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Independence Day Celebrations Around the World

Some 7 billion people inhabit the globe. Many celebrate Independence Day to observe their nation's declaration of freedom from foreign or colonial rule. Examples include Americans celebrating on July 4. Nigerians mark their freedom on October 1, and South Koreans observe their liberation on March 1. Each nation's traditions are different.

The American colonies were the first nation to win their sovereignty from Great Britain after a 12-year war. America's Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, nearly a year after the first shots of the Revolutionary War. Then, on September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris ratified the independence of the 13 North American States.

A few years later, France stormed the Bastille on July 14, 1789, overtook the military fortress/prison.

France commemorates July 14 because of this pivotal event against the nation's monarchy in the French Revolution. After 10.5 years of war, they won independence, and the French Republic was established.

According to the History Channel, "Much like the Fourth of July, Bastille Day is a public holiday in France [that is] celebrated by nationwide festivities including fireworks, parades, and parties."

Independence From British Rule

The British Empire was once the largest; it spanned the globe. People started to say, "The sun never set on the British Empire.” According to The Guardian, "The exact date was probably the late 1700s or early 1800s when the first Australian territories were added. The empire disintegrated in the early 20th century."

As a result of the Pakistan Movement led by the All-India Muslim League, the creation of an independent Muslim nation in the north-western region of India. The Indian Independence Bill formed the independent nations of Pakistan on August 14, 1947, and India on August 15, 1947.

Chinese Communist Leader Mao Zedong declared the creation of the People's Republic of China (PRC) on October 1, 1949, which ended a civil war between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Kuomintang (KMT) and secured over 541 million people freedom from British rule.

Malaysians celebrate Hari Merdeka, or Independence Day, on August 31. Malaysia won its freedom from the British Monarchy in 1957. Three years later, Nigeria gained its independence on October 6, 1960.

The British rule of Jamaica ended on August 6, 1962, and Kenya was freed from English tyranny a year later on December 12, 1963.

Other Sovereign Nations

Mexico marks its freedom from Spain on September 16, commemorating the start of the Mexican War of Independence in 1810. Eleven years later, the Spanish Capitán-General signed the Treaty of Cordoba, granting Mexicans sovereignty.

Brazil won its freedom from Portugal on September 7, 1822. In South Korea, on March 1, 1919, a peaceful protest, Independence Movement Day, marked a significant step against Japanese colonial rule.

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Ukraine became an independent nation on August 24, 1991. Unfortunately, Ukraine is fighting to retain its freedom after Russia invaded on February 24, 2022, in an escalation of the Russo-Ukrainian War, which started in 2014.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

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