Nauru celebrates Independence Day. It gained its independence from a United Nations Trusteeship managed by Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom in 1968. Nauru is a small island, only 8.1 square miles (one-tenth the size of Washington, DC), and supports about 10,000 inhabitants. Yaren is the capital. The interior used to hold reserves of phosphates, used to make fertilizers. However, the phosphates have been exhausted. Located just south of the equator in Micronesia, the country has a tropical climate.
Mauritius celebrates Independence Day. It became a free nation in 1968, but it is still part of the British Commonwealth. About 2/3 the size of Rhode Island, this island country is located in the Indian Ocean east of Madagascar. The island had been colonized by various countries and often served as a way station for navies. About 1.3 million people live on the island, and sugar cane is the predominant crop. Port Louis is the capital.
Ford Motor Company, in 1958, produced its 50 millionth car, the Thunderbird.
General Motors, in 1968, produced its 100 millionth car, the Oldsmobile Toronado.
Swaziland celebrates Somhlolo, Independence Day. Although it has remained part of the British Commonwealth, it became free of direct British rule in 1968. This land-locked country has its own monarch, King Mswati III. Swaziland, home to 1.4 million people, is about the size of New Jersey. Mbabane is the capital.
Redwood National and State Parks were created in 1968. Located along the northern coast of California, the parks encompass over 100,000 acres and preserve the remaining giant redwood trees. Children could visit the park’s website at: Redwood.
Equatorial Guinea celebrates Independence Day. It gained its independence from Spain in 1968. The country consists of a mainland portion of Africa and five islands. The country, slightly larger than the state of Maryland, exports cocoa beans and coffee. About 700,000 people live in Equatorial Guinea, and Malabo is the capital.
Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman to be elected to the House of Representatives. Representing the 12th congressional district from New York, she was elected in 1968, and she served until 1983. She also ran unsuccessfully for President in 1972. Chisholm died in 2005.
Douglas Engelbart invented the computer mouse in 1967 and demonstrated it for the first time on December 9, 1968. However, it was not really used until 1984. He received no money for his invention. Children can view Engelbart’s timeline of inventions and see some other interesting ideas, including a knee operating system, at: Computer Mouse.
Apollo 8 was launched in 1968. Apollo 8 was the first manned mission to leave earth’s orbit, orbit the moon, and return to earth safely. One of the main goals was to view the dark side of the moon. Commander Frank Borman, Lunar Module Pilot William Anders, and Command Module Pilot James Lovell orbited around the moon on December 24 and returned to earth on December 27. On Christmas Eve they broadcast live from space and read the first ten verses of Genesis. The television show was the most watched program at that time.