There are many celebrations happening around the world this week! Check out these national holidays or independence days! You are bound to learn a lot!
Also known as Statehood Day. Celebrated Officially since 1991, this day commemorates the coronation of the only King of Lithuania, King Mindaugas. Although the exact date of the coronation is unknown, this date was chosen based on the hypothesis of Edvardas Gudavicius in 1989.
A small island nation off the coast of Africa (with an estimated population of 798,000) has the unique distinction of being the only state to be a member of the African Union, Francophonie, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Arab League and the Indian Ocean Commission. The country has experienced several Coup D’etats since independence and this has kept about half of the population below the international poverty line. The island of Mayotte is geographically a part of this archipelago, but is still administered by France.
Colonized by the British in 1891, Nyasaland joined the Central African Federation (CAF) and gained partial independence in 1953. In 1964 (after the dissolution of the CAF), Nyasaland gained full independence and changed its name to Malawi. Since 1993, Malawi has operated as a multi-party democracy and 2014 marks its next elections.
Cayman Islands – Constitution Day (First Monday of July)
The Cayman Islands, located in the western Caribbean Sea, are a British Overseas Territory. They (along with Jamaica with whom they were combined) have been formally under British control since 1670 and were governed under Jamaica until 1962 when they became a separate Crown Colony. The Cayman Islands have historically been a tax exempt destination as well as being a major world offshore financial centre. Constitution Day has been celebrated since July 4th, 1959 when the first written constitution came into effect. This year, Constitution Day will be celebrated with a “spectacular fireworks display”.
An archipelago in Oceania. Inhabited for thousands of years, it was finally discovered by Europeans in 1568 when Álvaro de Mendaña found it. Named for the biblical King Solomon. In 1893, the United Kingdom had established a protectorate over the area. Self government was achieved in 1976 and independence in 1978. Part of a constitutional monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as the Queen of Solomon Islands.
Colonized by Spain in 1512, a fight for independence was fought from 1810-1818 with independence declared in 1816. Following the War of Independence, Argentina fell into a long civil war. Eventually the country was re-organized and by the early 20th century, was ranked as the 7th wealthiest developed nation. In the mid 1900s, Argentina fell into political instability and declined into an underdeveloped nation.
Palau – Constitution Day
Palau established the world’s first Nuclear Free constitution in 1981. This meant that no nuclear weapons could be used, stored or disposed of without first being approved by a 3/4 majority in a referendum. In 1994 “nuclear free” was dropped in order to become an associated state to the U.S. – a necessary move as this country of approximately 21,000 people does not have a standing military and rely on the United States for all defence.
South Sudan – Independence from Sudan in 2011
South Sudan became an independent state in 2011 after an overwhelming majority voted for separation from Sudan. Since independence, South Sudan has become a UN member state, a member of the African Union and signed the Geneva Convention. Currently involved in a civil war (2013 – current), leaving some 800,000 South Sudanese displaced.
Made up of 700 islands, cays and inlets and a population of 319,000, the Bahamas became a British colony in 1718. They became an independent Commonwealth Realm in 1973. Queen Elizabeth II still heads this parliamentary monarchy.
Bolshevik Russia supported the establishment of a communist government and army in Mongolia. With help from Russian troops, Mongolia was able to declare independence from China on July 11, 1921. The events leading up to independence became the basis of close ties with Russia, which lasted for several decades. Naadam is the main National Festival (it has been organized for centuries) but now honours the anniversary of independence. Activities consist of archery, horse racing and wrestling.
An island nation in the Gulf of Guinea (off the western equatorial coast in Africa) is the smallest Portuguese speaking country and the second smallest African country. The 2 islands were discovered in 1471 and 1472, respectfully and the pair were settled in 1493 by the Portuguese. July 12, 1975 brought independence to the islands. In 1990 they embraced democratic reform and legalized opposition parties, which led to nonviolent, free and transparent elections in 1991.
In 1892, the Gilbert Islands agreed to become a British Protectorate along with other islands. In 1971, the Gilbert and Ellice Islands gained self rule as a combined nation and separated in 1975. The Gilbert Islands became independent in 1979 and became known as Kiribati.
Fought in 1690 between the Catholic James VII & II and the Protestant William III & II, rival claimants to the English, Scottish and Irish thrones. The battle took place on what was July 1, 1690 under the Julian Calendar, but is now known as July 11th. The decisive Battle of Aughrim was fought one year later on July 12th, which is not the commemoration day of the battle. The win by William kept James from regaining the crown. The battle is also a key part of the Orange Order’s folklore.
Located in South Eastern Europe. The Treaty of Berlin formally recognized the independence of the de facto sovereign principalities of Romania, Serbia and Montenegro. Proclaimed as a Kingdom in 1910 by Prince Nicholas (King Nicholas I) who had been ruling since 1860. Since then they have joined Yugoslavia, become independent and are now a parliamentary republic. The history of Montenegro is fascinating, complex and intriguing – well worth a read. Bet you can’t read just one Wikipedia page!!!
Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 by the people of Paris after Jacques Necker was dismissed from the National Constituent Assembly on July 11 by Louis XVI. This battle led to the abolition of feudalism in August 1789. Starting on July 14, 1790, the French have been celebrating Fête de la Fédération. A militay parade has been held each year since 1880 on the morning of July 14th. It has become the oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe.
Many former colonies still follow France‘s celebrations to capture and illustrate the French side of their interwoven histories.
While busy celebrating Canada Day, I missed a few other special events – yikes! Here are the ones that I know I missed!
Known internationally as “the Handover, July 1, 1997 marked the transfer of sovereignty to the People’s Republic of China. Although Hong Kong Island and Kowloon had been ceded to the United Kingdom in perpetuity, the “new territories” only had a 99 year lease. The three territories grew and developed together and by 1997 it was impractical to split them up as the new territories were important to Hong Kong’s economic development.
A Portuguese Archipelago in the North Atlantic that was claimed in 1419 and settled in 1420, it has since become a popular year-round resort. Following the democratic revolution of 1974, Portugal granted political autonomy on July 1, 1976 which is now known as Madeira Day.
Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Curaço was granted autonomy to a certain degree with its own parliament, although they are still dependent on the Netherlands for matters like foreign policy and defence. The first elected island council was brought in on July 2, 1954. On July 2, 1984, the council inaugurated the National Flag and National Anthem.
The National Day of the Isle of Man. On this day the legislature (Tynwald) meet at St John’s – partly in the Royal Chapel of St. John and partly in the open air on Tynwald. All bills that have Royal Assent are promulgated on Tynwald Day. This event was first recorded in 1417.
If you’ve had fun learning about these countries this week, you might be interested in learning more through these courses:
- Introduction to Global Sociology
- The European Union in Global Governance
- Age of Globalization
- Global Health: An Interdisciplinary Overview
Where we’ve been so far…
Join us next Tuesday when we cover Days Fifteen to Twenty One in our Around the World in 62 Days series. We will visit Slovakia, Columbia and Belgium…just to name a few! Let’s see how many more stamps we can add to our virtual passport together!