19th September

Oetzi the Iceman discovered

Saint Kitts and Nevis Independence Day (from UK, 1983)

St Kitts was named after St Christopher and Nevis named after Nuestra Senora de las Nueves – Our Lady of the Snows. Not that Nevis is very snowy.

They were settled by Native Americans, the Kalinago people, five thousand years ago, and Christopher Columbus arrived in 1493.

In 1538 French Huguenots arrived, and in 1636 English settlers arrived. Three years later the English and French joined forces to massacre the Kalinagos in case they did it first. In 1629 the Spanish came back and deported the lot of them.

But the Spanish Empire went into decline and the Brits and French used St Kitts as a base to take over other islands nearby. The French eventually ceded the island to the Brits in 1713. We stuck St Kitts, Nevis and Anguilla altogether as one colony, but Anguilla broke away in 1971. St Kitts and Nevis gained independence in 1983, making it the youngest sovreign state in the Americas.

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

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19th June

Juneteenth (Freedom Day; abolition of slavery in Texas 1865, three years after they’d been told to)

World Sauntering Day: so slow down and appreciate the world around you, smell the roses and definitely don’t run.

Revolutionary Readjustment Day (Algeria):

The Berber tribesmen arrived around 30,000 B.C. (!) and invented couscous. Then the Romans took over, then Muslim Arabs in the 600s. Then the Spanish… then the Ottoman Empire…

Then there was some pretty exciting Barbary pirate stuff during which the US paid 20% of their annual revenue to Algeria so they’d stop attacking their ships.

In 1830 Algerians were forced to surrender their land to the French and were from then on treated quite badly.

In 1954 the Front Nationale de Liberation started a guerrilla campaign for independence, and when they won it 1 million ‘Pieds-Noirs’ (not very nice term for French natives living in Algeria) fled back to France.

From 1991 Algeria was in a state of civil war until (officially) 2002 but the ‘state of emergency’ that has limited freedom of speech and press was only lifted in 2011 and due to continued terrorist attacks and the occasional kidnapping of a tourist, it’s not particularly recommended as a holiday resort.

Activities: Make North African/Islamic/French-influenced cuisine! Couscous or a tagine, perhaps. This website has lots of ideas: http://www.foodbycountry.com/Algeria-to-France/Algeria.html

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Make cave paintings if you can find a good bit of rock to decorate nearby. Listen to very-Algerian-sounding Kablye music and find out the names of the weird instruments (essentially drums, bagpipes, flute).

Other events today:

  • 1961 Kuwait declares independence from UK – see 25th February
  • Day of the Independent Hungary (from Soviet Russia, 1991) – see 20th August
  • Birth of General Artigas (Día del Nunca Más – The Day of Never Again): Uruguay celebrates their national hero (he defeated Spain in 1811, paving the way for Uruguay’s independence) as well as remembering the victims of political unrest and violence on this day. – see 25th August

19th May

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Jean-Pierre Christin invents Centigrade to measure temperature

 

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The Commemoration of Atatürk, Youth and Sports Day (Turkish celebrate Mustafa Kemal landing at Samsun, on the north coast, in 1919 and beginning the Turkish war of independence. Atatürk was a name given to Kemal meaning Father of the Turks)

 

Ho Chi Minh’s birthday (Vietnam’s communist revolutionary and prime minister and president of North Vietnam during the Vietnam war)

 

Malcolm X Day (USA. Malcolm Little was an African-American Muslim. He joined Nation of Islam, which believed the African diaspora should return to Africa to be free of oppression, and that white people are devils. He called himself X as he couldn’t know his family’s pre-slave surname. He was a controversial figure as, unlike Martin Luther King Jr, he believed blacks were superior to whites rather than equal, and that they should use violence to further their aims. When he decided to leave was assassinated by three of its leaders.)

19th January

Verdi’s The Troubadour/Il Trovatore premiers 1853

NASA sends the New Horizons probe to Pluto 2006 – so learn about Pluto

James Watt born 1736 – I thought he invented the watt but it was named after him; he actually invented a way of making steam engines more efficient, so maybe learn about steam engines

Edgar Allan Poe born 1809 – try this video?

Cezanne born 1839

Timkat (Ethiopia) – They celebrate Epiphany as well as Jesus’s baptism. They also wrap a model of the Ark of the Covenant (the chest in which were the stone tablets with the 10 commandments on) in cloth and carry it in a procession. Learn about the Ark of the Covenant and the 10 Commandments.

19th November

1994 National Lottery starts – so play Bingo.

Monaco National Day

The Holy Roman Emperor, Henry VI, granted land to Genoa in 1191 that became Monaco.

In 1297, Francisco Grimaldi captured the fortress on the Rock of Monaco while dressed as a monk (coincidentally monaco in Italian).

He was kicked out and the Grimaldis didn’t gain Monaco until they bought it from the House of Aragon in 1419. They became vassals of the French kings in return for protection against Spain.

In 1793, French Revolutionaries captured Monaco and France owned it until 1814, when the Grimaldis were allowed to return to the throne. They almost immediately became a protectorate of Sardinia.

In 1860 the whole area became French again. The towns of Menton and Roquebrune tried to claim independence from Monaco because of too much tax; Charles III, Prince of Monaco, sold them to France (containing about 95% of Monaco’s population!) for 4 million francs.

He then set up Monte Carlo’s casino and seaside resort to recoup the losses from all that tax. This was so successful Monaco eventually abolished income tax.

In WWII Italy and then Germany invaded and its Jews were deported.

In 1956 Prince Rainier III married Grace Kelly.

Celebrate by making a tiny casino. It sounds terrible, but number recognition and maths play an important part in simple casino games like Blackjack or Bingo.

Also today:

  • Garifuna Settlement Day (in Belize, after being evicted from Grenadine by UK)
  • Discovery of Puerto Rico Day
  • Brazil Flag Day
  • International Men’s Day
  • Telemontecarlo, Europe’s oldest private tv channel, was launched on this day in 1954 – why not make a tv out of a cardboard box and put on your own show?