Around the World in 62 Days – Day 29-35

Around the World in 62 Days

Welcome back to our travels. This week we will be visiting the North Atlantic, the South Pacific, Africa, Europe and the Caribbean!  Get ready to celebrate via traditional dress and dances, tree planting ceremonies and fireworks as we head first to the Faroe Islands!


July 29


Faroe IslandsThe Faroe Islands is in archipelago and autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, situated approximately halfway between Norway and Iceland.  The Faroe Islands have been a self-governing country within the Danish Realm since 1948, controlling most of their own domestic affairs.  Ólavsøka, is on 29 July, and commemorates the death of Saint Olaf. The celebrations are held in Tórshavn, starting on the evening of the 28th and continuing until the 31st.  The official celebration follows customs that date back 900 years – starting on the 29th with the opening of the Faroese Parliament that involves a service held in Tórshavn Cathedral with all members of  parliament as well as civil and church officials walking into the cathedral in a procession.  Parish ministers take turns giving the sermon, after which, the procession returns to the parliament for the opening ceremony. Other events include sports competitions (including a rowing competition in Tórshavn Harbour), art exhibitions, pop concerts, and the famous Faroese dance in Sjónleikarhúsið,  Many people also mark the occasion by wearing the national Faroese dress.


July 30



Flag_of_Vanuatu.svgVanuatu is an Oceanian island nation located in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago, which is of volcanic origin, is east of northern Australia, northeast of New Caledonia, west of Fiji, and southeast of the Solomon Islands, near New Guinea.  Claimed by France and the United Kingdom in the 1880′s, Vanuatu was jointly managed as the New Hebrides through a British–French Condominium from 1906 until independence. An independence movement arose in the 1970s, and the Republic of Vanuatu was founded in 1980. According to Wikipedia, “the nation’s name was derived from the word vanua (“land” or “home”), which occurs in several Austronesian languages, and the word tu (“stand”). Together the two words indicated the independent status of the new country.”


August 1 (1)





Benin is a country in West Africa, bordered by Togo , NigeriaBurkina Faso and Niger.  Formerly known as the Kingdom of Dahomey,  this region was referred to as the Slave Coast from as early as the 17th century due to the large number of slaves shipped to the New World during the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. After the abolishment of slavery, France took over the country and renamed it French Dahomey. In 1960, Dahomey gained full independence from France.  Since then Benin has had a tumultuous period with many different democratic governments, many military coups and military governments.  Benin operated as a Marxist-Leninist state between 1972 and 1990 known as the People’s Republic of Benin, which was replaced by the multi-party Republic of Benin that exists today.

200px-Flag_of_Switzerland_(Pantone).svgSwitzerland -The Swiss National Day is the national holiday of Switzerland, set on 1 August.  This has only been the official national holiday since 1994 – but the idea had been suggested as early as 1889. The date was inspired by the Federal Charter of 1291 which indicates that it was “early August” when “three Alpine cantons swore the oath of confederation, an action which later came to be regarded as the foundation of Switzerland.”  A report by the Federal Department of Home Affairs in 1889 suggested a celebrated in Bern in 1891 to combine the 700th anniversary of the city with the 600th anniversary of Confederacy.  The traditional date of 8 November 1307 has been replaced by 1 August 1291 in popular consciousness – especially after the 650th anniversary celebrations of 1941.  Celebrations include paper lantern parades, bonfires, hanging strings of Swiss flags and fireworks.


August 3


200px-Flag_of_Niger.svgNiger -Although France agreed to Niger becoming fully independent on 11 July 1960, independence wasn’t declared by the Nigerian Legislative Assembly until 3 August 1960.  Since 1960, the 3rd has been a national festival. In 1975, the government began celebrating Independence Day, in part, through the coordinated mass planting of trees in order to fight desertification. The celebrations are also known as the Fête de l’Arbre. The 3rd is celebrated in Niger with official festivals and appearances of political leaders, an official broadcast by the President as well as the tradition (since 1975) that every Nigerien plant a tree. It is a Public Holiday, in which government offices and many businesses close.


August 4


Flag_of_Burkina_Faso.svgBurkina Faso is a landlocked country in West Africa  and is surrounded by six countries: Mali, Niger, Benin, Togo, Ghana, and Ivory Coast.  Formerly known as the Republic of Upper Volta, the country was renamed “Burkina Faso” on 4 August 1984.  Using a word from the 2 major native languages, Mòoré and Dioula, “Burkina” from Mòoré (meaning “men of integrity”) and “Faso” (meaning “fatherland”) from Dioula. “Burkina Faso” is understood as “Land of upright people” or “Land of honest people”. In 1896 France established a protectorate over the Mossi kingdoms in this territory and was known as French Upper Volta. Burkina Faso, gained Independence on 5 August 1960.  It operates as a semi-presidential republic.

200px-Flag_of_the_Cook_Islands.svgThe Cook Islands is an island country in the South Pacific Ocean in free association with New Zealand.  This means that the Cook Islands‘ defence and foreign affairs are the responsibility of New Zealand, which is exercised in consultation with the Cook Islands although in recent times, the Cook Islands have adopted an increasingly independent foreign policy. The Cook Islands became a British protectorate in 1888, largely due to community fears that France might occupy the territory. In 1901 the New Zealand Government decided to annex the country despite opposition from the country’s traditional chiefs.  When the British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act 1948 came into effect on 1 January 1949, Cook Islanders who were British subjects gained New Zealand citizenship. The country remained a New Zealand protectorate until 1965, when the New Zealand Government decided to offer self-governing status to its colony.  Although Cook Islanders are citizens of New Zealand, they have the status of Cook Islands nationals, which is not given to other New Zealand citizens.

200px-Flag_of_Jamaica.svgJamaica - The Independence of Jamaica refers to the series of events which led to the declaration of the Colony of Jamaica‘s independence from the United Kingdom on August 6, 1962. This is celebrated on the 1st Monday of August as National Day in Jamaica.  After World War II ended, a sweeping movement of decolonization took over the world. At this time, the British Government and local politicians began a long transition of converting the Caribbean island from a crown colony into an independent state. After Norman Manley was elected Chief Minister in 1955, he sped up the process of decolonization via several constitutional amendments. These amendments allowed for greater self-government and established the Minister’s administration as a cabinet under a premier.

Now that you have learned a little more about global events, consider adding one of these courses to your To Learn List:


days 28-35

An update to places we’ve been:

Come back next week when we visit Bolivia, Afghanistan, Singapore and Chad among other places!

Around the World in 62 Days: Day 15 – 21

Around the World in 62 Days


Welcome back!  Grab your passport and get ready to take off while we visit Slovakia, Columbia, Belgium and Guam this week.  The fasten seatbelt light has been lit and the Captain says we are prepared for take off.  Please pay attention to the following safety video, treat your flight attendants with kindness and enjoy the journey!


July 17Slovakia Declaration of Independence in 1992 (A Remembrance Day Only)

200px-Flag_of_Slovakia.svgWhile the dissolution of Czechoslovakia officially occurred on January 1, 1993, the Slovak Parliament adopted the Declaration of Independence of the Slovak nation on July 17, 1992 under Vladimír Mečiar.  By July 23rd, Mečiar and Václav Klaus (Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia) came to terms to dissolve Czechoslovakia.  It is interesting to note that there was a movement for either a tighter confederation of the two states or complete independence.  The vast majority of either state were not in favour of the dissolution and to this day there are still tight ties between the countries including both nations using either language officially as long as the speaker is using their native tongue.  Slovakia has since become a member of the European Union, NATO, the UN, WTO and many other organizations.


July 20


200px-Flag_of_Colombia.svgColombia – Declaration of independence from Spain 1810

In 1808, Charles IV of Spain was forced to abdicate the throne (along with Ferdinand VII of Spain) by Napoleon Bonaparte in favour of crowning his brother Joseph I as King of Spain.  This didn’t last long, which lead to the formation of the Supreme Central and Governing Junta of the Kingdom – which collapsed in early 1810 in favour of reinstating Ferdinand VII.  The news reached the Americas in mid 1810…a number of incidents occurred, including the breaking of a vase which eventually led to the independence of Colombia (known also as Gran Colombia to differentiate it from the Columbia of today).  It’s a fascinating history, and well worth the read!


July 21


200px-Flag_of_Belgium.svgBelgium Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld takes the oath as first king of the Belgians on July 21, 1831 after independence from the United Netherlands (Belgian revolution) on October 4, 1830. 

Formed from the “Southern Provinces” of the Netherlands, Belgium became an officially French-speaking nation once it gained its independence from the Netherlands.  Leopold I was not the first choice of King of Belgium (Louis, the second son of Louis-Philippe, King of France was considered first, but this was nixed by Louis-Philippe on the advice of Lord Palmerston, British Foreign Secretary).  Leopold was very nearly the Prince Consort of the United Kingdom (had Princess Charlotte lived, she would have been Queen), and then he was next offered the Throne of Greece, which he refused due to the perceived opposition to this appointment and his lack of desire in being imposed on a nation.  He accepted this offer to become King of Belgium, and took his oath on July 21, 1831.  Two weeks later, King William I attacked Belgium in an attempt to regain control.  Skirmishes continued for 8 years, and finally in 1839, both sides signed a Treaty recognizing the independence of Belgium.

Flag_of_Guam.svgGuam (Liberation Day, Americans landing on Guam 1944, the beginning of the Battle of Guam (1944)

Guam had been an American Territory since 1898. Captured by Japan on December 8th, 1941 just hours after the attack on Pearl Harbour, residents of Guam faced a 2.5 year occupation.  During this time they were forced to adopt Japanese culture, into forced labour amongst other atrocities.  On July 21, 1944 US troops recaptured the island. Guam is once again a territory of the US, has a democratic, self led government; representation in Congress; and pay some US taxes.


A few courses that you might be interested in reviewing this week:

The Captain has informed us that we are preparing to land.  Please return your seats and trays to an upright position and fasten your seatbelts as our journey comes to an end for this week – but please, join us next week when we will gather passport stamps from Egypt, Puerto Rico, Liberia, Peru and the Republic of the Maldives.  There are many more places to visit this summer, so make sure to come back every week to see where we will head next!