sport is baseball, followed by basketball. Kids will probably love Taiwan’s weird restaurants, like toilet restaurants and Hello Kitty restaurants and Barbie restaurants.

Also today:

  • Cuba Anniversary of the beginning of the War of Independence in 1868 – see 20th May
  • Laos Day of Liberation – see 2nd December
  • Finnish Literature Day (birthday of Aleksis Kivi, who wrote the first novel in Finnish in 1870) – try the Kalevala.

10th September

2008 the Large Hadron Collider is powered up – try the BBC resources.

Amerindian Heritage Day (Guyana)

St George’s Caye Day (British colonists in Belize defeated Spanish in 1798)

Gibraltar National Day:

Gibraltar belongs to Britain officially, after we and the Dutch took it from Spain in 1704. Spain still isn’t happy about it (as you can see, it is technically part of Spain), but the Gibraltans voted to stay British. They keep control of most of their own laws and stuff; we just look after their defence.

Gibraltar is famous for having the only wild monkey colony in Europe – Barbary macaques, who love to eat out of tourists’ hands.



Day of the Workers in the Oil, Gas, Power, and Geological Industry (Turkmenistan, 2015, 2nd Saturday)

10th July

1856 Nikola Tesla born – so learn about AC/DC electricity, the Tesla coil, or electricity in general:

Static electricity:

Or make a lemon battery.

Bahamas Independence Day (from UK, 1973)


Taino people moved to the Bahamas around the 11th century from Hispaniola (Haiti/Dominican Republic) and Cuba and became the Lucayans. When Colombus arrived in 1492 there were 30,00 Lucayans there. The Spanish moved the Lucayans to Hispaniola and used them as slaves. Half died from smallpox.

The Bahamas became a haven for pirates, including the infamous Blackbeard, so to stop piracy Britain made the Bahamas a crown colony. After American Independence, Britain let a load of Americans who’d been loyal to Britain (Loyalists) settle in the Bahamas with their slaves.

In 1807 we abolished slaves and the Royal Navy intercepted slave ships on their way to America and liberated them on the Bahamas. Which is nice.

The islands became self-governing in 1964, and became fully independent on this day 1974. Queen Elizabeth II is still its queen. Its national animals are the marlin and the flamingo; the national sport is cricket.

They have street parades called Junkanoos, and a beach with pink sand!

Have a pretend tropical holiday! Make a pirate treasure chest. Drink tropical drinks in the sandpit:



1890 Wyoming State founded