18th November

1307 William Tell shoots an apple off his son’s head

 

1928 short Steamboat Willie and Mickey Mouse’s birthday – find Mickey-Mouse-themed lunch ideas here.

 

2013 MAVEN probe sent to Mars

 

Latvian Independence Day: (from Russia, 1918)

Latvia had important access to the Baltic ports, which meant it tended to be attacked by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Sweden and Russia who all wanted it too.

From 1611 it was owned by Sweden, who were generally rather nice as you might expect of Swedes, the main change being that peasants started being educated.

Then it was taken into the Russian Empire, who also took all of its industry into Russia proper, until WWI , when Latvia became independent.

In 1939 Soviet Russia took Latvia into its protection, if it could be called that, replacing civil servants with Soviet Russians and deporting/killing thousands just in case.

In 1940 Latvia became part of the Soviet Union, and during WWII Nazi Germany took bits too. Post-war it was back to Soviet Russia, with all the deportations and repression that entailed.

In 1989-90 the USSR realised it wasn’t welcome and Latvia became independent again.

Latvia’s most popular sport is ice hockey. While they are a Christian country, they have a particular Latvian paganism called Romuva, and its followers are the Dievturiba, the Godskeepers.

You could tell stories from their folklore. They export a great deal of amber so you can talk about how that’s made. They invented the Namejs style of ring, as well as the Lielvarde belt whose symbols are said to explain the cosmos. You could try their sorrel soup.

 

Morocco Fete de l’Independance (Independence Day):

From the 6th century B.C. Phoenicians (Jewish traders in a purple dye from the Murex snail; they spread the use of the alphabet) settled and traded with Morocco.

From the 1st century B.C. it was part of the Roman Empire called Mauretania Tingitana (awesome name).

From the 6th century it was part of Byzantium. Umayyad Muslims from Damascus (in Syria) conquered Morocco; followed by a man named Idris, who formed the Idrisid dynasty and made Morocco a centre of Muslim learning.

Berber dynasties followed, and a bunch that claimed to be descendants from Mohammed, until in 1666 the Alouite dynasty united the country and still rule today.

Weirdly Morocco was the first country ever to recognise the US. From 1860 France and Spain started taking bits, and Moroccans fought for both countries in WWI and WWII, but after France exiled their sultan and replaced him with an unpopular one, Morocco really wanted independence; it gained this in 1956.

Spain left their bit of the Sahara but Algeria and the Polisarios (Spanish settlers) fought Morocco for it.

It’s still not really calmed down but there’s been a ceasefire since 1991. Cook some Moroccan food or make a little fez for a teddy bear. Try Andalusian classical music like Ziryab’s, or chaabi bands.

 

Also today:

  • Battle of Vertièrés Day (Haiti, 1803)
  • Oman National Day
  • Chinita’s Fair (Venezuela)
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23rd July

Oman Renaissance Day: (Oman celebrates the coronation of their Sultan).

Humans moved from Africa to here and Arabia in the Pleistocene age, during an ice age when many huge plants and other species of human died out.

From 6th century BC to 7th century AD, Oman was ruled by Persian kings, until Islam arrived and Oman became ruled by an imam and got involved in all kinds of Islamic wars.

In 1497 Portugal owned a bit of it, and the Ottoman (Turkish) Navy took Oman’s port in its efforts to control the Persian Gulf.

From the 17th century Oman had its own empire along Africa, including Zanzibar where the Sultan made his palace because of the slave industry.

The Hajar Mountains split the country; the middle, Oman, was ruled by the imam; the coast and the capital, Muscat, was ruled by the sultan from 1920.

But of course they fought, over oil, naturally, and since the ’70s the sultan officially rules everything again.

The central desert of Oman is an important source of meteorites for science.

Make halwa; read 1001 Nights (Aladdin, Ali Baba, Sinbad the Sailor)

Egypt Revolution Day

Egypt is part of Africa, Europe and Asia, making it the world’s only Eurafrasian country. Apparently that’s a word.

It is made up of farmland along the Nile, and Sahara desert. Those are your options.

Around 8,000 B.C. the Sahara desert started to form and hunter-gatherer tribes were forced to settle along the Nile. By 6,000 B.C. the tribes had reached the Stone Age (British tribes got there about 3,000 years later). The first Egyptian hieroglyphics appeared in 3,200 B.C., on some pottery.

Egypt was unified into one kingdom under King Menes c.3150 B.C., and this ‘Old Kingdom’ began building pyramids in 2,700 B.C., including the famous Giza pyramids and Sphinx.

Ptolemy I, a Macedonian general under Alexander the Great (a Greek emperor), declared himself Pharoah of Egypt in 305 B.C. and Egypt became a centre of Greek trade. The Ptolemaic Kingdom lasted until Cleopatra, who commited suicide by allowing an asp (snake) to bite her after her lover Mark Antony also committed suicide in her arms because his army had been defeated by Octavian/Augustus (he changed his name).

Then Rome annexed Egypt. Christianity was brought by St Mark, and Egyptian Christianity is called the ‘Coptic Church’. Then the Persians invaded, then the Muslims conquered it (led by a disciple of Mohammed, born in Mecca city)

[to be continued…]

 

Vartavar (2017, a big water fight in Armenia, 14 weeks after Easter – so have a water fight!)

18th November

1307 William Tell shoots an apple off his son’s head

 

1928 short Steamboat Willie and Mickey Mouse’s birthday – find Mickey-Mouse-themed lunch ideas here.

 

2013 MAVEN probe sent to Mars

 

Latvian Independence Day: (from Russia, 1918)

Latvia had important access to the Baltic ports, which meant it tended to be attacked by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Sweden and Russia who all wanted it too.

From 1611 it was owned by Sweden, who were generally rather nice as you might expect of Swedes, the main change being that peasants started being educated.

Then it was taken into the Russian Empire, who also took all of its industry into Russia proper, until WWI , when Latvia became independent.

In 1939 Soviet Russia took Latvia into its protection, if it could be called that, replacing civil servants with Soviet Russians and deporting/killing thousands just in case.

In 1940 Latvia became part of the Soviet Union, and during WWII Nazi Germany took bits too. Post-war it was back to Soviet Russia, with all the deportations and repression that entailed.

In 1989-90 the USSR realised it wasn’t welcome and Latvia became independent again.

Latvia’s most popular sport is ice hockey. While they are a Christian country, they have a particular Latvian paganism called Romuva, and its followers are the Dievturiba, the Godskeepers.

You could tell stories from their folklore. They export a great deal of amber so you can talk about how that’s made. They invented the Namejs style of ring, as well as the Lielvarde belt whose symbols are said to explain the cosmos. You could try their sorrel soup.

 

Morocco Fete de l’Independance (Independence Day):

From the 6th century B.C. Phoenicians (Jewish traders in a purple dye from the Murex snail; they spread the use of the alphabet) settled and traded with Morocco.

From the 1st century B.C. it was part of the Roman Empire called Mauretania Tingitana (awesome name).

From the 6th century it was part of Byzantium. Umayyad Muslims from Damascus (in Syria) conquered Morocco; followed by a man named Idris, who formed the Idrisid dynasty and made Morocco a centre of Muslim learning.

Berber dynasties followed, and a bunch that claimed to be descendants from Mohammed, until in 1666 the Alouite dynasty united the country and still rule today.

Weirdly Morocco was the first country ever to recognise the US. From 1860 France and Spain started taking bits, and Moroccans fought for both countries in WWI and WWII, but after France exiled their sultan and replaced him with an unpopular one, Morocco really wanted independence; it gained this in 1956.

Spain left their bit of the Sahara but Algeria and the Polisarios (Spanish settlers) fought Morocco for it.

It’s still not really calmed down but there’s been a ceasefire since 1991. Cook some Moroccan food or make a little fez for a teddy bear. Try Andalusian classical music like Ziryab’s, or chaabi bands.

 

Also today:

  • Battle of Vertièrés Day (Haiti, 1803)
  • Oman National Day
  • Chinita’s Fair (Venezuela)

23rd July

Oman Renaissance Day: (Oman celebrates the coronation of their Sultan).

Humans moved from Africa to here and Arabia in the Pleistocene age, during an ice age when many huge plants and other species of human died out.

From 6th century BC to 7th century AD, Oman was ruled by Persian kings, until Islam arrived and Oman became ruled by an imam and got involved in all kinds of Islamic wars.

In 1497 Portugal owned a bit of it, and the Ottoman (Turkish) Navy took Oman’s port in its efforts to control the Persian Gulf.

From the 17th century Oman had its own empire along Africa, including Zanzibar where the Sultan made his palace because of the slave industry.

The Hajar Mountains split the country; the middle, Oman, was ruled by the imam; the coast and the capital, Muscat, was ruled by the sultan from 1920.

But of course they fought, over oil, naturally, and since the ’70s the sultan officially rules everything again.

The central desert of Oman is an important source of meteorites for science.

Make halwa; read 1001 Nights (Aladdin, Ali Baba, Sinbad the Sailor)

Egypt Revolution Day

Egypt is part of Africa, Europe and Asia, making it the world’s only Eurafrasian country. Apparently that’s a word.

It is made up of farmland along the Nile, and Sahara desert. Those are your options.

Around 8,000 B.C. the Sahara desert started to form and hunter-gatherer tribes were forced to settle along the Nile. By 6,000 B.C. the tribes had reached the Stone Age (British tribes got there about 3,000 years later). The first Egyptian hieroglyphics appeared in 3,200 B.C., on some pottery.

Egypt was unified into one kingdom under King Menes c.3150 B.C., and this ‘Old Kingdom’ began building pyramids in 2,700 B.C., including the famous Giza pyramids and Sphinx.

Ptolemy I, a Macedonian general under Alexander the Great (a Greek emperor), declared himself Pharoah of Egypt in 305 B.C. and Egypt became a centre of Greek trade. The Ptolemaic Kingdom lasted until Cleopatra, who commited suicide by allowing an asp (snake) to bite her after her lover Mark Antony also committed suicide in her arms because his army had been defeated by Octavian/Augustus (he changed his name).

Then Rome annexed Egypt. Christianity was brought by St Mark, and Egyptian Christianity is called the ‘Coptic Church’. Then the Persians invaded, then the Muslims conquered it (led by a disciple of Mohammed, born in Mecca city)

[to be continued…]

 

Vartavar (2017, a big water fight in Armenia, 14 weeks after Easter – so have a water fight!)