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!

Around the World in 62 Days: Days One to Five

Around the World in 62 Days
Welcome to Around the World in 62 Days!  During July and August, we are going to explore Independence Day – not just in the United States, but around the world in 53 countries! Along the way, we will discover things about the country, their history, and with a little luck, ourselves.  Join us on this expedition every Tuesday this summer- no passport required!

July 1

 

 Canada

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At 9.98 million square kilometres in size, Canada is the world’s second-largest country in the world (by total area). This North American country boasts a population of 35.5 million.  Canada gained its independence from Britain in a typically peaceful manner on July 1st, 1867 via the British North America Act.  The Canada Act in 1982 severed the final vestiges of legal dependence on the British Parliament.  Most communities will celebrate Canada Day by hosting organized, outdoor  public events such as parades, carnivals, festivals, BBQs, air and/or maritime shows, fireworks and free musical concerts – or some mix thereof. Citizenship ceremonies are frequently hosted for new citizens.  Ottawa, the capital of Canada, will host a televised event consisting of concerts and addresses by many Canadians, ending with a fantastic fireworks show.

Burundi

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With a population of 8.7 million and a size of 27,834km2, the African nation of Burundi will ,celebrate its independence from Belgium, which occurred in 1962. This day sees political leaders making speeches about past and future, military parading to tunes of marching band, gymnasts diving through burning hoops, and people indulging in traditional drumming and dancing.

 

Rwanda

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Rwanda will also remember it’s independence from Belgium (1962) on July 1st.  Interestingly, they also celebrate a Liberation Day on July 4th.  Each date has its own significance and each should be studied carefully.  This African country has an area of 26,338 km2 and a population of 12 million.  John Kerry has issued a statement of best wishes for the 52nd anniversary of Rwandan independence – see it here!

 

Somalia

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Somalia, a country located on the Horn of Africa consists of 10 million people in an area of 637,657 square kilometres. July 1st represents the independence of both the former Italian Somaliland and British Somaliland and the unity of these two nations.  Somalia was formerly best known as the Land of Punt by the Egyptians and in the Bible. In recent history, Somalia has been associated with pirates, warlords and the militia.  First nation countries dumped their chemical waste in their waters, ruining the fishing industry and turning peaceful fisherman into pirates who, in turn, disrupted many international trade routes and singlehandedly increased the cost of wages, insurance and security for any company shipping near the Horn of Africa.  Independence day is celebrated with speakers from the government, musicians, invited guests and many others participating in ceremonies.  If you would like to learn more about Somalia, you should check out Analysing Global Trends for Business and Society for some fantastic insight!

 

July 3

 

Belarus

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Belarus is a European nation that celebrates Independence day on July 3rd but in this case, they are celebrating the independence of the country, but of Minsk from German Occupation in 1944.  The decision to celebrate Independence Day on July 3, the day of the liberation of Belarus from the Nazis, was made during the 1996 national referendum proposed by President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. The Independence Day celebrations also include military and civil processions, concerts, and other festivities throughout the country. The day finally comes to an end with a display of fireworks gracing the sky.  There are approximately 9.5 million people living within the 207,595 km2 that makes up Belarus.

 

July 4

United States

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Independence Day in the United States is often portrayed as the quintessential celebration of life, liberty and freedom.  Although declared in 1776, Independence wasn’t completely gained from Great Britain until 1783.  The United States of America is 9,826,675 km2 – making it the third or fourth largest country in the world (it’s often debated whether the USA or China is in third place for size) and houses at least 318 million people – making it the most populous country celebrating its Independence this week!  The Fourth of July is celebrated in various ways around the country. Celebrations comprise of parades, BBQs, fireworks, carnivals, fairs, concerts, political speeches and ceremonies all in praise of the freedom and greatness of the country.

 

July 5 (1)

 

Venezuela

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Venezuela is a South American country that will be celebrating 203 years of independence from Spain in 2014!  Consisting of 28 million people in an area of 916,445 km2, Venezuelans will be celebrating with fireworks, family gatherings, cultural shows, street parties, and parades.

 

 Algeria

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Algeria is our last stop this week! This African nation is the tenth largest in the world – coming in at 2,381,741 km2! With 38.7 million people there is bound to be a diverse and interesting culture! Independence day is celebrated with passion – with Algerians taking to the streets and attending celebrations wearing the national colour – green!  There are military parades in Algiers and concerts and cultural events are organized in the national stadium.  Algeria gained its independence from France in 1962.

 

ryanlerch_Green_-_Query_IconDid you know?

Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario, have, since the 1950s, celebrated both Canada Day and the United States’ Independence Day with the International Freedom Festival; a massive fireworks display over the Detroit River, the strait separating the two cities, is held annually with hundreds of thousands of spectators attending. A similar event occurs at the Friendship Festival, a joint celebration between Fort Erie, Ontario, and neighbouring Buffalo, New York, and towns and villages throughout Maine, New Brunswick, and Quebec come together to celebrate both anniversaries together.

 

 

 

Want to learn more about Global issues? There are several courses available that are of particular interest – to share just a few this week:

Join us next Tuesday when we cover Days Six to Fourteen in our Around the World in 62 Days series.  We will visit Lithuania, Malawi, Argentina, Bahamas and South Sudan…just to name a few! Let’s see how many more stamps we can add to our virtual passport together!