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
Sieur de La Salle, a French explorer, found the Mississippi River in 1682 and claimed it and the waters draining into it for France. The Mississippi River, 2,348 miles long, is the longest river in the United States. It ranges in depth from nine feet to 100 feet, and its drainage basin includes over one million square miles. Idea: Trace a map of the United States. Color the states whose rivers empty into the Mississippi. Add tributaries, such as the Missouri, Ohio, and Arkansas Rivers.
Saint Lawrence Seaway began operating in 1959. Construction began in September, 1954. Over 6000 people had to be relocated because a reservoir would cover their land. Canada and the United States each operate a portion of the 450-mile seaway. It connects Lake Erie to Montreal to the Atlantic Ocean. Children could read Gail Gibbons’s The Great St. Lawrence Seaway. Children could also visit: Seaway. They could study the Suez Canal and the St. Lawrence Seaway in more detail. How are the two alike? How are they different?
Louisiana Purchase was finalized in 1803, doubling the size of the United States. Children could learn more at: Louisiana Purchase.
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.