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keskiviikko 28. joulukuuta 2016

Ireland, Cool Facts #159

<= 158. Guyana                                                                                                   160. Great Britain => 

1. Ireland and Great Britain historical relationship 

Celtic rule 
The Viking rule ended in 1014, when the Celtic king Brian Borun defeated the Vikings. The Celtic rule was then ended in the 1170s by King Henry II of England.

Treaty of Windsor 1175
During the Norman invasion of Ireland the High King of Ireland Rory O'Connor accepted King Henry II of England as the overlord of the Irish kings. The treaty broke down quickly because Rory O'Connor was unable to prevent Norman knights carving out new territories in Ireland.

Crown of Ireland Act 1542 
The King of England, Henry VIII of the Tudor dynasty, declared himself the King of Ireland.

Nine Years' War 1594-1603
Gaelish Irish chieftains unsuccessfully fought against the English rule in Ireland.

Irish Confederate Wars 1641-1653
A series of civil wars in the kingdoms of Ireland, England and Scotland. The war was both a religious and ethnic conflict, fought over who would govern Ireland. This conflict was the most destructive conflict in Irish history. As a result of the war the Irish Catholic Confederation supported by the English and Scottish Royalists were defeated by the English Parliamentarians.

Ireland gets autonomy in 1782 

Acts of Union 1800
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was established as a sovereign state on 1 January 1801 merging the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland. One of the reasons of the union was the fear of an independent Ireland siding against Great Britain with revolutionary France.

Irish War of Independence 1919-1921
The war started after the Sinn Féin Irish Republic Army proclaimed an Irish Republic. The guerrilla war ended in truce in 1921. The Anglo-Irish Treaty was concluded giving Ireland complete independence as Irish Free State.

Irish history timeline until 1884
Irish history timeline 1913-2015

2. Irish Diaspora 

Since around 1700s, between 9-10 million people born in Ireland have emigrated. This amount is higher than Ireland's historical population peak in the 1840s with its 8,5 million citizens.

Protestants against Catholics
Around the 1690s the Catholic King of England was defeated by the Protestants. Afterwards the British tried to prohibit the Catholic church in Ireland. Catholic people were forbidden to own land and they weren't making decisions in the administration. This is one of the major causes why a lot of Irish emigrated to North America. Protestants constituted only 10% of the population in Ireland, but they controlled both the economy and politics.

Great Famine 
The Great Famine between 1845-1852 caused the death of about one million people. Because of the famine over a million more people emigrated especially to North America. Due to mortality and emigration the population of Ireland fell by 20-25%. The western parts of the island were almost entirely deserted.

Irish diaspora

3. Famines in Ireland

Famine of 1740-1741
- 38% of the population of 2,5 million people was estimated to have killed
- The loss of people was proportionately even greater than during the Great Famine of 1845-1852
- Was caused by extremely cold and then rainy weather in successive years
- The extraordinary climatic shock, the "Great Frost" struck Ireland and the rest of Europe between December 1739 and September 1741
- The weather caused a series of poor grain harvests, a shortage of milk and frost damage to potatoes

1660-2012 Temperatures 

Great Famine 1845-1852 
- Over 1 million people died
- Potato blight was the cause of the famine and the fact that one third of the population was dependent  on potato
- The Corn Laws and Penal Laws worsened the famine
- At the time of the famine, Ireland was part of Great Britain
- The famine soured the further the strained relations between the Irish people and the British Crown
- The famine boosted Irish nationalism republicanism
- A lot of people emigrated to North America because of the famine

Famine of 1879 
- Caused hunger rather than mass deaths
- Was the last main Irish famine
- Caused by cold weather, potato blight and cholera among chickens
- Since the Great Famine a railway system had been built allowing food to be imported to the west of Ireland instead of weeks
- The considerable Irish American population gave aid to Ireland by sending food, money and clothes
- Home Rule League, Land League and clergy successfully campaigned for British Crown aid

4. Irish Language 

- About 5-10% of Irish people use actively the Irish language
- Irish and English are official languages of Ireland
- Irish language has influences from Latin, Old Norse, French and English
- Irish was the majority tongue until the early 1800s, and since then a minority language
- Revival efforts of Irish language are continuing in both Ireland and Northern Ireland
Scottish Gaelic and Manx are the closest languages to Irish

Celtic languages

5. Separation of Northern Ireland 

Irish War of Independence 1919-1921
In 1918 the Sinn Féin Irish republican party won the elections in december. In January 1919 they formed a breakaway government and declared independence from Britain. After this the independence war between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the British government started.  The war ended in truce in 1921, but violence continued until June 1922, mostly in Northern Ireland.

The Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921
The treaty ended British rule in 26 counties of Ireland and the Irish Free State was created as self-governing state with Dominion status on 6 December 1922. Six north-eastern counties remained within the Great Britain, which constitute the present-day Northern Ireland. So the treaty separated Northern Ireland from the rest of Ireland.

Irish Civil War 1922-1923
The Irish civil war started after the Anglo-Irish Treaty between Irish republicans and Irish nationalists. IRA formed the republican Anti-Treaty forces and the Free State forces the Pro-Treaty forces. The Anti-Treaty forces opposed the fact that part of Ireland remained within Great Britain and that Ireland didn't get full independence but only the status of a British dominion. In 1923 the Free State forces backed by the British defeated the Anti-Treaty forces.

Northern Ireland after the separation
The majority of Northern Ireland's population were unionists, who wanted to remain within the United Kingdom. Most of the people were also Protestant descendants of British colonists, however there was a significant mainly Catholic minority who wanted a united Ireland.

The hostilities between the Protestant unionists and Catholic nationalists erupted into three decades of violence in the 1960s known as "the Troubles". The 1998 Good Friday Agreement was a major step in the peace process including the decommissioning of weapons. Sectarianism and religious segregation still remain major social problems in Northern Ireland.

Timeline of Ireland and Great Britain


12,000 BC Ireland became separated from Great Britain after the sea levels rose due to ice melting
10,500 BC Earliest evidence of human presence in Ireland
5600 BC Great Britain became separated from continental Europe
4500 BC Neolithic settlers started cultivating cereal and erecting stone monuments
2500 BC Bronze Age started in Ireland bringing innovations like the wheel, harnessing oxen, weaving textiles, brewing alcohol and metalworking
431 Bishop Palladius arrived in Ireland on a Christian mission
432 Saint Patrick arrived in Ireland promulgating Christianity like Bishop Palladius the previous year
563 The Irish monk Saint Columba founded a mission spreading Celtic Christianity and learning to England, Scotland and the Frankish Empire
800s Waves of Viking raiders arrived in Ireland plundering Irish monasteries and towns
1014 The Celtic King Brian Borun defeated the Vikings and ended their rule in Ireland
1175 Treaty of Windsor, a territorial agreement during the Norman invasion of Ireland between King Henry II of England and the High King of Ireland Rory O'Connor about accepting Henry II as the overlord of the Irish kings
1200s The Norman-Irish established a feudal system throughout much of Ireland
1297 Parliament of Ireland was established
1367 Statues of Kilkenny, a set of laws trying to prevent the assimilation of the Normans into Irish society
1494 Poynings' Law, the Irish Parliament had to get the approval of the English Parliament for their decisions
1542 The King of England, Henry VIII of the Tudor dynasty declared himself the King of Ireland
1594-1603 Nine Years' War, Gaelish Irish chieftains fought unsuccessfully against English rule in Ireland
1642-1649 Irish Civil War
1740-1741 Irish Famine, an estimated 300,000-480,000 people died due to cold weather resulting in poor harvests
1782 Poynings' Law was repealed and Ireland got autonomy
1798 A rebellion by the Society of United Irishmen, with the aim of creating an independent Ireland
1800 Both British and Irish parliaments passed Acts of Union
1801 Kingdom of Ireland and Kingdom of Great Britain merged to create a United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland 
1845-1852 The Great Famine caused the deaths of one million Irish people and over a million emigrated to escape the famine, mainly to the United States
1905 Nationalists founded the Sinn Féin party
1918 The pro-independence Sinn Féin party received overwhelming endorsement in the general elections
1919 Sinn Féin Irish Republic Army proclaimed an Irish Republic and IRA launched a three-year guerrilla war
1921 The guerrilla war ended in truce, but violence continued until June 1922, mostly in Northern Ireland
1921 The Anglo-Irish Treaty was concluded and it gave Ireland complete independence as Irish Free State in its home affairs and practical independence for foreign policy, but Northern Ireland remained part of Great Britain
1922-1923 Irish Civil War was waged between Irish republicans and Irish nationalists over the Anglo-Irish Treaty
1932 Eamon De Valera became prime minister
1937 Ireland adopted a new constitution with the lead of De Valera
1949 The state was officially declared the Republic of Ireland
1973 Ireland joined the EEC (European Economic Community)
1990 Mary Robinson was elected as the country's first female president
1994 IRA declared cease-fire
1997 Mary McAleese was Robinson's successor as president and she was the first president from Northern Ireland
2000 Ireland was the sixth richest country in the world by GDP per capita
2008 The financial crisis ended the booming growth of the economy and Ireland experienced afterwards a deep recession 

torstai 10. marraskuuta 2016

Guyana, Cool Facts #158

<= 157. Australia                                                                                                           159. Ireland =>

1. Society of Guyana 

The population of Guyana is one of the most diverse in the world with ethnic groups originating from India, Africa, Europe, China and indigenous people. The biggest group is the Indo-Guyanese, descendants of indentured servants from India, who make up 43,5% of the population. The Afro-Guyanese, descendants of African slaves, constitute 30,2% of the population. There has been some racial tension between the two biggest ethnic groups. 

Since the independence the Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese have had some tensions, which have escalated into violent strikes in 1979 and 1998. The Afro-Guyanese support the PNC and the Indo-Guyanese the PPP party. The Afro-Guyanese have been predominantly in the leading positions in the government and military as the Indo-Guyanese control the retail business and cultivate rice and sugar. 

Demographics of Guyana

2. Colonial Time in Guyana

Dutch colonies
Although Christopher Columbus was the first one to sight Guyana in 1498 on his third voyage to the Americas, it was the Dutch who established the first European settlements.

1616 the colony of Essequibo was established.
1627 the colony of Berbice was established.
1752 the colony of Demerara was established.

British rule
In 1796 the British assumed control over the Dutch colonies, but it was in 1814 when the Dutch formally ceded the area to Great Britain. 

1831 The colonies of Essequibo, Berbice and Demerara became one single colony known as British Guiana.
1837 Slavery was abolished, indentured workers from China and India replaced the slaves in the plantations. 

Division of Guiana regionIn 1884 European colonial powers divided the Guiana region. The British got the western part (Guyana), the Dutch got Surinam from the middle and France got the eastern part (French Guiana), which is still part of France.

Towards independence
1928 British Guiana got autonomy.
1953 Cheddi Jagan led PPP to win the first elections. Great Britain thought Jagan had too leftist thoughts and captivated him and his wife Janet Jagan and also annulled the constitution.
1966 British Guiana became independent as Guyana.

Dutch Guiana

3. Border Disputes 

The thick Guyanese rainforests isolate Guyana from the rest of South America. There isn't even a road connection to the biggest neighboring countries Venezuela and Brazil. The border disputes have also complicated the issue.

Dispute with Suriname 
Suriname claims the area east of the left bank of the Corentyne River and the New River in southwestern Suriname.

Dispute with Venezuela
Venezuela claims the land west of the Essequibo River. The claimed area is called Guayana Esequiba and it constitutes 74% of the land area of Guyana.

In 1840 the British commissioned the German Robert Schomburgk to survey Guiana's boundaries. In Schomburgk's map British Guiana contained actually areas beyond British occupation and gave control of the mouth of the Orinoco River. Venezuela disputed Schomburgk's map and in 1844 claimed all of Guiana west of the Essequibo River.

In 1898 there was an international arbitration tribunal about the border dispute and in 1899 the tribunal gave 94% of the disputed territory to British Guiana.

Guyana became independent in 1966 and the same year Guyana, Great Britain and Venezuela signed the Treaty of Geneva of 1966, where the parties agreed to find a practical, peaceful and satisfactory solution to the dispute. Venezuela still continues to claim Guayana Esequiba.

Extreme British and Venezuelan territorial claim
Territorial claims map

4. Jim Jones & Jonestown Massacre 

Mass-murder suicide.

November 18,1978

918 members of the Peoples Temple cult died, including 276 children. The Peoples Temple was a religious movement founded in 1955 by Jim Jones in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Jonestown foundation
The Peoples Temple rented land in Guyana in 1974. Former member Tim Carter told that the reasons to move there were racism in USA, the growing influence within the government of the corporations and the multinationals and the reason that Guyana was the only English speaking country in South America. Guyana was also a black country so the black members of Peoples Temple could live in peace there. 

Jones ordered his followers to drink a mixture of cyanide-laced, grape-flavored Flavor Aid. Also Congressman Ryan, three journalists and one of the Temple defectors were shot to death as attempted to escape from Jonestown. They had come to investigate the claims of abuse within the Peoples Temple. 

Jim Jones
Entrance to Jonestown 
Houses in Jonestown

5. Nature of Guyana 

- The highest mountain in Guyana is Mount Roraima with 2772m on the Brazil-Guyana-Venezuela tripoint border
- Mount Roraima and the table-top mountains of Guyana are said to have been the inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1912 novel The Lost World 
- Kaieteur Falls in Guyana is believed to be the largest water drop in the world 
- More than 80% of Guyana is still covered by forests - Over 70% of the natural habitat remains pristine
- Guyana has one of the highest biodiversity levels in the world 
- In 2012 Guyana got a $45 million reward from Norway for its rainforest protection efforts

Kaieteur Falls
Mount Roraima


1498 Christopher Columbus sighted Guyana in his third voyage to the Americas
1616 The Dutch established the colony of Essequibo
1627 The Dutch established the colony of Berbice
1752 The Dutch established the colony of Demerara
1814 The Dutch formally ceded the area to Great Britain
1823 The slaves rebelled but the rebellion was suppressed by force
1824 Venezuela claimed an area in Guyana and in 1899 an international tribunal ruled that the land belonged to Great Britain
1831 The three separate colonies became a single colony known as British Guiana
1838 People from Indian villages were brought to Guyana to work as indentured servants
1884 The Guianas region was split between European colonial powers so that the British got Guyana, the Dutch Surinam and the French got the current French Guiana
1953 PPP led by Cheddi Jagan won the first elections but the British thought Jagan was too leftist and so they annulled the constitution and captivated Jagan and his wife Janet Jagan
1958 Forbes Burnham separated from PPP and created a pro-British PNC party
1962 Venezuela officially claimed the territory in Guyana located west of the Essequibo River
1966 Guyana became independent from Great Britain 
1973 Guyana was one of the founding members in the establishment of CARICOM (Caribbean Community
1978 The American Cult, Peoples Temple, brought Guyana to the headlines around the world as 918 members with Jim Jones as the leader committed a mass suicide
1992 PNC lost the elections for the first time and the veteran politician Cheddi Jagan became president
1997 After the death of Jeddi Jagan, his widow Janet Jagan was elected president
1999 Bharrat Jagdeo became the next president after Janet Jagan 

sunnuntai 6. marraskuuta 2016

Australia, Cool Facts #157

<= 156. New Zealand                                                                                                    158. Guyana => 

1. New Holland

New Holland is a historical European name for mainland Australia, first applied in 1644 by the Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman.

In 1606 the Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon was the first European to sight and land on Australia. After Abel Tasman named Australia as New Holland, the name was used by the English Captain William Dampier, who made two voyages to Australia in 1688 and 1699.

Despite the name New Holland, neither the Netherlands nor the Dutch East India Company claimed any territory in Australia as its own. The explorers concluded that the region was unsuitable for permanent settlement due to the lack of water and fertile soil.

Many Dutch explorers visited the Australian coast during the 200 years after the first visit in 1606.

New Holland as mapped on a Coronelli globe commissioned in 1681

2. Australia Day 

When ?
Annually on 26th of January.

What ? 
The official National Day of Australia.

History behind the date
On 26 January 1788 the First Fleet landed in Port Jackson. This meant the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern coast of Australia. At the time mainland Australia was called New Holland, which was first used in 1644 by the Dutch seafarer Abel Tasman.

First Fleet background
James Cook had sailed along the east coast of Australia mapping it in 1770. Cook named the area New South Wales and claimed it for Great Britain. In 1783 the British government decided to send the First Fleet to establish a penal colony in New South Wales.

Australia Day term
In 1935 all Australian states and territories had adopted the term Australia Day. In 1994 all states and territories marked the date as a public holiday.

Invasion Day
Some aboriginals have protested since at least 1938 during Australia Day. They see the event as the invasion of their land by Europeans so that's why they prefer to call it "Invasion Day" or "Survival Day".

The First Fleet
Australia Day celebrations in Western Australia

3. Colonies in Australia 

The First Fleet arrived to Australia in 1788 and established the colony of New South Wales. Gradually the present-day states of Australia separated from New South Wales in the 1800s becoming self-governing colonies. New Zealand was also a part of New South Wales colony until 1841, when it became a separate British colony until its independence.

1788-1900 Colony of New South Wales 
The captain of the First Fleet, Arthur Philip, founded the first British settlement in Australian history as a penal colony. In 1900 the colony became a state in the federal Commonwealth of Australia

1825-1856 Colony of Van Diemen's Land/1856-1901 Colony of Tasmania
In 1825 Van Diemen's Land became a separate colony from New South Wales. In 1856 Van Diemen's Land changed its name to Tasmania. In 1901 Tasmania became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia.

1829-1832 Swan River Colony/1832-1901 Western Australia
Established in 1829, renamed in 1832 as Western Australia. Western Australia was reluctant to join the Commonwealth of Australia, doing so only after a railway line connecting the west coast and east coast was offered.

1834-1901 Colony of South Australia
The colony of South Australia became independent from New South Wales in 1834. In 1901 South Australia became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia, following a proclamation by Queen Victoria.

1851-1901 Colony of Victoria 
In 1851 Victoria became a separate colony from New South Wales. In 1901 it became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia.

1859-1901 Colony of Queensland In 1859 Queensland became a separate colony from New South Wales. In 1901 Queensland became a state of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Federation of Australia 1900
Six separate British self-governing colonies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and Western Australia agreed to unite and form the Commonwealth of Australia. The Constitution of Australia came into force on 1 January 1901.

Australia's colonies

4. Aboriginal Australians 

Arrival of the Aboriginals
The current theory suggests that the Aboriginals inhabited Australia between 42,000 and 48,000. They came by land bridges and short sea-crossings from present-day Southeast Asia.

Amount of Aboriginals 
The Aboriginal population was estimated to be between 750,000 and 1 million in 1788, when the First Fleet landed in Australia. The population declined dramatically in the following 150 years due to the frontier wars and infectious diseases. In 2011 there were 669,881 Aboriginals in Australia.

Australian frontier wars
A series of conflicts between 1788-1934 between the mainly British settlers and Aboriginals. About 20,000 Aboriginals and 2000-2500 Europeans died. The conflicts caused despair, loss of hunting grounds and starvation to the Aboriginals, who used alcohol then as remedy for the suffered devastation.

Aboriginal Protection Act 1869 
Enacted in the colony of Victoria gave the government's Board for the Protection of Aborigines extensive powers over the lives of Aboriginal people. The Board controlled where people could live and work, what they could do and who they could marry. They also removed the Aboriginal children from their families, starting the process known as the Stolen Generations.

Aboriginal groups
The term Aboriginal Australian is a broad term used of the many indigenous groups in Australia. The different groups have significant differences in social, cultural and linguistic customs. There are also the Torres Strait Islander group, who are not designated as "Aboriginal Australians". They are more related to the Papuan peoples of New Guinea speaking a Papuan language.

There were around 250 different indigenous languages at the time the Australian continent was colonized. About 145 languages remain in use, of which fewer than 20 are spoken by all age groups. All but 13 indigenous languages are considered to be endangered.

Arnhem Land artist
Australian Aboriginal playing the didgeridoo

5. Australia Nature

- Australia is recognized as one of the 17 megadiverse countries
- Australia has 6 different climate zones
- Australia has an estimated 200,000 animal species
- Australia has many dangerous animals including some of the world's most venomous snakes
- 89% of reptiles are endemic
- 85% of flowering plants are endemic
- 84% of mammals are endemic
- 755 species of reptiles, more than anywhere in the world
- Australia is the 6th biggest country in the world
- The Great Barrier Reef in Australia is the world's largest coral reef
- Australia has 16 World Heritage Sites
- 65 wetlands in Australia are listed under the Ramsar Convention

Australia's climate zones

Number of venomous animals by country


48,000-42,000 Years ago Australia was inhabited
1606 Dutch navigator Willem Janszoon was the first European to sight and land on Australia, the Dutch named the island continent "New Holland"
1770 James Cook sailed along the east coast mapping it. Cook named the area New South Wales and claimed it for Great Britain
1783 The British government sent the "First Fleet" to establish a penal colony in New South Wales
1788 A camp was set up and the British flag raised at Sydney Cove, Port Jackson, on 26 January, which is currently Australia's national day Australia Day
1803 A British settlement was established in Van Diemen's Land, present-day Tasmania
1825 Van Diemen's Land became a separate colony
1828 Great Britain formally claimed the western part of the present-day Western Australia
1836 The colony of South Australia was carved out from New South Wales
1848 The last convict ship arrived to New South Wales
1850s Gold rush began in Australia
1851 The colony of Victoria was established
1856 Van Diemen's Land was renamed Tasmania
1859 The colony of Queensland was established
1901 Federation of the colonies, this established the Commonwealth of Australia as a dominion of the British Empire
1911 The Federal Capital Territory was formed as the location for the future federal capital of Canberra
1911 The Northern Territory was established after it was excised from South Australia
1914 Australia joined Britain in fighting World War I
1931 Statute of Westminster formally ended most of the constitutional links between Australia and Great Britain, which was actually adopted by Australia in 1942
1942 Australia turned to the United States as a new ally and protector, because the British had been defeated in Asia during World War II and there was a threat of Japanese invasion
1951 After ANZUS treaty Australia became formally a military ally of the US
1986 Australia Act 1986 ended any British role in the government of the Australia States
1999 In a referendum 55% rejected the proposal to become a republic

"Maailman maat - liput ja historia" by Kimmo Kiljunen

torstai 20. lokakuuta 2016

New Zealand, Cool Facts #156

 <= 155. Tuvalu                                                                                                          157. Australia =>

1. New Zealand's Name 

First European in New Zealand
Dutch explorer Abel Tasman was the first European to see New Zealand in 1642. Tasman called it Staten Landt, thinking that it was connected to a landmass of the same name in the southern tip of South America.

Dutch cartographers
In 1645 Dutch cartographers renamed the area Nova Zeelandia after the Dutch province of Zeeland.
James Cook anglicized the name Nova Zeelandia to New Zealand. Cook mapped almost the entire coastline of New Zealand in 1769.

Maori names: 

New Zealand = Aotearoa (land of the white cloud)
North Island = Te Ika-a-Maui (the fish of Maui)
South Island = Te Waipounamu (the waters of greenstone)
Stewart Island = Rakiura

Cook's map of New Zealand
New Zealand from space

2. Sinking of the Greenpeace boat Rainbow Warrior

French nuclear test in Moruroa
In 1985 Greenpeace's ship Rainbow Warrior was on its way to Moruroa in French Polynesia to protest against French nuclear testing.

Opération Satanique
Rainbow Warrior was then sinked in the port of Auckland by the French foreign intelligence service agents. France denied responsibility first, but as the truth was revealed it led to the resignation of the French Defense Mininster Charles Hernu. The agents had planted two bombs in the ship and it caused the death of the Portuguese-Dutch photographer Fernando Pereira.

French agents
The two agents pleaded guilty for manslaughter and they got a ten year sentence in prison, but they were freed after only two years by the French government.

Foreign relations 
This event worsened the relations between France and New Zealand. France apologized and paid compensation to New Zealand and to the relatives of Fernando Pereira. The foreign and defense policy of New Zealand changed after the event. New Zealand distanced itself from USA and built stronger relations with Australia and the small nations in the Pacific.

Nuclear weapon legislation
New Zealand banned all nuclear-powered or ships carrying nuclear weapons in its territorial waters in 1985. Two years later in 1987 New Zealand was declared a nuclear-free zone.

Fernando Pereira 
Sinking Rainbow Warrior

3. New Zealand's Military Presence 

Despite the small population New Zealand has had a strong global presence in military campaigns.

World War I
- New Zealand had a fighting force of about 103,000 people from the population of just over a million
- 18,500 soldiers died
- 41,000 soldiers wounded

World War II
- New Zealand played key parts in the naval Battle of the River Plate and the Battle of Britain air campaign
- USA had more than 400,000 military personnel stationed in New Zealand

Wars with New Zealand Forces

Second Boer War 1899-1902
World War I 1914-1918
World War II 1939-1945
Malayan Emergency 1948-1960
Korean War 1950-1953
Vietnam War 1955-1975
Gulf War 1990-1991
Afghanistan War 2001-2014

Peacekeeping missions with New Zealand Forces

Bosnia and Herzegovina
East Timor
Iran-Iraq border
Solomon Islands

NZLAV at Tekapo Military Camp

New Zealand and Australian military personnel boarding a US navy helicopter during a humanitarian aid mission to Solomon Islands in 2007
Royal New Zealand Navy ships in Cook Strait

4. Realm of New Zealand

The realm of New Zealand is the entire area in which the Queen of New Zealand is head of state. Cook Islands and Niue are in free association with New Zealand, it means that they are self-governing, but New Zealand takes care of their foreign affairs and defense. Tokelau is a dependent area, which is going towards free association. The Ross Dependency in Antarctica is an uninhabited area, that New Zealand has claimed. Most countries don't recognize territorial claims in Antarctica. 

New Zealand proper: 

North Island
South Island
Chatham Islands
Kermadec Islands

Areas in free association with New Zealand
Cook Islands (in free association since 1965) 

Niue (in free association since 1974) 

New Zealand territory 

Ross Dependency (in Antarctica) 

Realm of New Zealand

5. Geographic isolation 

Human settlement 
New Zealand was one of the last major landmasses settled by humans. It's estimated that New Zealand was settled by Eastern Polynesians somewhere between 1250 and 1300.

New Zealand's geographic isolation for 80 million years has influence the country's animals, plants and fungi. About 82% of New Zealand's vascular plants are endemic. It's estimated that there are about 2300 species of lichen-forming fungi and 40% of these are endemic.

An estimated 80% of the land was covered in forest before the arrival of humans. The forests were dominated by birds like kiwi, kakapo, weka and takahe, which evolved flightlessness because there were no mammalian predators. When humans arrived, the amount of forests declined and many animals became extinct like the moa and Haast's eagle.

More penguin species are found in New Zealand than in any other country. One third of the seabirds that breed in New Zealand are unique to the country. Almost half of the world's cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) are reported in New Zealand waters. There are also a lot of fur seals.

Extinction facts since the arrival of humans
- 50% of the vertebrate species
- 52 birds
- 3 frogs
- 3 lizards
- 1 freshwater fish
- 1 bat

Penguins in New Zealand
Haast's eagle attacking moa
Possible migration routes


1250-1300 New Zealand was settled by Eastern Polynesians who developed their own Maori culture
1642 Dutch Abel Tasman visited New Zealand as the first European
1769 James Cook mapped almost the entire coastline of New Zealand
1800s Christian missionaries started settling New Zealand and converting the Maori people
1835 An independent Maori state was established before the islands became a British colony
1840 Treaty of Waitangi, Captain William Hobson declared British sovereignty over all of New Zealand
1841 The Colony of New Zealand became separate from the colony of New South Wales
1845-1872 New Zealand Wars between the New Zealand government and indigenous Maori
1865 The capital city was removed from Auckland to Wellington 
1893 New Zealand became the first country to grant all women the right to vote
1898 New Zealand got free healthcare, primary education and the first general pensions scheme in the British Empire
1907 New Zealand became a self-governing dominion within the British Empire
1930s Great Depression affected New Zealand and led to the election of the first Labour government and the establishment of a comprehensive welfare state and protectionist economy
1947 New Zealand gained full independence from Great Britain
1951 New Zealand joined Australia and USA in the ANZUS security treaty
1975 Waitangi Tribunal was set up to investigate the actions made by the British to the Maori people in the 1800s
1985 New Zealand banned all nuclear-powered or nuclear weapons carrying ships in its territorial waters
1987 New Zealand was declared a nuclear-free zone
2005-2006 New Zealand became the only country in the world in which all the highest offices in the country were occupied by women simultaneously (Head of State, Governor-General, Prime Minister, Speaker and Chief Justice) 

keskiviikko 19. lokakuuta 2016

Tuvalu, Cool Facts #155

<= 154. Tonga                                                                                                      156. New Zealand => 

1. Geography of Tuvalu 

Flag of Tuvalu There are nine stars in the flag of Tuvalu, representing the nine islands of the nation. 

Name of Tuvalu 
Tuvalu means "eight together" referring to the eight inhabited islands of Tuvalu. The southernmost island Niulakita has been uninhabited, except during the coconut harvest. 

Tuvalu has only about 10,000 people and the land area of the nation is among the smallest in the world. The atolls and reef islands form a 600km long chain in the middle of Pacific Ocean. 

The highest point of Tuvalu is only 5 meters above sea level. If the sea level rises like it's estimated, Tuvalu will become uninhabitable. The government has already asked help from Australia and New Zealand. New Zealand is ready to receive 75 Tuvaluan climate refugees yearly. Tuvalu has also negotiated buying land in Fiji, which is a thousand kilometers from Tuvalu. 

Tuvalu islands

2. Explorers and Scientific Expeditions in Tuvalu 

Álvaro de Mendaña
The Spanish explorer, who sighted Tuvalu as the first European in 1568. In his first voyage he sailed past Nui island and named it Isla de Jesús (Island of Jesus). In his second voyage he passed Niulakita in 1595 and named it La Solitaria.

Captain John Byron
The captain of Dolphin circumnavigated around the world and passed Tuvalu calling the atolls of Tuvalu as Lagoon Islands

Arent Schuyler de Peyster
Captain of Rebecca sailed in Tuvaluan waters in 1819 sighting Nukufetau and Funafuti, which he named Ellice's island after an English politician, Edward Ellice. Edward Ellice was the owner of Rebecca's cargo and the member of parliament for Coventry. After the work of English hydrographer Alexander George Findlay the name Ellice applied to all nine islands of Tuvalu. 

Captain George Barrett
Captain of the Nantucked whaler Independence II. He has been identified as the first whaler to hunt the waters around Tuvalu. In 1821 he bartered coconuts from the people of Nukulaelae and visited Niulakita as well.

Royal Society of London
Conducted an investigation at the site now called Darwin's Drill on Funafuti. The purpose of the investigation was to find out how coral reefs are formed and whether traces of shallow water organisms can be found at depth in the coral of Pacific atolls. 

Photographers and illustrators: 

Alfred Thomas Agate - engraver and illustrator from USA recorded the dress and tattoo patterns of the men of Nukufetau 

Thomas Andrew - photographer from New Zealand visited Funafuti and Nui in 1885 or 1886 and photographed the local people 

Harry Clifford Fassett - photographed people, communities and scenes at Funafuti in 1900, when the United States Fish Commission was investigating the formation of coral reefs on Pacific atolls. 

A Tuvaluan man in traditional costume drawn by Alfred Agate in 1841 
Woman on Funafuti, taken by Harry Clifford Fassett in 1900

3. British Colonial Period

British Western Pacific Territories 1892-1916
In 1892 each of the Ellice Islands was declared a British Protectorate as part of the British Western Pacific Territories (BWPT). 

Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony 1916-1974
The administration of BWPT was ended in 1816, when the colony of Gilbert and Ellice Islands was established. After the World War II, the United Nations was formed, which was committed to a process of decolonization around the world. So the British colonies in the Pacific started their path towards self-determination. 

Referendum of 1974
There was a referendum in Ellice Islands in 1974, whether they should separate themselves from Gilbert Islands or stay with them. The majority of 92% voted for separating from Gilbert Islands. Ellice Islands thus became a separate colony and four years later in 1978 the British colony became independent as Tuvalu.

Gilbert and Ellice Islands stamp
Gilbert and Ellice Islands

4. Blackbirding in Tuvalu 

What is blackbirding ?
Blackbirding means tricking or kidnapping people to work as labourers. Blackbirding in the Pacific started in the 1860s, when Peruvian ships were looking for recruits to mine the guano deposits on the Chincha Islands in Peru. 

In 1870s the blackbirding trade focused on finding workers to the sugar cane plantations in Queensland and Fiji. Blackbirding still continues in some developed countries like in Central America, where people are forced to work as plantation workers for very little pay.

Blackbirding in Tuvalu
A European missionary reported that in 1863 about 170 people were taken from Funafuti and about 250 were taken from Nukulaelae. Many other Polynesian islands were also affected by blickbirding. 

Main blackbirding routes

5. Economy of Tuvalu 

Tuvalu generates income from stamps by the Tuvalu Philatelic Bureau.

Tuvalu's internet domain ".tv"
Tuvalu has commercialized its internet domain ".tv". The domain is managed by Verisign until 2021. The domain generates about 10% of the government's total revenue. Tuvalu gets each year around 2,2 million US dollars from royalties from the use of the domain.

Fishing licenses
Fishing licenses are one of Tuvalu's most important sources of revenue together with lease of its internet domain and income from the Tuvalu Trust Fund.

Financial support
Tuvalu Trust Fund was worth of $145 million in 2015. It was established by Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand to provide income to Tuvalu to cover shortfalls in the national budget. Japan, South Korea, USA and the European Union also provide financial support to Tuvalu.

Due to the remoteness of Tuvalu, tourism isn't significant. In 2010 there were only 360 tourists visiting Tuvalu.

Other facts
- Tuvalu doesn't have television channels, newspapers, jail or army
- Tuvalu had to postpone its membership in the UN because it couldn't afford to pay for the costs of the representation in UN

 Tuvaluan .TV domain

Tuvaluan stamp


1568 Tuvalu was sighted for the first time by the Spanish navigator Álvaro de Mendaña, who sailed past Nui and named it Isla de Jesús (Island of Jesus)
1595 During Mendaña's second voyage across the Pacific he passed Niulakita and named it La Solitaria
1764 Captain John Byron passed through the islands of Tuvalu calling them Lagoon Islands
1819 American Captain Arent De Peyster sailed under British colors and sighted Nukufetau and Funafuti, which he named Ellice's Island after an English politician Edward Ellice. Later the name Ellice was applied to all nine islands of Tuvalu after the work of English hydrographer Alexander George Findley
1821 Captain George Barrett, who has been the first whaler to hunt around Tuvalu, visited the islands
1861 Christianity came to Tuvalu with Elekana, who was caught in a storm and drifter for 8 weeks before landing at Tuvaluan islands
1862-1863 Peruvian ships were engaged in "blackbirding", seeking forcibly recruits to fill the extreme labour shortage in Peru
1892 Ellice Islands was declared a British Protectorate as part of the British Western Pacific Territories
1916 The Gilbert and Ellice Islands colony was established
1940s During the World War II, the Japanese occupied Gilbert Islands and the Americans Ellice Islands
1974 After a referendum it was decided that Gilbert Islands and Ellice Islands would have their own separate administration
1978 Ellice Islands gained independence as Tuvalu
1979 Gilbert Islands gained independence as Kiribati
2000 Tuvalu became the 189th United Nations member