Independence Days Around The World
Rather than celebrating their 1991 deliverance from 70 years of Soviet rule, Belarusians instead memorialise the liberation of their capital, Minsk, from Nazi occupation on 3 July 1944. Pictured here, soldiers wearing World War II-era uniforms ride military vehicles in an Independence Day parade.
Commemorative bunting decorates Nowy Åšwiat, one of Warsaw’s most storied thoroughfares, for National Independence Day every 11 November. The country’s freedom, which was interrupted by 123 years of partition by Russia, Prussia and Austria, resumed in 1918. Since 2008, political marches have been central to the day’s observances.
Nine months of bitter fighting with Pakistan secured Bangladesh’s freedom in 1971, though not before three million lives were lost. On Victory Day, held every 16 December, Dhaka’s streets are flooded with parades and political rallies. Pictured here, a mother and son garbed in patriotic dress participate in the festivities.
After protesters took to Bogota’s streets on 20 July 1810, the Spanish viceroy conceded a limited independence that eventually gave way to full sovereignty in 1819. Colourful hot air balloon shows have previously commemorated Colombia’s quest for freedom, and folk dancing, flag hoisting ceremonies and traditional food such as arepas, or corn cakes, are also staples of the day.
People march in Vilnius on 11 March to honour their freedom from the USSR in 1990. After a failed coup in Moscow and just one year before the Soviet Union was officially dissolved, Lithuanians became the first Soviet subjects to see their former democracy restored.
Arriving in 1531 hungry for gold, the Spanish conquered Peru’s Inca civilisation and began an oppressive three-century-long rule. Independence was finally declared on 28 July 1821 but only officially recognised by Spain in 1879. Although now a democracy, the military has played a heavy-handed role in Peru’s history, most recently in a 12-year-long military rule that ended in 1980.
A man poses near a large flag draped over a Kabul building in honour of Independence Day on 19 August. Afghanistan’s recent woes have threatened its autonomy, which was established when the British signed the Treaty of Rawalpindi in 1919.
Traditional dancing takes centre stage in Costa Rica’s Independence Day celebrations on 15 September. Though it officially became a nation in 1821, the small tropical country has always enjoyed relative independence thanks to a dearth of the mineral wealth Spain sought, which drew the monarchy’s gaze elsewhere.
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