Leif Erikson Day is celebrated in Iceland and some parts of the United States. The Viking may have discovered North America in the year 1000. Idea: Children could research the evidence and decide which European found the Americas first. October 9 has no association to Erikson; the date was picked because the first ship filled with Norwegian immigrants landed on October 9, 1825. The day was first recognized by Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1964. Every president since then has honored the day. Some people believe we should honor Leif Erikson Day rather than Columbus Day. Children could learn more about the debate at: Leif Erikson Day.
Treaty of 1818 was signed by the United States and the United Kingdom. Among other decisions, the treaty stated that the 49th Parallel would define most of the border between Canada and the United States. Older children can peruse the treaty at: Treaty of 1818.
Cuban Missile Crisis began when President Kennedy in 1962 demanded that missiles placed in Cuba by the Soviet Union be removed. The United States also placed an embargo around the island to prevent other arms entering Cuba. On October 28 the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics started to remove the weapons. Older children could learn more at: State Department.
United States and Canada established uniform time zones in 1883. Prior to 1883 towns and particularly railroads established their own time standards. Therefore, travel between communities could be very confusing. Today the continental United States has four time zones. Alaska and Hawaii each add another time zone. Children could check out: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/ and create some good math problems with the data.
Antarctic Treaty was signed by twelve nations in 1959. The original twelve countries are: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, 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 learn about the Antarctic Treaty at: Antarctic Treaty. They 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 a photograph of the original document and the detailed transcript of the treaty 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 at: Gadsden Purchase.
Panama gained possession of the Panama Canal Zone from the United States at noon in 1999. The United States had 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.