Sunday, August 25, 2019

23 Countries That No Longer Exist part 2 of 2

Welcome to part 2 of my 2-part blog presenting countries that no longer exist. Some of them were around for a very long time while others existed less than a year.

11. Newfoundland
Well known as part of the Canadian province Newfoundland and Labrador, Newfoundland was likely visited by Leif Eriksson in the 11th century (hundreds of years before Columbus 'discovered' America). The island is rich in history, having long been settled by the Dorset, a Paleo-Eskimo culture. Over the centuries, various cultures visited the island, which is located off the east coast of the North American mainland. These cultures included the Basque, Portuguese, Spanish, French and English. In 1583, Sir Humphrey Gilbert claimed Newfoundland as England's first New World colony under Royal Charter for Queen Elizabeth I, making it England's oldest colony. In 1713, under the treaty of Utrecht, the French gave up control of the north and south shores of the island to the British. As time progressed, immigrants from England, Scotland, Ireland and France created a fish-exporting society. Newfoundland was organized as a colony in 1825, became self-governing, and held dominion status from 1907-1949, which included Labrador becoming part of the dominion in 1927. Labrador voted in 1949 to join the Canadian Confederation as the 10th province.

12. Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman Empire lasted from 1299 through the early part of the 20th century, and was one of history's longest lasting empires. It was also one of the largest empires in world history, at its peak controlling parts of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and North Africa. For centuries, the empire easily expanded until its peak in the 16th century during the reign of Suleiman the Magnificent. At the time, the empire provided regional stability and was the source of important achievements in the arts, science, medicine, and architecture. However, with time the Renaissance and Industrial Revolution strengthened Europe leaving the empire weakened economically and militarily. Through revolts and wars, the empire lost territories and influence. After World War I, the Ottoman Empire came to an end with the Treaty of Sevres.

13. Prussia
Prussia was a state on the southeastern coast of the Baltic Sea, created in 1525. Prussia expanded its size and sovereignty with military might to control many surrounding regions and considerable influence across Europe and especially over Germany. With Berlin its capital since 1701, Germany was unified in the 19th century with Prussia at its core. Following World War II, the Allies chose to eradicate militarism and moved to abolish it Prussia. Present-day Poland occupies most of what was Prussia.

14. Rhodesia
Located in South Central Africa, Rhodesia is now divided into Zimbabwe and Zambia. Named after British colonial administrator Cecil Rhodes (of Rhodes Scholarship fame), Rhodesia was administered by the British South Africa Company which sought to mine its deposits of gold, copper, and coal in the 19th century. From 1965 to 1979, Rhodesia was a self-declared, independent nation but an unrecognized state. Following a brutal civil war, the world recognized Rhodesia's independence in 1980. The country changed its name to Zimbabwe.

15. Roman Empire
Few empires have influenced the world more than the Roman Empire, which dominated most of Europe, northern Africa and the western part of Asia for about 500 years. The empire emerged from the Roman Republic beginning in 27 B.C. after Octavian defeated Mark Antony and Cleopatra. Octavian took the title of Augustus. The western portion of the empire lasted until it was invaded by Germanic tribes in 476. The eastern part of the empire, called the Byzantine Empire, lasted until 1453, when the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople. The causes of the decline of the Roman Empire have been the subject of historical debate for hundreds of years. The empire proved to be too vast to govern, and over time, its rulers became corrupt.

16. Kingdom of Sikkim
Long before it was an Indian state, the Kingdom of Sikkim was a sovereign nation. Founded in 1642 in what is today's northeast India, the kingdom was ruled by the Chogyals of the Namgyal dynasty. The Chogyal were Buddhist priest-kings. In 1890 it became a British protectorate and later an Indian protectorate. Sikkim was able to preserve its autonomy until 1975. That year, India's military deposed the country's monarchy. Soon after, voters essentially supported becoming India's 22nd state. Sikkim is India's second smallest and least populous state. It is home to Kanchenjunga, the highest peak in India and the third highest peak on Earth.

17. South Vietnam
During World War II, Vietnam was a French colony occupied by the Japanese Empire. After the Japanese lost the war, the Vietnamese, led by Ho Chi Minh, were successful in forcing out the French, but they weren't successful in keeping their country whole. South Vietnam was created in 1954 at the Geneva Conference, which temporarily separated the country into north and south regions—communist and non-communist. Almost from the beginning of its existence, South Vietnam proved to be problematic for its allies. The South Vietnamese government was corrupt, and the military was led by incompetent commanders. After the United States pulled out its last troops in 1973, the North Vietnamese routed the South Vietnamese resistance and seized Saigon in 1975. Vietnam was reunified under a communist government.

18. Soviet Union
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics lasted from 1917 to 1991. By landmass, it was the largest country ever and covered one-sixth of the Earth's land surface. It was also home to 100 nationalities. The Soviet Union was part of the Allied forces in World War II. After the war, the Eastern Bloc controlled by the Soviets and the Western allies led by the United States engaged in a Cold War as both powers raced to build nuclear arsenals and reach space. Stresses began to build in the Soviet system by the late 1980s, both within and without as the communist world began collapsing. Leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the policies of perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness), but those reforms proved too difficult to implement. Rising nationalism among union members was also causing tension. By December 1991, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics faded into history as the original countries emerged to reclaim their individuality.

19. Texas
Six flags have flown over Texas in its history, but only one has fluttered over an independent republic. In the 19th century, Texas declared its independence from Mexico. The Republic of Texas was officially recognized by the United States in 1836 and later by European nations. Texas wanted to join the United States, but because it permitted slavery within its borders some congressmen from northern states objected. In 1845, Texas became the 28th state to join the United States. However, 16 years later the state seceded from the Union to join the short-lived Confederacy. Texas rejoined the United States after the Civil War ended in 1865.

20. Tibet
Tibet is one of the more well-recognized regions that are no longer sovereign states. Home to the Tibetan people, the region borders China in the north and comprises the Tibetan Plateau north of the Himalaya. Throughout history, Tibet's fate was connected with China. Tibet was independent from the 14th to the 18th century and ruled by a Dalai Lama. After being again under Chinese rule, the 13th Dalai Lama declared Tibet an independent country in 1913, but this didn't last. Beginning in 1949, the People's Republic of China worked to incorporate Tibet into the communist nation and invaded the region in 1950. In 1951, the Tibetans and Chinese government signed the Seventeen Point Agreement which formalized China's sovereignty over Tibet. Tibet has been part of China since that time as an autonomous region. Though it didn't endure as a sovereign nation, Tibet has a long archeological, military, and religious history that endures today.

21. Vermont
Declaring independence from the British Empire wasn't enough for Vermont; it also declared independence from the colony of New York, which had claimed Vermont in 1777. Vermont drew up a constitution, the first written one in North America, that was radical for its time. It prohibited slavery and gave the right to vote to all adult males, whether they owned property or not. The United States would not admit Vermont into the Union until the dispute with New York was resolved. That piqued Vermonters, who asked the British if the republic could be readmitted into the empire as part of Canada. Vermont remained an independent republic until successful negotiations with New York concluded in 1790. A year later, it was admitted as the 14th state because of the needs of the United States to balance free and slave states. Vermont joined the U.S. to offset the admission of slave state Kentucky in 1792.

22. West Florida
Just like Texas was once its own republic, so was an area that today is part of Louisiana, albeit very briefly. West Florida, which included a region of what is now eastern Louisiana, became a republic in 1810. The area had been under control of Spain, which gained the territory from Great Britain following the American Revolution because Spain was an ally of the fledgling United States. Americans settling in the region did not want to live under Spanish rule and revolted. In September 1810, Americans captured a Spanish fort in Baton Rouge and created the Republic of West Florida. Leaders of the republic made overtures to the U.S. to take possession of the territory. The U.S. was reluctant to absorb the new territory until West Florida decided to establish a permanent government. At that point, President James Madison issued a proclamation in October 1810, declaring West Florida part of the United States. West Florida was an independent state for less than a month.

23. Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia, like Czechoslovakia, was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. And like Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia also was created in 1918, but under the name of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. The country was originally named after the South Slavic peoples and became their first union following centuries of being part of either the Ottoman or Austro-Hungarian empires. It became the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in 1929. Yugoslavia was invaded by Nazi Germany in 1941, but fierce resistance by partisans was a big problem for the German army for the rest of World War II. After the war, the monarchy was dissolved and replaced by a communist regime led by Josip Tito, who ruled the nation until his death in 1980. After Tito's death, ethnic tensions pulled the country apart, leading to the worst armed conflict in Europe since World War II. Yugoslavia dissolved and was divided into seven separate—Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

23 Countries That No Longer Exist part 1 of 2

This week is part 1 of a 2-part blog about countries that no longer exist.

There are 195 countries in the world today, but this number has changed over the centuries. Borders have rarely remained static. New countries have formed and others ceased to exist.

Many nations were created as a result of a group of people with a common culture and language. Other countries were formed simply because of geography. Some were created following mass migrations, and others were established after the breakup of larger empires or countries into smaller states, and some following wars and treaties.

Depending on how you choose to count them, there could be as many as 207 countries. There are 193 UN members and 2 non-member observer states (the Holy See which governs Vatican City and the State of Palestine). In addition, there are six states with partial recognition such as Taiwan and Kosovo, and several more self-declared countries.

The world's newest country is South Sudan, which declared its independence from Sudan in 2011 following a bloody civil war. The smallest country on Earth is the Holy See, which has a landmass of 0.2 square miles within Rome, Italy. The oldest country is the Republic of San Marino, founded in 301 B.C., was not recognized as an independent country until 1631 and is also surrounded by Italy. Those tiny countries have managed to survive nearly 2,000 years of political upheaval in Europe that included some of the world’s longest wars.

1. Austria-Hungary
Created by the union of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in 1867, Austria-Hungary was a quintessential multilingual empire, blending of 11 different ethnic groups, that lasted until 1918 as World War I ended. Rising nationalist fervor among ethnic groups began to tear Austria-Hungary apart even before the start of World War I.

2. Czechoslovakia
Founded in 1918 at the end of World War I, Czechoslovakia, a former Central European nation, comprised the former lands of Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia. The political union was possible because these regions had similar languages, religion, and culture. Between World War I and World War II, the country functioned as a parliamentary democracy. From 1938-1945, Czechoslovakia was under Nazi rule, and from 1948-1989, it was controlled by the Soviet Union. Communism came to an end in Czechoslovakia in 1989. By 1990, the country had held its first free elections, but disagreements between Czechs and Slovaks grew. The state as peacefully dissolved in 1992, forming the separate countries of the Czech Republic and Slovakia starting in 1993.

3. Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America, all located in the South, lasted from 1861 to 1865. The states broke away from the United States due to disputes over the issues of states' rights and slavery. Jefferson Davis was the president of the Confederacy. The Confederate constitution supported the institution of slavery but not the African slave trade. There were 11 states in the Confederacy, which fought the Union in America's bloodiest war that claimed the lives of 750,000 people. The Confederacy was never formally recognized as a sovereign nation, although Great Britain considered recognition during the Civil War.

4. East Germany
The Democratic Republic of Germany—East Germany as it was known—was created in 1949 after World War II when the Allies agreed to divide Nazi Germany. East Germany lasted until 1990. The nation was dominated by the Soviet Union, which had conquered that part of Germany during World War II. It remained under Soviet influence as a satellite state. East Germany was half the size of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) and its economy paled in comparison with its western counterpart. A year after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, East Germany ceased to exist and the two Germanys were reunited.

5. East Pakistan
Despite existing for barely 17 years, East Pakistan had suffered much turmoil. The country's first constitution replaced what was British rule of an Islamic republic. Not long after, martial law was enacted following a coup d’etat and lasted for several years. In 1970, Pakistan held its first federal general election. The party that won the majority of the seats won all of its seats in East Pakistan but failed to gain even one seat in West Pakistan. This led to East Pakistan declaring independence from Pakistan and a nine-month long Bangladesh Liberation War and the 1971 Bangladesh genocide and the creation of the country of Bangladesh.

6. Gran Colombia
Gran Colombia spanned a massive swath of land in northern South America and southern Central America. It existed from 1819 to 1830 and included what are today Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, northern Peru, western Guyana, and northwest Brazil. The country's short existence of only 21 years was plagued by regional conflicts and struggle between two main groups: supporters of a central government with a strong presidency and supporters of a decentralized, federal form of government. By 1830, it became clear the nation could not survive. In addition to the political discord, growing regional tensions led to the dissolution of Gran Colombia. As a result, Venezuela, Ecuador, and New Granada became independent states.

7. Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire (not to be confused with the Roman Empire) was a stabilizing influence through the chaos of the Middle Ages and was a bulwark against Muslim invasions that threatened Europe. It was the largest governing authority outside the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages and provided troops for the crusades. Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne as the first Holy Roman Emperor in 800, and the Holy Roman Empire lasted for more than 1,000 years. Because of its vast size, the Holy Roman Empire was a decentralized empire that granted regions considerable autonomy. The empire encompassed portions of modern European states France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic.

8. Kingdom of Hawaii
Hawaii was not always part of the United States. In 1795, the islands of Hawaii, Oahu, Molokai, and Lanai unified under one government. In 1810, the entire Hawaiian Archipelago was united when Kauai and Niihau joined the Kingdom of Hawaii voluntarily. Two dynasties ruled the kingdom, the House of Kamehameha and the House of Kalakaua. In 1887, this kingdom of islands adopted a constitution that reduced the power of King Kalakaua. King Kalakaua was succeed by his sister, Queen Liliuokalani, who, in 1891 tried to restore royal power that had been removed by a new Hawaiian constitution, but she failed. Hawaii became a republic until it was annexed by the United States in 1898. Due to Hawaii's strategic location in the Pacific Ocean, the U.S. built a naval base at Pearl Harbor. The Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, drawing the U.S. into World War II. In 1959, Hawaii became the 50th U.S. state.

9. Korea
Comprising the Korean peninsula, North and South Korea were once one country. Korea was divided into North and South Korea after World War II, with the United States occupying the southern part, while the Soviet Union, under Joseph Stalin, occupied the northern section. The boundary between the North and South was arbitrarily established as the 38th parallel. In 1948, the Republic of Korea was established in South Korea and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in North Korea. Both sides claimed a right to the entire peninsula, the conflict erupting into the Korean War which lasted from 1950 to 1953. South Korea was supported by the United States and western allies, while North Korea was supported by China and the Soviet Union. The result was a stalemate that has so far lasted nearly seven decades without an official treaty ending the war.

10. Native American Nations
For thousands of years before the Europeans came to North America, the ancestors of Native Americans occupied the continent. Scholars estimate that more than 50 million people were living in the Americas when the Europeans first arrived in the late 15th century, with 10 million of them in what is now the United States. According to different theories, the ancestors of Native Americans likely migrated to North America over a land bridge from Asia to Alaska some 15,000 to 30,000 years ago. When the Europeans got to North America, they encountered a sophisticated, highly structured society. Armed conflict and the effects of diseases brought by the Europeans reduced the Native American population over time. Native Americans were relegated to reservations either by coercion or by treaties, which generally forced massive land concessions.

Check back next week for a look at another 13 nations that no longer exist.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Important Historical Event in Each State—part 5 of 5

This is the final installment of my 5 part blog series presenting one important historical event in each of the 50 states. This week covers South Dakota through Wyoming.

41. South Dakota
Event: Mount Rushmore
Year: 1941
Location: Keystone
One of America's iconic images is among the newest. Mount Rushmore National Memorial was opened in 1941. The 60-foot high stone images of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Thomas Jefferson are framed against the Black Hills of South Dakota. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum selected Mount Rushmore in the early 1920s because of the site's dimensions—1,000 feet long and 440 feet wide. Work started on the project in 1927. The original plans from Borglum called for all four presidents to be shown from the waist up, but there was not enough funding to realize his vision.

42. Tennessee
Event: Scopes Monkey Trial
Year: 1925
Location: Dayton
John Thomas Scopes, a high school science teacher in Dayton, Tennessee, taught his students about evolution in 1925 to protest a new law that would fine anyone who taught a "theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation." Scopes was fined. He called on the American Civil Liberties Union to help prove the law was unconstitutional. Former presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan offered to help the prosecution. Clarence Darrow represented John Scopes. The case garnered so much attention that it was moved to the courthouse lawn over concerns the extra people in the court would cause the floor to collapse. The defense wasn't allowed to question the constitutionality of the law, so it called Bryan to the stand to defend his beliefs. But Bryan couldn't do it, instead making contradictory statements about his faith. The defense eventually requested a guilty verdict so it could later be appealed. Scopes was ordered to pay the minimum fine of $100, but that verdict was later overturned by the Supreme Court which was the ultimate goal of the defense. [For those of you who have never seen the 1960 movie, Inherit The Wind, starring Spencer Tracy as Clarence Darrow and Frederick March as William Jennings Bryan, it's an excellent film about the Scopes trial.]

43. Texas
Event: Kennedy Assassination
Year: 1963
Location: Dallas
Texas certainly has many notable events in its history, but there is one that certainly stands out above the others. Even though the campaign for the 1964 election had not yet started and President John F. Kennedy had not formally announced he was seeking re-election, the Democrat had come to Texas seeking early support for a re-election bid, hoping to garner support from staunchly conservative Texas. Kennedy's popularity was building and he was greeted by enthusiastic crowds in Dallas. Then the unthinkable happened when he was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. Kennedy was prevented from being able to fulfill his ambitious goals for the country. The assassination of Kennedy traumatized the nation and has haunted the city of Dallas for many years. And even now, almost 56 years later, conspiracy theories still run rampant.

44. Utah
Event: Transcontinental railroad completed
Year: 1869
Location: Promontory Point
On May 10, 1869, the transcontinental railroad finally connected both coasts of the United States at Promontory Point in Utah. The task was completed by rival railroads Central Pacific and Union Pacific. The Central Pacific, moving east from Sacramento, California, used mostly Chinese laborers, which was controversial at the time because they were looked down upon due to entrenched racism in the country. The Chinese persevered through terrible conditions in the Sierra Nevada mountains and proved to be indefatigable workers. The Union Pacific, which moved west from Omaha, Nebraska, used mostly Irish workers and Civil War veterans.

45. Vermont
Event: First state to ban slavery
Year: 1777
Location: Statewide
Nearly a century before the Civil War, Vermont became the first state to outlaw slavery, just after the Colonies declared their independence. Vermont was, at that point, an independent republic. The transatlantic slave trade had yet to reach its peak. Other states, such as Pennsylvania, followed suit within a few years, using laws that only gradually released current slaves while preventing any new ones from being brought to the state. Despite the 1777 law, there now appears to be evidence that some Vermonters still held slaves in the 19th century.

46. Virginia
Event: First English settlement in the United States
Year: 1607
Location: Jamestown
Early attempts by the English to establish a colony in the New World had failed, including the "lost colony" of Roanoke in 1587. The English tried again in 1606. King James I issued a charter to the Virginia Company to create a settlement in the New World. About 100 colonists in three ships reached a peninsula on the James River on May 14, 1607. The early settlers fought off hunger and illness, and council leader John Smith forged an understanding with Native American Chief Powhatan. More settlers and supplies came to support the colony to finally secure England's toehold in the New World.

47. Washington
Event: Mount St. Helens eruption
Year: 1980
Location: Mount St. Helens
The 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens remains the largest volcanic event in U.S. history. The explosion was triggered by an earthquake underneath the mountain. It caused huge clouds of ash and pyroclastic flows. It also triggered the largest landslide in recorded history. The volcano, located in the Cascade Mountains, tossed more than 500 million tons of ash into the air and blotted out the sun hundreds of miles away. All told, 57 people were killed as a result of the eruption.

48. West Virginia
Event: John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry
Year: 1859
Location: Harper's Ferry
John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry was one of the key incidents leading up to the Civil War. Brown, an abolitionist, came to Harper's Ferry to seize the federal armory and arsenal. His plan was for slaves to rise up in rebellion. The local militia resisted and U.S. Marines, led by Colonel Robert E. Lee, arrived and killed many of the raiders and captured Brown. He was tried for treason, murder, and slave insurrection against the state of Virginia (West Virginia was not its own state yet) and hanged.

49. Wisconsin
Event: Peshtigo Fire
Year: 1871
Location: Northeastern Wisconsin
The most destructive and deadly fire in U.S. history took place in Wisconsin and Michigan in 1871. The Peshtigo Fire killed at least 1,200 people, though some estimates place the death toll at over 2,000. The area around Peshtigo was largely supported by logging, so sawdust and branches littered the surrounding forest. That summer had been unusually dry, putting the area at huge risk of fire. The blaze started on Oct. 8 and moved so quickly that many people were unable to outrun the flames. Coincidentally, the Peshtigo Fire took place on the same day as the Great Chicago Fire. Recovery efforts of the American people, including Wisconsin's governor, were initially focused on Chicago. Peshtigo never recovered. The event is largely forgotten to this day.

50. Wyoming
Event: Establishment of Yellowstone National Park
Year: 1872
Location: Northwestern Wyoming
Yellowstone National Park isn't just the first national park in the U.S., but also in the world. According to legend, explorers came to Madison Plateau in 1870. Struck by the beauty of the place, they decided Yellowstone needed to be preserved. It's unclear if that story is true, but President Ulysses S. Grant did sign a law establishing the park in 1872. Yellowstone stretches well over 3,000 square miles, almost all of it in Wyoming. It's also home to Old Faithful, a world famous geyser. [Note: Yellowstone is technically the first national park, but not the first time the federal government set aside land to be protected for all time. In 1864, Abraham Lincoln took time from the Civil War to set aside Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoia Trees. The National Park Service did not exist and the federal government had no means of administrating this. California was a state, so the federal government deeded the land to the state to be protected for all time. In 1872, when the federal government set aside Yellowstone, Wyoming was not a state—no governing authority existed to take it over. So, the National Park Service was created. California returned Yosemite Valley and the Mariposa Grove to the federal government when the surrounding area was set aside as Yosemite National Park.]

As I said at the beginning of part 1 of this series, the important historical event for each state is a list I came across, I did not compile it. I thought the list would make interesting information for my blog. I hope you've enjoyed it.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Important Historical Event in Each State—part 4 of 5

This week, part 4 of my 5 part blog series about historical events in the states covers New Mexico to South Carolina

31. New Mexico
Event: Atomic bomb testing
Year: 1945
Location: Alamogordo
Scientists detonated the first atomic bomb on July 16, 1945, in the New Mexico desert, and from that moment on the world would never be the same. The nuclear test was code-named "Trinity." The following month atomic weapons were used against the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with such devastating results that the Japanese surrendered shortly after. The Soviet Union set off its first atomic bomb in 1949, ratcheting up Cold War tensions.

32. New York
Event: Sept. 11 terrorist attacks
Year: 2001
Location: New York City
On September 11, 2001, two hijacked commercial airplanes hit the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The skyscrapers collapsed trapping thousands of people and first responders. In all, close to 3,000 people died in the attacks. Another hijacked plane hit the Pentagon and another was brought down in a field in Pennsylvania by the passengers, sacrificing their lives to stop the attack. The destination of the hijackers of the downed plane was believed to be Washington, D.C.—either the White House or the Capitol building.

33. North Carolina
Event: Manned flight
Year: 1903
Location: Kitty Hawk
Though the Wright Brothers grew up in Ohio, they found the perfect place for their flying machine experiments in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The brothers pored over weather records before determining that North Carolina would suit their needs. The first flight lasted just 12 seconds and covered 120 feet. By the end of the day, the world's first airplane stayed in the air for nearly one minute.

34. North Dakota
Event: Standing Rock protest
Year: 2016
Location: Standing Rock reservation
In 2016 and 2017, a protest against a proposed oil pipeline grabbed the nation's attention. The Dakota Access Pipeline route in North Dakota ran through Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and under the Missouri River, the reservation's source for drinking water. Residents protested, fearing the oil would contaminate the water. Hundreds of Native American activists and their allies descended on the reservation to protest what reservation residents believed was an encroachment on their sacred lands and a threat to their crucial water supply. Dozens of protesters were arrested, and the Obama administration blocked the project. Though the Trump administration has since reversed the decision and construction of the pipeline was completed, the company responsible for the pipeline is facing a litany of lawsuits that claim its security officers used unnecessary force on those protesting.

35. Ohio
Event: Ohio and Erie canal opened
Year: 1833
Location: Ohio and Erie Canal
During the early days of Ohio's history, the area was tough to access from much the country due to its geography and lack of infrastructure. An ambitious construction project which became known as the Ohio and Erie Canal sought to change that. The canal, which took nearly seven years to build, now serves as a 110-mile link between the Ohio River and Lake Erie. In addition to connecting two sides of Ohio, the canal provided an important link between the Midwest and the East Coast. Before the canal, it cost $125 to ship a ton of goods between the Ohio and the east coast. After the canal became functional, the price dropped to $25 per ton.

36. Oklahoma
Event: Federal Building bombing
Year: 1995
Location: Oklahoma City
Before the Twin Towers attack on Sept. 11, 2001, the worst terror attack on American soil was committed by domestic terrorists. The attack killed 168 people, injured about 650 others, and damaged some 300 buildings. Anti-government militant Timothy McVeigh loaded a truck with explosive materials and detonated it outside the Alfred Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. He chose that building because it contained the offices of federal agencies—the Drug Enforcement Agency, Secret Service, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives. McVeigh was captured and eventually executed. Co-conspirator Terry Nichols was sentenced to life in prison.

37. Oregon
Event: Lewis and Clark Expedition
Year: 1806
Location: Clatsop County
Shortly after the Louisiana Purchase, President Thomas Jefferson asked Meriwether Lewis to lead an expedition to explore the new land west of the Mississippi River. Lewis was joined by William Clark as co-commander and other adventurers who became known as the Corps of Discovery. In 1804, they set out from St. Louis in what is now Missouri. More than a year later, they arrived at the northwestern tip of what is now Oregon where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. There they constructed Fort Clatsop to ride out the winter. In 1806, they returned to St. Louis to complete their nearly 8,000-mile round trip journey.

38. Pennsylvania
Event: Signing of Declaration of Independence
Year: 1776
Location: Philadelphia
The Declaration of Independence was approved by the Continental Congress in Philadelphia and expressed the ideals of the new nation and why it chose to separate from Great Britain. The document put forth the assertion that all men are created equal, the creator endows men with "certain unalienable rights," and that governments derive their power from the people they govern. Philadelphia, the largest city in the Colonies at the time the Declaration of Independence was approved, was also where the Constitution was adopted.

39. Rhode Island
Event: King Philip's War
Year: 1675
Location: Statewide
King Philip's War, also known as the Great Narragansett War, marked a turning point in the relationship between natives and white settlers. While there had been simmering resentment and some violent skirmishes between natives and settlers for decades, the war became one of the largest conflicts since European settlers arrived. Tribal leader Metacom, called King Philip by the settlers, led a revolt against the Europeans following the execution of three of his warriors who were found guilty of murdering a native who converted to puritanism. During the 14-month conflict, colonial militias attacked and destroyed native villages, with much of the fighting taking place in Rhode Island.

40. South Carolina
Event: Attack on Fort Sumter
Year: 1861
Location: Charleston Harbor
Seven states seceded from the Union, throwing the new Confederate government and existing U.S. government were at odds over who owned what in the South. President Abraham Lincoln wanted to resupply Union forces at South Carolina's Fort Sumter, but Confederate forces turned the supplies away. Months later, in April 1861, Confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard ordered his men to fire on the fort. Union troops quickly ran out of ammunition and were forced to surrender Fort Sumter. Though no people were killed in the fighting, the battle marks the beginning of the Civil War.

Next week is the last of my 5 part series highlighting an important historical event in each of the 50 states. Part 5 covers South Dakota to Wyoming.