This timeless 10-part series offers a comprehensive look at the development of the greatest countries the world has ever known. Journey through time to learn how these countries have blossomed into the marvels they are today.
Each enduring program explores: Early History and Contributions, Geographic and World Position, Regional and Urban Growth, Religious and Political Affiliations, Economy and Cultural Influence.
Grade Level: Middle school and up. Approximately 25 minutes per episode.
Australia / New Zealand
Located in the southern hemisphere, Australia is surrounded by two oceans and four seas. It is an island with many different geographical terrains from tropical to dry deserts. It is also home to some of the most treasured and unique animals such as koalas and kangaroos. Australia and New Zealand’s early history includes the arrival of a native people known as the Aborigines. Today these countries boast a broad based economy ranging from manufacturing and agriculture to mining. Although known as “The Land Down Under," it's a land with many "Up and Over" views.
Scotland / Ireland
Leprechauns and shamrocks, bagpipes and kilts each reminders from two cultures that have similar yet different heritages. While its borders have been bombarded by foreign invaders, sovereignty for these lands lies within the character of its people. Neither Romans, Anglos, Saxons, Vikings or England could prevent Scotland or Ireland from its true destiny: independence.
England / Wales
From the small island country of England, Great Britain emerged into one of the world’s greatest empires. Its tale is woven with Shakespearean sonnets and royal ambition. Bestowed with castles, Vikings, Knights and Druids, Great Britain became a land of destiny. Once a land for those to conquer later became the conqueror. Although born along the simple, quiet hilltops of England, Great Britain swiftly expanded its boundaries into neighboring-Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Together with England these territories became known as Great Britain otherwise known as the United Kingdom.
Formerly known as Siam, Thailand is located in south East Asia in the heart of the Indochinese Peninsula with an area of 198,000 square miles. Thailand’s early history traces nomadic tribes, which date back 40,000 years ago. Divided among four geographical regions, Thailand’s terrain dramatically changes from one region to the next. Today, Thailand boasts a rich economy while becoming the world’s largest exporter of rice and a major exporter of silk.
Vietnam is a country whose origins can be dated 5000 years ago from a tribe in South China and a tribe from Indonesia. Together these tribes merged into the original Vietnamese people. Today, with a population of 80 million people it has become the 13th most populated country in the world. Its growing and global economy places it among industry leaders in the production of rubber, tea, coffee, peppers, seafood and mining. However, Vietnam traditionally remains a culture rich in the teachings of Buddha and Confucius and as an independent country honors an enchanting land with an enduring heritage.
Spain was once the most powerful country in the world. From an ancestry founded in North Africa and steeped in historic tradition, it continues to blend its past traditions with its tasteful flair for contemporary life. Spain’s world influence no longer stems from the ambition of kings and queens, but rather from the culture of such notables as Pablo Picasso’s and Miguel De Cervantes.
From its humble beginnings in 753 BCE, Italy, formerly known as Rome, was once a tiny hilltop village overlooking the Tiber River before becoming the most powerful empire the world has ever known. Famous for its artists, scientists, musicians, inventors and explorers, Italy greatly influenced the history of the world. At its height the Roman Empire stretched from the British Isles to Persia (Iran). It is in combination with their treasured past and their present fortitude that Italian culture will continue to contribute to a world that has rapidly advanced into the 21st Century.
South Africa is a crossroads and a melting pot for the cultures of the world. Early ships carried goods, peoples and ideas all of which mixed freely here at what was once the end of the known world. Today South Africa stands at the threshold of an exciting future. With continued respect for civil rights, preservation of the environment and its great wealth of minerals and natural resources, South Africa continues to grow and develop as a major world country.
From the Rhine to the Bavarian Alps Germany is one of Europe’s most scenic regions. Its colorful landscapes have inspired the music of Beethoven and Bach, and the ingenuity of Johannes Guttenberg’s printing press. At approximately 138,000 square miles Germany is the fourth largest country in Europe. From the 15th to 19th century the rise of German culture permeated throughout Europe and its affects reformed the world. After World War II, allied victors divided the country into East and West Germany. It remained two different countries for nearly 45 years. Now in the 21st century, Germany is once again influencing the world with its industrious strength and inventive spirit.
No location in all of the 2,000 islands that make up Greece, (The Hellenic Republic), is greater than 85 miles from the sea—a fact that affected the early history and rise to power of this great country. Although the modern Greek Republic is still a relatively young country, the successes of ancient Greece in the fields of philosophy, art, and politics set the standards for nearly all who followed. Today the modern country of Greece is a parliamentary republic and home to approximately 11,000,000 citizens. The most populated city, Athens, is also the capital of the country.