Sunday, July 12, 2009

On July 12

On this day in ...
1926, Gertrude Bell (right) died. The England-born archaeologist, writer, and spy is an IntLawGrrls transnational foremother, thanks to guest/alumna Ursula Bentele. Bell was the first woman to graduate with a history degree from Oxford. She became fluent in Arabic, Persian, French, German, Italian, and Turkish. (image credit) The establishment of early 20th C. Iraq is attributed in part to her, so that she bears the nickname "uncrowned queen of Iraq." Bell also helped form the Baghdad Archaeological Museum, ensuring, against European wishes, that a collection of Iraq's antiquities would remain in that country. She is buried in Baghdad.
1979 (30 years ago today), the island nation of Kiribati (flag below left) became independent from Britain. In 1892 what were then called the Gilbert Islands had consented to become a British protectorate. They had gained self-rule in 1971, and were granted internal self-government by Britain thereafter. The island nation took the name Kiribati on its independence. In summer 2008, Kiribati officials asked Australia and New Zealand to accept Kiribati citizens as permanent refugees: it is expected to be the first country in which land territory disappears due to global climate change.

(Prior July 12 posts are here and here.)

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