We are in our last week of travelling the world together – but we will be visiting eight countries this week – eight!! From Moldova on August 27th to Trinidad and Tobago on August 31st, we will be kept busy! Are you ready to finish off our summer journey with one last week of spectacular views, delightful cultures and of course, the amazing arrays of fireworks? Let’s get to it!
Moldova is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe located between Romania and Ukraine. The first democratic elections for the local parliament were held in 1990. On June 23, 1990, the Parliament adopted the Declaration of Sovereignty of the “Soviet Socialist Republic Moldova”, which, among other things, stipulated the supremacy of Moldovan laws over those of the Soviet Union. After the failure of the 1991 Soviet coup d’état attempt, Moldova declared its independence on 27 August 1991, Romania being the first state to recognize its independence. On December 21 of the same year, Moldova, along with most of the other Soviet republics, signed the constitutive act that formed the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Moldova received official recognition on December 25. On December 26, 1991 the Soviet Union ceased to exist. On March 2, 1992, the country gained formal recognition as an independent state at the United Nations. In 1994, Moldova became a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, and a member of the Council of Europe on June 29, 1995.
The Slovak Republic is bordered by the Czech Republic, Austria, Poland, Ukraine and Hungary. After WWI and the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the nation of Slovaks and Czechs established their mutual state – Czechoslovakia. A separate Slovak state existed during World War II and was a client state of Nazi Germany (from 1939 to 1944). The Slovak National Uprising or 1944 Uprising was an armed insurrection organized by the Slovak resistance movement during World War II. It was launched on 29 August 1944 from Banská Bystrica in an attempt to resist German troops that began occupation of the Slovak territory and to overthrow the collaborationist government of Jozef Tiso. Although the rebel forces were defeated by Nazi Germany, guerrilla warfare continued until the Soviet Army, Czechoslovak Army and Romanian Army occupied Slovakia in 1945. In 1945 Czechoslovakia was reestablished. The Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic went their separate ways after 1 January 1993, an event sometimes called the Velvet Divorce. Slovakia has remained a close partner with the Czech Republic.
Kazakhstan, officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, has borders with Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, and also adjoins a large part of the Caspian Sea. The Russians began advancing into the Kazakh steppe in the 18th century, and by the mid-19th century all of Kazakhstan was part of the Russian Empire. Following the 1917 Russian Revolution, and subsequent civil war, the territory of Kazakhstan was reorganized several times before becoming the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic in 1936, a part of the Soviet Union. On 16 December 1991, Kazakhstan became the last Soviet republic to declare independence. Its communist-era leader, Nursultan Nazarbayev, became the country’s first President, a position he has retained for more than two decades. On August 30, 1995, an independent constitution was approved and is now a Public Holiday.
The Republic of Tatarstan is a federal subject of Russia and it shares borders with Kirov, Ulyanovsk, Samara, and Orenburg Oblasts, the Mari El, Udmurt, and Chuvash Republics, as well as with the Republic of Bashkortostan. On August 30, 1990, Tatarstan announced its sovereignty with the Declaration on the State Sovereignty of the Tatar Soviet Socialist Republic and in 1992 Tatarstan held a referendum on the new constitution,and 62 percent of those who took part voted in favor of the constitution. In the 1992 Tatarstan Constitution, Tatarstan is defined as a Sovereign State. However the referendum and constitution were declared unconstitutional by the Russian Constitutional Court. However, articles 1 and 3 of the constitution, as introduced in 2002 define Tatarstan as a part of the Russian Federation.
Turks & Caicos
The Turks and Caicos Islands, are a British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands. For many years the islands were governed indirectly through Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the islands received their own governor and have remained a separate autonomous British Overseas Territory since. With the election of the territory’s first Chief Minister, J.A.G.S. McCartney, the islands adopted a constitution on 30 August 1976, which is Constitution Day, the national holiday. The constitution was suspended in 1986, but restored and revised 5 March 1988. A new constitution came into force on 9 August 2006, but was in parts suspended and amended in 2009. In August 2009, the United Kingdom suspended the Turks and Caicos Islands’ self-government after allegations of ministerial corruption. Home rule was restored in the islands after the November 2012 elections.
Did you know?
SInce 1917, there have been various interests and attempts to annexe the islands to Canada. In 2004, Nova Scotia (a province in Canada), invited the Turks and Caicos to join the province to by-pass the issues with joining as its own seperate province. In 2013 and 2014, interest in annexing Turks and Caicos to Canada was renewed as Edmonton East MP Peter Goldring met with the country’s premier Rufus Ewing in a reception at Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle hotel.
Kyrgyzstan, officially the Kyrgyz Republic, is bordered by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and China. On 19 August 1991, when the State Emergency Committee assumed power in Moscow, there was an attempt to depose Akayev in Kyrgyzstan. After the coup collapsed the following week, Akayev and Vice President German Kuznetsov announced their resignations from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU), and the entire bureau and secretariat resigned. This was followed by the Supreme Soviet vote declaring independence from the Soviet Union on 31 August 1991 as the Republic of Kyrgyzstan. In October 1991, Akayev ran unopposed and was elected president of the new independent Republic by direct ballot, receiving 95 percent of the votes cast. Together with the representatives of seven other Republics that same month, he signed the Treaty of the New Economic Community. Finally, on 21 December 1991, Kyrgyzstan joined with the other four Central Asian Republics to formally enter the new Commonwealth of Independent States. Kyrgyzstan gained full independence a few days later on 25 December 1991. The following day, on 26 December 1991, the Soviet Union ceased to exist.
Malaysia is a federal constitutional monarchy located in Southeast Asia. Peninsular Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Thailand and maritime borders with Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia. East Malaysia shares land and maritime borders with Brunei and Indonesia and a maritime border with the Philippines. Malaysia has its origins in the Malay Kingdoms present in the area which, from the 18th century, became subject to the British Empire. The first British territories were known as the Straits Settlements, whose establishment was followed by the Malay kingdoms becoming British protectorates. The territories on Peninsular Malaysia were first unified as the Malayan Union in 1946. Malaya was restructured as the Federation of Malaya in 1948, and achieved independence on 31 August 1957.
Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago, officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is a twin island country off the northern edge of South America. It shares maritime borders with Venezuela, Grenada, Barbados and Guyana. The island of Trinidad was a Spanish colony from the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1498 to the capitulation of the Spanish Governor, Don José Maria Chacón, on the arrival of a British fleet of 18 warships on 18 February 1797. During the same period, the island of Tobago changed hands among Spanish, British, French, Dutch and Courlander colonizers. Trinidad and Tobago (remaining separate until 1889) were ceded to Britain in 1802 under the Treaty of Amiens. Trinidad and Tobago gained its independence from the United Kingdom on 31 August 1962 and became a republic in 1976. Eric Williams, a noted Caribbean historian, widely regarded as “The Father of The Nation,” was the first Prime Minister; he served from 1956, before independence, until his death in 1981.
Now that you have learned a little more about global events, consider adding one of these courses to your To Learn List:
- The Emergence of the Modern Middle East
- Greening the Economy: Lessons from Scandinavia
- Anthropology of Current World Issues
An Updated Map of the Places We’ve Visited Thus Far:
Thank you for travelling the world with us this summer…we’ve discovered the world, learned some history (and some geography too!), and gained some new understandings and perspectives of different countries. If this little foray has whet your thirst for global knowledge, there are several great MOOCs you can take to get a deeper understanding (you can check the courses we’ve suggested each week here). Hopefully you have been inspired to add a few new places to your wish list of places to discover and explore!