geography

Georgia - The Peach State 2

Georgia – The Peach State

Gold was discovered in the mountains of northern Georgia in 1829.  Predictably this led to the Georgia Gold Rush culminating in the establishment of a federal mint in the mountain town of Dahlonega.  This mint continued to operate until 1861 at the outbreak of the Civil War.  The Georgia Gold Rush brought an influx of white settlers into territory that was previously almost exclusively Cherokee.  The white settlers put pressure on the government to take Cherokee lands, by force if necessary.  In response to this pressure, President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act into law in 1830.  This resulted in the forced movement of many eastern Native Americans to reservations in present day Oklahoma, a territory and climate very different from the one left behind.  Even though the Supreme Court ruled in 1832 that states we not permitted to redraw Indian territorial boundaries, President Jackson and the state of Georgia ignored the ruling and persisted in the relocation effort.  President Jackson’s successor, Martin Van Buren, went further and ordered federal troops to gather the remaining Cherokee peoples and forcibly deport them west of the Mississippi River.  This forced displacement, which resulted in the death of over 4,000 Cherokee people is today known as the Trail of Tears.

New Jersey - The Garden State 3

New Jersey – The Garden State

During the English Civil War, the Channel Island of Jersey remained loyal to the British Crown and gave sanctuary to the King. In recognition of this loyalty and assistance, when Charles II was crowned King of England following the end of the Cromwellian regime, he awarded the area now known as New Jersey to Vice Admiral Sir George Carteret, bailiff and governor of the island of Jersey.  Admiral Cateret, who had visited Newfoundland and therefore had some familiarity with the New World, promptly named his new lands after his home island, and thus the name New Jersey.  The initial settlers under the British came primarily from New York and New England, staying near the Hackensack River and Arthur Kill.

Japan 5

Japan

Public perception of the national flag varies.  Historically, both Western and Japanese sources claimed the flag was a powerful and enduring symbol to the Japanese. Since the end of World War II, the use of the flag and the national anthem has been a contentious issue for Japan’s public schools.  Disputes about their use have led to protests and lawsuits. The flag is not frequently displayed in Japan due to its association with ultra-nationalism.  For some nations that have been occupied by Japan, the flag is a symbol of aggression and imperialism. 

Wallis and Futuna Islands - Where in the World Are They? 6

Wallis and Futuna Islands – Where in the World Are They?

Communication costs are high, costing up to ten times as much as in western countries. The island of Wallis has about 62 mi of roadways, of which 16 are paved, while the island of Futuna has only 12 mi and none are paved.  The territory has two main ports and harbours, Mata-Utu and Leava (on the island of Futuna), that support its merchant marine fleet consisting of three ships (two passenger ships and a petroleum tanker).

There are two airports, Hihifo Airport on Wallis and Pointe Vele Airport on Futuna.  New Caledonia-based Aircalin operates the only commercial flights that go to Wallis, where it has an office in Mata-Utu.  From Wallis it is possible to fly on, or back as the actual case happens to be, to Futuna.

The Mysterious Islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon 7

The Mysterious Islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon

The official flag of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, as is true of all of Overseas France, is the French Tricolour.  However, there is a local and unofficial flag that is seen in use and that is the flag we were flying today.  The unofficial flag was designed in 1982, likely by a local business owner, André Paturel.  The flag is based on the Collectivity’s coat of arms.  The flag is blue with a yellow ship, said to be Grande Hermine, which brought Jacques Cartier to Saint-Pierre on 15 June 1536.  Three square fields placed along the hoist recall the origin of most inhabitants of the islands, from top to bottom, Basques, Bretons, and Normans.

Half An Island - Saint Martin 8

Half An Island – Saint Martin

Interestingly, Saint Martin is the only island thus divided by two colonial powers.  Cyprus remains divided but one half of the island is operated as an independent nation.  The French and British jointly administered the New Hebrides Islands, now the independent nation of Vanuatu, but there was no boundary line on any island or area, instead the entire island group was jointly, if confusingly, administered by both nations.  Saint Martin stands unique in terms of being an island divided into separate overseas territories of European powers.

Hideaway for the Rich and Famous - St. Barthélemy 9

Hideaway for the Rich and Famous – St. Barthélemy

As happened frequently among the Caribbean islands of France, the British took over briefly in 1758.  The French in turn gave Saint Barthélemy to Sweden in exchange for French trading rights in Gothenburg.  With this transfer the island’s fortunes changed for the better.  The Swedes ushered in a time of progress and prosperity as the Swedes declared Gustavia a free port, which made it a favored port for the trading of European goods, including contraband items.

Réunion Island - A Bit of France in the Indian Ocean 10

Réunion Island – A Bit of France in the Indian Ocean

Colonization started in 1665, when the French East India Company sent the first settlers.  “Île de la Réunion” was the name given to the island in 1793 to commemorate the union of revolutionaries from Marseille with the National Guard in Paris.  This renaming also eliminated a reference to the deposed Bourbon dynasty.  Later, the island would be renamed yet again, this time “Île Bonaparte”, after Napoleon Bonaparte.

The island came under the control of the British Navy in 1810 but was returned to France by treaty in 1815.  In 1848 the island was officially renamed “Île de la Réunion”.

Between the 17th and 19th centuries, a program of colonization by French citizens as well as the importation of Africans, Chinese, and Indians as slaves, a diversity of ethnicities was present from early times.  The colony abolished slavery on 20 December 1848. Afterward, many of the foreign workers came as indentured workers.

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