Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Mexico and the United States. The Battle of Puebla took place in 1862. General Ignacio Zaragoza led his Mexican army, outnumbered three to one, against Napoleon III’s French forces. Zaragoza won. Speeches, festivals, and parades are held nationwide. Young children could read Cinco de Mayo by Mary Dodson Wade. Idea: Children could have a Cinco de Mayo celebration. A piñata should be included.
Charles Lindbergh started his solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927. He left Long Island, New York, in the Spirit of St. Louis at 7:52 AM. He arrived at Paris, France, at 10:24 PM on May 21. “Lucky Lindbergh” won a $25,000 prize for his efforts. He instantly became a national hero. Idea: Children could read more about his life and the fame he faced.
Hundred Years’ War began in 1369 and ended in 1453. The English and the French actually fought a number of different battles over the control of France. Idea: Children could find out who won the Hundred Years’ War and what part Joan of Arc played in it.
First bicycle race was held in Paris, France, in 1868. The 1.2 km race was at the Parc De Saint-Cloud. James Moore, an Englishman, won the race on a wooden bike with iron tires inlaid with ball bearings.
Berlin airlift began in 1948. After World War II, Germany was divided into four parts. The Soviet Union controlled the portion that held Berlin. Berlin itself had been divided into four parts. The Soviet Union denied access to the city. The United States, France, and Great Britain responded by airlifting food and other supplies into Berlin. The airlift lasted until May 12, 1949. Over 1,500,000 tons of supplies were lifted in.
Madagascar celebrates Independence Day. It became free from French rule in 1960. It is an island off the southeastern coast of Africa, and it is slightly smaller than Texas. It is the fourth largest island in the world. It exports coffee, vanilla, and cloves, and about 23 million people live there. Antananarivo is the capital.
Statue of Liberty was given to the United States by France in 1884. The statue was presented to Levi P. Morton, the US ambassador to France, in Paris. The statue was then taken apart and shipped to the United States. The statue reached our shores on June 17, 1885. However, the pedestal was not yet ready. The statue was formally revealed on October 28, 1886.Children can learn more at: Statue of Liberty.
France celebrates Fête de la Fédération, also known as Bastille Day. In 1789 the Bastille fell to the rioting people, marking the beginning of the French Revolution. France is a bit smaller than Texas, and the Mediterranean Sea, the Bay of Biscay, and the English Channel all border the country. Almost 66 million people live in France. Paris is the capital. Idea: Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities gives great insight into the French Revolution.
Rosetta Stone was found in 1799. Great Britain and France were at war, and one of their battle locations was in Egypt. The French found the stone when they were trying to improve their fortifications. The French lost the battle, and the British confiscated the Rosetta Stone. A pharaoh’s proclamation is written in three different languages on the stone. Jean Francois Champollion deciphered the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic text by working back through the other two languages. The British Museum now houses the Rosetta Stone. Children can learn more at: Rosetta Stone.
Louis Bleriot became the first person to fly a plane across the English Channel. He left Les Baraques, France, in 1909 and landed in Dover, England. The trip took 36 minutes 30 seconds. The Daily Mail, a British newspaper, had offered a reward of £1000 to the first successful aviator. Bleriot received the reward, and he instantly became famous. Children could read the 1984 Caldecott Medal book The Glorious Flight: Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot, July 25, 1909 by Alice Provensen and Martin Provensen.