Gadsden Purchase Treaty was signed in 1853. The United States purchased from Mexico a strip of land south of the Gila River. James Gadsden, United States minister to Mexico, negotiated the deal with Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Mexico’s leader. The United States paid ten million dollars for the area. The country gained almost 30,000 square miles of territory. Children can learn more about the Gadsden Purchase at: Gadsden Purchase.
Panama gained possession of the Panama Canal Zone from the United States at noon in 1999. The United States controlled the Panama Canal Zone as of February 26, 1904. The treaty allowed the United States to own the canal into perpetuity. However, from 1979 to 1999, the canal was controlled by both the United States and Panama. Children can learn more about the canal and its transfer at: Panama Canal.
Canada and the United States began a joint project in 1929 to protect Niagara Falls. Three waterfalls, Bridal Veil Falls, Horseshoe Falls, and the American Falls, lie on the Niagara River. The river empties Lake Erie into Lake Ontario. Hydroelectric power and tourism result from the Falls. Erosion has been slowed down by the efforts of Canada and the United States. Children can learn more about Niagara Falls at: Niagara Falls.
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!
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in 1848, ending the war between Mexico and the United States. In return for fifteen million dollars from the United States, Mexico gave up the land that became California, Nevada, Utah, and parts of Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. Texas also became part of the United States. Children can learn more at: Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
Remember the Maine Day dates back to 1898. The United States battleship Maine, anchored in the harbor in Havana, Cuba, was blown up. Over two hundred Americans died, and the United States felt Spain was responsible. The United States declared war against Spain, starting the Spanish-American War, on April 25, 1898. Children can learn more at: Remember the Maine Day.
The Philippines celebrate Independence Day. In 1934 the United States granted the Philippines its independence. The treaty took effect in 1946. The Philippines had been sold to the United States in 1898 for twenty million dollars. Manila is the capital, and the country was named after Spain’s King Philip II. Over 7,100 islands comprise the country.
Alaska was bought by the United States from Russia in 1867. The purchase was often originally called Seward’s Folly. William Seward, secretary of state, bought Alaska for $1,200,000. That averaged out to about two cents an acre. The 1898 Alaska gold rush was one of the first indicators that the United States had made a good bargain. Children could learn more at: Alaska.
Virgin Islands celebrate Transfer Day. The United States bought the Virgin Islands from Denmark in 1917 for $25 million. Located in the Caribbean Sea, the islands are about twice the size of Washington, DC. Many of the 100,000 inhabitants depend on tourism for income. Charlotte Amalie is the capital.
United States declared war on Germany in 1917, bringing America into World War I. The Allies (United States, Great Britain, France, and Russia) fought the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. The war informally ended on Armistice Day (now Veterans Day) on November 11, 1918. The Treaty of Versailles formally ended the war on June 28, 1919. Children can learn more from the resources at: http://www.neok12.com/World-War-I.htm