18th July

Uruguay Constitution Day:

The Portuguese discovered Uruguay in 1512. Before then there were only the nomadic Charrua, who were driven there by the Guarani from the north about 4,000 years ago.

The Spanish arrived in 1516. The Charrua killed one of the Spanish explorers the year before, and their fierceness combined with the lack of treasure in Uruguay meant no one fancied settling there until 1603 when Spain introduced cattle.

Then the British, Spanish and Portuguese fought over it – Spain mostly won but in 1806-7 Britain did manage to seize the capital, Montevideo, as part of the Napoleonic Wars (that sounds like a tenuous excuse).

In 1811 José Gervasio Artigas revolted against the Spanish authorities and defeated them.

A new government was formed in Buenos Aires, and Artigas said every area should have its own political and economic autonomy, particularly east of the river Uruguay in the Banda Oriental.

The new government ignored him, so he broke with Buenos Aires and seized Montevideo. Artigas organised a Liga Federal of six states (four of which became part of Argentina).

In 1816 the Portuguese invaded from Brazil and took Montevideo the next year.

Brazil became independent in 1822, and three years later the Thirty-Three Orientals, a revolutionary group led by Juan Antonio Lavalleja, declared independence, fought for 500 days about it, and eventually Britain got involved and negotiated independence for them on 18 July 1830.

A year later, Bernabé Rivera, the nephew of the new president Fructuosa Rivera, invited the remaining Charrua people (remember them?) to meet him, then killed all the men and enslaved the women and children. Nice.

A couple more massacres later and there were only four Charruas left: they were taken to France to be shown off like a circus act, and they all died, including a baby that was born to them on the journey. There is a monument to them in Montevideo called Los Últimos Charrúas.

Then Uruguay became split between two political parties: the Blancos, who were conservative farmer types, and the Colorados, who were liberal business types.

Oribe.

In 1838 the Colorados led an army and overthrew the Blanco president, Manuel Oribe. He fled to Argentina, ruled by Manuel de Rosas.

Rosas.

So then Colorados leader Fructuosa Rivera declared war on Rosas (not sure I entirely understand why). The war lasted 13 years and is called the Guerra Grande, or Great War.

In 1843 Argentina started trying to take Montevideo in a siege that lasted 9 years and ended up involving Italian and French troops on Uruguay’s side.

In 1849 Britain and France negotiated in favour of Rosas.

Eventually Oribe was defeated when there was an uprising against Rosas by his own people and also Brazil got involved on the Colorados’ side.

In 1865, the emperor of Brazil, the Argentinian president and the Uruguay (Colorado) president formed a Triple Alliance and went to war on Paraguay. No reason given.The Paraguayans call this one the Guerra Grande because it devastated them.

Then followed the usual list of insurrections, military rule, coups, and some nice presidents; they jumped in at the end of WWII with the rest of the Americas; in the late 1950s there was an economic dip which led to everyone getting a bit violent, and by 1973 the country was under oppressive military rule for 12 years. In 1984 they went back to democracy.

Now Uruguay is top in Latin America for democracy, peace, lack of corruption, quality of living, and top in South America when it comes to press freedom, prosperity and security. It also supplies more troops to the UN than anyone else in the world. It has recently legalised cannabis, same-sex marriage and abortion, making it one of the most liberal nations in the world.

Activities: Play football, or make a sand sculpture:

 

Nelson Mandela Day
Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) campaigned against the apartheid in South Africa. In 1962 he was imprisoned for trying to overthrow the state and served 27 years. In 1994 he became South Africa’s first black President. He didn’t stand for a second term and instead set up the Nelson Mandela Foundation to combat poverty and HIV.

19th June

Juneteenth (Freedom Day; abolition of slavery in Texas 1865, three years after they’d been told to)

World Sauntering Day: so slow down and appreciate the world around you, smell the roses and definitely don’t run.

Revolutionary Readjustment Day (Algeria):

The Berber tribesmen arrived around 30,000 B.C. (!) and invented couscous. Then the Romans took over, then Muslim Arabs in the 600s. Then the Spanish… then the Ottoman Empire…

Then there was some pretty exciting Barbary pirate stuff during which the US paid 20% of their annual revenue to Algeria so they’d stop attacking their ships.

In 1830 Algerians were forced to surrender their land to the French and were from then on treated quite badly.

In 1954 the Front Nationale de Liberation started a guerrilla campaign for independence, and when they won it 1 million ‘Pieds-Noirs’ (not very nice term for French natives living in Algeria) fled back to France.

From 1991 Algeria was in a state of civil war until (officially) 2002 but the ‘state of emergency’ that has limited freedom of speech and press was only lifted in 2011 and due to continued terrorist attacks and the occasional kidnapping of a tourist, it’s not particularly recommended as a holiday resort.

Activities: Make North African/Islamic/French-influenced cuisine! Couscous or a tagine, perhaps. This website has lots of ideas: http://www.foodbycountry.com/Algeria-to-France/Algeria.html

algeria-649435_960_720

Make cave paintings if you can find a good bit of rock to decorate nearby. Listen to very-Algerian-sounding Kablye music and find out the names of the weird instruments (essentially drums, bagpipes, flute).

Other events today:

  • 1961 Kuwait declares independence from UK – see 25th February
  • Day of the Independent Hungary (from Soviet Russia, 1991) – see 20th August
  • Birth of General Artigas (Día del Nunca Más – The Day of Never Again): Uruguay celebrates their national hero (he defeated Spain in 1811, paving the way for Uruguay’s independence) as well as remembering the victims of political unrest and violence on this day. – see 25th August

18th July

Uruguay Constitution Day:

The Portuguese discovered Uruguay in 1512. Before then there were only the nomadic Charrua, who were driven there by the Guarani from the north about 4,000 years ago.

The Spanish arrived in 1516. The Charrua killed one of the Spanish explorers the year before, and their fierceness combined with the lack of treasure in Uruguay meant no one fancied settling there until 1603 when Spain introduced cattle.

Then the British, Spanish and Portuguese fought over it – Spain mostly won but in 1806-7 Britain did manage to seize the capital, Montevideo, as part of the Napoleonic Wars (that sounds like a tenuous excuse).

In 1811 José Gervasio Artigas revolted against the Spanish authorities and defeated them.

A new government was formed in Buenos Aires, and Artigas said every area should have its own political and economic autonomy, particularly east of the river Uruguay in the Banda Oriental.

The new government ignored him, so he broke with Buenos Aires and seized Montevideo. Artigas organised a Liga Federal of six states (four of which became part of Argentina).

In 1816 the Portuguese invaded from Brazil and took Montevideo the next year.

Brazil became independent in 1822, and three years later the Thirty-Three Orientals, a revolutionary group led by Juan Antonio Lavalleja, declared independence, fought for 500 days about it, and eventually Britain got involved and negotiated independence for them on 18 July 1830.

A year later, Bernabé Rivera, the nephew of the new president Fructuosa Rivera, invited the remaining Charrua people (remember them?) to meet him, then killed all the men and enslaved the women and children. Nice.

A couple more massacres later and there were only four Charruas left: they were taken to France to be shown off like a circus act, and they all died, including a baby that was born to them on the journey. There is a monument to them in Montevideo called Los Últimos Charrúas.

Then Uruguay became split between two political parties: the Blancos, who were conservative farmer types, and the Colorados, who were liberal business types.

Oribe.

In 1838 the Colorados led an army and overthrew the Blanco president, Manuel Oribe. He fled to Argentina, ruled by Manuel de Rosas.

Rosas.

So then Colorados leader Fructuosa Rivera declared war on Rosas (not sure I entirely understand why). The war lasted 13 years and is called the Guerra Grande, or Great War.

In 1843 Argentina started trying to take Montevideo in a siege that lasted 9 years and ended up involving Italian and French troops on Uruguay’s side.

In 1849 Britain and France negotiated in favour of Rosas.

Eventually Oribe was defeated when there was an uprising against Rosas by his own people and also Brazil got involved on the Colorados’ side.

In 1865, the emperor of Brazil, the Argentinian president and the Uruguay (Colorado) president formed a Triple Alliance and went to war on Paraguay. No reason given.The Paraguayans call this one the Guerra Grande because it devastated them.

Then followed the usual list of insurrections, military rule, coups, and some nice presidents; they jumped in at the end of WWII with the rest of the Americas; in the late 1950s there was an economic dip which led to everyone getting a bit violent, and by 1973 the country was under oppressive military rule for 12 years. In 1984 they went back to democracy.

Now Uruguay is top in Latin America for democracy, peace, lack of corruption, quality of living, and top in South America when it comes to press freedom, prosperity and security. It also supplies more troops to the UN than anyone else in the world. It has recently legalised cannabis, same-sex marriage and abortion, making it one of the most liberal nations in the world.

Activities: Play football, or make a sand sculpture:

 

Nelson Mandela Day
Nelson Mandela (1918-2013) campaigned against the apartheid in South Africa. In 1962 he was imprisoned for trying to overthrow the state and served 27 years. In 1994 he became South Africa’s first black President. He didn’t stand for a second term and instead set up the Nelson Mandela Foundation to combat poverty and HIV.

19th June

Juneteenth (Freedom Day; abolition of slavery in Texas 1865, three years after they’d been told to)

World Sauntering Day: so slow down and appreciate the world around you, smell the roses and definitely don’t run.

Revolutionary Readjustment Day (Algeria):

The Berber tribesmen arrived around 30,000 B.C. (!) and invented couscous. Then the Romans took over, then Muslim Arabs in the 600s. Then the Spanish… then the Ottoman Empire…

Then there was some pretty exciting Barbary pirate stuff during which the US paid 20% of their annual revenue to Algeria so they’d stop attacking their ships.

In 1830 Algerians were forced to surrender their land to the French and were from then on treated quite badly.

In 1954 the Front Nationale de Liberation started a guerrilla campaign for independence, and when they won it 1 million ‘Pieds-Noirs’ (not very nice term for French natives living in Algeria) fled back to France.

From 1991 Algeria was in a state of civil war until (officially) 2002 but the ‘state of emergency’ that has limited freedom of speech and press was only lifted in 2011 and due to continued terrorist attacks and the occasional kidnapping of a tourist, it’s not particularly recommended as a holiday resort.

Activities: Make North African/Islamic/French-influenced cuisine! Couscous or a tagine, perhaps. This website has lots of ideas: http://www.foodbycountry.com/Algeria-to-France/Algeria.html

algeria-649435_960_720

Make cave paintings if you can find a good bit of rock to decorate nearby. Listen to very-Algerian-sounding Kablye music and find out the names of the weird instruments (essentially drums, bagpipes, flute).

Other events today:

  • 1961 Kuwait declares independence from UK – see 25th February
  • Day of the Independent Hungary (from Soviet Russia, 1991) – see 20th August
  • Birth of General Artigas (Día del Nunca Más – The Day of Never Again): Uruguay celebrates their national hero (he defeated Spain in 1811, paving the way for Uruguay’s independence) as well as remembering the victims of political unrest and violence on this day. – see 25th August

19th April

Dutch-American Friendship Day – John Adams, later the second president of the US, made his Dutch house the first American embassy in the world; many states hold a Tulip Festival around this time, so maybe decorate a vase especially for tulips, or make origami tulips;

another idea is to have poffertjes for pudding.

Primrose Day (UK anniversary of Benjamin Disraeli’s death; his statue and grave are strewn with primroses on this day) – so go on a walk to hunt for them. Primroses are fairy flowers. If you touch a fairy rock with the right number of primroses in a posy you will be shown the way to fairyland. The wrong number leads to certain doom though. Children used to eat the flowers (they are edible) in the belief that this would enable them to see fairies. This video shows you how to crystalise them.

Other events that might inspire your play today:

  • Kiribati National Health Day: where everyone takes the day off to play sports and relax
  • Swaziland Birthday of King Mswati III Uruguay
  • Landing of the 33 Patriots (exiled Uruguyan fighters returned to kick the Brazillian government out and claim independence)
  • Venezuela ’19 April Day’, celebrating the first Junta (military government) in Latin America, the First Republic of Venezuela and the struggle for independence. See 5th July for more ideas.

25th August

1989 Voyager 2 makes its closest approach to Neptune

Uruguay Independence Day (from Brazil, 1825) – see 18th July

Liberation of Paris (WWII from Germany, 1944)

La Tomatina (Bunol, Spain)

Janmashtami (2016: birth of Krishna. Pots of buttermilk are hung high up and people form human pyramids to smash them (dahi handi) and people reenact Krishna’s youth (Rasa lila).