April 19, 2010

Celebrate South America Today!

Today is a holiday in three different South American countries.

In Uruguay, this is Landing of the 33 Patriots Day.

Today people of Uruguay celebrate the 1825 arrival of 33 “Orientals” (or Easterners who lived in the Oriental province that is now Uruguay). These men sailed by ship from an area near Buenos Aires and began a rebellion against the Empire of Brazil. The eventual result was an independent Uruguay.

In Brazil, this is the Day of the Indian.

A National Indian Festival was held this weekend (in other words, the past few days) in Bertioga in honor of this day. It is considered the largest “indigenous cultural event” in the world and features music, dance, food, crafts, sports, and body art. There are also forums and panels on climate change and other important issues. The event is meant to reduce prejudice and foster mutual respect among Indian and non-Indian peoples.

According to Funai (Brazil's national foundation for Indians), 460,000 indigenous people from 225 groups, and speaking more than 189 languages, live in Brazil today. Today many festival participants help plant trees.

In Venezuela, this is Beginning of the Independence Movement Day.

This day commemorates the 1810 coup that began Venezuela's struggle for independence from Spain. Because Napoleon was fighting Spain, in Europe, a group in Venezuela's largest city, Caracas, seized control and declared independence. Eventually, in 1821, the people of Venezuela and of what are now several other Latin American countries won independence from Spain under the leadership of Simon Bolivar. They formed the Republic of Gran Colombia until 1830, when Venezuela broke off from the republic to become its own separate nation.

Celebrate South America!

Do you know the ABCs of South America? Here is a list of countries on this continent. See if you can complete each name:

1. A ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

2. B ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

3. B ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

4. C ___ ___ ___ ___

5. C ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

6. E ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

7. F ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ G ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

8. G ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

9. P ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

10. P ___ ___ ___

11. S ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

12. U ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___

13. V ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___ ___


Did you know...?
  • The tallest waterfall in the world, Angel Falls, is in Venezuela.
  • Venezuela means “little Venice.” The name refers to the fact that early Spanish explorers thought that the houses built on stilts reminded them of Venice, Italy.
  • Venezuela's money is called a bolivar after the hero who helped win independence from Spain.
  • The largest lake in Latin America, Lake Maracaibo, is in Venezuela.
  • Uruguay's “national drink” is mate (pronounced mah-tay), which is made by brewing the dried leaves of the yerba mate plant with hot water. It is drunk from a hollow gourd (shown here) through a metal straw that also acts as a sieve to keep the leaves out (shown in gourd and alone). The drink is sort of like tea or coffee.
  • The capybara is the largest living rodent in the world. It lives in South America, including Venezuela, Brazil, and Uruguay.
  • Brazil is the largest country in South America and is home to the largest river in the world, the Amazon.
  • Brazil is the only Portuguese-speaking country in the Americas.
  • Brazil borders on every other country in South America except for two. (Do you know which two?)
Here are some websites to explore.

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