Happy Birthday to the countries!

Happy Serbia’s Statehood Day!

Serbia is the world’s second largest producer of raspberries. *Photo from Wikipedia February 15 is Serbia’s Statehood Day. It is a holiday to commemorate the outbreak of the First Serbian Uprising in 1804, it evolved into a Serbian Revolution against Ottoman rule. The revolution ultimately resulted in the recognition of Serbia’s statehood by Ottoman Empire. Slavs settled the Balkans in the 9th century. In 1345 the Serbian Empire was established: it spanned a large part of the Balkans. In 1540 the Ottoman Empire annexed Serbia. The Serbian realms disappeared by the mid-16th century, torn by domestic feuds and overcome by

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Happy Birthday to Slovenia!

View of Ljubljana, the capital and largest city of Slovenia. *Photo from Wikipedia December 26 is Independence and Unity Day of Slovenia, commemorates the official proclamation of the Slovenian independence referendum on December 26, 1990. Historically, the current territory of Slovenia was part of many different state formations, including the Roman Empire and the Holy Roman Empire, followed by the Habsburg Monarchy. In October 1918, the Slovenes exercised self-determination for the first time by co-founding the internationally unrecognized “State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs”, which merged that December with the Kingdom of Serbia into the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and

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Happy Birthday to Kazakhstan!

Ak Orda (“the white horde”) Presidential Palace, located in the capital city of Astana. *Photo from Wikipedia December 16 is Republic Day of Kazakhstan, celebrating the independence of the country from the Soviet Union. The territory of Kazakhstan has historically been inhabited by nomadic tribes. This changed in the 13th century, when Genghis Khan occupied the country as part of the Mongolian Empire. Following internal struggles among the conquerors, power eventually reverted to the nomads. By the 16th century, the Kazakh emerged as a distinct group, divided into three jüz (main territorial and tribal division in the Kypchak Plain area

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Happy Birthday to Finland!

Helsinki, the capital city and most populous municipality of Finland. *Photo from Wikipedia December 6 is Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Finland from Russia in 1917. Most of the region was a part of the Kingdom of Sweden from the 13th century to 1809, when the vast majority of the Finnish-speaking areas of Sweden were ceded to the Russian Empire (excluding the Finnish-speaking areas of the modern-day Northern Sweden), making this area the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. The Lutheran religion dominated. Finnish nationalism emerged, focused on Finnish cultural traditions, including music and – especially – the highly distinctive

MET Column

Happy Portugal’s Restoration of Independence Day!

Women in traditional attire. *Photo from Wikipedia December 1 is Restoration of Independence Day, celebrates the end of the Philippine Dynasty. The revolution of 1640 ended the 60-year rule of Portugal by the Spanish Habsburgs. Portugal as a country was established in the aftermath of the Christian Reconquista against the Muslim Moors who had invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711 AD. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Portugal established the first global empire, becoming one of the world’s major economic, political and military powers. During this period, today referred to as the Age of Discovery, Portuguese explorers pioneered maritime exploration,

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Happy Birthday to Albania!

The Albanian iso-polyphony, a traditional part of Albanian folk music and, as such, is included in UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage list. *Photo from Wikipedia November 28 is Albanian Flag Day, celebrate the independence of Albania from Turkey in 1912, the first Albanian flag raise in 1443, and for the new parliamentary constitution in 1998. In the third century BC, the region was annexed by Rome and became part of the Roman provinces of Dalmatia, Macedonia and Moesia Superior (an ancient region and later Roman province situated in the Balkans south of the Danube River). The unified Principality of Arbanon (the

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Happy Birthday to Latvia!

The old town of Riga, the capital and largest city of Latvia. *Photo from Wikipedia November 18 is Independence Day, celebrates the independence of Latvia from Russia in 1918. After centuries of Swedish, Livonian (People who lived on the shores of present-day Latvia), Polish and Russian rule, a rule mainly executed by the privileged Baltic German aristocracy, the Republic of Latvia was established on November 18, 1918, after declaring independence from Russia in the aftermath of World War I. However, by the 1930s, the country became increasingly autocratic after the coup in 1934 establishing an authoritarian regime. The country’s de facto independence

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Happy Birthday to Czech & Slovakia!

The declaration of independence of Czechoslovakia. *Photo from Wikipedia October 28 is Day of the Establishment of an Independent Czecho-Slovak State, celebrates the independence of Czechoslovakia from Austria-Hungary in 1918. Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918 until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on January 1, 1993. From 1939 to 1945, following its forced division and partial incorporation into Nazi Germany, the state did not de facto exist but its government-in-exile continued to operate. From 1948 to 1990, Czechoslovakia was part of the Soviet bloc with a command

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Happy Austria’s National Day!

World-famous Vienna State Opera. *Photo from Wikipedia October 26 is National Day of Austria, celebrates the anniversary of the Declaration of Neutrality in 1955. Formally, the declaration was promulgated voluntarily by the Republic of Austria. Politically, it was the direct consequence of the allied occupation by the Soviet Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, and France between 1945 and 1955, from which the country was freed by the Austrian State Treaty (May 15, 1955). Since then, neutrality has become a deeply ingrained element of Austrian identity. Austria’s national holiday on October 26 commemorates the declaration. Austria was dominated by

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Happy Hungary’s National Day!

Crowd cheers Hungarian troops in Budapest. *Photo from Wikipedia October 23 is Memorial day of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. Also the day of the proclamation of the Third Hungarian Republic (1989). The day is celebrated with speeches and exhibitions. The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 or the Hungarian Uprising of 1956 was a nationwide revolt against the government of the Hungarian People’s Republic and its Soviet-imposed policies, lasting from October 23 until November 10, 1956. Though leaderless when it first began, it was the first major threat to Soviet control since the USSR’s forces drove Nazi Germany from its territory