Gadsden Purchase Treaty was signed in 1853. The United States purchased from Mexico a strip of land south of the Gila River. James Gadsden, United States minister to Mexico, negotiated the deal with Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Mexico’s leader. The United States paid ten million dollars for the area. The country gained almost 30,000 square miles of territory. Children can learn more about the Gadsden Purchase at: Gadsden Purchase
USS Monitor, the iron-clad ship, sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, in 1862. The Monitor had been built in early 1862. The ship faced the Confederate iron-clad Merrimac on March 9, 1862. Neither ship sustained major damage. The Monitor was being towed by the USS Rhode Island when both ships ran into a storm. Many of the Monitor crew members were saved by the Rhode Island crew. However, sixteen crew members died. Today the Monitor is part of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. Divers can roam around the outside of the ship. The Sanctuary is a wonderful repository of information and a catalyst for future experiments and research. Children can visit the Sanctuary’s website at: http://monitor.noaa.gov/. Idea: Scholars could find out why so many ships have sunk off Cape Hatteras.
New Year’s Eve is today! Perhaps children would like to say “Happy New Year” in other languages?
Bonne Année – French
Godt Nyt Ar – Norwegian
Ein glückliches neues Jahr – German
Feliz año Nuevo – Spanish
Felice Anno Nuovo – Italian
Blwyddyn Newydd Dda – Welsh
Bonan Novjaron – Esperanto
Szczesliwego Nowego Roku – Polish
честита нова година – Bulgarian
New Year’s Eve is celebrated by many cultures around the world. One good source of information about ways the evening is celebrated is: http://www.almanac.com/content/new-year-traditions-around-world. Younger children could read The Night Before New Year’s, written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Amy Wummer.
Panama gained possession of the Panama Canal Zone from the United States at noon in 1999. The United States controlled the Panama Canal Zone as of February 26, 1904. The treaty allowed the United States to own the canal into perpetuity. However, from 1979 to 1999, the canal was controlled by both the United States and Panama. Children can learn more about the canal and its transfer at: Panama Canal.
New Year’s Day is celebrated around the world.
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, sponsors a Mummers Parade.
- In Armenia mothers knead bread dough, adding good luck into the bread.
- In the Bahamas they have Junkanoo parades.
- In Denmark people throw old dishes at their friends’ doors.
- Koreans wear new clothes.
- In Spain and Mexico, people eat twelve grapes, one for each stroke of the midnight clock.
- In Bulgaria children take decorated tree branches to other people’s homes. At each house the children bless the home and its occupants. The homeowners give the children sweets or money, and the children visit the next home.
Emancipation Proclamation was declared by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, ending slavery. Children could read Dennis Brindell Fradin’s book, Emancipation Proclamation. Children could also read a transcript of the original document at: Emanicipation Proclamation
Ellis Island opened its doors in 1892. Over twenty million people entered the country through Ellis Island. It closed in 1954, becoming a national park in 1956. The island opened again as a museum in 1990. Idea: Children could find out if any of their relatives had ever come through Ellis Island. They could record interesting stories. Students would enjoy reading Letters from Rifka, by Karen Hesse. They could also visit the national park site to see some great photos and hear wonderful oral histories at: http://www.nps.gov/elis/index.htm
Czechoslovakia officially became two countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, in 1992.
Cuba celebrates Liberation Day. On January 1, 1899, Spain lost control of Cuba. For a time it was under United States rule. It became a country with a republican government until Fidel Castro overthrew the rulers on January 1, 1959. According to the CIA World Factbook, Cuba is slightly smaller than the state of Pennsylvania. Located in the tropical Caribbean region, Cuba can experience both hurricanes and drought. About 11 million people live on the island, and the country exports sugar, nickel, tobacco, fish, and coffee. Havana is the capital.
Haiti celebrates Independence Day. It was a Spanish colony from 1492 until 1697. Then it became a French colony until 1804 when it gained its freedom. According to the CIA World Factbook, Haiti is slightly smaller than the state of Maryland. Like Cuba, Haiti is located in the Caribbean. It can experience hurricanes, earthquakes, and drought. Over 9 million people live in Haiti, and Port-au-Prince is the capital. The country, again according to the CIA World Factbook, is the poorest country in the western hemisphere. Idea: Haiti is part of an island. Children could locate Haiti on a map and discuss its neighbor.
Sudan celebrates Independence Day. It has been a free nation since 1956 when Egypt and the United Kingdom gave up control. Sudan is about a fifth of the size of the United States. Located south of Egypt, the country lies in a desert region. Over 26 million people live in the country, and most of these people live along the Nile River. Khartoum is the capital. On July 9, 2011, South Sudan broke away and formed its country.
Euro was introduced as the currency of many European nations in 1999. On January 1, 2002, the Euro became the official currency of these nations, and all national currencies were removed in February of 2002.
Georgia became the fourth state in the United States by ratifying the Constitution in 1788. Although one of Georgia’s nicknames is “The Peach State,” the crops of peanuts and tobacco each bring in more revenue than peaches. Cotton, which was a very important source of revenue one hundred years ago, now generates a little more than one percent of the state’s income. Atlanta is the state capital. Children can visit an Internet site at: Georgia. Idea: Children could make and enjoy a simple peach cobbler.