Amazing…Sint Maarten is my 218th country to stop by the blog. I am learning every day about all the different countries that exist in this world. I have to be honest…never knew there were so many that have gotten their own country status…geography 101! Continue reading “Welcome Sint Maarten Population: 39,689-# 218th Country”
|The Dutch United Provinces declared their independence from Spain in 1579; during the 17th century, they became a leading seafaring and commercial power, with settlements and colonies around the world. After a 20-year French occupation, a Kingdom of the Netherlands was formed in 1815. In 1830 Belgium seceded and formed a separate kingdom. The Netherlands remained neutral in World War I, but suffered invasion and occupation by Germany in World War II. A modern, industrialized nation, the Netherlands is also a large exporter of agricultural products. The country was a founding member of NATO and the EEC (now the EU) and participated in the introduction of the euro in 1999. In October 2010, the former Netherlands Antilles was dissolved and the three smallest islands – Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba – became special municipalities in the Netherlands administrative structure. The larger islands of Sint Maarten and Curacao joined the Netherlands and Aruba as constituent countries forming the Kingdom of the Netherlands.|
|Egypt attempted to colonize the region of southern Sudan by establishing the province of Equatoria in the 1870s. Islamic Mahdist revolutionaries overran the region in 1885, but in 1898 a British force was able to overthrow the Mahdist regime. An Anglo-Egyptian Sudan was established the following year with Equatoria being the southernmost of its eight provinces. The isolated region was largely left to itself over the following decades, but Christian missionaries converted much of the population and facilitated the spread of English. When Sudan gained its independence in 1956, it was with the understanding that the southerners would be able to participate fully in the political system. When the Arab Khartoum government reneged on its promises, a mutiny began that led to two prolonged periods of conflict (1955-1972 and 1983-2005) in which perhaps 2.5 million people died – mostly civilians – due to starvation and drought. Ongoing peace talks finally resulted in a Comprehensive Peace Agreement, signed in January 2005. As part of this agreement the south was granted a six-year period of autonomy to be followed by a referendum on final status. The result of this referendum, held in January 2011, was a vote of 98% in favor of secession. Independence was attained on 9 July 2011. Since independence South Sudan has struggled with good governance and nation building and has attempted to control rebel militia groups operating in its territory. Economic conditions have deteriorated since January 2012 when the government decided to shut down oil production following bilateral disagreements with Sudan.|
|Democracy is slowly being reestablished after the civil war from 1991 to 2002 that resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and the displacement of more than 2 million people (about a third of the population). The military, which took over full responsibility for security following the departure of UN peacekeepers at the end of 2005, is increasingly developing as a guarantor of the country’s stability. The armed forces remained on the sideline during the 2007 and 2012 national elections but still look to the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL) – a civilian UN mission – to support efforts to consolidate peace. The new government’s priorities include furthering development, creating jobs, and stamping out endemic corruption. Continue reading “Welcome SIERRA LEONE – 204th Country to visit out BLOG!”|
|Close ties to France since independence in 1960, the development of cocoa production for export, and foreign investment made Cote d’Ivoire one of the most prosperous of the West African states, but did not protect it from political turmoil. In December 1999, a military coup – the first ever in Cote d’Ivoire’s history – overthrew the government. Junta leader Robert GUEI blatantly rigged elections held in late 2000 and declared himself the winner. Popular protest forced him to step aside and brought Laurent GBAGBO into power. Ivorian dissidents and disaffected members of the military launched a failed coup attempt in September 2002. Rebel forces claimed the northern half of the country, and in January 2003 were granted ministerial positions in a unity government under the auspices of the Linas-Marcoussis Peace Accord. President GBAGBO and rebel forces resumed implementation of the peace accord in December 2003 after a three-month stalemate, but issues that sparked the civil war, such as land reform and grounds for citizenship, remained unresolved. In March 2007 President GBAGBO and former New Force rebel leader Guillaume SORO signed the Ouagadougou Political Agreement. As a result of the agreement, SORO joined GBAGBO’s government as Prime Minister and the two agreed to reunite the country by dismantling the zone of confidence separating North from South, integrate rebel forces into the national armed forces, and hold elections. Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of rebel forces have been problematic as rebels seek to enter the armed forces. Citizen identification and voter registration pose election difficulties, and balloting planned for November 2009 was postponed to 2010. On 28 November 2010, Alassane Dramane OUATTARA won the presidential election, defeating then President Laurent GBAGBO. GBAGBO refused to hand over power, resulting in a 6-month stand-off. In April 2011, after widespread fighting, GBAGBO was formally forced from office by OUATTARA supporters with the support of UN and French forces. Several thousand UN troops and several hundred French remain in Cote d’Ivoire to support the transition process. Continue reading “WELCOME # 182 Cote D’Ivoire Population: 21,504,162”|
|Modern-day Laos has its roots in the ancient Lao kingdom of Lan Xang, established in the 14th Century under King FA NGUM. For 300 years Lan Xang had influence reaching into present-day Cambodia and Thailand, as well as over all of what is now Laos. After centuries of gradual decline, Laos came under the domination of Siam (Thailand) from the late 18th century until the late 19th century when it became part of French Indochina. The Franco-Siamese Treaty of 1907 defined the current Lao border with Thailand. In 1975, the Communist Pathet Lao took control of the government ending a six-century-old monarchy and instituting a strict socialist regime closely aligned to Vietnam. A gradual, limited return to private enterprise and the liberalization of foreign investment laws began in 1988. Laos became a member of ASEAN in 1997.|
|Continue reading “169th Country Welcome LAOS!”|
(I will fix screen shots of the specific country lists when I get home from work tonight.)
Sometime over night we hit 250,000 on our BLOG. Such an awesome response to something that started out so spontaneous because of our partnership with Triumph last summer. Over the 9 months we have learned so much from all the comments, the maps we keep to see where you are all from and much about social media and blogging. Still have so much to learn but I tell you it’s been so much fun researching and posting what we hope are interesting and at times different topics.
We have to be honest some of the countries visiting this site we have never heard of but thanks to the next few pics I will be posting we are also getting a great lesson in geography. Is your country listed?
Once again Cheryl and I would really like to thank all of you in help making this little blog such a success and we will continue to try to keep it real and fresh! Hope everyone comes back, comments once in a while and as always feedback is welcomed! Take a look at the world below as we see it! Continue reading “250,000 HITS! Another Big Thank You!”
Visitors to our BLOG since October 28th, 2011….
is your State, Province, Country mapped? Cheryl & I (aka advgrrls ) thank all of you for making this so much fun and seeing the world checking in means so much more than you will ever know!