Since 30 November, the Caribbean island of Barbados has become the world’s youngest republic, at the end of the process of liberation from the United Kingdom, which began with independence 55 years earlier on the same day and ended with the inauguration of a new president. . Removal of Sandra Mason and Queen Elizabeth II from the role of head of state. Therefore, each year on November 30, Barbados will not only celebrate its independence, but also the birth of its own republic.
Although it is a national holiday, Barbadians actually share it with many countries around the world. Independence Day from the United Kingdom is actually one of the most popular national holidays in the world, such was the extent of the British colonial empire: it is shared by 65 states.
These countries do not always have former colonies. In some cases, such as Israel, British rule was more indirect and occurred through an international mandate that assigned the United Kingdom to the so-called “protectorate”, a term used in the colonial era to apply to a particular legal entity. , which acted to establish control over the country’s internal politics without including it in its domain.
However, Israel’s independence was declared in 1948, shortly before the British mandate reached its natural end, and the celebration of this anniversary has nothing to do with the United Kingdom: usually a large display of the Israeli flag. performance takes place. , the Speaker of the Israeli Parliament (The Knesset) gives a speech, people gather for barbecues and picnics and there are light shows and fireworks.
Aside from the most famous days of independence — the US 4th of July, for example — there are many others that are little known. The 65 countries are actually several island states in the Caribbean or South Pacific, one of which is also the smallest country in the world after the Principality of Monaco and the Vatican: Nauru. It is an island located in the north of the Solomon Islands (another former British rule), with 10,000 inhabitants and measuring just 21 square kilometres, roughly the same size as one of Milan’s nine municipal districts.
Nauru came under the control of the United Kingdom in 1914, when it was acquired by the Australian Army. The small island was an iconic colonial target at the time as it had a very rich deposit of phosphate, a valuable mineral resource used in many fields, from chemicals to agriculture. However, United Kingdom mining activity left the island largely uninhabited, so much so that in the 1960s Australia offered residents the opportunity to move to an island in Queensland. Nauru refused and declared independence in 1968.
Another island state became independent a few years ago, but on the other side of the world: Jamaica. After a colonial domination that lasted more than three centuries, first by Spain and then by Great Britain, the Parliament of the United Kingdom in August 1962 Jamaica Independence Act And later the political leader Alexander Bustamante became prime minister, for the first time in the country’s history. Several Union Jacks were flown across the island and the Jamaican national flag was hoisted in their place. The same thing happened at the National Stadium, where the entire lighting system was switched off and only the Jamaican flag was illuminated.
However, the flag of Jamaica has no precise meaning and was born quite randomly: simply, a commission in charge chose black as the main colour; Yellow was chosen to give brightness in totality and eventually green was chosen after a long debate, mainly among the three colors of the Union Jack (white, red and blue) ending in the flag. One to avoid.
Plus there’s another country in Central America that gets serious about Independence Day: Belize. Various parades and celebrations take place every year, following a theme that is always different and chosen by a special commission. last year the official theme was Overcoming Adversity, Creating Opportunity, Belizeans: Unite for Prosperity! (“Overcoming Obstacles, Creating New Opportunities, Belizeans: Unite for Prosperity!”).
However, not all former colonies have chosen Independence Day as their main national holiday. In South Africa, which became fully independent in 1934, there is Independence Day, which celebrates independence and the first elections held since the end of apartheid. On the other hand, in New Zealand, 6 February every year is Waitangi Day, which celebrates the Treaty of Waitangi, which was signed between the United Kingdom and Māori leaders in 1840 and is considered the nation’s founding document. New Zealand became independent only on 11 December 1931.
– Also read: history of independence of cyprus
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