Antarctic Treaty was signed by twelve nations in 1959. The original twelve countries are: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Russia (as Soviet Union), South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States. Today 50 countries recognize the treaty. The continent will be kept as a scientific preserve, and no nation can colonize it. Children can view great pictures of Antarctic animals at: Antarctic Animals.
Louisiana Purchase was finalized in 1803. The United States bought more than a million square miles of land from France for about twenty dollars a square mile. Children could find out why France sold the land to the United States. What is that land worth now? Children could find more information at: Louisiana Purchase.
Maryland in 1788 donated ten square miles of land to the United States. This land became part of the District of Columbia. Our Founding Fathers wanted to establish a new capital, rather than use an existing city such as New York or Philadelphia. The Residence Act gave George Washington the authority to decide where to locate the new nation’s capital. The Maryland land was in about the middle of the country at that time. Children can view the documents that made the District of Columbia possible at: District of Columbia.
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.
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.