3rd July

1886 Karl Benz patents the Benz Motorwagen, the world’s first car designed to be powered by a motor. His wife, Bertha Benz, took it on a tour of Germany, inventing the first filling station (buying oil from a pharmacy), the first brake pads (asking a shoemaker to nail some leather to the brakes) and generally being a go-getter. The country still celebrates her journey every two years on the Bertha Benz Memorial Route.

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/make-your-own-toy-car-track-with-washi-tape-177818

1996: the Stone of Scone returned to Scotland.

 

1890 Idaho State founded. It’s famous for its potatoes. I’m not kidding.

 

Belarus Independence Day

Belorussia, White Russia, is a term from when the Tsar was ‘Tsar of All Russia’, the Great Russia (where Russians were native), the Little Russia (now Ukraine) and the White Russia (Belarus). Perhaps they had whiter skin or wore white clothes, it’s not sure. This got a bit confusing during the Russian Revolution when the White Russians were also the military force trying to crush the communist Reds.

Belarus is 40% forest. Its national dish is draniki – potato pancakes.

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3rd June

Economist Day (Buenos Aires) – so play some money games:

(Roll a dice and put that many pennies on the board; get 5 pennies and trade up for 5p, etc.)

Mabo Day (Australia commemorates Eddie Koiki Mabo, whose campaign led to indigenous Australians had a right to their own land in 1992) – so maybe make some aboriginal rock art:

– see 26th January for more Australian ideas.

3rd May

Roodmas/Finding of the Holy Cross Day. The church above which the cross was found, built by St Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, is still to be found in Jerusalem.

Japan Constitution Memorial Day – see 11th February

Poland National/Constitution Day

In 966 A.D. Mieszko I, ruler of the land that is now Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it became part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1772–95 Poland was partitioned among Prussia, the Russian Empire, and Austria. It regained its independence at the end of World War I and became the Second Polish Republic.

In 1939, World War II was started when the Nazis and Russia invaded Poland. More than six million Polish citizens died in the war. After the war Poland became a satellite state of the Soviet Union. In 1989 Poland’s Marxist–Leninist government was overthrown and Poland became a democracy called the Third Polish Republic.

It has one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth (the Jura range) and a desert with sand 40 metres deep! They have a national reforestation scheme aiming to cover a THIRD of the country in forest (they’re only about 3% off the target) and a lot of the landscape is protected.

Famous Polish people include Marie Curie (moved to Paris when she was 24); Copernicus, and Chopin. They invented the polonaise. And you got to check out the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

3rd December

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1927 first Laurel and Hardy, Putting Pants on Philip. Here’s their top five films.

1973 Pioneer returns the first close-ups of Jupiter

Illinois founded (1818) – the first state to abolish slavery, invent the ice cream sundae and have electric street lighting throughout an entire city. Well done there, Illinois. (You can definitely eat ice cream sundaes and why not light up a dolls house using Christmas tree lights?

Ghana Farmers Day: On this day the best farmers in Ghana win amazing prizes (like a three-bedroomed house) to help promote and support farming in the country. Make a farm! You’ll need different enclosures; a cow for milking; a sheep for wool and a sheepdog to round them up; pigs for meat; chickens for eggs; maybe some hives for honey; and a farmer and farmer’s wife of course. There’s a cute one here made of recycling waste.

Saba National Day:

Saba is mainly a volcano, owned by the Netherlands since 1816.  It used to be a good place to hide if you were a Jamaican pirate – so play pirates. Or build a volcano out of baking soda or diet coke and mentos. Or make a fish mobile (maybe cut out fish like these), stick a straw in your mouth for a snorkel, and go scuba diving.

3rd November

1954 Godzilla’s first film

1957 Laika the dog goes into orbit in Sputnik 2

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1973 Mariner 10 launched to Mercury

Micronesia Independence Day (from US 1986)

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Micronesia is made up of thousands of islands. In the early 20th century they were owned by the US, who had taken a lot of islands from Spain in their war with them in 1898, Germany and the UK. Germany’s islands were seized after WWI and mostly became League of Nations mandates.Today most of the islands are independent.

Also today:

  • Japan Culture Day – see 11th February
  • Dominica Independence Day (from UK 1978)
  • Maldives Victory Day (failed coup from Sri Lanka, 1988) – see 26th July
  • Panama Independence Day (from Colombia in 1903)