12 Historical Anniversaries Worth Traveling for in 2019

Looking for a reason to plan a learning adventure in 2019? There are countless historical anniversaries that are happening in 2019, each with its own significance to history and to the world. We chose our top historical anniversaries in 2019 to share with you for their major impacts on human rights, and global innovations. Bon voyage!

50th Anniversaries of 1969

Stonewall Riots — June 28th, 1969

The Stonewall Inn, located in Greenwich Village, New York, was the site of a violent police raid on June 28th, 1969. Owned by the Genovese crime family at the time, the Inn was often frequented by the gay community. The ensuing protests following the raid were in reaction to mass mistreatment of the club’s patrons and 13 arrests. Protests soon turned into riots. Today, the Stonewall Inn stands as a symbol for LGBT rights. Travel to New York City this summer to commemorate this historic event, which will be honored at World Pride NYC. Road Scholar offers 18 learning adventures in the Big Apple.

The First Moon Landing — July 20th, 1969

"That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

Do you remember where you were when Neil Armstrong took his first step on the moon? On July 20th, 1969, thousands watched the United States take the lead in the space race against the USSR. This year, the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida is hosting a gala to celebrate the first time a man landed on the moon. Some of the equipment showcased at the gala is from Apollo 11’s launch. You might be that lucky person who gets to sit where Neil Armstrong sat! Or Travel to San Francisco with Road Scholar to reflect on the moon landing and its effects on international relations.

75th Anniversaries of 1944

D-Day — June 6th, 1944

On June 6, 1944, the Operation Neptune invasion (now known as D-Day) instigated the liberation of France from its Nazi control — the first step toward the Allies’ inevitable victory. The D-Day combatants consisted of amphibious landings, aerial assaults and troops landing on five different locations on the beaches of Normandy. Visit these historic beaches to reflect on this solemn anniversary and honor those who lost their lives in June 1944. The significant events of WWII and Normandy are explored on one of a half-dozen Road Scholar learning adventures in this region.

Suez Canal — 1944

The Suez Canal, constructed between 1859 and 1869, provided the shortest maritime route between Europe, the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Oceans. Due to its strategic location, the canal was crucial to Allied success during WWII. However, Egypt’s President Nasser nationalized it at the end of the war, effectively removing all of the remaining British soldiers. The Suez Canal is currently getting a revamp with a 22-mile lane being added in hopes of helping diverge traffic and to make room for more ships. Experience the Suez Canal on an Adventure Afloat educational program in the Middle East.

Icelandic Independence Day — June 17th, 1944

Iceland, home to some of the world’s largest glaciers, was under Denmark's control until Dec. 1, 1918, when both sides signed the Act of Union. The agreement stated that Iceland would remain under the Danish crown until 1943, when the country’s independence could officially be brought to a vote. However, Germany's occupancy of the country during WWII delayed the vote until May 1944. After 98 percent of Icelandic citizens voted to abolish the Act, King Christian X of Denmark sent them a letter in congratulations on June 17th — Iceland's Independence Day. If you find yourself in Reykjavik in June, keep an eye out for the church ceremony, celebratory parades, the Woman of the Mountain and theater entertainment. Or celebrate in Iceland on one of Road Scholar’s 17 learning adventures in this extraordinary country.

100th Anniversaries of 1919

Lady Nancy Astor’s Election to Parliament — Nov. 28th, 1919

"You must remember that women have got a vote now and we mean to use it, and use it wisely."

These are the words that Lady Nancy Astor spoke in her maiden speech in front Parliament — in a room full of men. Her political career started when she became the first woman to take a seat in England's House of Commons after her husband, Lord Waldorf Astor, joined the House of Lords. Known for her outspokenness on women's rights and alcohol use, Lady Astor advocated for bills that lowered the voting age, raised the drinking age, expanded nursery schools for educational purposes and recruited women into the civil service. A Statue in Lady Astor’s honor is currently in the works to celebrate the 100th anniversary of her election. Learning about England’s storied political history on dozens of Road Scholar adventures in this fascinating country.

Zion National Park — Nov. 19, 1919

The greenery of the trees is in stark contrast to the red and orange tones of the rigid rock formations of Zion National Park. This natural area is home to unique wildlife and rock formations like Angels Landing, Kolob Arch and The Subway. After several expeditions throughout the canyon in the late 1800s and early 1900s, President William Howard Taft added Zion to the National Park System under the Indian name Mukuntuweap National Monument. This name sparked controversy among the Mormon community, which had referred to the canyon as “Zion” since the early 19th century. The name was changed to Zion National Monument in 1918. One year later, Congress declared Zion a national park. Learn more about Zion’s history and explore its canyons on one of the nine adventures Road Scholar offers in this exceptional environment.

150th Anniversaries of 1869

Neuschwanstein Castle Broke Ground — 1869

The rolling hills of old Bavaria are home to the castle that inspired Disney’s Cinderella’s Castle — Neuschwanstein. This 19th-century Romanesque revival work is surrounded by scandal as the builder, King Ludwig II, was thought to be overly eccentric, flamboyant and madly in love with composer Richard Wagner. The interior of the castle, particularly the third floor and The Singers’ Hall, are clear indicators of this belief — where paintings of Wagner's opera characters dance along the walls. The castle is still claimed to be unfinished today as King Ludwig was found drowned in the lake at the bottom of the mountain in 1886. Get an inside look as to how the locals celebrate their last king and his home, or hike around the castle to enjoy the view.

Gandhi’s Birthday — Oct. 2, 1869

Gandhi is one of the most influential people in the history of civil rights, particularly during the colonialism era. From a young age, Mahatma Gandhi peacefully protested against the British institutions that plagued his home country of India and those immigrants in South Africa. Gandhi's law background helped him successfully navigate government discussions focused on gaining India's independence. His civil rights fight started in South Africa as he witnessed numerous Indian immigrants endure the blatant discrimination and racial segregation from both British and Boer authorities. India would not have gained its independence from Britain as early as it did without Gandhi guidance. Explore India with Road Scholar to gain an understanding of the rich and thriving culture of Gandhi’s home country.

200th Anniversaries of 1819

Singapore’s Founding — March 1819

Audiences around the world have been awakened to the allure of Singapore with the release of “Crazy Rich Asians” this past year. The establishment of the Republic of Singapore is officially recorded as August 9th, 1965. However, locals celebrate the country’s birthday on the anniversary of the arrival of Sir Stamford Raffles in Singapore's port in 1819, claiming that this date is the historical anniversary of the city’s founding. The Singapore Heritage Festival will fill the fashionable streets and foodie restaurants for three weekends in March 2019. Visit the festival to gain an in-depth knowledge of Singapore's heritage in history and tradition for the trails, explorations, open houses and performances that the locals of the island will be hosting. Or go to Singapore with Road Scholar at any time in 2019 to celebrate its big birthday!

Queen Victoria’s Birthday — May 24th, 1819

Queen Victoria’s 64-year reign forever changed England. Under her rule, England made major accomplishments in cultural expansion, advances in science and communications, and the start of the Industrial Revolution. Her birthday became an official holiday in 1909 as an official recognition of her impact and leadership. To celebrate this anniversary, the Royal Family is advising over the preparation and execution of several artistic exhibitions and explorations of Queen Victoria’s favorite places in England. If you find yourself in London in May, check out the Victoria 200 exhibition! Or experience London on one of Road Scholar’s 39 learning adventures in this iconic city.

500th Anniversary of 1519

Havana’s Founding — Nov. 16th, 1519

The capital of Cuba is celebrating the 500th anniversary of its colonial history this year. For most of the official existence of Havana, Cuba had been under the control of the Spanish Empire. In celebration of its founding anniversary, the government is making major efforts to improve some of the dilapidated areas of the city by rebuilding and revitalizing the community. Eusebio Leal, Havana's official historian, says, "For us, Havana's 500th anniversary isn't an achievement but an opportunity, a starting point.” Travel to Havana to experience this marvelous city and witness the beginnings of this renewal. Road Scholar offers a dozen extraordinary learning adventures in Cuba.

About the Author
JoAnn Bell, Senior Vice President of Program Development, develops and manages more than 5,500 learning adventures in 150 countries and 50 states. JoAnn’s extensive travel industry experience informs her expert insight on everything from where to find the world’s most charming streets to must-see hidden gems across the globe.

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