Colorado Territory was created in 1861. The borders of the Colorado Territory were the same as the current borders of the state of Colorado. Because gold had been found in the Pikes Peak region, the federal government wanted to establish firm boundaries. The Civil War then delayed statehood. The territory was dissolved when Colorado became the thirty-eighth state on August 1, 1876.
Switzerland celebrates Confederation Day of 1291. Three cantons formed an alliance, and other cantons joined as years passed. The 1874 constitution changed the confederation into a country. The area of Switzerland is a bit less than twice the area of New Jersey, and the Alps dominate its geography. Almost eight million people live in Switzerland, and Bern is the capital. Parades, bonfires, and fireworks mark the day. Children can learn more at: Switzerland. They could also enjoy some Swiss cheese or some Swiss chocolate.
Benin celebrates National Day. The country announced its independence from France in 1960. Located on the western coast of Africa, Benin is about the size of the state of Pennsylvania. The geography is mostly flat with few low mountains. Many people survive on subsistence farming, and cotton is one the the country’s major exports. Almost ten million people live in Benin, and Porto-Novo is the capital. Children can learn more at: Benin.
Colorado became the thirty-eighth state of the United States in 1876. Its nickname is the Centennial State, because it became a part of the country one hundred years after the revolution. Its name comes from a Spanish phrase meaning the color red. Early Spanish explorers in the area were impressed with the many red-colored canyons and thus called the area Colorado. People were living in the Mesa Verde cliff dwellings, in the state’s southwestern corner, around 1200. When gold was discovered in 1858, the local phrase became “Pike’s Peak or Bust.” It is the eighth largest state and the 21st most populous state. Denver is the state capital, and tourism is one of the most important economic factors. Children could visit an Internet site at: Colorado.
Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen in 1774. His experiments proved that air is a combination of gases and that oxygen is necessary for fire.
Hawaii Volcanoes National Park was established in 1916. The area, encompassing 344,812 acres, includes the active volcanoes Kilauea and Mauna Loa. Areas of the park have had to close temporarily when the volcanoes are very active. The park, protecting unusual plants and animals, became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987. Children can visit the park’s website at: http://www.nps.gov/havo.
Haleakala National Park was created in 1961. Carved from the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park on Maui, this park encompasses the vast, extinct volcano crater Haleakala and the Kipahula wilderness area. The word Haleakala means the house of the sun in Hawaiian. The park, around 33,265 acres, hosts over a million visitors a year. Children can visit the park’s website at: http://www.nps.gov/hale.