Thursday, September 13, 2018

Turning 100

This 11 November will commemorate 100 years since the end of WWI.  In the United Kingdom, and most Commonwealth countries it is known as Armistice Day.  The USA changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day, in 1954, to honour all U.S. veterans.

In Europe, the end of WWI changed the landscape as long-standing empires fell and newly independent countries emerged.  So this year, several countries will celebrate their centenary.

On 28 October, Czechland will celebrate the 100 years of the founding of Czechoslovakia.  Specifically the First Republic, which was the twenty years between WWI and WWII.  Even though Czechoslovakia hasn't existed for 25 years, the Czechs still celebrate independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are also celebrating 100 years of independence.  Even though they haven't been independent nations the whole time.  Each declared independence at the end of WWI.

However, their independence was brief because they were occupied by the Soviet Union, then the Germans, and eventually were annexed as Soviet republics.  They eventually gained independence in 1991 as the Soviet Union broke apart.

Lithuania already celebrated its 100th, known as #LT100 on 16 February.  Estonia celebrated on 24 February.

Latvia celebrates on 11 November.

Poland had been an independent country but following partitions and 123 years of serfdom the country ceased to exist until 1918.  On 11 November, the Second Polish Republic declared independence from the German, Austrian, and Russian Empires.  This is when Poland, as a country, got back on the map.

On 11 November 1918, Emperor Charles I renounced the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  The next day, Austria declared itself a republic.  Like many countries, Austria's independence was interrupted during WWII as it had been annexed by the Third Reich.

Like Austria, Hungary became independent but they aren't so happy.  On 1 December 1918, Hungary lost Transylvania to Romania.  So while Hungary isn't celebrating anything, in Romania they are celebrating the "Great Unification".

On 1 December 1918, Iceland became a free and sovereign state after it signed the Act of Union with Denmark which kept the Danish King as head of state.  Iceland actually became an independent country in 1944, but this year they are celebrating 100 years as a sovereign state.

Following WWI, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes was established which became Yugoslavia.  I'm not aware of anyone celebrating 100 years of Yugoslavia as it only lasted 75 years and has been gone for a generation.

Finland celebrated its 100th last year on 6 December.

In 1922, 26 counties formalised the independence of the  Irish Free State.  While it became Ireland in 1937 and declared itself a republic in 1949, I bet there will still be a 100th party of some kind in 2022.

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