28th January

Chinese New Year’s Day (2017) – Year of the Rooster

Make these Chinese lanterns,

make fortune cookies, or a fire-breathing dragon

or an eggbox dragon. Find out why the Chinese name their years after animals, and make Playdo animals for each family member using this chart. Try Chinese New Year yoga! This page also has good resources.

This year is the year of the monkey. We love this book by Anthony Browne.

 

Losar (2017 Tibet New Year, also Nepal and Bhutan). This year is the Female Fire Rooster. Yep, yep. This page has lots of ideas on how to join in with their celebrations.

1958 Lego patented

Obviously you can build anything! So ask your kid what they want to build. But here are some other ideas:

http://amomwithalessonplan.com/lesson-plans/creative-kids-lego-challenge/

Consider a trip to Legoland!

 

1912 Jackson Pollock bornthis blog had a LOT of fun with it.

28th November

1811 Beethoven’s Op.73 premiers

1909 Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 3 premiers

1757 William Blake born

Albanian Independence (from Turkey, 1912) – see 11th January

Burundi Republic Day – see 1st July

Chad Proclamation of the Republic – see 11th August

Mauritania Independence Day (from France, 1960)

Panama Independence Day (from Spain, 1821)

28th September

1990 Nintendo Gameboy released

Czech Statehood Day

The first recorded ‘kingdom’ of Slavs was the Samo Empire in the seventh century, which lasted only 30 years. Czechs then became part of the Moravian Empire.

In 1198 the kingdom of Bohemia was formed in the Holy Roman Empire. This is where we get the idea of ‘bohemian’ from – it was a French insult that meant ‘gypsy’, who they thought came from central Europe. Bohemia then became part of the Austrian Empire.

In 1867 the Austrian and Hungarian kingdoms joined to become the Austro-Hungarian Empire (with two kings). Hungaria owned Slovakia.

At the end of WWI the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed and the Bohemian Kingdom and Slovakia became Czechoslovakia.

In 1938 Hitler demanded control of the Sudetenland, part of Czechoslovakia. For some reason he asked Britain and France for this, rather than Czechoslovakia, and for some reason we said “Yeah sure.” A year later Hitler took the rest of Czechoslovakia. Czechs were considered Untermenschen (inferior) and were to be deported or turned into Germans. Hundreds of thousands of Jews were also killed.

Soviet troops freed Czechoslovakia, but they did take Subcarpathian Ruthenia (Czech land has the best names) for themselves on the way out. Over 2 million ethnic Germans were kicked out.

Czechoslovakia became a Communist country. In 1968 there was the Prague Spring, where they tried to be a bit liberal, but it was soon quashed because Russia invaded them.

In 1989 the Velvet (i.e., peaceful) Revolution restored democracy, and in 1992 Czechoslovakia peacefully dissolved into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

The Czech Republic is famous for beautiful Prague:

Jan Svankmajer, Sigmund Freud, Franz Kafka. It has the highest density of castles in the world, and is the most eastern part of the western world.

Manit Day (Marshall Islands cultural day).

28th July

NPG P1825; Beatrix Potter (Mrs Heelis) by Charles King

1866 Beatrix Potter born

1887 Marcel Duchamp born – do your kids think this is art?

Commemoration of the Great Upheaval (1755-64 Brits kicked out Acadians, French settlers, from Canada)

Ólavsøka Eve (Faroe Islands Parliament opens tomorrow on St Olaf’s Day, when there will be a boat race, Faroese chain dancing, etc.)

Anniversary of the Fall of Fascism: (San Marino, after WWII)

St Marinus founded San Marino when he built a church and monastery on Mount Titano, a secluded Alpine peak, in 301 A.D.

When Italy was being unified, San Marino protected those that were pro-unification, and this meant that Garibaldi let San Marino off the hook when it came to being part of Italy. San Marino made Abraham Lincoln one of its honorary citizens for trying to build a similar republic.

During WWI it remained neutral, which annoyed Italy so it cut its telephone lines. WWII it was neutral again.

In 1923-45 it was ruled by a fascist party; in 1945-57 it had the world’s first democratically elected Communist party.

It has no national debt, and makes a lot of income selling its own coins, its own Euros, and its own stamps to collectors. Their most famous dessert is the Torta de Tre Monti.

Independence Day (Peru from Spain):

Peru was home to the Norte Chico civilisation 3,000 years ago, the oldest civilisation in the Americas and one of only six known ancient civilisations in the world.

In the 15th century the Incas flourished, but in 1532 king Atahualpa was captured by Spanish conquistadors. Its silver resources and native slave labour made it valuable.

After it gained independence in 1821, it managed to find income through exporting guano (bird or bat poo).

Peru was defeated by Chile in the 1879-83 War of the Pacific (also involving Bolivia, over resources and land). Now it has problems with debt, drug-trafficking, inflation, human rights issues, corruption and all that.

Here is a nice site on the Incas for kids, and there are lots of crafts: make Peruvian beads, make a llama felt bag, try some weaving, metal tooling using disposable tinfoil containers.

28th May

Ethiopia National Day, celebrates downfall of Derg junta in 1991:

Ethiopia, also sometimes called Abyssinia, has over 93 million people, the most people living in a landlocked country in the world.

A 4.4 million year old humanoid skeleton was uncovered here, as well as ‘Lucy’, the earliest skeleton of a human. It is thought Homo sapiens first evolved here, and later set out to the Middle East; it’s also where the coffee bean first appeared.

In around 300 A.D. Ethiopia’s Kingdom of Aksum was as powerful as Rome, Persia, China and India, and was the first empire to adopt Christianity.

In 1270 the Solomonic dynasty began rule in Ethiopia, claiming descent from King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, making them the second-oldest monarchy in the world (after Japan’s Imperial Dynasty).

From 1508 Ethiopia had trade links with Portugal, and in the Ethiopian-Adal War (Adal was a Muslim state in the Horn of Africa) Portugal and the Ottoman Empire took sides as well.

From 1755 Ethiopia became cut off from the rest of the world and was run by warlords.

From around 1850 Ethiopia allied with Britain, who helped it to unite and reestablish the emperor’s power. Turkey and Egypt invaded in 1875-6, but Ethiopia won.

In 1889 Menelik II became Emperor, and built roads and schools and the capital, Addis Ababa.

He also let Italy have a bit of northern Ethiopia, now Eritrea, in return for arms and support. Italy took the mick and expanded the offered territory, but Ethiopia defeated them in the Battle of Adwa, 1896. This makes Ethiopia the only African power to have defeated Europe and never been colonised.

From 1916 Emperor Haile Selassi I became emperor. Selassi was originally called Duke, or Ras, Tafari, and is worshipped by the Rastafarians as the Second Coming.

He was making Ethiopia all independent and modern when Italy invaded again. Selassi appealed to the League of Nations, and became Time magazine’s Man of the Year.

In WWII Britain pushed Italy out of Ethiopia and gave Ethiopia independence again.

In 1942 Selassi abolished slavery, even though about 2-4 million people out of the 9 million population were slaves.

In 1952 Ethiopia became a federation with Eritrea, then annexed them in 1962, who fought back and gained independence.

Mariam

In 1974, following an increase in oil prices, Selassi was deposed by a Soviet-backed Marxist-Leninist junta called the ‘Derg’. Led by Mengistu Haile Mariam, they killed around 500,000 people, and Mariam was found guilty of genocide in 2006 and sentenced to 20 years in prison.

In the 1980s 1 million died from famine.

Soviet Russia collapsed in 1989 and Ethiopia lost its financial support, and Mariam had to flee as the people turned on him.

In 1995 Ethiopia held its first democratic elections.

In 1998-2000 the Ethiopia-Eritrea war cost both countries $1 million  a day because Ethiopia had taken the area of Badme (it still has it).

The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democractic Front, led by Meles Zenawi, has been in power since 1991 and although it lost the 2005 elections it still claimed power.

Ethiopia still uses the Julian calendar with 13 equal months; it is currently 2003.

Day and night are always the same as Ethiopia is on the equator, and instead of using a 12-hour clock beginning at midnight or noon, 1 o’clock is at daybreak, 6am, or at 7pm if it’s 1 o’clock at night (yes, I did explain that terribly).

It has these unique churches carved straight into the ground:

Nepal Republic Day

People have lived here for more than 11 thousand years. Around 500 B.C. a Nepalese prince called Siddharta Gautama gave up his title and tried to become enlightened – he is now known as Buddha.

Nepal was sometimes part of Indian empires like the Mauryan and Gupta Empires, and Nepal became more Hindu than Buddhist.

In 1482 Nepal was three separate kingdoms, Kathmandu, Patan, and Bhaktapur. In the mid-18th century, a Gurkha (soldier) king, Prithvi Narayan Shah, and he took over looooooads until China felt he was getting a bit close and declared war. And the Brits, who were all over India, also got scared and declared war, but we massively underestimated how fierce the Gurkhas are and were nearly beaten.

In 1846 the Nepalese queen wanted to get rid of a military leader, Jung Bahadur Rana. He fought back, and this led to the Kot Massacre, where loads of princes and chieftains were killed and Rana became king. He allowed the Prime Minister more power than him, and was very pro-British.

In 1959-89 democracy was abolished and the king just had layers and layers of advisers. In 1991 they got democracy back; meanwhile, Bhutan decided to get rid of anyone of Nepalese descent and sent about 100,000 people over, who still just live in a refugee camp in eastern Nepal today.

In 1996 the Communist Party began a civil war until 2006, with 12,000 people killed. In 2001 the Crown Prince killed the king, queen and seven other royals for disagreeing with his choice of wife. The next king entered negotiations with the Communists and eventually agreed to stand down, and Nepal became a secular republic with the Communist Party in coalition with basically all the other parties, which sounds nice.

Nepal has eight of the world’s 10 tallest mountains, including Mount Everest. We like to build a mountain of cushions, climb to the top and have a picnic. Weirdly satisfying. Nepal is the only country to have a non-rectangular flag.

Other events today: