12th June


Dia dos Namorados (Brazil’s Valentine’s Day)

Helsinki Day (Finland – see 6th December)

Phillippines’ Independence Day (from Spain in 1898 – see 30th December)

Russia Day (see 4 November)


12th January

The National Trust founded 1895, so go visit one of their properties

A long-distance radio signal sent from Eiffel tower 1908make a radio or record your own radio station programme

Little Red Riding Hood, Gustave Doré

Charles Perrault’s birthday (1628), so read fairy stories.

Turkmenistan Remembrance Day – see 19th February

12th December

Russia Constitution Day – see 4th November

Jamhuri Day (Kenya’s independence from UK, 1963) Hominids have lived here for about 2.5 million years. By the 1st century A.D. its coastline had been settled by Bantu people from West Africa who traded food and metal with other countries. Arabs moved in and introduced Islam. The Kilwa sultanate stretched from Tanzania along the whole Swahili-speaking coast, ruled by a Persian sultan. In the 17th century, the area was ruled by Omani Arabs and Portuguese began buying slaves from the area.

The Imperial British East Africa Company arrived in 1888, and had the Kenya-Uganda railway built. The Nandi people were given a ‘native reserve’ to stop them interrupting the railway’s progress. Lots of Indians were brought in to help with the building.

In WWI German East Africa became cut off from Germany but its leader, von Lettow, lived off the land and captured British supplies. Britain sent in an Indian army to chase him,  but needed African porters to carry supplies – these were the Carrier Corps.

Later about 30,000 white settlers arrived in the highlands and became wealthy growing tea and coffee. Unfortunately there were already some native farmers there, so the settlers banned them from growing coffee and introduced a ‘hut tax’ to get rid of them.

In 1952 the Kikuyu began the Mau-Mau rebellion against the British but by 1959 their leader had been defeated. The Mau-Maus were killed or put in camps, and had their land confiscated.

On 12 December 1963 Kenya became independent.

Famous for: Wildife – Kenyan safaris and game reserves are home to the big five – elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo and rhinos.


The Treetops Hotel is where Queen Elizabeth II was staying when she found out her father had died and she was to be queen.





Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexico)

Turkmenistan Neutrality Day – see 19th February

Pennsylvania (1787): famous for being Dutch and Ben Franklin.

12th October

Columbus Day: In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue. San Francisco, with a large Italian-American population, has a Columbus Day parade (although Columbus was working for Queen Isabella of Spain, he was Italian. And he was really called Cristoforo Colombo).

Hawaii celebrates Discoverers’ Day celebrating the Polynesians, and South Dakota celebrates Native American Day; Dia de la Raza or Day of the Race is celebrated in a lot of Latin America. Venezuela celebrates Day of Indigenous Resistance; Spain does Dia de la Hispanidad and Fiesta Nacionale. The Bahamas do Discovery Day. Activities here and here, or try a boat race or do the 10 best Columbus Day crafts.

Fiesta Nacional de España – see 6 December

UN Spanish Language Day – so learn Spanish!

Equatorial Guinea Independence Day (from Spain, 1968)

Also today:

  • Freethought Day (US, commemorating end of Salem witch trials)

12th September

1906 Newport Transporter Bridge opens

1910 Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 premiers

1940 Lascaux cave paintings discovered – make your own cave art. You will need:

  • A wall, a rock or a brown paper bag for drawing on.
  • Charcoal – either shop-bought or homemade – wrap willow sticks in tinfoil and burying it under the burning sticks in a small fire.
  • Mud paint!
  • Berries paint!

Cape Verde National Day

Portuguese explorers found these uninhabited islands in 1456, and it became the first European settlement in the tropics (around the equator).

Its economy was initially based on the slave trade, and when that stopped it became a stopping point for ships in the Atlantic to restock.

It joined with Soviet-supported nationalists in Portuguese Guinea to war against Portugal. They gained independence in 1975.

It has very few natural resources, and only half of the 10 islands support agriculture. 90% of all food is imported.

12th July

1730 Josiah Wedgwood born, so make or paint a plate:

or make a fairy tea set


Kiribati Independence Day (from UK, 1979);

Kiribati is the local pronunciation of ‘Gilberts’, as the islands were named after British explorer Thomas Gilbert. The islands were originally inhabited by Micronesians after 3000 B.C. They became a British protectorate in 1892.

In 2008 Kiribati asked Australia to accept its citizens as refugees as they expect to be the first country to lose all their land to climate change.


Sao Tomé and Principe Independence Day (Portugal, 1975)

These two volcanic islands and archipelago were uninhabited when the Portuguese arrived around 1470 and named them after St Thomas (as they landed on his saint’s day) and the Portuguese prince. They imported slaves to grow sugar, and it became Africa’s main exporter of sugar. But by the mid-17th century its main economy was as a stopping place for slave ships.

Then they tried growing cocoa and by 1908 Sao Tome was the world’s largest producer of cocoa.

On 3rd February 1953 the Portuguese retaliated violently against the creole population who were refusing to work as slaves (illegally) on the estates. This is known as the Batepá massacre and led to rising nationalist ideals. Eventually the Portuguese dictatorship was overthrown in 1974, and they achieved independence on 12th July the next year.

In 1990 they actually had a democracy with opposition parties. The army seized power in 2003, ho hum, but moved out three years later.

Learn about how cocoa is used to make chocolate.


The Twelfth/Orangemen’s Day (Protestant Northern Ireland – anniversary of Battle of the Boyne 1690, Protestant King William III of  defeats Catholic King James II)