Barbados celebrates Independence Day. It became free from Great Britain in 1966; however, it has remained in the British Commonwealth. This easternmost island in the Caribbean is 166 square miles, about 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC. In the colonial days the economy depended on sugarcane. Today, however, tourism is a big source of revenue. Almost 300,000 people live in Barbados, and close to half the population lives in Bridgetown, the capital.
Bahrain celebrates National Day. The country broke away from Great Britain in 1971. This archipelago of 33 islands lies in the Persian Gulf. According to the CIA World Factbook, Bahrain is about 3.5 times the size of Washington, DC. About 1.2 million people live in this desert country, and Manama is the capital. Bahrain’s economy depends on oil exports and tourism.
Boston Tea Party was a protest against a duty placed on imported tea. In 1773 over 100 men, dressed as Native Americans and led by Samuel Adams, boarded three English ships moored in Boston’s harbor. They dumped at least 300 chests of tea overboard. They did not wish to pay the tax for the tea. The British retaliated by imposing the Intolerable Acts on the colonists. These acts led to further opposition on the part of the colonists and eventually the meeting of the First Continental Congress. Children could read The Boston Tea Party, by Russell Freedman. Were the patriots right in what they did?
A Christmas Carol, written by Charles Dickens, was published in 1843. Dickens started working on the novella in September 1843, and it was finished only days before it was published. While Dickens did not receive the royalties he desired, the work was highly acclaimed. The work was adapted for the stage as early as February, 1844. Children can read the novella at: A Christmas Carol.
War of 1812 ended in 1814 when a peace treaty, the Treaty of Ghent, was signed in Ghent, Belgium. Representatives from the United States and Great Britain started negotiations in August and completed the details December 24th. The Senate ratified the treaty on February 16, 1815. Children can view the detailed transcript of the treaty and other documents at: Treaty of Ghent.
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.
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.