Monthly Archives: September 2017

Botswana Gains Independence from Britain (1966)

The 1867 discovery of gold in Botswana excited interest from several European powers. In 1885, the British created the Bechuanaland Protectorate there as a defense against the Boers. Although this spawned no nationalist movement, Britain granted it internal self-government in 1965 and full independence as Botswana the next year. Seretse Khama became its first president. Botswana’s economy has developed rapidly since independence. Why is a member of the main tribe of Botswana called a Motswana? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Feast of the Hunters' Moon

October was traditionally the time when the voyageurs, or traders, came to Fort Ouiatenon (in what is now Lafayette, Indiana) to trade their goods, gossip with the local French settlers, and generally relax and enjoy themselves before setting out on their next journey. The Feast of the Hunter’s Moon, which was first held in 1968, begins with the arrival of the voyageurs by canoe on the Wabash River. Events include Indian chants, French folk songs, demonstrations of traditional crafts, and the cooking of typical French and Indian foods over an open fire. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Jacques Necker (1732)

French financier and statesman Jacques Necker retired in the early 1780s. Returning to Paris in 1787, Necker was soon exiled from the city for engaging in public controversy over financial policy. In 1788, Louis XVI recalled Necker as director-general of finances and minister of state. Supporting reforms, he was acclaimed by the populace. When his enemies at court again secured his dismissal in 1789, the populace stormed the Bastille on July 14. What happened to Necker? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Taklamakan

One of the largest sandy deserts in the world, the Taklamakan Desert in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China is approximately 600 miles (965 km) across, with an area of 105,000 square miles (272,000 sq km). It is crossed at its northern and southern edges by two branches of the Silk Road, whose travelers sought to avoid the arid wasteland. Archeological digs in the Taklamakan’s sand cover, which is 1,000 feet (300 m) thick in some places, have revealed what 4,000-year-old discoveries? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II Is Excommunicated (1227)

Prior to being excommunicated the first of several times, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II had planned to go on a crusade. However, an epidemic waylaid him and a large part of his army, delaying the conquest. As a result, he was excommunicated by Pope Gregory IX. He eventually went on the postponed crusade and became king of Jerusalem. With Italy as the center of his power, Frederick, a religious skeptic, was in frequent conflict with the papacy. Frederick wrote the first book on what subject? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

State Fair of Texas

Not surprisingly, the State Fair of Texas is one of the nation’s biggest state fairs, claiming more than three million visitors to the 200-acre Fair Park in Dallas. The fair began in 1887, and in 1952 Big Tex, its symbol of bigness, arrived. Big Tex is a 52-foot-tall cowboy with a 30-foot chest and 7’8″ biceps, wearing a five-foot-high, 75-gallon cowboy hat. The cowboy stands in the middle of the fairgrounds booming out welcomes and announcements. Among fair events are a college football game, concerts, and parades. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Gene Autry (1907)

Probably the most successful “singing cowboy” in American film, Autry began performing on the radio during the 1920s in Oklahoma. He moved to Hollywood in the early 30s and went on to star in nearly 100 films, becoming America’s top Western star from 1937 to 1943. He usually played a singing hero astride his famous horse, Champion. He wrote and recorded hundreds of songs, including his signature song, “Back in the Saddle Again.” What well-known Christmas song was Autry’s biggest hit? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary