Independence Day is the most important American holiday. United States of America were born on July 4, 1776 when the Declaration of Independence was signed and America started the fight for freedom from British rule.
Before this date, the King of England, George III, ruled the thirteen colonies in America.
In 1767, the British government placed new taxes on tea and paper that the colonists imported from abroad. The colorists got angry and refused to pay. George III sent soldiers to keep order.
In 1772, a group of colonists dressed up as Indians threw 542 chests of tea belonging to the East India Company into the waters of Boston harbor – it was so called Boston tea party. King George didn’t think it was funny and closed Boston harbor until the tea was paid for.
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Have you seen Kevin Costner in the film The Bodyguard? His character in the film, Frank Farmer, is a professional bodyguard who got his training in the Secret Service. Before he hired himself to protect Rachel Marron (Whitney Huston) he had worked for President Reagan. He still blames himself for the fact that Ronald Reagan got shot.
Altogether, four American presidents have been assassinated and attempts have been made on the lives of others. The first president to be killed was Abraham Lincoln. He was shot while attending the theatre in Washington. James Garfield was shot a few months after his inauguration and died at the age of forty-nine. William McKinley was killed in Buffalo, New York in 1901. John Kennedy was killed in Dallas, Texas in 1963.
Halicarnassus was one of the most beautiful and richest cities of Asia Minor. It was the capital of the kingdom of Caria, a province of the Persian Empire in what is now south-west Turkey. Halicarnassus was the native city of Herodotus, «father of History». The magnificent temples of Halicarnassus, made of white marble, beautiful palaces, theatres, gardens and fountains attracted visitors from many countries. One of the fountains near the temple of Aphrodite was especially popular. People believed that its magic water could return love and bring happiness to lovers.
When the Persians made Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Northern India, Syria and Egypt part of their kingdom, the King of Persia found it difficult to control his vast empire. He could do it only with the help of local rulers, the satraps.
If I had been present at the creation, I’d have given some useful hints for the better ordering of the universe. (Alphonse the Learned — A. D. 1221-1284)
The Titanic was the biggest ship the world had ever seen. People said it was the fastest ship too. But on its very first trip the Titanic sank to the bottom of the sea! How did this terrible thing happen? And where is the wreck of the great ship now?
UNSINKABLE AND LUXURIOUS!
It’s spring of 1912. The whole world is talking about “The Wonder Ship” built by the British. The name of the ship is the ‘Titanic’, She is the biggest ship the world has ever seen. She is as tall as an eleven-story building and is almost four city blocks long! In April the ship is getting ready to leave on its maiden trip across the ocean. She is going all the way from England to America.
It was August, 1925. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum was riding on horseback into the untamed Black Hills of South Dakota. Suddenly he stopped. In front of him was a beautiful rock towering over the hot wild land. It was Mount Rushmore. Borglum stood there for some time, deep in thought. If ever an artist had a chance to leave a memorial that would last for centuries, this would be his raw material.
Today, millions of visitors come to see the Mount Rushmore National memorial. They stand in awe, looking at the great faces of four American presidents — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, and Theodore Roosewelt. These faces are the largest carved figures in the world. They are twice as tall as the Great Sphinx in Egypt.
Borglum began his tremendous work in 1927. It was difficult and dangerous. The only way to get up the mountain was on foot or on horseback. And Borglum and his helpers had to make the trip hundreds of times just to bring up the necessary equipment.
Moscow is one of the most beautiful cities of the world. Moscow is dear to millions of Russians. So why not listen to the ancient stones whispering their mysterious tales… ?
Moscow like Rome wasn’t built in a day. Its history begins with the Kremlin, an ancient fortified settlement built on Borovitsky Hill beside the Moskva river. It will always remain the historical centre of the capital, its heart and site of both living history and an ensemble of masterpieces of Russian architecture.
The first thing that meets the eye is the red-brick walls of the Kremlin reinforced by… My Goodness! How many towers are there?
Can you imagine life without films or television, cinema’s little sister? Today we can watch television 24 hours a day, we can go to the cinema when we want. We can even make video films ourselves.
But imagine the surprise and the shock that people felt when they saw the first films in 1895! There was no sound, no colour and the films were very short: they lasted from 60 to 90 seconds! Besides, they did not tell a story. They were glimpses of real life: a military parade, a running horse, a boxing match, the ocean… One of the first films showed a train coming towards the camera. The audience panicked and ran away! The frightened people were sure that the train was coming into the theatre.
Musical comedies, or musicals, have become America’s most significant contribution to world theatre. Musical comedy is a type of play that tells a story through a combination of dialogue, songs, and dances.
Musical comedy developed in the United States during the late 1800s. It shared roots with both European and American popular forms of entertainment. European influences included the operetta, or light opera, and extravaganza, or spectacle. The basic American influences were vaudeville, minstrel show, and burlesques.
Musical comedy differs from other forms of musical shows. It has a simple but distinctive plot which unifies all of its other elements: the book, or the libretto, the music, the lyrics, and the dancing.
The gloomy Colditz Castle was the most famous prisoner-of-war camp during the Second World War. The Germans thought that it was impossible to escape from it. Hermann Goering himself visited the castle at the beginning of the war and said that it was absolutely ‘escape-proof’.
So the Germans decided to use Colditz Castle as a special prison for ‘flight risks’ — people who had tried to escape from others prisoner-of-war camps. What they didn’t realise was that putting so many determined minds together, they were creating a truly international escape academy.
What are women to do when their men go off to war? Historically the answer was: ‘stay at home and look after the house, land, and children’, although in ancient Britain women often followed their men-folk to the field of battle, and sometimes even took part in the fighting (pre-Christian Britain even had a very successful military leader, Queen Boudicca, who almost succeeded in driving the Romans out of Britain).