December 6, 1951: On this day in 1951 the International Plant Protection Convention was signed in Rome. The Convention is overseen by the United Nations and is a multilateral treaty that aims to ensure coordination between different states to prevent the introduction of invasive species into other biospheres. Thus, for instance, it has a large part to play in protecting the unique biospheres of Australia and New Zealand from foreign species. The establishment of the IPPC extends back to 1881 when representatives from five countries met in the city of Bordeaux in France to discuss how they could restrict the spread of the phylloxera aphid which had come to Europe from America in the 1850s and which was destroying the continent’s grape vineyards. The phylloxera conference of 1881 resulted in the first international agreement between states to try to restrict the introduction of invasive species into different biospheres. Consequently, many people view the concept of plant protection and the roots of the eventual establishment of the IPPC in 1951 as lying seventy years earlier in the phylloxera conference of 1881. For more information, see the history of the IPPC.

December 6, 1962: On this day the result of an independence referendum held in French Algeria, to decide on whether the country should become an independent state or continue as a part of France, was announced. 99.7% of voters voted for independence, weary after eight years of an extremely brutal war of independence. A relatively unknown part of the announcement of the result on 5 July, which today is celebrated as Independence Day in Algeria, is that over time it brought about the death of the previously enormous Algerian wine industry. With no domestic market to speak of and Algeria eventually being locked out of the European market Algeria’s vineyards were soon converted to other purposes.

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