3rd December


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


1973 Mariner 10 launched to Mercury

Micronesia Independence Day (from US 1986)


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)

3rd October

52 BC Vercingetorix surrenders to the Gauls under Julius Caesar

Day of German Unity:

Humans have lived in Germany for at least 600,000 years. The world’s oldest complete hunting weapons were found there, 380,000 years old. The first Neanderthal fossil was found in Neander Thal (Neander valley), 40,000 years old. The world’s oldest music instruments ever found, flutes made of bird bone and mammoth ivory, 42,000 years old, were also found there. The Lion man of the Hohlenstein Stadel, 40,000 years old, and the Venus of Hohle Fels, 35,000 years old, are the oldest pieces of figurative art in the world. Phew!

Germanic tribes emerged in the Iron Age and by 100 A.D. they had pretty much filled Germany. Austria and Bavaria were part of the Roman Empire.

From 800 A.D. it was part of the Carolingian Empire, started under the Frankish kind Charlemagne/Charles the Great. This split in 843 into the earliest ideas of France and Germany. The ‘Germany’ bit became the Holy Roman Empire. North Germany got pretty rich thanks to the Hanseatic League, a guild of seafaring merchants, that basically ruled trade in northern Europe, but the Great Famine then the Black Death in the 1300s knocked them back again.

In 1517 Martin Luther founded the Protestant Reformation. The Holy Roman Empire fragmented and led to the Thirty Years’ War, Catholics against Protestants, involving most of central Europe. By the 18th century, the empire was broken into about 1,800 territories.

39 German states came together as the Deutscher Bund in 1814. They even made an economic union called the Zollverein. But the French Revolution was going off and the Germans wanted one too – they invited the Prussian king, Frederick William IV, to be emperor-with-not-quite-as-much-power-as-usual. He said no.

In 1862 King William I of Prussia appointed Bismarck as his Minister President. He created the Norddeutscher Bund and excluded Austria, whom he’d just defeated in a war. Ner ner, you can’t come in. Austria were normally the biggest influence in German unions. Then he defeated France in the Franco-Prussian War, which he had engineered to bring the southern German states into his union. Still excluded Austria though, and called it Kleindeutschland, Little Germany. Emperor William I and Bismarck, Chancellor of Germany, went on to collect a load of African colonies.

Austria’s crown prince, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated, and Germany fought with the Central Powers against the Allies. They lost, 2 million German soldiers were killed, and in 1919 the German Revolution forced Kaiser Wilhelm II to abdicate. The June 1919 Treaty of Versailles forced Germany to accept total responsibility for WWI, to disarm its military, to give up its colonies, and pay reparations to the Allies (about £280 billion in modern money).

On 11 August 1919 the Weimar Republic was formed. There were difficulties: Germany faltered in reparation repayments and France and Belgium retaliated by invading the Ruhr; and in 1922 the country suffered hyperinflation and everyone had to take their Marks home in wheelbarrows. They introduced the Rentenmark to replace the Mark (by when the American dollar was worth 4,210,500,000,000 German marks).

In 1930 Germany introduced a policy of austerity, which only increased unemployment but did reduce inflation. In 1932 the Nazis won 32% of the vote and Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany. A fire in the Reichstag (parliament building) was enough for Hitler to remove everyone’s civil rights and get rid of all the other political parties and open concentration camps (boy that escalated quickly).

Hitler started rearming the military and created lots of employment and industry. However, in 1935 he introduced laws persecuting Jews. This gradually became the Holocaust, killing 6 million Jews, and hundreds of thousands of Romani people, disabled people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals and anyone who disagreed with the Nazis in general.

Then he took back the Saar and the Rhineland, and invaded Austria and then Poland after pretending Poland attacked them first (Operation Himmler). Russia joined in the fun. The UK and France declared war on Germany and so WWII began.

In 1940 France surrendered, but Britain managed to win the Battle of Britain (aerial attacks on our cities). In 1941 Germany turned on Russia and invaded them, but were defeated in the Battle of Stalingrad.

Italy surrendered to the Allies in 1943 and gradually a Western Front opened. We got into Germany in 1945; Hitler committed suicide and Germany surrendered.

Germany split into the Federal Republic of Germany (West/BRD) under the UK, France and US, and the German Democratic Republic (East/DDR) under Russia.

West Germany had a lot of support from America and became an economic miracle, and a founding member of the EEC in 1957. Poor East Germany was spied on by the Stasi and didn’t get as rich, so the Berlin Wall was built to stop East Germans fleeing to the West. Everyone ended up just fleeing via Hungary instead, so in 1989 the wall fell. In 1990 the four occupying powers renounced their rule and Germany was reunified.


Learn about the Berlin wall, and see the Hoff’s awesome light-up jacket.

Eat a German breakfast:

For lunch have pretzels with more meat and cheese, and for dinner have sausages with sauerkraut, and kaesespaetzle. Definitely make a Black Forest Gateau or apple strudel.

Listen to Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, Mozart, Brahms, Strauss, Schubert, Handel, Mendelssohn….Nena, Tokio Hotel, Kraftwerk.


World Space Week (2016)

Also today:

  • Iraqi Independence Day (from UK, 1932) – see 14th July
  • S. Korea National Foundation Day – see 17th July

3rd September

1950 first Formula One winner, Nino Farina – this is such a great racing cars + maths idea.

1976 Viking 2 lands on Mars.

Australia Flag Day – see 26th January.

Also today:

  • V-J Day (China) – see 1st October
  • Qatar Independence Day (from UK, 1971)
  • San Marino’s Day and Foundation of the Republic – see 28th July
  • Zambia Levy Mwanawasa Day (Zambia’s third president, 2002-8, tried to rid country of corruption) – see 24th October

3rd August

1958 USS Nautilus, a nuclear submarine, travels under the Arctic. It was commissioned in response to Russia’s Sputnik, the world’s first manmade satellite, which made America super jealous.

Make a submarine for bath time!

Hungry Ghost Month begins (2016, China): People burn pretend money outside their homes or businesses. This money is for the ghosts to spend while they are here. They also put food out for the ghosts. They hope that if the ghosts have food and money they won’t cause any trouble.

Also today:

  • Niger Independence Day (from France, 1960)
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines Emancipation Day
  • Venezuela Flag Day – see 5th July