Saint Kitts and Nevis celebrate Independence Day. The two islands, located in the eastern portion of the Caribbean Sea, became free of British rule in 1983, but they remain a part of the British Commonwealth. They are about 1.5 times the size of Washington, DC. Sugar was a large part of the economy, but the country has now shifted to tourism and diversified farming. About 51,000 people live on the islands, and Basseterre is the capital.
Jamestown was burned by Nathaniel Bacon and his men in 1676. This action later became known as part of Bacon’s Rebellion. They were rebelling against Governor Sir William Berkeley and his laws regarding control of Jamestown. Berkeley fled, and Bacon became the colony’s leader. He died shortly after taking control. Berkeley regained leadership. However, Berkeley was replaced a year later; and rebellion became unnecessary.
Hot air balloon with animal passengers was flown for the first time in 1783. Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier launched their globe aerostatique in France. The duck, sheep, and rooster all survived the ten-minute trip! Children could read the amazing Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride by Marjorie Priceman. The book earned a 2006 Caldecott Honor Award.
President George Washington gave his farewell address to the nation in 1796. First printed in the newspaper American Daily Advertiser, the speech was titled, “The Address of General Washington To The People of The United States on his declining of the Presidency of the United States.” It was reprinted almost immediately in many other newspapers and somewhat re-titled Washington’s Farewell Address. Children could read a transcript of his speech at: Farewell Address.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton (born Annapolis, Maryland, 1737; died Baltimore, Maryland, November 14, 1832) signed the Declaration of Independence. He was the last surviving signer of the document.
Rachel Field (born New York, New York, 1894; died Los Angeles, California, March 15, 1942) wrote works for both children and adults. Her books include Hitty, Her First Hundred Years, which earned the 1930 Newbery Medal. She wrote Prayer for a Child, published posthumously in 1944. The illustrator, Elizabeth Orton Jones, received the 1945 Caldecott Medal. Children could learn more at Rachel Field.
Sir William Golding (born Columb Minor, Cornwall, England, 1911; died near Truro, Cornwall, England, June 19, 1993) was a writer. One of his most famous works is Lord of the Flies. He received a Nobel Prize in literature in 1983.
Ferdinand Magellan began the voyage that would take his ship around the world in 1519. He left Spain with five ships and around 265 men. He died before the voyage was over, but the ship Vittoria and about eighteen men did complete the journey on September 6, 1522. Children could read Who Was Ferdinand Magellan? by S. A. Kramer.
Walking Purchase in Pennsylvania was completed in 1737. William Penn maintained friendly relationships with the Native Americans who lived in the territory granted to him by the king. However, his sons, John Penn and Thomas Penn, were not so amicable. They produced a document that stated they were entitled to land starting around Easton, Pennsylvania, that a man could walk to in a day and a half. The Lenape figured a man could cover about 40 miles in that time period. However, John and Thomas hired three men to run the distance. The “walk” started on September 19. When the “walk” was concluded on September 20, the Penn sons claimed 1,200,000 acres. The Lenape were outraged, but the Penn family pressed their claim.
Miska Petersham (born near Budapest, Hungary, 1888; died May 15, 1960) was, with his wife Maud, an early pioneer in children’s literature. They illustrated more than 60 books written by other authors. Then they began writing and illustrating their own works (about 100 books). They received a 1942 Caldecott Honor Award for An American ABC and then the 1946 Caldecott Medal for The Rooster Crows. Children could learn more at: Miska Petersham.
Upton Sinclair (born Baltimore, Maryland, 1878; died Bound Brook, New Jersey, November 25, 1968) was a novelist. One of his most well-known books is The Jungle. Older children can read many of his books, including The Jungle, at: Project Gutenberg.
Malta celebrates Independence Day. In 1964 it broke away from the United Kingdom. The islands, located in the Mediterranean Sea, are a bit less than twice the size of Washington, DC. Much of its economy is based on tourism and shipping. Over 400,000 people consider Malta home, and Valletta is the capital.
Belize celebrates Independence Day. It left British rule in 1981, but it is still part of the British Commonwealth. This small country (slightly smaller than the state of Massachusetts) is located on the northeastern coast of Central America. Tourism is the most important contributor to the economy. Around 340,000 people live in Belize, and Belmopan is the capital.