19th May

XXX 155306536

Jean-Pierre Christin invents Centigrade to measure temperature

 

220px-mustafa_kemal_ataturk_looking_through_a_train_window_over_turkish_flag

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.)

29th October

Turkey Republic Day

Most of modern Turkey lies on the Anatolian Peninsula, one of the oldest permanent settlements in the world. It is thought that all Indo-European languages came from here. The European bit, the Eastern Thrace, is also pretty old, and had Neolithic farming in 6,000 B.C.

The Hattians and the Hurrians lived here until the Hittites came along (I know, it’s great) and founded the Hittite Empire (18th-13th century B.C.!) A load of others invaded, Assyrians, Phrygians, Cimmerians, etc., but when the Greeks came and founded Byzantium in 657 B.C. it started to get interesting.

In the 6th-5th centuries B.C. Turkey was part of the Persian Achaemenid Empire, which fell to Alexander the Great in 334 B.C. The Battle of Troy was fought here, and the architectural site is a big tourist attraction.

Then it became part of the Roman empire, by which time the Anatolian language had been replaced by Greek. In 324, Constantine I chose Byzantium as the Roman capital (which is why it became called Constantinople) and when the Empire was divided, Byzantium became the capital of its eastern half.

In the 11th century, Seljuks (Muslim Turks) invaded and introduced Turkish and Islam. They were then defeated by the Mongols, and one Turkish king who remained, Osman I, founded the dynasty of Ottoman Turks who would rule the Ottoman Empire.

The Ottoman Empire took over the Byzantine Empire in 1453 when it took Constantinople. Portugal turned out to be the empire’s main rivals for dominance over the Silk Road and the Indian Ocean.

The Empire peaked under Suleiman the Magnificent (look at that turban….)

Its rival now was the Holy Roman Empire, as the Ottomans marched on through the Balkans to Poland-Lithuania. In the 19th century it began to decline; Russia took the Caucasus, and Muslim Turks settled in the Balkans mainly fled back to Constantinople.

The Ottoman Empire entered WWI and was defeated. During the war the Ottomans decided to get rid of the Armenians, and while the Armenian men were mainly fighting for their country abroad, the women, children and elderly were sent on death marches into the Syrian desert without food or water. 1.5 million Armenians were killed and the word ‘genocide’ was coined in 1943 to describe this mass murder. Turkey does not recognise it as genocide yet.

After WWI you’d think everyone would have a break, but actually the Allies occupied Constantinople and insisted (in the Treaty of Sèvres) that the Ottoman Empire hand over all non-Turkish land and divide it between (British-owned) Palestine and (French-owned) Syria.

So then the Turkish War of Independence booted them out in 1922, and we all signed the Treaty of Lausanne, which defined nearly all of Turkey’s borders except with Iraq, but didn’t give the Kurds their own homeland, which is why they’re always kind of in the wrong country.There was also some weird population exchange, wherein Greece sent over 380,000 Muslims in return for 1.1 million Greeks.

Mustafa Kemal, who had led the war of independence, became the first president of the Republic. They managed to stay out of most of WWII, and they got a lot of economic support from America’s Truman Doctrine so they didn’t fall into Russia’s hands afterwards.

Cyprus had a bit of a wobble in 1974, when a military coup installed the dictator Nikos Sampson who wanted union with Greece. Turkey invaded, took the north of Cyprus, and by 1983 this had declared itself the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, which only Turkey recognises. Turkey itself still has problems with some separatist Kurds who keep terrorising people.

Their national sport is oiled wrestling….Try making Turkish delight, or buy some and have a Turkish tea party, with coffee (use Nesquik or dandelion and burdock for the kids?) in a pan or tea in tulip-shaped glasses.

Cambodia Coronation Day – see 9th November

30th August

Kazakhstan Constitution Day

Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world.

It was inhabited by nomadic tribes from the Neolithic period, who regularly raided Russia for slaves. From 206 B.C. it was an important part of the Silk Road.

Then the Mongols invaded led by Genghis Khan, and his descendants ruled the Kazakh Khanate 1456-1847. By the end, the Khanate was divided into three jüz or hordes. As it was weak, the Uzbek Khanate and the

From 1807 Russia took over as part of the ‘Great Game’, trying to build the Eastern Europe Empire before Britain took it. It imposed Russian language and the Kazakhs didn’t really like it.

The Russians encouraged immigration into Kazakhstan, which caused resentment and eventually the Central Asian Revolt in 1916.

Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, and subsequent civil war, the Russian Empire collapsed and became the communist Soviet Union. The collectivisation of the 1920s-30s caused a famine, while Stalin executed their intellectuals to repress their culture further. After WWII Soviet Russia put its main nuclear test site in Kazakhstan, with no regard for the people who lived there.

In 1953 Russian leader Kruschev decided to make Kazakhstan ‘Virgin Lands’ which would supply grain to the rest of the Union. They’d deported loads of their unwanted into Kazakhstan too, so now they only made up 30% of the population.

On 16 December 1991 Kazakhstan was the last Soviet state to declare independence. Its communist-era leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, became president and still is.

 

East Timor Popular Consultation Day (to have independence from Indonesia in 1999)

New Guineans and Australians migrated to East Timor about 40,000 years ago, with Austronesians migrating there about 3,000 B.C. It traded sandalwood, honey and slaves with China. Europeans arrived in the 16th century to trade sandalwood, and Portugal took it over from 1769 (the Dutch took West Timor).

In WWII Japan invaded, and the Allies fought the Battle of Timor with Timor volunteers.

In 1974 Portugal had the Carnation Revolution and withdrew from its colonies; East Timor became independent a year later. Indonesia were scared as its new leading party were left-wing, so invaded. Until 1999 the Indonesian rule of East Timor was pretty brutal, with thousands killed or dying from hunger.

In 1991 pro-independence protestors were gunned down by the Indonesian military. This was a turning point, and the UN helped East Timor vote for independence in 2002.

 

St Rose of Lima Day (Peru)

Turkey Victory Day (1922 War of Independence against the Allies after WWI) – see 29th October

19th May

XXX 155306536

Jean-Pierre Christin invents Centigrade to measure temperature

 

220px-mustafa_kemal_ataturk_looking_through_a_train_window_over_turkish_flag

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.)