Flag Friday: Showcasing the diversity of Davies
Beginning Friday, June 28th, William M. Davies, Jr. Career and Technical High School will begin to reflect the diversity of its students and staff through the display of flags in front of the school. Davies is a state-owned and operated career and technical high school. There is always an American flag and Rhode Island state flag outside the front entrance. The third flag pole was typically utilized for the flag of Davies but will now showcase a different countries flag. The countries were selected from a survey and picked at random. Please join Davies each week on social media or through this web post (www.daviestech.org/flagfriday) to follow along in our celebration of diversity.
3/13/2020 Liberia, West Africa
Liberia is a country on the West African coast. It is bordered by Sierra Leone to its northwest, Guinea to its north, Ivory Coast to its east, and the Atlantic Ocean to its south-southwest. It covers an area of 43,000 sq mi and has a population of around 4,900,000. English is the official language, but over 20 indigenous languages are spoken, representing the numerous ethnic groups who make up more than 95% of the population. The country's capital and largest city is Monrovia.
Liberia began as a settlement of the American Colonization Society (ACS), who believed black people would face better chances for freedom and prosperity in Africa than in the United States. The country declared its independence on July 26, 1847. The U.S. did not recognize Liberia's independence until February 5, 1862, during the American Civil War. Between January 7, 1822, and the American Civil War, more than 15,000 freed and free-born black people who faced legislated limits in the U.S., and 3,198 Afro-Caribbeans, relocated to the settlement. The settlers carried their culture and tradition with them. The Liberian constitution and flag were modeled after those of the U.S. On January 3, 1848, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a wealthy, free-born African American from Virginia who settled in Liberia, was elected Liberia's first president after the people proclaimed independence.
Liberia was the first African republic to proclaim its independence and is Africa's first and oldest modern republic. It retained its independence during the Scramble for Africa. During World War II, Liberia supported the United States war efforts against Germany and in turn, the U.S. invested in considerable infrastructure in Liberia to help its war effort, which also aided the country in modernizing and improving its major air transportation facilities. In addition, President William Tubman encouraged economic changes. Internationally, Liberia was a founding member of the League of Nations, United Nations, and the Organisation of African Unity.
The Americo-Liberian settlers did not relate well to the indigenous peoples they encountered, especially those in communities of the more isolated "bush". The colonial settlements were raided by the Kru and Grebo from their inland chiefdoms. Americo-Liberians developed as a small elite that held on to political power, and indigenous tribesmen were excluded from birthright citizenship in their own land until 1904, in an echo of the United States' treatment of Native Americans. Americo-Liberians promoted religious organizations to set up missions and schools to educate the indigenous peoples.
In 1980 political tensions from the rule of William R. Tolbert resulted in a military coup during which Tolbert was killed, marking the beginning of years-long political instability. Five years of military rule by the People's Redemption Council and five years of civilian rule by the National Democratic Party of Liberia were followed by the First and Second Liberian Civil Wars. These resulted in the deaths of 250,000 people (about 8% of the population) and the displacement of many more and shrank Liberia's economy by 90%. A peace agreement in 2003 led to democratic elections in 2005, in which Ellen Johnson Sirleaf was historically elected President, making her the first female president in the continent. National infrastructure and basic social services were severely affected by the conflicts, with 83% of the population now living below the international poverty line.
2/28/2020 Iceland, North Atlantic
Iceland is a Nordic island country in the North Atlantic, with a population of 360,390 and an area of 40,000 sq mi, making it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík. Reykjavik and the surrounding areas in the southwest of the country are home to over two-thirds of the population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior consists of a plateau characterized by sand and lava fields, mountains, and glaciers, and many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate, despite a high latitude just outside the Arctic Circle. Its high latitude and marine influence keep summers chilly, with most of the archipelago having a tundra climate.
According to the ancient manuscript Landnámabók, the settlement of Iceland began in 874 AD when the Norwegian chieftain Ingólfr Arnarson became the first permanent settler on the island. In the following centuries, Norwegians, and to a lesser extent other Scandinavians, emigrated to Iceland, bringing with them thralls (i.e., slaves or serfs) of Gaelic origin.
The island was governed as an independent commonwealth under the Althing, one of the world's oldest functioning legislative assemblies. Following a period of civil strife, Iceland acceded to Norwegian rule in the 13th century. The establishment of the Kalmar Union in 1397 united the kingdoms of Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Iceland thus followed Norway's integration into that union, coming under Danish rule after Sweden's secession from the union in 1523. Although the Danish kingdom introduced Lutheranism forcefully in 1550, Iceland remained a distant semi-colonial territory in which Danish institutions and infrastructures were conspicuous by their absence.
In the wake of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars, Iceland's struggle for independence took form and culminated in independence in 1918 and the founding of a republic in 1944. Although its parliament (Althing) was suspended from 1799 to 1845, the island republic has been credited with sustaining the world's oldest and longest-running parliament.
Until the 20th century, Iceland relied largely on subsistence fishing and agriculture. The industrialization of the fisheries and Marshall Plan aid following World War II brought prosperity and Iceland became one of the wealthiest and most developed nations in the world. In 1994, it became a part of the European Economic Area, which further diversified the economy into sectors such as finance, biotechnology, and manufacturing.
Iceland has a market economy with relatively low taxes, compared to other OECD countries, as well as the highest trade union membership in the world. It maintains a Nordic social welfare system that provides universal health care and tertiary education for its citizens. Iceland ranks high in economic, democratic, social stability, and equality, currently ranking third in the world by median wealth per adult. In 2018, it was ranked as the sixth most developed country in the world by the United Nations' Human Development Index, and it ranks first on the Global Peace Index. Iceland runs almost completely on renewable energy.
Hit hard by the worldwide financial crisis, the nation's entire banking system systemically failed in October 2008, leading to a severe depression, substantial political unrest, the Icesave dispute, and the institution of capital controls. Some bankers were jailed. Since then, the economy has made a significant recovery, in large part due to a surge in tourism.
Icelandic culture is founded upon the nation's Scandinavian heritage. Most Icelanders are descendants of Norse and Gaelic settlers. Icelandic, a North Germanic language, is descended from Old West Norse and is closely related to Faroese. The country's cultural heritage includes traditional Icelandic cuisine, Icelandic literature, and medieval sagas. Iceland has the smallest population of any NATO member and is the only one with no standing army, with a lightly armed coast guard.
2/14/2020 Lebanon, Western Asia
Lebanon, officially known as the Lebanese Republic, is a country in Western Asia. It is bordered by Syria to the north and east and Israel to the south, while Cyprus is west across the Mediterranean Sea. Lebanon's location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean Basin and the Arabian hinterland facilitated its rich history and shaped a cultural identity of religious and ethnic diversity. At just 4,036 miles square, it is the smallest recognized sovereign state on the mainland Asian continent.
The earliest evidence of civilization in Lebanon dates back more than seven thousand years, predating recorded history. Lebanon was the home of the Canaanites/Phoenicians and their kingdoms, a maritime culture that flourished for almost three thousand years (c. 3200–539 BC). In 64 BC, the region came under the rule of the Roman Empire and eventually became one of the Empire's leading centers of Christianity. In the Mount Lebanon range a monastic tradition known as the Maronite Church was established. As the Arab Muslims conquered the region, the Maronites held onto their religion and identity. However, a new religious group, the Druze, established themselves in Mount Lebanon as well, generating a religious divide that has lasted for centuries. During the Crusades, the Maronites re-established contact with the Roman Catholic Church and asserted their communion with Rome. The ties they established with the Latins have influenced the region into the modern era.
The region eventually was ruled by the Ottoman Empire from 1516 to 1918. Following the collapse of the empire after World War I, the five provinces that constitute modern Lebanon came under the French Mandate of Lebanon. The French expanded the borders of the Mount Lebanon Governorate, which was mostly populated by Maronites and Druze, to include more Muslims. Lebanon gained independence in 1943, establishing confessionalism, a unique, Consociationalism-type of political system with a power-sharing mechanism based on religious communities. Bechara El Khoury, President of Lebanon during the independence, Riad El-Solh, first Lebanese prime minister and Emir Majid Arslan II, the first Lebanese minister of defense, are considered the founders of the modern Republic of Lebanon and are national heroes for having led the country's independence. Foreign troops withdrew completely from Lebanon on 31 December 1946, although the country was subjected to military occupations by Syria that lasted nearly thirty years before being withdrawn in April 2005 as well as Israel for fifteen years before being withdrawn in May 2000.
Despite its small size, the country has developed a well-known culture and has been highly influential in the Arab world, powered by its large diaspora. Before the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990), the country experienced a period of relative calm and renowned prosperity, driven by tourism, agriculture, commerce, and banking. Because of its financial power and diversity in its heyday, Lebanon was referred to as the "Switzerland of the East" during the 1960s, and its capital, Beirut, attracted so many tourists that it was known as "the Paris of the Middle East". At the end of the war, there were extensive efforts to revive the economy and rebuild national infrastructure. In spite of these troubles, Lebanon has the highest Human Development Index and GDP per capita in the Arab world outside of the oil-rich economies of the Persian Gulf. Lebanon has been a member of the United Nations since its founding in 1945 as well as of the Arab League (1945), the Non-Aligned Movement (1961), the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (1969) and the Organisation Internationale de la francophonie (1973).
2/7/2020 Switzerland, Europe
Switzerland, officially the Swiss Confederation, is a country situated in the confluence of western, central, and southern Europe. It is a federal republic composed of 26 cantons, with federal authorities seated in Bern. Switzerland is a landlocked country bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. It is geographically divided among the Swiss Plateau, the Alps, and the Jura, spanning a total area of 15,940 sq mi, and a land area of 15,443 sq mi. While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8.5 million is concentrated mostly on the plateau, where the largest cities are located, among them the two global cities and economic centres of Zürich and Geneva.
The establishment of the Old Swiss Confederacy dates to the late medieval period, resulting from a series of military successes against Austria and Burgundy. Swiss independence from the Holy Roman Empire was formally recognized in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The Federal Charter of 1291 is considered the founding document of Switzerland which is celebrated on Swiss National Day. Since the Reformation of the 16th century, Switzerland has maintained a strong policy of armed neutrality; it has not fought an international war since 1815 and did not join the United Nations until 2002. Nevertheless, it pursues an active foreign policy and is frequently involved in peace-building processes around the world. Switzerland is the birthplace of the Red Cross, one of the world's oldest and best known humanitarian organizations, and is home to numerous international organizations, including the second largest UN office. It is a founding member of the European Free Trade Association, but notably not part of the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Eurozone. However, it participates in the Schengen Area and the European Single Market through bilateral treaties.
Switzerland occupies the crossroads of Germanic and Romance Europe, as reflected in its four main linguistic and cultural regions: German, French, Italian, and Romansh. Although the majority of the population are German-speaking, Swiss national identity is rooted in a common historical background, shared values such as federalism and direct democracy, and Alpine symbolism. On coins and stamps, the Latin name, Confoederatio Helvetica – frequently shortened to "Helvetia" – is used instead of the four national languages.
The sovereign state is one of the most developed countries in the world, with the highest nominal wealth per adult and the eighth-highest per capita gross domestic product. It ranks at or near the top in several international metrics, including economic competitiveness and human development. Zürich, Geneva, and Basel have been ranked among the top ten cities in the world in terms of quality of life, with Zürich ranked second globally. In 2019, IMD place Switzerland first in the world in attracting skilled workers. World Economic Forum ranks it the 5th most competitive country globally.
1/31/2020 Italy, South-Central Europe
Italy is a European country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps and surrounded by several islands. Italy is located in south-central Europe, and it is also considered a part of western Europe. The country covers a total area of 116,350 square miles and shares land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, and the enclaved microstates of Vatican City and San Marino. Italy has a territorial exclave in Switzerland (Campione) and a maritime exclave in the Tunisian Sea (Lampedusa). With around 60 million inhabitants, Italy is the fourth-most populous member state of the European Union.
Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has historically been home to myriad peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout what is now modern-day Italy, the most predominant being the Indo-European Italic peoples who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era, Phoenicians and Carthaginians founded colonies mostly in insular Italy, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia of Southern Italy, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively. An Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which eventually became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People. The Roman Republic initially conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the Italian peninsula, eventually expanding and conquering parts of Europe, North Africa and Asia. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became a leading cultural, political and religious centre, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's law, technology, economy, art, and literature developed. Italy remained the homeland of the Romans and the metropole of the empire, whose legacy can also be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments, Christianity and the Latin script.
During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics, mainly in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through trade, commerce and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism. These mostly independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East, often enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe; however, part of central Italy was under the control of the theocratic Papal States, while Southern Italy remained largely feudal until the 19th century, partially as a result of a succession of Byzantine, Arab, Norman, Angevin, Aragonese and other foreign conquests of the region. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science, exploration and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars, artists and polymaths. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Nevertheless, Italy's commercial and political power significantly waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of rivalry and infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left Italy fragmented and susceptible to foreign domination, and it was subsequently conquered, exploited, and further divided by European powers such as France, Spain and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was almost entirely unified in 1861, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy rapidly industrialised, namely in the north, and acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained largely impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, established a democratic Republic and enjoyed a prolonged economic boom, becoming a highly developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with its economy ranking eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy has the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth, the third-largest central bank gold reserve, and a very high life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military, cultural and diplomatic affairs; it is both a regional power and a great power, and is ranked the world's eighth most-powerful military. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more. The country has greatly influenced and contributed to diverse fields, notably the arts, music, literature, philosophy, science and technology, fashion, cinema, cuisine, sports, as well as jurisprudence, banking and business. As a reflection of its cultural wealth, Italy is home to the world's largest number of World Heritage Sites (55), and is the fifth-most visited country.
1/24/2020 Columbia, South America
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia is a country largely situated in the north of South America, with land and territories in North America. Colombia is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, the northwest by Panama, the south by both Ecuador and Peru, the east by Venezuela, the southeast by Brazil, and the west by the Pacific. It comprises thirty-two departments, with the capital in Bogotá.
Colombia is ethnically and linguistically diverse, with its rich cultural heritage reflecting influences by various Amerindian civilizations, European settlement, forced African labor, and immigration from Europe and the greater Middle East. Urban centers are concentrated in the Andean highlands and the Caribbean coast.
Colombia has been inhabited by various American Indian peoples since at least 12,000 BCE, including the Muisca, Quimbaya, and the Tairona. Spaniards arrived in 1499 and by the mid-16th century annexed part of the region, establishing the New Kingdom of Granada, with Santafé de Bogotá as its capital. Independence from Spain was achieved in 1819, but by 1830 the Gran Colombia Federation was dissolved, with what is now Colombia and Panama emerging as the Republic of New Granada.
Colombia has the second-highest biodiversity in the world and is one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries; its territory encompasses Amazon rainforest, highlands, grasslands, deserts, and islands and coastlines along both the Atlantic and Pacific (the only country in South America).
Colombia is the only NATO Global Partner in Latin America. It is part of the CIVETS group of leading emerging markets and a member of the UN, the WTO, the OAS, the Pacific Alliance, an associate member of Mercosur and other international organizations. Colombia's diversified economy is the third-largest in South America, with macroeconomic stability and favorable long-term growth prospects.
1/17/2020 Guatemala, Central America
Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 17.2 million, it is the most populated country in Central America. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Guatemala City.
The territory of modern Guatemala once formed the core of the Maya civilization, which extended across Mesoamerica. Most of the country was conquered by the Spanish in the 16th century, becoming part of the viceroyalty of New Spain. Guatemala attained independence in 1821 as part of the Federal Republic of Central America, which dissolved by 1841.
From the mid to late 19th century, Guatemala experienced chronic instability and civil strife. Beginning in the early 20th century, it was ruled by a series of dictators backed by the United Fruit Company and the United States government. In 1944, authoritarian leader Jorge Ubico was overthrown by a pro-democratic military coup, initiating a decade-long revolution that led to sweeping social and economic reforms. A U.S.-backed military coup in 1954 ended the revolution and installed a dictatorship.
From 1960 to 1996, Guatemala endured a bloody civil war fought between the US-backed government and leftist rebels, including genocidal massacres of the Maya population perpetrated by the military. Since a United Nations-negotiated peace accord, Guatemala has witnessed both economic growth and successful democratic elections, though it continues to struggle with high rates of poverty, crime, drug trade, and instability. As of 2014, Guatemala ranks 31st of 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries in terms of the Human Development Index.
Guatemala's abundance of biologically significant and unique ecosystems includes many endemic species and contributes to Mesoamerica's designation as a biodiversity hotspot.
1/10/20 The Rainbow Flag
The rainbow flag (also known as the gay pride flag or LGBT pride flag) is a rainbow flag that is used as a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) pride and LGBTQ social movements. Other older uses of rainbow flags include a symbol of peace. The colors reflect the diversity of the LGBTQ community, as the flag is often used as a symbol of gay pride during LGBTQ rights marches. While this use of the rainbow flag originated in San Francisco, it is now used worldwide.
Originally devised by artist Gilbert Baker, the design has undergone several revisions since its debut in 1978, first to remove colors then restore them based on the availability of fabrics. The traditional and still most common variant consists of six stripes: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. The flag is typically flown horizontally, with the red stripe on top, as it would be in a natural rainbow.
LGBTQ individuals and allies currently use rainbow flags and many rainbow-themed items and color schemes as an outward symbol of their identity or support. The rainbow flag is also commonly used as a general symbol of social equality and individuality. In addition to the rainbow, many other flags and symbols are used to communicate specific identities within the LGBTQ+ community.
The rainbow flag has found wide application in all manner of products. The rainbow flag colors are routinely used as a show of LGBT identity and solidarity. The rainbow colors have become so widely recognized as a symbol of LGBT pride and identity that they have effectively replaced most other LGBT symbols. One common item of jewelry is the pride necklace or freedom rings, consisting of six rings, one of each color, on a chain. In Montreal, the entrance to Beaudry metro station, which serves that city's Gay Village, was rebuilt in 1999 with rainbow-colored elements integrated into its design.
Davies' Mrs. San Bento in a traditional hanbok with the South Korean flag in front of Davies.
12/20/19 South Korea, East Asia
South Korea; officially the Republic of Korea; is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korean Peninsula and sharing a land border with North Korea. The name Korea is derived from Goguryeo which was one of the great powers in East Asia during its time, ruling most of the Korean Peninsula, Manchuria, parts of the Russian Far East and Inner Mongolia under Gwanggaeto the Great. Its capital, Seoul, is a major global city and half of South Korea's over 51 million people live in the Seoul Capital Area, the fourth-largest metropolitan economy in the world.
The Korean Peninsula was inhabited as early as the Lower Paleolithic period. Its first kingdom was noted in Chinese records in the early 7th century BC. Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea into Silla and Balhae in the late 7th century, Korea was ruled by the Goryeo dynasty (918–1392) and the Joseon dynasty (1392–1897). The succeeding Korean Empire was annexed into the Empire of Japan in 1910. After World War II, Korea was divided into Soviet and U.S.-administered zones, with the latter becoming the Republic of Korea in August 1948. In 1950, a North Korean invasion began the Korean War and after its end in 1953, the country's economy began to soar, recording the fastest rise in average GDP per capita in the world between 1980 and 1990. Authoritarian rule ended in 1987 and the country is now the most advanced democracy with the highest level of press freedom in Asia. South Korea is a member of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee, the G20 and the Paris Club.
South Korea is a highly developed country and the world's 11th largest economy by nominal GDP. Its citizens enjoy the world's fastest Internet connection speeds along with the world's second-best healthcare system, resulting in the third-highest health adjusted life expectancy in the world. The world's 5th largest exporter and 8th largest importer, South Korea is a global leader in many technology and innovation-driven fields. Since 2014, South Korea has been named the world's most innovative country by the Bloomberg Innovation Index for 6 consecutive years. Since the 21st century, South Korea has been renowned for its globally influential pop culture such as K-pop and TV dramas, a phenomenon referred to as the Korean Wave.
12/13/19 Haiti, Carribean
Haiti, officially the Republic of Haiti and formerly called Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and Jamaica and south of The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands. It occupies the western three-eighths of the island which it shares with the Dominican Republic. To its south-west lies the small island of Navassa Island, which is claimed by Haiti but is disputed as a United States territory under federal administration. Haiti is 10,714 sq mi in size and has an estimated population of 11.1 million, making it the most populous country in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the second-most populous country in the Caribbean after Cuba.
Haiti is a founding member of the United Nations, Organization of American States (OAS), Association of Caribbean States, and the International Francophonie Organisation. In addition to CARICOM, it is a member of the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. Historically poor and politically unstable, Haiti has the lowest Human Development Index in the Americas. Since the turn of the 21st century, the country has endured a coup d'état, which prompted a U.N. intervention, as well as a deadly earthquake that killed over 250,000.
The Dominican Republic, Caribbean
The Dominican Republic is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean region. It occupies the eastern five-eighths of the island, which it shares with the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of only two Caribbean islands, along with Saint Martin, that are shared by two sovereign states. The Dominican Republic is the second-largest Caribbean nation by area (after Cuba) at 18,792 sq mi, and third by population with approximately 10,299,000 people, of whom approximately three million live in the metropolitan area of Santo Domingo, the capital city.
The native Taíno people had inhabited Hispaniola since the 7th century, dividing it into five chiefdoms. Christopher Columbus was the first European to see the island, landing here on December 5, 1492. The colony of Santo Domingo became the site of the first permanent European settlement in the Americas, the oldest continuously inhabited city, and the first seat of the Spanish colonial rule in the New World. Meanwhile, France occupied the western third of Hispaniola, naming their colony Saint-Domingue, which became the independent state of Haiti in 1804. After more than three hundred years of Spanish rule, the Dominican people declared independence in November 1821. The leader of the independence movement José Núñez de Cáceres, intended the Dominican nation to unite with the country of Gran Colombia, but the newly independent Dominicans were forcefully annexed by Haiti in February 1822. Independence came 22 years later after victory in the Dominican War of Independence in 1844. Over the next 72 years, the Dominican Republic experienced mostly internal conflicts and a brief return to Spanish colonial status before permanently ousting the Spanish during the Dominican War of Restoration of 1863–1865. The United States occupied the country between 1916 and 1924; a subsequent calm and prosperous six-year period under Horacio Vásquez was followed by the dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo until 1961. A civil war in 1965, the country's last, was ended by U.S. military occupation and was followed by the authoritarian rule of Joaquín Balaguer (1966–1978 and 1986–1996), Antonio Guzmán (1972–1978) and Salvador Jorge Blanco (1982–1986). Since 1996 the Dominican Republic has moved toward representative democracy and was led by Leonel Fernández for much of the period until 2012. Danilo Medina, the Dominican Republic's current president, succeeded Fernández in 2012, winning 51% of the electoral vote over his opponent ex-president Hipólito Mejía.
The Dominican Republic has the ninth-largest economy in Latin America and is the largest economy in the Caribbean and Central American region. Over the two decades to 2012, the Dominican Republic has had one of the fastest-growing economies in the Americas – with an average real GDP growth rate of 5.4% between 1992 and 2014. GDP growth in 2014 and 2015 reached 7.3 and 7.0%, respectively, the highest in the Western Hemisphere. In the first half of 2016, the Dominican economy grew 7.4% continuing its trend of rapid economic growth. Recent growth has been driven by construction, manufacturing, tourism, and mining. The country is the site of the second-largest gold mine in the world, the Pueblo Viejo mine. Private consumption has been strong, as a result of low inflation (under 1% on average in 2015), job creation, and a high level of remittances.
The Dominican Republic is the most visited destination in the Caribbean. The year-round golf courses are major attractions. A geographically diverse nation, the Dominican Republic is home to both the Caribbean's tallest mountain peak, Pico Duarte, and the Caribbean's largest lake and point of lowest elevation, Lake Enriquillo. The island has an average temperature of 78.8 °F and great climatic and biological diversity. The country is also the site of the first cathedral, castle, monastery, and fortress built in the Americas, located in Santo Domingo's Colonial Zone, a World Heritage Site. Music and sport are of great importance in the Dominican culture, with Merengue and Bachata as the national dance and music, and baseball as the most popular sport.
11/22/19 Senegal, West Africa
Senegal, officially the Republic of Senegal, is a country in West Africa. Senegal is bordered by Mauritania in the north, Mali to the east, Guinea to the southeast, and Guinea-Bissau to the southwest. Senegal also surrounds The Gambia, a country occupying a narrow sliver of land along the banks of the Gambia River, which separates Senegal's southern region of Casamance from the rest of the country. Senegal also shares a maritime border with Cape Verde. Senegal's economic and political capital is Dakar.
The unitary presidential republic is the westernmost country in the mainland of the Old World, or Afro-Eurasia, and owes its name to the Senegal River, which borders it to the east and north. Senegal covers a land area of almost 76,000 sq mi and has an estimated population of about 16 million. The climate is typically Sahelian, though there is a rainy season.
11/15/19 The Netherlands, Northwestern Europe
The Netherlands, sometimes mislabeled as Holland, is a country in Northwestern Europe with some overseas territories in the Caribbean. In Europe, it consists of 12 provinces that border Germany to the east, Belgium to the south, and the North Sea to the northwest, with maritime borders in the North Sea with those countries and the United Kingdom. Together with three island territories in the Caribbean Sea—Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba—it forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The official language is Dutch, but a secondary official language in the province of Friesland is West Frisian. In the northern parts of the country, Low Saxon is also spoken.
The five largest cities in the Netherlands are Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht, and Eindhoven. Amsterdam is the country's capital, while The Hague holds the seat of the States General, Cabinet and Supreme Court. The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe and the largest in any country outside Asia. The country is a founding member of the EU, Eurozone, G10, NATO, OECD, and WTO, as well as a part of the Schengen Area and the trilateral Benelux Union. It hosts several intergovernmental organizations and international courts, many of which are centered in The Hague, which is consequently dubbed 'the world's legal capital'.
The Netherlands literally means 'lower countries' in reference to its low elevation and flat topography, with only about 50% of its land exceeding 3ft 3in above sea level, and nearly 17% falling below sea level. Most of the areas below sea level, known as polders, are the result of land reclamation that began in the 16th century. With a population of 17.34 million people, all living within a total area of roughly 16,000 sq mi of which the land area is 13,000 sq mi-the Netherlands is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Nevertheless, it is the world's second-largest exporter of food and agricultural products (after the United States), owing to its fertile soil, mild climate, and intensive agriculture.
The Netherlands has been a parliamentary constitutional monarchy with a unitary structure since 1848. Its mixed-market advanced economy had the thirteenth-highest per capita income globally. The Netherlands ranks among the highest in international indexes of press freedom, economic freedom, human development, and quality of life, as well as happiness.
11/8/19 Ghana, West Africa
Ghana, officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located along the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Spanning a land mass of 92,099 sq mi, Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean in the south. Ghana means "Warrior King" in the Soninke language.
The first permanent state in the territory of present-day Ghana dates back to the 11th century. Numerous kingdoms and empires emerged over the centuries, of which the most powerful was the Kingdom of Ashanti. Beginning in the 15th century, numerous European powers contested the area for trading rights, with the British ultimately establishing control of the coast by the late 19th century. Following over a century of native resistance, Ghana's current borders were established by the 1900s as the British Gold Coast. It became independent of the United Kingdom on 6 March 1957.
Ghana's population of approximately 30 million spans a variety of ethnic, linguistic and religious groups. According to the 2010 census, 71.2% of the population was Christian, 17.6% was Muslim, and 5.2% practiced traditional faiths. Its diverse geography and ecology range from coastal savannahs to tropical rain forests.
Ghana is a unitary constitutional democracy led by a president who is both head of state and head of the government. Ghana's growing economic prosperity and democratic political system have made it a regional power in West Africa. It is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Group of 24 (G24) and the Commonwealth of Nations.
10/25/19 Mexico, North America
Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 770,000 sq mi, the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 129 million people, Mexico is the tenth most populous country and the most populous Spanish-speaking country in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states plus Mexico City, which is the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the country include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana, and León.
Pre-Columbian Mexico dates to about 8000 BC and is identified as one of six cradles of civilization and was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Olmec, Toltec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec, Maya, and Aztec before first contact with Europeans. In 1521, the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the territory from its politically powerful base in Mexico-Tenochtitlan (part of Mexico City), which was administered as the viceroyalty of New Spain. The Roman Catholic Church played a powerful role in governing the country as millions were converted to the faith, although King Charles III expelled the Jesuits in the 1770s. The territory became a nation-state following its recognition in 1821 after the Mexican War of Independence. The post-independence period was tumultuous, characterized by economic inequality and many contrasting political changes. The Mexican–American War (1846–1848) led to a territorial loss of part of the huge northern territories to the United States. The Pastry War, the Franco-Mexican War, a civil war, two empires, and the Porfiriato occurred in the 19th century. The Porfiriato ended with the Mexican Revolution in 1910, which culminated in the promulgation of the 1917 Constitution and the emergence of an authoritarian one-party state, once described as the "perfect dictatorship", that ruled for much of the 20th century until the opposition victories led Mexico to democratic transition in the 1990s.
Mexico has the 15th largest nominal GDP and the 11th largest by purchasing power parity. The Mexican economy is strongly linked to those of its 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners, especially the United States. In 1994, Mexico became the first Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It is classified as an upper-middle income country by the World Bank and a newly industrialized country by several analysts. The country is considered both a regional power and a middle power and is often identified as an emerging global power. Due to its rich culture and history, Mexico ranks first in the Americas and seventh in the world for a number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Mexico is an ecologically megadiverse country, ranking fifth in the world for its biodiversity. Mexico receives a huge number of tourists every year: in 2018, it was the sixth most-visited country in the world, with 39 million international arrivals. Mexico is a member of the United Nations (UN), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the G8+5, the G20, the Uniting for Consensus group of the UN, and the Pacific Alliance trade bloc.
10/18/19 France, Western Europe
France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and (Germany) to the northeast, Switzerland, and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions (five of which are situated overseas) span a combined area of 248,573 sq mi and a total population of 67.02 million (as of July 2019). France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial center. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille, and Nice.
During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by the Gauls, a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia. The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into East Francia, Middle Francia, and West Francia. West Francia, which became the Kingdom of France in 987, emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages, following its victory in the Hundred Years' War (1337–1453). During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second-largest in the world. The 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Catholics and Protestants (Huguenots). France became Europe's dominant cultural, political, and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, establishing one of modern history's earliest republics and drafting the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day.
In the 19th century, Napoleon took power and established the First French Empire. His subsequent Napoleonic Wars (1803–15) shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870. France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victoriously, and was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and later dissolved in the course of the Algerian War. The Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, was formed in 1958 and remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s, with most retaining close economic and military connections with France.
France has long been a global center of art, science, and philosophy. It hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, and the tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, and human development. France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, and a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the World Trade Organization (WTO), and La Francophonie.
10/11/19 Syria, Western Asia
Syria, officially the Syrian Arab Republic, is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon to the southwest, the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest. A country of fertile plains, high mountains, and deserts, Syria is home to diverse ethnic and religious groups, including Syrian Arabs, Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians, Kurds, Circassians, Mandeans, and Turkmens. Religious groups include Sunnis, Christians, Alawites, Druze, Isma'ilis, Mandeans, Shiites, Salafis, Yazidis, and Jews. Sunnis make up the largest religious group in Syria.
Syria is a unitary republic consisting of 14 governorates and is the only country that politically espouses Ba'athism. It is a member of one international organization other than the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement; it has become suspended from the Arab League in November 2011 and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and self-suspended from the Union for the Mediterranean.
In English, the name "Syria" was formerly synonymous with the Levant, while the modern state encompasses the sites of several ancient kingdoms and empires, including the Eblan civilization of the 3rd millennium BC. Aleppo and the capital city Damascus are among the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. In the Islamic era, Damascus was the seat of the Umayyad Caliphate and a provincial capital of the Mamluk Sultanate in Egypt. The modern Syrian state was established in the mid-20th century after centuries of Ottoman and a brief period French mandate and represented the largest Arab state to emerge from the formerly Ottoman-ruled Syrian provinces. It gained de jure independence as a parliamentary republic on 24 October 1945, when the Republic of Syria became a founding member of the United Nations, an act which legally ended the former French Mandate – although French troops did not leave the country until April 1946. The post-independence period was tumultuous, with many military coups and coup attempts shaking the country from 1949 to 1971. In 1958, Syria entered a brief union with Egypt called the United Arab Republic, which was terminated by the 1961 Syrian coup d'état. The republic was renamed into the Arab Republic of Syria in late 1961 after December 1 constitutional referendum, and was increasingly unstable until the 1963 Ba'athist coup d'état, since which the Ba'ath Party has maintained its power. Syria was under Emergency Law from 1963 to 2011, effectively suspending most constitutional protections for citizens. Bashar al-Assad has been president since 2000 and was preceded by his father Hafez al-Assad, who was in office from 1971 to 2000.
Since March 2011, Syria has been embroiled in an armed conflict, with a number of countries in the region and beyond involved militarily or otherwise. As a result, a number of self-proclaimed political entities have emerged on Syrian territory, including the Syrian opposition, Rojava, Tahrir al-Sham and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Syria is ranked last on the Global Peace Index, making it the most violent country in the world due to the war. The war has killed more than 570,000 people, caused 7.6 million internally displaced people (July 2015 UNHCR estimate) and over 5 million refugees (July 2017 registered by UNHCR), making population assessment difficult in recent years.
10/4/19 Poland, Central Europe
Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative subdivisions, covering an area of 120,733 sq mi, and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With a population of approximately 38.5 million people, Poland is the sixth most populous member state of the European Union. Poland's capital and largest metropolis is Warsaw. Other major cities include Kraków, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań, Gdańsk, and Szczecin.
Poland is bordered by the Baltic Sea, Lithuania, and Russia's Kaliningrad Oblast to the north, Belarus and Ukraine to the east, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to the south, and Germany to the west.
The history of human activity on Polish soil spans almost 500,000 years. Throughout the Iron Age, it became extensively diverse, with various cultures and tribes settling in what was then East Germania. However, it was the Western Polans who dominated the region and gave Poland its name. The establishment of the first Polish state can be traced to AD 966, when Mieszko I, ruler of the realm coextensive with the territory of present-day Poland, converted to Christianity. The Kingdom of Poland was founded in 1025, and in 1569 it cemented its longstanding political association with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by signing the Union of Lublin. This union formed the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest 9390,000 sq mi) and most populous countries of 16th and 17th century Europe, with a uniquely liberal political system that adopted Europe's first written national constitution, the Constitution of 3 May 1791.
With the passing of prominence and prosperity, the country was partitioned by neighbouring states at the end of the 18th century, and regained its independence in 1918 with the Treaty of Versailles. After a series of territorial conflicts, the new multi-ethnic Poland restored its position as a key player in European politics. In September 1939, World War II started with the invasion of Poland by Germany, followed by the Soviet Union invading Poland in accordance with the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. Around six million Polish citizens, including 90% of the country's Jews, perished in the war. In 1947, the Polish People's Republic was established as a satellite state under Soviet influence. In the aftermath of the Revolutions of 1989, most notably through the emergence of the Solidarity movement, Poland reestablished itself as a presidential democratic republic.
Poland has a developed market and is a regional power in Central Europe, with the largest stock exchange in the East-Central European zone. It has the sixth-largest economy by GDP (PPP) in the European Union and one of the most dynamic economies in the world, simultaneously achieving a very high rank on the Human Development Index. Poland is a developed country, which maintains a high-income economy along with very high standards of living, life quality, safety, education, and economic freedom. Alongside a developed school educational system, the state also provides free university education, social security, and a universal health care system. The country has 16 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, 15 of which are cultural.
Poland is a member state of the European Union, the Schengen Area, the United Nations, NATO, the OECD, the Three Seas Initiative, the Visegrád Group, and guested at the G20.
Costa Rica is a unitary presidential constitutional republic. It is known for its long-standing and stable democracy, and for its highly educated workforce, most of whom speak English. The country spends roughly 6.9% of its budget (2016) on education, compared to a global average of 4.4%. Its economy, once heavily dependent on agriculture, has diversified to include sectors such as finance, corporate services for foreign companies, pharmaceuticals, and ecotourism. Many foreign manufacturing and services companies operate in Costa Rica's Free Trade Zones (FTZ) where they benefit from investment and tax incentives.
Costa Rica was sparsely inhabited by indigenous peoples before coming under Spanish rule in the 16th century. It remained a peripheral colony of the empire until independence as part of the First Mexican Empire, followed by membership in the United Provinces of Central America, from which it formally declared independence in 1847. Since then, Costa Rica has remained among the most stable, prosperous, and progressive nations in Latin America. Following the brief Costa Rican Civil War, it permanently abolished its army in 1949, becoming one of only a few sovereign nations without a standing army.
The country has consistently performed favorably in the Human Development Index (HDI), placing 69th in the world as of 2015, among the highest of any Latin American nation. It has also been cited by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as having attained much higher human development than other countries at the same income levels, with a better record on human development and inequality than the median of the region.
Costa Rica also has progressive environmental policies. It is the only country to meet all five UNDP criteria established to measure environmental sustainability. It was ranked 42nd in the world, and third in the Americas, in the 2016 Environmental Performance Index, and was twice ranked the best performing country in the New Economics Foundation's (NEF) Happy Planet Index, which measures environmental sustainability, and was identified by the NEF as the greenest country in the world in 2009. Costa Rica plans to become a carbon-neutral country by 2021. By 2016, 98.1% of its electricity was generated from green sources particularly hydro, solar, geothermal and biomass.
9/20/19 Pakistan, South Asia
Pakistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, is a country in South Asia. It is the world’s sixth-most populous country with a population exceeding 212,742,631 people. In area, it is the 33rd-largest country, spanning 881,913 square kilometers (340,509 square miles). Pakistan has a 1,046-kilometre (650-mile) coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by India to the east, Afghanistan to the west, Iran to the southwest, and China in the northeast. It is separated narrowly from Tajikistan by Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor in the northwest and also shares a maritime border with Oman.
The territory that now constitutes Pakistan was the site of several ancient cultures and intertwined with the history of the broader Indian subcontinent. The ancient history involves the Neolithic site of Mehrgarh and the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilisation and was later home to kingdoms ruled by people of different faiths and cultures, including Hindus, Indo-Greeks, Muslims, Turco-Mongols, Afghans, and Sikhs. The area has been ruled by numerous empires and dynasties, including the Persian Achaemenid Empire, Alexander III of Macedon, the Seleucid Empire, the Indian Maurya Empire, the Gupta Empire, the Arab Umayyad Caliphate, the Delhi Sultanate, the Mongol Empire, the Mughal Empire, the Afghan Durrani Empire, the Sikh Empire (partially) and, most recently, the British Indian Empire. Pakistan is the only country to have been created in the name of Islam. It is an ethnically and linguistically diverse country, with similarly diverse geography and wildlife. Initially, a dominion, Pakistan adopted a constitution in 1956, becoming an Islamic republic. An ethnic civil war and Indian military intervention in 1971 resulted in the secession of East Pakistan as the new country of Bangladesh. In 1973, Pakistan adopted a new constitution which stipulated that all laws are to conform to the injunctions of Islam as laid down in the Quran and Sunnah.
A regional and middle power, Pakistan has the sixth-largest standing armed forces in the world and is also a nuclear power as well as a declared nuclear-weapons state, the second in South Asia and the only nation in the Muslim world to have that status. Pakistan has a semi-industrialized economy with a well-integrated agriculture sector and a growing services sector. It is ranked among the emerging and growth-leading economies of the world and is backed by one of the world's largest and fastest-growing middle class. Pakistan's political history since independence has been characterized by periods of military rule, political instability and conflicts with India. The country continues to face challenging problems, including overpopulation, terrorism, poverty, illiteracy, and corruption. Pakistan is a member of the UN, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the OIC, the Commonwealth of Nations, the SAARC and the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition.
Ireland, North Atlantic
Ireland is an island in the North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel, the Irish Sea, and St George's Channel. Ireland is the second-largest island of the British Isles, the third-largest in Europe, and the twentieth-largest on Earth.
Politically, Ireland is divided between the Republic of Ireland (officially named Ireland), which covers five-sixths of the island, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom. In 2011, the population of Ireland was about 6.6 million, ranking it the second-most populous island in Europe after Great Britain. Just under 4.8 million live in the Republic of Ireland and just over 1.8 million live in Northern Ireland.
The geography of Ireland comprises relatively low-lying mountains surrounding a central plain, with several navigable rivers extending inland. Its lush vegetation is a product of its mild but changeable climate which is free of extremes in temperature. Much of Ireland was woodland until the end of the Middle Ages. Today, woodland makes up about 10% of the island, compared with a European average of over 33%, and most of it is non-native conifer plantations. There are twenty-six extant land mammal species native to Ireland. The Irish climate is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and thus very moderate, and winters are milder than expected for such a northerly area, although summers are cooler than those in continental Europe. Rainfall and cloud cover are abundant.
The earliest evidence of the human presence in Ireland is dated at 10,500 BCE (12,500 years ago). Gaelic Ireland had emerged by the 1st century CE. The island was Christianised from the 5th century onward. Following the 12th century Norman invasion, England claimed sovereignty. However, English rule did not extend over the whole island until the 16th–17th century Tudor conquest, which led to colonization by settlers from Britain. In the 1690s, a system of Protestant English rule was designed to materially disadvantage the Catholic majority and Protestant dissenters and was extended during the 18th century. With the Acts of Union in 1801, Ireland became a part of the United Kingdom. A war of independence in the early 20th century was followed by the partition of the island, creating the Irish Free State, which became increasingly sovereign over the following decades, and Northern Ireland, which remained a part of the United Kingdom. Northern Ireland saw much civil unrest from the late 1960s until the 1990s. This subsided following a political agreement in 1998. In 1973 the Republic of Ireland joined the European Economic Community while the United Kingdom, and Northern Ireland, as part of it, did the same.
Irish culture has had a significant influence on other cultures, especially in the field of literature. Alongside mainstream Western culture, a strong indigenous culture exists, as expressed through Gaelic games, Irish music, and the Irish language. The island's culture shares many features with that of Great Britain, including the English language, and sports such as association football, rugby, horse racing, and golf.
Cambodia, Southeast Asia
Cambodia, officially the Kingdom of Cambodia; is a country located in the southern portion of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is 181,035 square kilometers (69,898 square miles) in area, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest.
The sovereign state of Cambodia has a population of over 15 million. The official religion is Theravada Buddhism, practiced by approximately 95 percent of the population. Cambodia's minority groups include Vietnamese, Chinese, Chams, and 30 hill tribes. The capital and largest city is Phnom Penh, the political, economic and cultural center of Cambodia. The kingdom is an elective constitutional monarchy with a monarch, currently Norodom Sihamoni, chosen by the Royal Throne Council as head of state. The head of government is the Prime Minister, currently Hun Sen, the longest-serving non-royal leader in Southeast Asia, ruling Cambodia since 1985.
In 802 AD, Jayavarman II declared himself king, uniting the warring Khmer princes of Chenla under the name "Kambuja". This marked the beginning of the Khmer Empire, which flourished for over 600 years, allowing successive kings to control and exert influence over much of Southeast Asia and accumulate immense power and wealth. The Indianised kingdom facilitated the spread of first Hinduism and then Buddhism to much of Southeast Asia and undertook many religious infrastructural projects throughout the region, including the construction of more than 1,000 temples and monuments in Angkor alone. Angkor Wat is the most famous of these structures and is designated as a World Heritage Site.
After the fall of Angkor to Ayutthaya in the 15th century, a reduced and weakened Cambodia was then ruled as a vassal state by its neighbors. In 1863, Cambodia became a protectorate of France, which doubled the size of the country by reclaiming the north and west from Thailand.
Cambodia gained independence in 1953. The Vietnam War extended into the country with the US bombing of Cambodia from 1969 until 1973. Following the Cambodian coup of 1970 which installed the right-wing pro-US Khmer Republic, the deposed king gave his support to his former enemies, the Khmer Rouge. The Khmer Rouge emerged as a major power, taking Phnom Penh in 1975 and later carrying out the Cambodian genocide from 1975 until 1979, when they were ousted by Vietnam and the Vietnamese-backed People's Republic of Kampuchea, supported by the Soviet Union, in the Cambodian–Vietnamese War.
Following the 1991 Paris Peace Accords, Cambodia was governed briefly by a United Nations mission (1992–93). The UN withdrew after holding elections in which around 90 percent of the registered voters cast ballots. The 1997 factional fighting resulted in the ousting of the government by Prime Minister Hun Sen and the Cambodian People's Party, who remain in power as of 2019.
While per capita income remains low compared to most neighboring countries, Cambodia has one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia, with growth averaging 7.6 percent over the last decade. Agriculture remains the dominant economic sector, with strong growth in textiles, construction, garments, and tourism leading to increased foreign investment and international trade. The US World Justice Project's 2015 Rule of Law Index ranked Cambodia 76 out of 102 countries, similar to other countries in the region.
Puerto Rico, Caribbean
Puerto Rico, officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeast Caribbean Sea, approximately 1,000 miles southeast of Miami, Florida.
An archipelago among the Greater Antilles, located between the Dominican Republic and the US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico includes the eponymous main island and several smaller islands, such as Mona, Culebra, and Vieques. The capital and most populous city is San Juan. The territory's total population is approximately 3.4 million. Spanish and English are the official languages of the executive branch of government, though Spanish predominates.
Originally populated by the indigenous Taíno people, Puerto Rico was colonized by Spain following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493. It was contested by the French, Dutch, and British, but remained a Spanish possession for the next four centuries. The island's cultural and demographic landscapes were shaped by the displacement and assimilation of the native population, the forced migration of African slaves, and settlement from the Canary Islands and Andalusia. In the Spanish Empire, Puerto Rico played a secondary but strategic role compared to wealthier colonies like Peru and New Spain. Spain's distant administrative control continued up to the end of the 19th century, producing a distinctive creole Hispanic culture and language that combined indigenous, African, and European elements. On September 23, 1868, Ramón Emeterio Betances unleashed a revolt against Spanish rule, declaring for the first time the idea of Puerto Ricans as a distinct people, with the right to sovereignty. This revolt, known as El Grito de Lares, was eventually put down by Spanish forces, but the movement continued. In 1898, following the Spanish–American War, the United States acquired Puerto Rico under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. Since then, Puerto Rico has remained an unincorporated territorial possession, making it one of the oldest colonies in the Western Hemisphere.
Puerto Ricans have been citizens of the United States since 1917, and enjoy the freedom of movement between the island and the mainland. As it is not a state, Puerto Rico does not have a vote in the United States Congress, which governs the territory with full jurisdiction under the Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act of 1950. However, Puerto Rico does have one non-voting member of the House called a Resident Commissioner. As residents of a U.S. territory, American citizens in Puerto Rico are disenfranchised at the national level and do not vote for the president or vice president of the United States, nor pay federal income tax on Puerto Rican income. Like other territories and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico does not have U.S. senators. Congress approved a local constitution in 1952, allowing U.S. citizens of the territory to elect a governor. Puerto Rico's future political status has consistently been a matter of significant debate.
In early 2017, the Puerto Rican government-debt crisis posed serious problems for the government. The outstanding bond debt had climbed to $70 billion at a time of an unemployment rate of 12.4%. The debt had been increasing during a decade-long recession. This was the second major financial crisis to affect the island after the Great Depression when the U.S. government, in 1935, provided relief efforts through the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration. On May 3 2017, Puerto Rico's financial oversight board in the U.S. District Court for Puerto Rico filed the debt restructuring petition which was made under Title III of PROMESA. By early August 2017, the debt was $72 billion with a 45% poverty rate.
In late September 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, causing devastating damage. The island's electrical grid was largely destroyed, provoking the largest power outage in American history. Recovery efforts were slow in the first few months, and over 200,000 residents had moved to the mainland state of Florida alone by late November 2017.
El Salvador, Central America
El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras, on the northwest by Guatemala, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador's capital and largest city is San Salvador. As of 2016, the country had a population of approximately 6.34 million.
El Salvador was for centuries inhabited by several Mesoamerican nations, especially the Cuzcatlecs, as well as the Lenca and Maya. In the early 16th century, the Spanish Empire conquered the territory, incorporating it into the Viceroyalty of New Spain ruled from Mexico City. However, the Viceroyalty of Mexico had little or no influence in the daily affairs of the Central American isthmus, which would be colonized in 1524. In 1609 the area became the Captaincy General of Guatemala, from which El Salvador was part of until its independence from Spain, which took place in 1821, as part of the First Mexican Empire, then further seceded, as part of the Federal Republic of Central America, in 1823. When the Republic dissolved in 1841, El Salvador became a sovereign nation, then formed a short-lived union with Honduras and Nicaragua called the Greater Republic of Central America, which lasted from 1895 to 1898.
From the late 19th to the mid-20th century, El Salvador endured chronic political and economic instability characterized by coups, revolts, and a succession of authoritarian rulers. Persistent socioeconomic inequality and civil unrest culminated in the devastating Salvadoran Civil War (1979–1992), which was fought between the military-led government and a coalition of left-wing guerrilla groups. The conflict ended with the Chapultepec Peace Accords. This negotiated settlement established a multiparty constitutional republic, which remains in place to this day.
El Salvador's economy has historically been dominated by agriculture, beginning with the indigo plant, the most important crop during the colonial period, and followed thereafter by coffee, which by the early 20th century accounted for 90 percent of export earnings. El Salvador has since reduced its dependence on coffee and embarked on diversifying the economy by opening up trade and financial links and expanding the manufacturing sector. The colón, the official currency of El Salvador since 1892, was replaced by the U.S. dollar in 2001.
El Salvador ranks 16th among Latin American countries in terms of the Human Development Index and fourth in Central America (behind Panama, Costa Rica, and Belize) due in part to ongoing rapid industrialization.
Canada, North America
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. It is the world's second-largest country by total area. Its southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border. Canada's capital is Ottawa, and its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra. Canada's climate varies widely across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons. Various indigenous peoples have inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years before European colonization.
Honduras, Central America
Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea. Honduras was home to several important Mesoamerican cultures, most notably the Maya, before the Spanish Colonization in the sixteenth century. The Spanish introduced Roman Catholicism and the now predominant Spanish language, along with numerous customs that have blended with the indigenous culture. Honduran society is predominantly Mestizo; however, American Indian, black and white individuals also live in Honduras. Honduras spans about 112,492 km2 (43,433 sq mi) and has a population exceeding 9 million. Honduras is known for its rich natural resources, including minerals, coffee, tropical fruit, and sugar cane, as well as for its growing textiles industry, which serves the international market.
Transgender Community Pride Flag
Unlike the wider LGBT communities worldwide which have adopted the Rainbow flag, the various transgender individuals, organizations and communities around the world have not coalesced around one single flag design. The most common flag is the blue, pink, and white one, but there are several flags used and endorsed by the varying transgender individuals, organizations and communities. There have even been, and continue to be, alternatives to these flags suggested. The varying flags have been and continue to be used to represent transgender pride, diversity, rights and/or remembrance by transgender individuals, their organizations, their communities, and their allies.
The most prominent of these flag designs is known as the "Transgender Pride Flag" which is a symbol of transgender pride and diversity, and transgender rights.
The Transgender Pride Flag was created by American trans woman Monica Helms in 1999 and was first shown at a pride parade in Phoenix, Arizona, United States in 2000.
The flag represents the transgender community and consists of five horizontal stripes: two light blue, two pink, and one white in the center.
Helms describes the meaning of the transgender pride flag as follows:
"The stripes at the top and bottom are light blue, the traditional color for baby boys. The stripes next to them are pink, the traditional color for baby girls. The stripe in the middle is white, for those who are transitioning or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender."
It was flown from the large public flagpole in San Francisco's Castro District (where the rainbow flag usually flies) for the first time on 19 and 20 November 2012 in commemoration of the Transgender Day of Remembrance.
On 19 August 2014, Monica Helms donated the original transgender pride flag to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.
Philadelphia became the first county government in the U.S. to raise the transgender pride flag in 2015. It was raised at City Hall in honor of Philadelphia's 14th Annual Trans Health Conference and remained next to the US and City of Philadelphia flags for the entirety of the conference. Then-Mayor Michael Nutter gave a speech in honor of the trans community's acceptance in Philadelphia.
In January 2019, Virginia congresswoman Jennifer Wexton hung the transgender pride flag outside her office in Washington, D.C. in a move to show support for the transgender community. In March 2019, dozens of Democratic and independent members of Congress flew trans flags outside their offices for Trans Visibility Week leading up to the International Transgender Day of Visibility.
Wales, United Kingdom
Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain. Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous, with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit.
Welsh national identity emerged among the Britons after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, and Wales is regarded as one of the modern Celtic nations. The whole of Wales was annexed by England and incorporated within the English legal system.
At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, development of the mining and metallurgical
Although Wales closely shares its political and social history with the rest of Great Britain, and a majority of the population in most areas speaks English as a first language, the country has retained a distinct cultural identity and is officially bilingual. Over 560,000 Welsh language speakers live in Wales, and the language is spoken by a majority of the population in parts of the north and west.
Portugal, Southwestern Europe
Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic, is a country located mostly on the Iberian Peninsula in southwestern Europe. It is the westernmost sovereign state of mainland Europe, being bordered to the west and south by the Atlantic Ocean and to the north and east by Spain. Its territory also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira, both autonomous regions with their own regional governments.
Portugal is the oldest nation-state on the Iberian Peninsula and one of the oldest in Europe, its territory having been continuously settled, invaded and fought over since prehistoric times. Portugal as a country was established during the Christian Reconquista against the Moors who had invaded the Iberian Peninsula in 711 AD. Founded in 868, the County of Portugal gained prominence after the Battle of São Mamede in 1128. The Kingdom of Portugal was later proclaimed following the Battle of Ourique in 1139, and independence from León was recognized by the Treaty of Zamora in 1143.
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. During this time Portugal monopolized the spice trade, divided the world into hemispheres of dominion with Castille, and the empire expanded with military campaigns in Asia. However, events such as the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, the country's occupation during the Napoleonic Wars, the independence of Brazil (1822), and late industrialization compared to other European powers, erased to a great extent Portugal's prior opulence.
After the 1910 revolution deposed the monarchy, the democratic but unstable Portuguese First Republic was established, later being superseded by the Estado Novo right-wing authoritarian regime. Democracy was restored after the Carnation Revolution in 1974, ending the Portuguese Colonial War. Shortly after, independence was granted to almost all its overseas territories. The handover of Macau to China in 1999 marked the end of what can be considered the longest-lived colonial empire.
Portugal has left a profound cultural and architectural influence across the globe, a legacy of around 250 million Portuguese speakers, and many Portuguese-based creoles. It is a developed country with a high-income advanced economy and high living standards. Additionally, it is highly placed in rankings of moral freedom (2nd), peacefulness (3rd), democracy (8th), press freedom (12th), stability (15th), social progress(24th), prosperity (24th), and LGBT rights (7th in Europe). A member of the United Nations and the European Union, Portugal was also one of the founding members of NATO, the eurozone, the OECD, and the Community of Portuguese Language Countries.
In the late 19th century, many Portuguese, mainly Azoreans and Madeirans, emigrated to the eastern U.S., establishing communities in New England coastal cities, primarily but not limited to Providence, Bristol, and Pawtucket in Rhode Island, and New Bedford, Taunton, and Fall River in Southeastern Massachusetts.
In the mid-late 20th century, there was another surge of Portuguese immigration in America, mainly in the northeastern United States (New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts). There are Portuguese clubs, principally in the larger cities of these states, which operate with the intention of promoting sociocultural preservation as venues for community events, athletics, etc.
Portuguese-Americans are the fourth largest ethnic group in the state of Hawaii, the fifth largest group in Rhode Island and the eighth largest group in Massachusetts.
Nigeria, West Africa
Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa, bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. Its coast in the south is located on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean. The federation comprises 36 states and 1 Federal Capital Territory, where the capital, Abuja, is located. The constitution defines Nigeria as a democratic secular state.
Nigeria has been home to a number of ancient and indigenous kingdoms and states over the millennia. The modern state originated from British colonial rule beginning in the 19th century and took its present territorial shape with the merging of the Southern Nigeria Protectorate and Northern Nigeria Protectorate in 1914. The British set up administrative and legal structures while practicing indirect rule through traditional chiefdoms. Nigeria became a formally independent federation in 1960. It experienced a civil war from 1967 to 1970. It thereafter alternated between democratically-elected civilian governments and military dictatorships until it achieved a stable democracy in 1999, with the 2011 presidential election considered the first to be reasonably free and fair.
Nigeria is often referred to as the "Giant of Africa", owing to its large population and economy. With 186 million inhabitants, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and the seventh most populous country in the world. Nigeria has the third-largest youth population in the world, after India and China, with more than 90 million of its population under age 18. The country is viewed as a multinational state as it is inhabited by 250 ethnic groups, of which the three largest are the Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba; these ethnic groups speak over 500 different native languages and are identified with a wide variety of cultures. The official language of Nigeria is Nigerian English, chosen to facilitate linguistic unity at the national level. Nigeria is divided roughly in half between Christians, who live mostly in the southern part of the country, and Muslims, who live mostly in the north. A minority of the population practice religions indigenous to Nigeria, such as those native to the Igbo and Yoruba ethnicities.
Nigeria is the world's 20th largest economy as of 2015, worth more than $500 billion and $1 trillion in terms of nominal GDP and purchasing power parity respectively. It overtook South Africa to become Africa's largest economy in 2014. The 2013 debt-to-GDP ratio was 11 percent. Nigeria is considered to be an emerging market by the World Bank; it has been identified as a regional power on the African continent, a middle power in international affairs, and has also been identified as an emerging global power.
Davies is proud of our class of 2019 Electrical and Renewable Energy graduate Bismark Agoucha. He was born in Nigeria and came to Davies for high school. He is the recipient of the 2019 SkillsUSA National Silver medal for Industrial Motor Controls. Learn more about Bismark by clicking here.
Cape Verde (Cabo Verde), Africa - Atlantic Ocean Islands
Cape Verde, officially the Republic of Cabo Verde, is an island country spanning an archipelago of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean. It forms part of the Macaronesia ecoregion, along with the Azores, Canary Islands, Madeira, and the Savage Isles. In ancient times these islands were referred to as "the Islands of the Blessed" or the "Fortunate Isles". Located 350 mi west of the Cape Verde Peninsula off the coast of Northwest Africa, the islands cover a combined area of slightly over 4,000 square 1,500 sq mi.
The Cape Verde archipelago was uninhabited until the 15th century, when Portuguese explorers discovered and colonized the islands, establishing the first European settlement in the tropics. Incorporated as an overseas department of Portugal in 1951, the islands continued to campaign for independence, which was peacefully achieved in 1975.
Since the early 1990s, Cape Verde has been a stable representative democracy and remains one of the most developed and democratic countries in Africa. Lacking natural resources, its developing economy is mostly service-oriented, with a growing focus on tourism and foreign investment. Its population of around 540,000 is mostly of mixed European, Moorish, Arab and African heritage, and predominantly Roman Catholic, reflecting the legacy of Portuguese rule. A sizeable diaspora community exists across the world, slightly outnumbering inhabitants on the islands.
Historically, the name "Cape Verde" has been used in English for the archipelago and, since independence in 1975, for the country. In 2013, the Cape Verdean government determined that the Portuguese designation Cabo Verde would henceforth be used for official purposes, such as at the United Nations, even in English contexts. Cape Verde is a member of the African Union.
Cape Verde's official language is Portuguese. It is the language of instruction and government. It is also used in newspapers, television, and radio.
Cape Verdean Creole is used colloquially and is the mother tongue of virtually all Cape Verdeans. The national constitution calls for the measures to give it parity with Portuguese. Cape Verdean Creole or Kriolu is a dialect continuum of a Portuguese-based creole. There is a substantial body of literature in Creole, especially in the Santiago Creole and the São Vicente Creole. Creole has been gaining prestige since the nation's independence from Portugal.
The differences between the forms of the language within the islands have been a major obstacle in the way of standardization of the language. Some people have advocated the development of two standards: a North (Barlavento) standard, centered on the São Vicente Creole, and a South (Sotavento) standard, centered on the Santiago Creole. Manuel Veiga, PhD, a linguist and Minister of Culture of Cape Verde, is the premier proponent of Kriolu's officialization and standardization.
Today, more Cape Verdeans live abroad than in Cape Verde itself, with significant emigrant Cape Verdean communities in the United States (500,000 of Cape Verdean descent, with a major concentration on the New England coast from Providence, Rhode Island, to New Bedford, Massachusetts).
Pawtucket hosts a large population of Cape Verdeans. Since Davies hosts a large number of Pawtucket residents, we can only assume that several of them are from Cape Verdean descent. Cape Verdean American Community Development (120 High Street Pawtucket, Rhode Island) is a resource in Pawtucket for the Cape Verdean community. They are available on Facebook.
On 7/5/19 at Noon, the city of Pawtucket will raise their own Cape Verdean flag at City Hall in celebration of Cape Verdean's Independence Day.
Panama, Central America
Panama, officially the Republic of Panama, is a country in Central America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half the country's 4 million people.
With the backing of the United States, Panama seceded from Colombia in 1903, allowing the construction of the Panama Canal to be completed by the US Army Corps of Engineers between 1904 and 1914. The 1977 Torrijos–Carter Treaties led to the transfer of the Canal from the United States to Panama on December 31, 1999.
In 2015 Panama ranked 60th in the world in terms of the Human Development Index. In 2018, Panama was ranked seventh-most competitive economy in Latin America, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index. Covering around 40 percent of its land area, Panama's jungles are home to an abundance of tropical plants and animals – some of them found nowhere else on the planet.
Panama is a founding member of the United Nations and other international organizations such as OAS, LAIA, G77, WHO, and NAM.
President - Juan Carlos Varela
Panama's politics take place in a framework of a presidential representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Panama is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the National Assembly. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.
National elections are universal and mandatory for all citizens 18 years and older.
Diversity at Davies
The results of Davies' latest RIDE SurveyWorks survey in regards to race.