St. Patrick’s Day, named for Ireland’s patron saint, is celebrated around the world on March 17 with parades and other festivities. The earliest recorded parade was held in 1601 in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. The parade, and a St. Patrick’s Day celebration a year earlier, were organized by the Spanish Colony's Irish vicar Ricardo Artur.
In the 1760s in New York City Irishmen serving in the British military organized their own St. Patrick's Day parade. During the 1800s, when Irish Catholic immigrants faced discrimination in Protestant-majority America, St. Paddy’s Day parades became an opportunity to show strength in numbers. Today, cities across the U.S. have longstanding traditions of St. Patrick’s Day parades, and the holiday is commemorated by people of many ethnic backgrounds. However, in Ireland, where St. Patrick’s Day has been a religious feast day since the 17th century and a public holiday since 1903, it wasn’t until the late 20th century that the government started sponsoring a large-scale, international festival and parade in Dublin, the capital city.
READ MORE: Who Was St. Patrick?
New York City and the First St. Patrick’s Day Parade
One of the earliest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in America took place in Boston in 1737, when a group of Irish Protestants gathered to honor their homeland’s saint, a 5th century Christian missionary who died on March 17, 461, according to some claims. In the 1760s, when America still consisted of 13 British colonies, a group of Irishmen serving in the British army in New York City started the tradition of parading on St. Patrick’s Day. In the 1800s, Irish fraternal and charitable societies in New York sponsored their own parades in various parts of the city before merging these individual events into a larger parade.
As Irish Catholic immigrants came to the U.S. in increasing numbers in the 19th century (from 1820 to 1860, more than a third of all immigrants who arrived on American shores were Irish), they encountered prejudice and discrimination. In the 1840s and 1850s, the Know-Nothing movement promoted a nativist, anti-Catholic agenda. (When those involved in the movement were questioned about their activities, they were supposed to say, “I know nothing,” which is where the name came from.) Against this backdrop, St. Patrick’s Day parades in New York and other U.S. cities became a chance for the Irish to show strength in numbers as well as pride for their cultural heritage.
Today the parade, which travels 1.5 miles up Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, is billed as the world’s oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day parade. Among the approximately 150,000 marchers are politicians, school children, bands, bagpipers, police, firefighters and other municipal workers. In accordance with tradition, a green line is painted along Fifth Avenue to mark the parade route, and floats and cars are banned from the procession. Since the 1850s, the parade has been led by the 69th Infantry Regiment. Formed as a militia unit composed of Irish Catholic immigrants, the 69th Infantry started heading up the procession in order to protect marchers from potential violence by those who disliked the Irish.
The biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York took place in 2002, with an estimated 300,000 marchers and 3 million spectators. The entire parade paused for a moment of silence to honor the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which had devastated the nation six months earlier. In 2020, the New York City parade was one of the first major city events to be cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; the parade was again cancelled in 2021.
READ MORE: How St. Patrick's Day Was Made in America
St. Patrick Day Parades Around the United States
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 32.7 million Americans, or one-in-ten, identified themselves as being of Irish ancestry, making it the second-largest ancestry group in the U.S. after Germans. Boston, a city with a large population of Irish Americans, has officially held a St. Paddy’s Day parade since 1862. Philadelphia traces its tradition of parades to 1771. Savannah, Georgia, has been hosting a parade since the early 1800s, and today it’s one of the largest in the country. Chicago has three processions—the South Side Irish Parade, the Northwest Side Irish Parade and, since 1956, a big parade downtown.
The now-famous Windy City tradition of dyeing a section of the Chicago River green in honor of the holiday started in the early 1960s. Since 2004, Hot Springs, Arkansas, has been home to what’s labelled the world’s shortest St. It covers a distance of 98 feet and draws some 30,000 spectators. Additionally, there are more than a dozen communities in the U.S. named Dublin. Those that hold parades include Dublin, California, and Dublin, Ohio.
Dublin, Ireland’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade
A religious feast day in Ireland since the 17th century, St. Patrick’s Day became a national holiday in 1903. Low-key observances were typical into the 20th century, and until the 1970s many pubs were closed for the day. (Before the pub rules changed, the Royal Dublin Dog Show, which fell on St. Patrick’s Day, was a popular destination for dog lovers and non-dog lovers alike because it was the only place in the city where alcohol was sold legally).
Starting in the 1920s, there was a military parade in Dublin. In the 1950s, the parade’s focus shifted to promoting Irish industries but by the 1970s it had become a more standard procession, intended to entertain. In the mid-1990s, the Irish government, in an effort to boost tourism, launched a multi-day St. Patrick’s Day Festival, featuring a parade, performances and other events. The annual parade now attracts more than half a million spectators, many of whom sport shamrocks and the colors of the Irish flag, green, white and orange. (Irish eyes weren’t smiling in 2001, when the parade was postponed for two months due to an outbreak of foot and mouth disease.)
READ MORE: Is St. Patrick's Day Celebrated in Ireland?
St. Patrick Day Parades Around the World
On the island of Montserrat in the British West Indies, St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday that’s celebrated with a weeklong festival and parade. The island was colonized by Irish Catholics in the 17th century and early generations of European settlers were Irish. Nicknamed the Emerald Isle of the Caribbean, Montserrat’s official passport stamp is a green shamrock.
Among the many other locations where St. Paddy’s Day now is observed, the Canadian city of Montreal is the site of a large annual parade that’s been held continuously since 1824. There’s been a parade in Tokyo, Japan, since 1992, and one in Oslo, Norway, since 2000. Auckland, New Zealand, has had a parade and festival since 1995. People there can get a jump on the majority of the planet when it comes to celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, as Auckland is 13 hours ahead of Dublin and 17 hours ahead of New York City.
Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.
St. Patrick, (flourished 5th century, Britain and Ireland feast day March 17), patron saint and national apostle of Ireland, credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland and probably responsible in part for the Christianization of the Picts and Anglo-Saxons. He is known only from two short works, the Confessio, a spiritual autobiography, and his Letter to Coroticus, a denunciation of British mistreatment of Irish Christians.
Who is St. Patrick?
St. Patrick was a 5th-century missionary to Ireland and later served as bishop there. He is credited with bringing Christianity to parts of Ireland and was probably partly responsible for the Christianization of the Picts and Anglo-Saxons. He is one of the patron saints of Ireland.
What was St. Patrick’s early life like?
St. Patrick was born in Britain of a Romanized family. At age 16 he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and carried into slavery in Ireland. After six years in servitude, he had a dream of his escape and fled his master. Surviving a harrowing journey back to Britain, he was eventually reunited with his family.
What is St. Patrick famous for?
There are many legends associated with the life of St. Patrick. According to one, he miraculously drove all the snakes of Ireland into the sea. He is said to have used the three leaflets of the shamrock to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity. He reportedly raised as many as 33 people from the dead.
Patrick was born in Britain of a Romanized family. At age 16 he was torn by Irish raiders from the villa of his father, Calpurnius, a deacon and minor local official, and carried into slavery in Ireland. He spent six bleak years there as a herdsman, during which he turned with fervour to his faith. Upon dreaming that the ship in which he was to escape was ready, he fled his master and found passage to Britain. There he came near to starvation and suffered a second brief captivity before he was reunited with his family. Thereafter, he may have paid a short visit to the Continent.
The best known passage in the Confessio tells of a dream, after his return to Britain, in which one Victoricus delivered him a letter headed “The Voice of the Irish.” As he read it, he seemed to hear a certain company of Irish beseeching him to walk once more among them. “Deeply moved,” he says, “I could read no more.” Nevertheless, because of the shortcomings of his education, he was reluctant for a long time to respond to the call. Even on the eve of reembarkation for Ireland he was beset by doubts of his fitness for the task. Once in the field, however, his hesitations vanished. Utterly confident in the Lord, he journeyed far and wide, baptizing and confirming with untiring zeal. In diplomatic fashion he brought gifts to a kinglet here and a lawgiver there but accepted none from any. On at least one occasion, he was cast into chains. On another, he addressed with lyrical pathos a last farewell to his converts who had been slain or kidnapped by the soldiers of Coroticus.
Careful to deal fairly with the non-Christian Irish, he nevertheless lived in constant danger of martyrdom. The evocation of such incidents of what he called his “laborious episcopate” was his reply to a charge, to his great grief endorsed by his ecclesiastical superiors in Britain, that he had originally sought office for the sake of office. In point of fact, he was a most humble-minded man, pouring forth a continuous paean of thanks to his Maker for having chosen him as the instrument whereby multitudes who had worshipped “idols and unclean things” had become “the people of God.”
The phenomenal success of Patrick’s mission is not, however, the full measure of his personality. Since his writings have come to be better understood, it is increasingly recognized that, despite their occasional incoherence, they mirror a truth and a simplicity of the rarest quality. Not since St. Augustine of Hippo had any religious diarist bared his inmost soul as Patrick did in his writings. As D.A. Binchy, the most austerely critical of Patrician (i.e., of Patrick) scholars, put it, “The moral and spiritual greatness of the man shines through every stumbling sentence of his ‘rustic’ Latin.”
It is not possible to say with any assurance when Patrick was born. There are, however, a number of pointers to his missionary career having lain within the second half of the 5th century. In the Coroticus letter, his mention of the Franks as still “heathen” indicates that the letter must have been written between 451, the date generally accepted as that of the Franks’ irruption into Gaul as far as the Somme River, and 496, when they were baptized en masse. Patrick, who speaks of himself as having evangelized heathen Ireland, is not to be confused with Palladius, sent by Pope Celestine I in 431 as “first bishop to the Irish believers in Christ.”
Toward the end of his life, he retired to Saul, where he may have written his Confessio. It is said that an angel conveyed to him that he was to die at Saul, the site of his first church, despite his wishes to die within the ecclesiastical metropolis of Ireland. His last rites were administered by St. Tussach (also spelled Tassach or Tassac).
New York City og den første St. Patrick's Day Parade
En af de tidligste St. Patrick's Day-festligheder i Amerika fandt sted i Boston i 1737, da en gruppe irske protestanter samlet sig for at ære deres hjemlands helgen, en kristen missionær fra det 5. århundrede, der døde den 17. marts 461, ifølge nogle påstande. I 1760'erne, da Amerika stadig bestod af 13 britiske kolonier, tjente en gruppe irere i den britiske hær i New York City startede traditionen af parading på St. Patrick's Day. I 1800'erne sponsorerede irske broderskabs- og velgørende samfund i New York deres egne parader i forskellige dele af byen, før de flettede disse individuelle begivenheder ind i en større parade.
Da irsk-katolske indvandrere kom til USA i stigende antal i det 19. århundrede (fra 1820 til 1860 var mere end en tredjedel af alle indvandrere, der ankom til amerikanske kyster, irske), de stødte på fordomme og diskrimination. I 1840'erne og 1850'erne fremmede Know-Nothing-bevægelsen en nativistisk, antikatolsk dagsorden. (Da de, der var involveret i bevægelsen, blev spurgt om deres aktiviteter, skulle de sige: 'Jeg ved intet', hvor navnet kom fra.) På denne baggrund paraderer St. Patrick's Day i New York og andre amerikanske byer. blev en chance for irerne til at vise styrke i antal såvel som stolthed over deres kulturarv.
I dag regnes paraden, der bevæger sig 2,4 km op på Fifth Avenue på Manhattan, som verdens ældste og største St. Patrick's Day-parade. Blandt de omkring 150.000 marchere er politikere, skolebørn, bands, sækkepipere, politi, brandmænd og andre kommunale arbejdere. I overensstemmelse med traditionen males en grøn linje langs Fifth Avenue for at markere paraderuten, og flyder og biler er forbudt fra processionen. Siden 1850'erne har paraden været ledet af det 69. infanteriregiment. Dannet som en militsenhed bestående af irske katolske indvandrere begyndte det 69. infanteri at lede processionen for at beskytte marchere mod potentiel vold fra dem, der ikke kunne lide irerne.
Den største St. Patrick's Day-parade i New York fandt sted i 2002 med anslået 300.000 marchere og 3 millioner tilskuere. Hele paraden stoppede et øjebliks stilhed for at ære ofrene for 11. september terrorangreb , som havde ødelagt nationen seks måneder tidligere. I 2020 var New York City-paraden en af de første store bybegivenheder, der blev annulleret som et resultat af COVID-19-pandemien, paraden blev igen annulleret i 2021.
St. Patrick's Day
|St. Patrick on the Hill of Tara, where Catholic tradition says he performed a miracle and began converting the nobility of Ireland.|
St. Patrick's Day celebrates the life of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland whoconverted the Irish to Christianity in the 400s CE. By extension, the holidayis a celebration of Ireland, its people, and its history. This solemn holy day has spread and changed across the world. Learn more about the history and observation of the holiday, andthe nation that inspiresit.
How the Irish celebrate their holiday
24% percent of Massachusetts residents are of Irish ancestry
John Millington Synge, W.B. Yeats, and others
A good beginning is half the work
Our entertainment editor picks the best Irish cinema
From enslaved herdsman to Christian missionary
History and Background
Rarely has a flag possessed such relevance
Geography, history, politics, statistics
32,598 sq. miles and one-third of Britain's size
Geography, history, and overview of the peace process
Literature and Language
"The Irish, condemned to express themselves in a language not their own, have stamped on it the mark of their own genius." ?James Joyce
Top 10 Greatest Saints in the World History
In the history of world, there have been some great saints who have preached the virtues of universal brotherhood, devotion and humanity, to bring about peace and happiness in lives of people. Saints from different religions have influenced lives of millions around the world.
Listed below are the top 10 most famous and greatest saints in world history:
10. Paul The Apostle
Paul the Apostle was the famous saint who taught the gospel of Christ to the world in the period of mid 30s to mid 50s. He played an important role in founding several churches in Europe and Asia Minor. He was also the author of most of the New Testament.
One of the first and greatest saints of Bhakti Movement in India was Ramananda, who lived during the 15 th century. He was a worshipper of Lord Rama and preached love and universal brotherhood, without distinctions of cast, creed and sex. He had influenced Saint Kabir with his thoughts and preachings.
8. Mother Teresa
One of the greatest saints in the world, who lives in the hearts of millions even after her death, is Mother Teresa. She was a Catholic missionary, who dedicated her entire life for serving the poor, downtrodden and sick. She spent most of her life in India and was the founder of an organization called Missionaries of Charity. She was honored with Nobel Peace Prize, besides being given the title of “Blessed Teresa of Calcutta”.
Another great Indian saint was Mirabai, who was an ardent devotee of lord Krishna. Despite her birth and marriage in royal families, she led a simple and pious life devoted to Lord Krishna and composed devotional songs. She was engaged in religious pursuits, right from her childhood days.
A disciple of Ramananda, Saint Kabir was a weaver in Varanasi and influenced Bhakti Movement to a great extent with his religious writings. He preached equality of man and was against the wrong practices, prevalent in both Hinduism and Islam.
5. Saint Augustine
Saint Augustine, an early Christian philosopher, whose writings bore a great influence on Western Christianity, comes next on this list. He held the belief that grace of Christ played a key role in human freedom and developed the doctrine of original sin.
4. Sai Baba
A great Indian saint, who has followers all around the globe is Sai Baba of Shirdi, who lived there in the 19 th century and performed some great miracles to get the title of saint and satguru. He has believers in both Hinduism and Islam and preached equality of man, love and forgiveness, as a path of self realization. His main epigram was “Sabka Malik Ek (There is one God, who governs all).”
3. John The Baptist
John the Baptist is another highly regarded saint and religious leader in the history, who is believed to have started the practice of baptism for forgiveness of sins. He is the one who is believed to have baptized Jesus and also to have predicted the coming of Jesus.
2. Saint Peter
The next name on the list of most influential saints in world history is that of Saint Peter, one of the 12 apostles of Christ and also a leader of Christian church. He is considered as the first Pope of the Catholic Church, who played a key role in the founding of the church in Rome.
1. Saint Joseph
One of the greatest known saints in world history is Saint Joseph, the husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus Christ. He is believed to be the chosen one for raising and nurturing the Lord himself and is regarded as the patron saint of various countries, besides the protector of the Catholic Church.
All these great saints preached to uplift the human race from wrong beliefs and practices, so that they could live a better life. They are still revered and worshipped around the world.
A Brief History of the Catholic Church during the Middle Ages
The Roman Catholic Church sprung from a decaying Roman Empire and promoted health and stability in a medieval Europe torn by war and uncertainty.
The Roman Catholic Church, the largest denomination of Christians worldwide, has a glorious history as the church of Jesus Christ and the sole Christian Church in the West during the high and late Middle Ages (1054-1550 AD). Explore the history of the Roman Catholic Church before the Reformation in this brief guide, the second in a series of articles about the Roman Catholic Church’s history.
Early Christianity Splits and Forms Roman Catholic Church
In the crumbling Roman Empire, the Christian Church struggled to maintain unity between East and West. When the Eastern half of the Roman Empire fell (circa 400 AD), the pope became the spiritual and political leader for Western Europe. The patriarch of Constantinople served as head of the Eastern Orthodox Church in Byzantium.
Diversity in thought and practice, physical distance between East and West, invasions from outsiders, and desires for autonomy tore the Church apart in a separation known as the East-West Schism or Great Schism in 1054. The Roman Catholic Church became known as the Church of the West, and the Orthodox Church the Church of the East.
Medieval Society and the Catholic Church
Western Europe suffered greatly during the Dark Ages (400-1000 AD). After the fall of Rome, people lost running water, military protection, and clear political leadership. Bands of raiders, the infamous Germanic tribes as well as Vikings and Mongols, constantly raped and pillaged.
In the midst of darkness, the Catholic Church offered Europe hope. Early missionaries, such as St. Patrick of Ireland, St. Augustine of Canterbury, and St. Boniface of Germany spread Christianity throughout Western Europe and with it political connections with Rome, the seat of the pope. The Benedictines, a religious order, founded monasteries that offered the modern day equivalent of social services- health care, food, and protection- as well as education to future priests and scholars. Entire communities poured hundreds of years of time and money into magnificent cathedrals such as Notre Dame de Paris to honor God and the Church.
Meanwhile, the Pope united Europe politically by declaring the Frankish kings Holy Roman Emperors, ordained by God with papal blessing. Great rulers such as Charlemagne the Great (720?-814) and Charles V (1500-1558) served the pope and promoted Catholic traditions and beliefs during their reigns.
Rise of the Pope During the Middle Ages
By 1000, most of Western European society followed the Pope’s command. Kings and knights heeded Pope Urban II’s plea in 1095 and embarked on the first of many crusades to regain the Holy Lands of Palestine from Muslim control. The Pope approved the marriages of kings and queens as well as new monastic orders for service to the Church and new doctrines for teaching her believers.
Bishops and abbots, serving the Pope, controlled much of the land and power in medieval land. Apart from towns and cities, run by guilds of craftsmen, and lands owned by local kings and noblemen, Church officials held much political as well as religious power in Europe.
Why the Catholic Church Didn’t Split Before the Reformation
The rise of universities such as the University of Paris and Oxford University during the Middle Ages created a movement of new scholarship in the church, explaining everything through the lens of previously held Church doctrine. Great thinker theologians like St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) and St. Bonaventure (1221-1274) enhanced the Church’s teaching and thought with answers to questions about God, life, and faith.
Though some believers challenged the Church’s teaching and practice during the Middle Ages, the majority founded new monastic communities to preserve their diversity. St. Bernard of Clairvaux’ passionate preaching against the wealth of Benedictine monasteries inspired the Cistercian Order (1098). St. Francis of Assisi’s call to serve the poor founded the Franciscans, a group of mendicants, or wandering monks (1223). Before 1500, no serious widespread challenge to the Catholic Church’s authority threatened schism, or a split, within the Church in Europe.
Middle Ages Influences Catholic Church Today
The medieval Catholic Church’s beliefs, worship, and structure was very similar to what’s found in a modern Catholic parish today. Until Vatican II (1962-1965), the Catholic Church worshipped and prayed in Latin, the language of the Roman Empire. Priests, Catholic ordained ministers, began practicing celibacy by papal decree in the 1000s. The current liturgy of the Mass, the service order for Catholic worship, dates from the Middle Ages, as does the practice of devotion to the saints and the Blessed Virgin.
The Roman Catholic Church split from the Orthodox Church during the East-West Schism of 1054 but survived and thrived as the Church that served European believers during the Middle Ages and set the stage for the reformation in early modern Europe.
Most students associate American history with History and the Egyptian, Sumerian, Middle Ages and the Renaissance Eras as. other stuff. In her endeavor to destroy the wall that has separated American and world history for so long, Susan Wise Bauer created The Story of the World Series, a narrated, integrated approach to the history of the whole world. Take a captivating tour through The Ancient Times, The Middle Ages, Early Modern Times and The Modern Age with Bauer’s straightforward approach, and experience all of history chronologically!
With our large poster, you get access to knowledge about everything from the beginning of the world to the last day events of the revelation with characters, events and prophecies in the Bible.
For more information on the Bible history and history, click on each Bible person or event.
Brought to you by the publishers of the Amazing Bible Timeline with World History study companion. We hope that this information complements your study of God’s Word.
For a printable Biblical Timeline chart showing more detail and Biblical events in parallel, click on the headings. These Bible timeline charts can be printed off and joined together to form a linear Bible timeline.
Boston St Patrick's Day Parade 2008
The first ever St Patrick's Day celebration in America happened in 1737 in Boston, and the city still boasts one of the USA's biggest St Patrick's Day parties.
The annual parade begins from Broadway at the MBTA Station and goes to Andrew Square, boasting floats, fancy dress and all the usual hullabaloo we've come to associate with this quintessential Irish celebration. Expect marching bands and pipe bands from all over North America.
St Patrick's Day is one of the only national holidays celebrated outside its native land - a clear indication of the Irish influence thoughout the world and especially in the USA.
In 2008, Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade will be held on Sunday, March 16 beginning at 1p.m. and will follow a parade route from Gillette Park to Andrew Square, a marching distance of a little more than 3 miles. This is a major annual event in the City of Boston and for "Southie" as more than a half million spectators will nudge the parade route for the best view. There will be plenty to see with nearly 40 musical units including of course many pipe and drum bands. Groups will include local bands but many will also come from around the country and even as far away as Ireland itself. Like the 4th of July Fireworks on the Esplanade, the St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston is a part of what makes Boston special. The parade has grown over its long history until today if you decide to attend the parade in Boston, not only will you be at one of the best St. Patrick's Day Parades in Massachusetts, you will also be attending the second largest of such parades in the entire nation.
Arrive early. If you drive, plan to have breakfast in Southie, because all parking spaces will be gone by 10am. The parade closes Broadway, the neighborhood's main drag, which means MBTA buses run on their regular Sunday schedule before noon, but then get diverted to god knows where and don't get on-route again until early evening. Your best bet is to take the Red Line into Broadway Station and walk from there.
Chat with your neighbors. Despite their somewhat surly reputation, Southie residents love to tell a good story. And on St. Patrick’s, their stories tend to have even more flourishes than usual.
Keep it clean(ish). St. Patrick's Day is a loud and proud holiday, and boisterous parade-watching behavior is certainly encouraged. But even though the parade attracts over 800,000 people, it’s still very much a neighborhood event—you’ll see grandparents, kids, babies, and bulldogs enjoying the spectacle. Don't do or say anything that’d make your mother smack you upside the head and you should be fine.
Plan a pub crawl. If you want to celebrate in one of the neighborhood’s well-stocked bars, claim your spot and be prepared to defend it—it’s gonna get packed. Almost everywhere will have a line out the door by noon. Yeah, you might miss some (or all) of the parade, but the advantages are access to legal alcohol and a bathroom.
Make fun of the accent. Laugh at dropped Rs and elongated vowels and you will be, as Bostonist's father says, cruisin’ for a bruisin’.
Flout public drinking laws. Red Solo cups, water bottles, and clear soda bottles filled with beer will not fool the police. And open beer cans in their line of sight will make them pretty unhappy with you, because they will have to stop enjoying the parade in order to bust you. Don't make the cops unhappy. It's not what St. Patrick would have wanted.
In Suffolk County, Massachusetts, March 17 is Evacuation Day, an official holiday commemorating the evacuation of the city of Boston by British forces during the American Revolutionary War. Schools and government offices are closed. If March 17 falls on a weekend, schools and government offices are closed on the following Monday in observance. Coincidentally, it is the same day as St. Patrick's Day.
The 11-month siege of Boston ended when the Continental Army, under George Washington, fortified Dorchester Heights in early March 1776 with cannons captured at Ticonderoga. General William Howe, whose garrison and navy were threated by these positions, was forced to decide between attack and retreat. To prevent what could have been a repeat of the battle of Bunker Hill, Howe decided to retreat, withdrawing from Boston to Nova Scotia on March 17.
Boston was one of the most important ports in the New World, and one of the most defensible (there is only a single channel into Boston Harbor which is ringed with islands). That the Americans were able to drive off several thousand hardened troops and 1,100 loyalists with only a few warning shots fired and no loss of life or property was a major accomplishment and was Washington's first victory of the war. It was also a huge morale boost for the new country, as the city where the rebellion against England started was the first to be liberated. Boston was never attacked again.
After a failed movement in 1876, the holiday was finally proclaimed on the 125th anniversary in 1901.
8 Oldest Recorded History in the World
Our ancient human ancestors developed language around 35,000 BCE, which is when the world’s oldest cave paintings were created. These early humans expressed their thoughts and recorded their lives and surroundings through pictures. Eventually, this evolved into written language which emerged with what are believed to be the world’s first true civilizations around c. 3500 – 3000 BCE.
The Sumerians from Mesopotamia developed a system of writing called cuneiform and quickly began keeping records of many aspects of their lives. Not long after, the Egyptians began using hieroglyphics and also kept extensive records. Many of these ancient records survived and have been translated.
8. Chinese Oracle Bones
Year Recorded: late 2nd millennium BCE
Location: Yinxu, China (modern-day Anyang, Henan Province)
Writing System/Language: Oracle Bone Script (Archaic Chinese)
photo source: Wikimedia Commons
The Oracle Bones from China contain ancient inscriptions that date to around the late 2 nd millennium BCE. The writing on the bones is called Oracle Bone Script and is the oldest known form of writing from China. Most of the Oracle Bones that have been uncovered so far were found in Yinxu (modern-day Anyang), one of the most important capitals of Ancient China.
As the name suggests, the Oracle Bones were used for divination during the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600-1046 BCE). The bones used came from animals, including ox shoulder blades and the flat under-part of a turtle’s shell. The Oracle Bones are the most important primary source of information about Bronze Age China.
7. Reforms of Urukagina
Year Recorded: c.2500 – 2340
Location: Girsu (modern-day Tell Telloh, Iraq)
Writing System/Language: Cuneiform
photo source: Wikimedia Commons
The Sumerians had a well developed civilization and its rulers implemented many laws. The oldest legal code or “Bill of Rights” ever discovered comes from the Sumerians and is known as the Reforms of Urukagina. The reforms were inscribed onto clay cones that date to between 2500 – 2340 BCE.
Urukagina was a Sumerian king who wanted to reform society and implement changes that would benefit the common people. The Sumerian king’s reforms also established basic legal rights for his citizens. While Urukagina set out to overturn the worst corruption in Sumerian society, he wasn’t trying to lead some kind of revolution against the aristocracy.
6. Kesh Temple Hymn
Year Recorded: c.2550 – 2520 BCE
Location: Temple library of Nippur, Tell Abu Salabikh (modern-day Nuffar, Iraq)
Writing System/Language: Cuneiform
photo source: Wikimedia Commons
The Kesh Temple Hymn is known for being one of the oldest surviving pieces of literature in the world. The oldest version of the Kesh Temple Hymn was found at the Temple Library of Nippur in what was once Tell Abu Salabikh (modern-day Iraq). The tablet was radiocarbon dated to around 2550 – 2520 BCE. This version of the Kesh Temple Hymn in incomplete and the rest of the hymn has been pieced together from other tablets.
The Kesh Temple Hymn is an ode to the Sumerian god Enlil, who ruled over all of the other gods. The hymn also describes the temple at Kesh, which was dedicated to to the goddess Ninḫursag or Nintu, who was one of the four great gods/goddesses worshipped in Ancient Sumer. The Kesh Temple Hymn has been translated so that we can enjoy this ancient piece of literature today.
5. Seal of Seth-Peribsen
Year Recorded: c.2890 – c. 2670 BCE
Location: Umm el-Qa’ab necropolis, Abydos, Egypt
Writing System/Language: Egyptian Hieroglyphics
photo source: Wikimedia Commons via Udimu
A clay seal found on the tomb of Seth-Peribsen contains what is believed to be the earliest known full sentence written in hieroglyphs. The seal dates to around 2890 – 2670 BCE. The inscription reads, “The one of Ombos (Seth) has handed over the two realms to his son, the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Peribsen.”
Seth-Peribsen was a 2 nd Dynasty king of Ancient Egypt and is known for being the only ruler who chose Seth (also called Set) as his patron god instead of Horus, which had been the tradition of the kings since the 1 st Dynasty. There are no records explaining why Peribsen chose Seth and his choice may have been motivated by personal, religious, or political beliefs.
4. Beer Payslip
Year Recorded: c.3100 – 3000 BCE
Location: Uruk (modern-day Iraq)
Writing System/Language: Cuneiform
photo source: Wikimedia Commons via BabelStone
In 2016, a 5,000 year old Sumerian cuneiform tablet from the ancient city of Uruk (what is now Iraq) was revealed to be a payslip. The most interesting thing about this payslip is that it says that workers were sometimes paid with beer. According to archaeologists, the tablet has the cuneiform symbols for rations and a conical vessel that represents beer. The other markings on the tablet make note of how much beer was owed to a specific worker.
Compensating workers with alcohol wasn’t a practice unique to the Sumerians, the Egyptians also often paid workers with beer for working on the pyramids. While it may seem a little odd to our modern customs, paying workers with beer was sensible because it doubled as a food source because it was loaded with starches and nutrients.
3. Narmer Palette
Year Recorded: c.3200 – 3000 BCE
Location: Temple of Horus, Nekhen (modern-day Aswan Governate), Egypt
Writing System/Language: Egyptian Hieroglyphs
photo source: Wikimedia Commons
The Narmer Palette is widely believed to be one of the most valuable Egyptian artifacts, but has been hard to interpret since its discovery. The palette is exquisitely crafted and still completely intact despite dating back to around 3200 – 3000 BCE.
First discovered in 1898 by James Quibell and Frederick Green, the Narmer Palette was found among other ceremonial objects in the Temple of Horus in Nekhen (also called Hierakonpolis). There have been many interpretations of what the hieroglyphs on the Narmer Palette represent and there is not a single agreed upon interpretation. Archaeologists do know that the palette makes reference to Narmer, a First Dynasty king of Ancient Egypt.
2. Hieroglyphic Billboard
Year Recorded: c.3250 BCE
Location: El-Khawy, Egypt
Writing System/Language: Egyptian Hieroglyphics
photo source: Live Science
Recently, in June 2017, archaeologists discovered what is being called a “billboard” of hieroglyphs on some rocks near the village of El-Khawy in Egypt. The hieroglyphics are some of the largest and oldest ever found and date back to the early era of Egyptian hieroglyphic writing. The archaeologists also found an old carving of elephants that was created around 4000 – 3500 BCE.
The four hieroglyphic signs are not quite as old as the elephant carving, but they date back to around 3250 BCE. Archaeologists called the hieroglyphic carvings a billboard because they believe the writers were making a statement. The hieroglyphs are about 70 centimeters (27.5 inches) high and contrast with the surrounding brown rocks.
1. Scorpion I’s Tomb Hieroglyphs
Year Recorded: c.3400 – 3200 BCE
Location: Umm el Qu’ab necropolis, Abydos, Egypt
Writing System/Language: Egyptian Hieroglyphs
photo source: archive.archaeology.org
A small collection of bone and ivory tags, pottery vessels, and clay seal impressions were uncovered at the Umm el Qu’ab necropolis in Abydos, Egypt. The artifacts contain what are believed to be the earliest known Egyptian writing. The hieroglyphs date to between 3400 – 3200 BCE and are the oldest recorded history discovered so far in the world.
The hieroglyphs were found in Tomb U-j, which is believed to hold the remains of Scorpion I, one of the first rulers of Ancient Egypt. The bone and ivory tags were used as labels and provide information on the exchange of goods such as grains and fabrics. While this is the oldest Egyptian writing yet discovered, archaeologists know that Egyptian writing had been around much earlier, but none of those hieroglyphs, if they even still exist, have been found.