“To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” ~ Aldous Huxley
We’ve made it to days 43-49! When we finish this week, we will have visited over 51% of all countries in the world! If you’ve missed any of our earlier journeys, you can catch up here, here, here, here, here and here! We are in for a busy week! Hang on to your hat as we take off around the world to places like South Korea, Gabon, Indonesia and Bahrain!
Central African Republic
The Central African Republic is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Chad, Sudan, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo and Cameroon. What is known today as the Central African Republic has been inhabited for thousands of years, however, the country’s current borders were established by France. France ruled the country as a colony starting in the late 19th century until the Central African Republic gained independence in 1960. Subsequently, the Central African Republic was ruled by a series of autocratic leaders; by the 1990s, calls for democracy led to the first multi-party democratic elections in 1993.
Pakistan is a sovereign country in South Asia. Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650 mi) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman, and is bordered by India, Afghanistan, Iran and China. It is separated from Tajikistan by Afghanistan’s narrow Wakhan Corridor in the north, and also shares a marine border with Oman. Ruled by many empires and dynasties over the centuries, it was most recently a part of the British Empire. After a struggle for independence, Pakistan was created in 1947 as an independent nation for Muslims from the regions in the east and west of Subcontinent where there was a Muslim majority. Initially a dominion, Pakistan adopted a new constitution in 1956, becoming an Islamic republic. A civil war in 1971 resulted in the secession of East Pakistan as the new country of Bangladesh. The post-independence history of Pakistan has been characterised by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with neighbouring India.
India, officially the Republic of India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean, the Arabian Sea, and the Bay of Bengal, it shares land borders with Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma and Bangladesh. India’s Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia. India was gradually annexed by and brought under the administration of the British East India Company from the early 18th century. The United Kingdom administered India directly from the mid-19th century. In 1947, India became an independent nation after a struggle for independence that was marked by non-violent resistance led by Mahatma Gandhi. Vital to India’s self-image as an independent nation was its constitution, completed in 1950, which put in place a secular and democratic republic. In the 60 years since, India has had a mixed record of successes and failures. It has remained a democracy with civil liberties, an activist Supreme Court, and a largely independent press.
Liechtenstein, is a doubly landlocked alpine country and a microstate in Central Europe, bordered by Switzerland and Austria. With an area of just over 160 square kilometres (62 square miles), and an estimated population of 35,000, Liechtenstein has the highest gross domestic product per person in the world when adjusted by purchasing power parity. Liechtenstein Day celebrates Hans-Adam II formally turning the power of making day-to-day governmental decisions over to his son, Alois Philipp Maria, to preparing for the transition to a new generation. The Prince hosts an open day at his castle on the 15th of August every year where guests are treated to local drinks, delicacies, and the opportunity to meet and mingle with the Princely Family itself. Later that night the castle is lit up by an elaborate projection system and a world class fireworks display and street fair goes on late into the night.
Republic of the Congo
The Republic of the Congo, is a country located in Central Africa, bordered by Gabon, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Angolan exclave of Cabinda. The region was dominated by Bantu-speaking tribes, who built trade links leading into the Congo River basin. Congo-Brazzaville was formerly part of the French colony of Equatorial Africa. Upon independence in 1960, the former colony of French Congo became the Republic of the Congo. The People’s Republic of the Congo was a Marxist-Leninist single-party state from 1970 to 1991. Multi-party elections have been held since 1992, although a democratically elected government was ousted in the 1997 Republic of the Congo Civil War.
South Korea is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. It shares land borders with North Korea, and oversea borders with China and Japan. Korea became part of the Japanese Empire in 1910 and after its defeat in 1945, Korea was divided into Soviet and U.S. zones of occupation, with the latter becoming the Republic of Korea in 1948. Although the United Nations passed a resolution declaring the Republic to be the only lawful government of Korea, a communist regime was soon set up in the North that invaded the South in 1950, leading to the Korean War that ended de facto in 1953, with peace and prosperity settling-in thereafter.
Bahrain is a small island country situated near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. Bahrain is relatively close geographically with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Qatar. Following a period of Arab rule, Bahrain was occupied by the Portuguese in 1521, who in turn were expelled in 1602 by Shah Abbas I of the Safavid empire. In 1783, the Bani Utbah clan captured Bahrain from the Qajars and has since been ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family, with Ahmed al Fateh as Bahrain’s first hakim.In the late 1800s, following successive treaties with the British, Bahrain became a protectorate of the United Kingdom. In 1971, Bahrain declared independence. Formerly a state, Bahrain was declared a Kingdom in 2002. Since early 2011, the country has experienced sustained protests and unrest inspired by the regional Arab Spring, particularly by the majority Shia population.
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western three-eighths of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti. The Taíno people inhabited what is now the Dominican Republic since the 7th century. Christopher Columbus landed on the island in 1492, and it became the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, namely Santo Domingo, the country’s capital and Spain’s first capital in the New World. After three centuries of Spanish rule, with French and Haitian interludes, the country became independent in 1821. The ruler, José Núñez de Cáceres, intended that the Dominican Republic be part of the nation of Gran Colombia, but he was quickly removed by the Haitian government and “Dominican” slave revolts. Victorious in the Dominican War of Independence in 1844, Dominicans experienced mostly internal strife over the next 72 years, and also a brief return to Spanish rule. Spain controlled the Dominican Republic until 1863. The Dominicans started the war in Santiago to restore the independence from Spanish rule. On August 16, 1965, Spain ended its occupation and Dominican independence was established.
Gabon, is a sovereign state on the west coast of Central Africa. Located on the equator, Gabon is bordered by Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, the Republic of the Congo, and the Gulf of Guinea. The first political party to surface in the Gabonese was founded to improve educational opportunities for the native people. The hopes for gaining freedom strengthened in 1958, when Gabon voted for autonomous status within the French community. The French authorities finally agreed to grant Gabon its sovereignty in July 1960, and a month later on August 17, 1960, the Gabonese Republic was born. Gabonese Independence Day is the celebration of the historic moment, when the independent nation of Gabon was formed. The people of Gabon commemorate this day each year with traditional dance programs, drum shows, and parades. Like many other countries the Independence Day is a national holiday in Gabon.
Indonesia is a sovereign state in Southeast Asia and Oceania. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and Malaysia. Other neighboring countries include Singapore, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, and the Indian territory of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Indonesian history has been influenced by foreign powers drawn to its natural resources. Muslim traders brought the now-dominant Islam, while European powers brought Christianity and fought one another to monopolize trade in the Spice Islands of Maluku during the Age of Discovery. Following three and a half centuries of Dutch colonialism, Indonesia secured its independence after World War II. The Proclamation of Indonesian Independence was read at 10.00 a.m. on Friday, August 17, 1945. The declaration marked the start of the diplomatic and armed-resistance of the Indonesian National Revolution, fighting against the forces of the Netherlands and pro-Dutch civilians, until the latter officially acknowledged Indonesia’s independence in 1949. Indonesia’s history has since been turbulent, with challenges posed by natural disasters, corruption, separatism, a democratization process, and periods of rapid economic change.
Now that you have learned a little more about global events, consider adding one of these courses to your To Learn List:
- South Indian (Carnatic) Classical Music – Listen, Understand
- A Brief History of India
- The Eurozone Crisis
- Caribbean Health and Family Life Education
- Learn Korean Writing – Hana Hana Hangul
- Introduction to Business in Asia
An Updated Map of the Places We’ve Visited Thus Far:
Join us next week when we head off to Afghanistan, Hungary, Estonia and more!