Cuba: Independence from the USA
On this day in 1902, Cuba received its independence from the United States, having been previously a territory of Spain until the conclusion of the Spanish-American War which ended in 1898.
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East Pakistan Declares Independence to become the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
On this day in 1971, the former East Pakistan declared independence from Pakistan to become the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. The declaration of independence led the the Bangladesh Liberation War, which ended with Indian
intervention on the 16th December 1971.
For more, a 75 minute Bangladesh War Video can be viewed at the Internet Archive:
Robert the Bruce Becomes King of Scotland
On this day in 1306, Robert the Bruce became the King of Scotland. He continued as king until his death on the 7th June 1329. He led Scotland during the Wars of Scottish Independence in which Scotland regained its independence from England. He is probably more remembered outside of Scotland for his role in the life of William Wallace, particularly since the film Braveheart based on the life of William Wallace.
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Download the following books:
King Robert the Bruce, by Alexander Falconer Murison
The Story of King Robert the Bruce, by Robert Laird Mackie
The Bruce, by John Barbour and William Mackay Mackenzie
Robert the Bruce and the Struggle for Scottish Independence, by Sir Herbert Maxwell
Italy: The Free State of Fiume Annexed by Italy
On this day in 1924, the small Free State of Fiume was annexed by the Kingdom of Italy. This small free state was independent between 1920 and 1924. The city of Fiume is now known as Rijeka and belongs to Croatia.
From 1719 it gained autonomy from the emperor Charles VI, having been part of the Holy Roman Empire. It became part of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1776, though it remained largely autonomous until its independence in 1920. There was a period between 1848 and 1868 when its autonomy was lost to Croatian rule.
With the end of World War II, Fiume became part of Yugoslavia and then with the break up of Yugoslavia, Croatia.
For more, visit:
The Question of the Adriatic – Fiume (booklet)
Luxembourg Independence Maintained
Luxembourg, known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a small country in western Europe bordered by Belgium, France and Germany. It has a population of about 500 000 people and is almost 1000 square miles (2 586 square kilometers) in size. It’s ‘life’ began as a small fortress in 963, from which a town developed and eventually the state of Luxembourg.
Luxembourg lost its initial independence in 1437 and from that point it was ruled by various states, but regained a form of independence following the defeat of Napoleon in 1815. From then however, it lost territory and was greatly reduced in size. Its independence was affirmed with two treaties, the first in 1839 and the second on this day in 1867, following what
is known as the Luxembourg Crisis.
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Scotland: Independence Gained and Lost
Scotland became a unified kingdom in 843 under King Cináed I, who united the Scots and the Picts. It would grow in size over time, but the Kingdom of Scotland began in 843.
Edward 1 (England) brought the majority of Scotland under his control in 1296, though Scotland regained its independence via the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314. The wars for regaining Scottish independence was begun by William Wallace and Robert the Bruce (King Robert I). The independence of Scotland was recognized by England with the Treaty of Edinburgh-Northampton, signed on this day in 1328.
In 1603 the realms of England and Scotland were united by the accession of James VI to the throne of England. However, it wasn’t until this day in 1707, when the Treaty of Union was passed by the Parliament of Scotland which brought into being the United Kingdom. With this act Scotland lost its independence and there remains a movement to regain it.
Sir Francis Drake Destroys the Spanish Fleet in Cadiz, Spain
War had broken out (Anglo-Spanish War of 1585 to 1604) between the Spanish and English – between Roman Catholic Spain and Protestant England. But it was more than just a religious war, for there were also political and economic agitations. English privateers were having a major impact on Spanish shipping. English support for the Netherlands in their fight for independence against Spain and also their support for an alternative Portuguese ruler (Portugal were in league with Spain) were a constant annoyance to the Spanish Empire. England saw Spain as a major threat to their security. Soon it was war, with Spain determined to invade England and crush Protestantism in its infancy.
Sir Francis Drake had been one of the thorns in Spain’s side, acting as a privateer in the Spanish Indies and taking many a Spanish ship as a prize. He was given command of an English fleet and set out to attack the Spanish on the 12th April 1587. On the 19th April 1587, Sir Francis Drake carried out what he described as having ‘singed the beard of the King of Spain,’ by sinking the Spanish fleet at harbor in the Bay of Cadiz, Spain. Up to 33 ships were destroyed and four were captured. This occurred the year prior to the sinking of the Spanish Armada during the attempted invasion of England.
When the fleet returned to England on the 6th of July, they had sunk over 100 enemy vessels and suceeded in setting back the planned Spanish invasion of England by a year. Drake had already sealed his place in history as one of England’s heroes, but his work had only just begun.