In the summer of 1999, western countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization were in the final stages of negotiating a peaceful end to the Kosovo War. For much of the 90’s, conflicts had erupted between ethnic Serbs and Albanians over the Kosovo region of Southeast Europe, an area occupied by both ethnic groups. NATO eventually intervened in 1998 by initiating an air-bombing campaign that was covered extensively in the media. By June of 1999, a ceasefire had been called and a peace agreement was reached, which included a NATO-led occupation of Kosovo in a peacekeeping role. But it was in the crucial moment between the ceasefire and the peace that probably one of the biggest international incidents ever was avoided.
Everyone can find the United States on a map, and every American can find their home state, but few can explain how their state – and the land of the United States – came to be. The US is currently the fourth largest country in the world by land area, but it all started with just a few settlements on the Atlantic coast. It took several centuries of politics, economics, and war to draw the borders which we currently know and love today. In this series, America the Huge-ful, we look at some of the most interesting stories about how our map came to be.
If you played The Oregon Trail in elementary school, then you know that the Oregon Territory was one of the most desirable places to relocate to during the 1800’s: a vast, utopian valley where milk and honey flowed in rivers and the trees stayed green all year round. While it was a nice place to live, this image was actually far from the truth. For much of its history the Oregon Country was a territory disputed by several nations and devoid of much of a central government. However, that would change when America would make one of the most daring land grabs in history.
Let’s play a word association game: I say “music legends”, and you tell me the first ten bands or people that come to mind. Well, if the Rolling Stones are not among those you list, you either have a serious problem or are the type of person that listens to nothing by techno and Taylor Swift. Not only are the Stones one of the longest-running music acts in history – now at over fifty years – but they have achieved a level of commercial success that puts them among the top dozen best selling groups of all time.