Myanmar, also known as Burma, celebrates Independence Day. It became free from British rule in 1948. According to the CIA World Factbook, Myanmar is a bit smaller than Texas. About 55 million people live in this southeast Asian country, and about 4.25 million people live in the capital of Rangoon. Monsoons plague this resource-rich, including natural gas, timber, and mining, country. Older children could learn more at: Myanmar.
Battle of New Orleans took place in 1815. Great Britain and the United States were still fighting in the War of 1812. The battle began around December 12, 1814. The British wanted to seize New Orleans and control the Mississippi River region. Of course, the Americans wanted to retain ownership of the city and the river. General Andrew Jackson’s American troops crushed the British. However, both sides later found out that a peace treaty had been signed two weeks prior to the battle. Andrew Jackson became a real hero! Older children can read copies of original documents at: Archives. Children can also view the America’s Library site and listen to a rendition of “Eighth of January” at: Battle of New Orleans. Here is an interesting note about history. This battle was so popular in the United States, and Andrew Jackson became so popular in the United States, that January 8th was actually a national holiday as important as July 4th until around 1845!
Ratification Day marks the day in 1784 when the Continental Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris, the peace agreement with Britain. The United States officially became an independent country. Thomas Jefferson, chairman of the ratification committee, went through difficult circumstances to get the necessary signatures on the ratification. He needed approvals from nine of the thirteen colonies. However, that winter was extremely brutal, and many delegates struggled to get to Maryland to sign the document. Finally, on January 14th two more delegates arrived, and the minimum nine signatures made the document a real treaty. Three copies of the document were sent on three different ships back to England. Even the journeys to the ships were challenging, and the ocean voyages were unusually difficult. Children can read about the document at: Ratification Day.
British Museum opened in 1759. The original museum was based on the 37,000-piece collection of Sir Hans Sloane, a scientist and physician. The museum grew quickly as Great Britain entered its colonial period. Today the museum’s collection exceeds eight million objects, and over six million visitors enter its doors each year. Some of its acquisitions, for example the Rosetta Stone, have caused controversy. Children can visit the museum website at: British Museum.
India celebrates Republic Day. It gained its freedom from Great Britain in 1950. According to the CIA World Factbook, India is a third the size of the United States, but its population is more than three times the population of the United States. India has almost every ecosystem in the world. The Himalaya Mountains are in the north; India also has deserts and tropical rainforests. New Delhi is the capital. Children can learn more at: India.
New Zealand remembers Waitangi Day. In 1840 the Maori and the Europeans signed the Treaty of Waitangi, permitting Great Britain to develop New Zealand. About the size of the state of Colorado, New Zealand is comprised of mostly mountains with some coastal plains. Slightly over four million people live on the islands. Wellington is the capital. The country exports dairy products, meat, wool, and wood products. The kiwi is native to New Zealand. Children can learn more at: New Zealand.
French and Indian War officially ended in 1763. The French and the British signed the Treaty of Paris. The war meant that the British greatly expanded their territory in North America. However, the war was a tremendous financial burden to Great Britain. That financial burden was passed on to the American colonists in the form of various taxes. The French and Indian War eventually led to the Revolutionary War. Did you know George Washington was an officer on the British side? Children could read Struggle for a Continent: The French and Indian Wars 1689-1763 by Betsy Maestro and Giulio Maestro.
The Gambia celebrates Independence Day. It gained its independence from Great Britain in 1965. Banjul is the capital of this small country, located on the northwestern coast of Africa. According to the CIA World Factbook, The Gambia is about twice the size of Delaware. Almost two million people live in The Gambia, and about 75 percent of its inhabitants are farmers. Children could learn more at: The Gambia.
The Jay Treaty between the United States and Great Britain went into effect in 1796. The treaty was also called the Treaty of Amity, Commerce, and Navigation Between His Royal Majesty and the United States of America. It resolved some of the conflicts remaining from the Revolutionary War. One of the issues was the exact border between the United States and Canada. Part of the pact was about seal hunting in the Bering Sea.
Ghana celebrates Independence Day. It became free from the rule of Great Britain in 1957. According to the CIA World Factbook, Ghana is a bit smaller than the state of Oregon. Located on the southern coast of West Africa, the country surrounds Lake Volta, the largest man-made lake in the world. About 25 million people live in Ghana. Accra is the capital, and farmers grow cocoa, rice, and coffee. Children could learn more at: Ghana.