Government > Independence: Countries Compared

DEFINITION: For most countries, this entry gives the date that sovereignty was achieved and from which nation, empire, or trusteeship. For the other countries, the date given may not represent "independence" in the strict sense, but rather some significant nationhood event such as the traditional founding date or the date of unification, federation, confederation, establishment, fundamental change in the form of government, or state succession. Dependent areas include the notation "none" followed by the nature of their dependency status. ".
Afghanistan 19 August 1919 (from UK control over Afghan foreign affairs)
Albania 28 November 1912 (from the Ottoman Empire)
Algeria 5 July 1962 (from France)
American Samoa none (territory of the US)
Andorra 1278 (formed under the joint sovereignty of the French Count of Foix and the Spanish Bishop of Seu d'Urgell)
Angola 11 November 1975 (from Portugal)
Anguilla none (overseas territory of the UK)
Antigua and Barbuda 1 November 1981 (from the UK)
Argentina 9 July 1816 (from Spain)
Armenia 21 September 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
Aruba none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Australia 1 January 1901 (from the federation of UK colonies)
Austria 12 November 1918 (republic proclaimed); notable earlier dates: 976 (Margravate of Austria established); 17 September 1156 (Duchy of Austria founded); 11 August 1804 (Austrian Empire proclaimed)
Azerbaijan 30 August 1991 (declared from the Soviet Union); 18 October 1991 (adopted by the Supreme Council of Azerbaijan)
Bahrain 15 August 1971 (from the UK)
Bangladesh 16 December 1971 (from West Pakistan)
Barbados 30 November 1966 (from the UK)
Belarus 25 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
Belgium 4 October 1830 (a provisional government declared independence from the Netherlands); 21 July 1831 (King LEOPOLD I ascended to the throne)
Belize 21 September 1981 (from the UK)
Benin 1 August 1960 (from France)
Bermuda none (overseas territory of the UK)
Bhutan 1907 (became a unified kingdom under its first hereditary king)
Bolivia 6 August 1825 (from Spain)
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 March 1992 (from Yugoslavia; referendum for independence completed on 1 March 1992; independence declared on 3 March 1992)
Botswana 30 September 1966 (from the UK)
Brazil 7 September 1822 (from Portugal)
British Virgin Islands none (overseas territory of the UK)
Brunei 1 January 1984 (from the UK)
Bulgaria 3 March 1878 (as an autonomous principality within the Ottoman Empire); 22 September 1908 (complete independence from the Ottoman Empire)
Burkina Faso 5 August 1960 (from France)
Burma 4 January 1948 (from the UK)
Burundi 1 July 1962 (from UN trusteeship under Belgian administration)
Cambodia 9 November 1953 (from France)
Cameroon 1 January 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)
Canada 1 July 1867 (union of British North American colonies); 11 December 1931 (recognized by UK per Statute of Westminster)
Cape Verde 5 July 1975 (from Portugal)
Cayman Islands none (overseas territory of the UK)
Central African Republic 13 August 1960 (from France)
Chad 11 August 1960 (from France)
Chile 18 September 1810 (from Spain)
China 1 October 1949 (People's Republic of China established); notable earlier dates: 221 B.C. (unification under the Qin Dynasty); 1 January 1912 (Qing Dynasty replaced by the Republic of China)
Christmas Island none (territory of Australia)
Cocos (Keeling) Islands none (territory of Australia)
Colombia 20 July 1810 (from Spain)
Comoros 6 July 1975 (from France)
Congo, Republic of the 15 August 1960 (from France)
Cook Islands none (became self-governing in free association with New Zealand on 4 August 1965 and has the right at any time to move to full independence by unilateral action)
Costa Rica 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
Cote d'Ivoire 7 August 1960 (from France)
Croatia 25 June 1991 (from Yugoslavia)
Cuba 20 May 1902 (from Spain 10 December 1898; administered by the US from 1898 to 1902); not acknowledged by the Cuban Government as a day of independence
Cyprus 16 August 1960 (from the UK)
Czech Republic 1 January 1993 (Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia)
Democratic Republic of the Congo 30 June 1960 (from Belgium)
Denmark ca. 965 (unified and Christianized under HARALD I Gormson); 5 June 1849 (became a constitutional monarchy)
Djibouti 27 June 1977 (from France)
Dominica 3 November 1978 (from the UK)
Dominican Republic 27 February 1844 (from Haiti)
East Timor 28 November 1975 (independence proclaimed from Portugal)
Ecuador 24 May 1822 (from Spain)
Egypt 28 February 1922 (from UK protectorate status; the revolution that began on 23 July 1952 led to a republic being declared on 18 June 1953 and all British troops withdrawn on 18 June 1956)(southern) and Lower (northern) Egypt were first united politically
El Salvador 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
Equatorial Guinea 12 October 1968 (from Spain)
Eritrea 24 May 1993 (from Ethiopia)
Estonia 20 August 1991 (declared); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union)
Ethiopia oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world - at least 2,000 years (may be traced to the Aksumite Kingdom, which coalesced in the first century B.C.)
European Union 7
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) none (overseas territory of the UK; also claimed by Argentina)
Faroe Islands none (part of the Kingdom of Denmark; self-governing overseas administrative division of Denmark)
Federated States of Micronesia 3 November 1986 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)
Fiji 10 October 1970 (from the UK)
Finland 6 December 1917 (from Russia)
France no official date of independence: 486 (Frankish tribes unified under Merovingian kingship); 10 August 843 (Western Francia established from the division of the Carolingian Empire); 14 July 1789 (French monarchy overthrown); 22 September 1792 (First French Republic founded); 4 October 1958 (Fifth French Republic established)
French Polynesia none (overseas lands of France)
Gabon 17 August 1960 (from France)
Georgia 9 April 1991 (from the Soviet Union); notable earlier date: A.D. 1008 (Georgia unified under King BAGRAT III)
Germany 18 January 1871 (establishment of the German Empire); divided into four zones of occupation (UK, US, USSR, and France) in 1945 following World War II; Federal Republic of Germany (FRG or West Germany) proclaimed on 23 May 1949 and included the former UK, US, and French zones; German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) proclaimed on 7 October 1949 and included the former USSR zone; West Germany and East Germany unified on 3 October 1990; all four powers formally relinquished rights on 15 March 1991; notable earlier dates: 10 August 843 (Eastern Francia established from the division of the Carolingian Empire); 2 February 962 (crowning of OTTO I, recognized as the first Holy Roman Emperor)
Ghana 6 March 1957 (from the UK)
Gibraltar none (overseas territory of the UK)
Greece 1830 (from the Ottoman Empire)
Greenland none (extensive self-rule as part of the Kingdom of Denmark; foreign affairs is the responsibility of Denmark, but Greenland actively participates in international agreements relating to Greenland)
Grenada 7 February 1974 (from the UK)
Guam none (territory of the US)
Guatemala 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
Guernsey none (British crown dependency)
Guinea 2 October 1958 (from France)
Guinea-Bissau 24 September 1973 (declared); 10 September 1974 (from Portugal)
Guyana 26 May 1966 (from the UK)
Haiti 1 January 1804 (from France)
Holy See (Vatican City) 11 February 1929 (from Italy)
Honduras 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
Hong Kong none (special administrative region of China)
Hungary 16 November 1918 (republic proclaimed); notable earlier dates: 25 December 1000 (crowning of King STEPHEN I, traditional founding date); 30 March 1867 (Austro-Hungarian dual monarchy established)
Iceland 1 December 1918 (became a sovereign state under the Danish Crown); 17 June 1944 (from Denmark; birthday of Jon SIGURDSSON leader of Iceland's 19th Century independence movement)
India 15 August 1947 (from the UK)
Indonesia 17 August 1945 (declared)
Iran 1 April 1979 (Islamic Republic of Iran proclaimed); notable earlier dates: ca. 625 B.C. (unification of Iran under the Medes); ca. A.D. 1501 (Iran reunified under the Safavids); 12 December 1925 (modern Iran established under the Pahlavis)
Iraq 3 October 1932 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)
Ireland 6 December 1921 (from the UK by treaty)
Isle of Man none (British crown dependency)
Israel 14 May 1948 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)
Italy 17 March 1861 (Kingdom of Italy proclaimed; Italy was not finally unified until 1870)
Jamaica 6 August 1962 (from the UK)
Japan 3 May 1947 (current constitution adopted as amendment to Meiji Constitution); notable earlier dates: 660 B.C. (traditional date of the founding of the nation by Emperor JIMMU); 29 November 1890 (Meiji Constitution provides for constitutional monarchy)
Jersey none (British crown dependency)
Jordan 25 May 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under British administration)
Kazakhstan 16 December 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
Kenya 12 December 1963 (from the UK)
Kiribati 12 July 1979 (from the UK)
Kosovo 17 February 2008 (from Serbia)
Kuwait 19 June 1961 (from the UK)
Kyrgyzstan 31 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
Laos 19 July 1949 (from France)
Latvia 4 May 1990 (declared); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union)
Lebanon 22 November 1943 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
Lesotho 4 October 1966 (from the UK)
Liberia 26 July 1847
Libya 24 December 1951 (from UN trusteeship)
Liechtenstein 23 January 1719 (Principality of Liechtenstein established); 12 July 1806 (independence from the Holy Roman Empire); 24 August 1866 (independence from the German Confederation)
Lithuania 11 March 1990 (declared); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union); notable earlier dates: 6 July 1253 (coronation of MINDAUGAS, traditional founding date), 1 July 1569 (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth created)
Luxembourg 1839 (from the Netherlands)
Macau none (special administrative region of China)
Madagascar 26 June 1960 (from France)
Malawi 6 July 1964 (from the UK)
Malaysia 31 August 1957 (from the UK)
Maldives 26 July 1965 (from the UK)
Mali 22 September 1960 (from France)
Malta 21 September 1964 (from the UK)
Marshall Islands 21 October 1986 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)
Mauritania 28 November 1960 (from France)
Mauritius 12 March 1968 (from the UK)
Mayotte none (territorial overseas collectivity of France)
Mexico 16 September 1810 (declared); 27 September 1821 (recognized by Spain)
Moldova 27 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
Monaco 1419 (beginning of permanent rule by the House of GRIMALDI)
Mongolia 11 July 1921 (from China)
Montenegro 3 June 2006 (from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro)
Montserrat none (overseas territory of the UK)
Morocco 2 March 1956 (from France)
Mozambique 25 June 1975 (from Portugal)
Namibia 21 March 1990 (from South African mandate)
Nauru 31 January 1968 (from the Australia-, NZ-, and UK-administered UN trusteeship)
Nepal 1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan SHAH)
Netherlands 23 January 1579 (the northern provinces of the Low Countries conclude the Union of Utrecht breaking with Spain; on 26 July 1581 they formally declared their independence with an Act of Abjuration; however, it was not until 30 January 1648 and the Peace of Westphalia that Spain recognized this independence)
Netherlands Antilles none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
New Caledonia none (overseas territory of France)
New Zealand 26 September 1907 (from the UK)
Nicaragua 15 September 1821 (from Spain)
Niger 3 August 1960 (from France)
Nigeria 1 October 1960 (from the UK)
Niue 19 October 1974 (Niue became a self-governing parliamentary government in free association with New Zealand)
Norfolk Island none (territory of Australia)
North Korea 15 August 1945 (from Japan)
Northern Mariana Islands none (commonwealth in political union with the US)
Norway 7 June 1905 (Norway declared the union with Sweden dissolved); 26 October 1905 (Sweden agreed to the repeal of the union)
Oman 1650 (expulsion of the Portuguese)
Pakistan 14 August 1947 (from British India)
Palau 1 October 1994 (from the US-administered UN trusteeship)
Panama 3 November 1903 (from Colombia; became independent from Spain on 28 November 1821)
Papua New Guinea 16 September 1975 (from the Australian-administered UN trusteeship)
Paraguay 14 May 1811 (from Spain)
Peru 28 July 1821 (from Spain)
Philippines 12 June 1898 (independence proclaimed from Spain); 4 July 1946 (from the US)
Pitcairn Islands none (overseas territory of the UK)
Poland 11 November 1918 (republic proclaimed); notable earlier dates: 966 (adoption of Christianity, traditional founding date), 1 July 1569 (Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth created)
Portugal 1143 (Kingdom of Portugal recognized); 5 October 1910 (republic proclaimed)
Puerto Rico none (territory of the US with commonwealth status)
Qatar 3 September 1971 (from the UK)
Republic of Macedonia 8 September 1991 (referendum by registered voters endorsed independence from Yugoslavia)
Romania 9 May 1877 (independence proclaimed from the Ottoman Empire; independence recognized on 13 July 1878 by the Treaty of Berlin); 26 March 1881 (kingdom proclaimed); 30 December 1947 (republic proclaimed)
Russia 24 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union); notable earlier dates: 1157 (Principality of Vladimir-Suzdal created); 16 January 1547 (Tsardom of Muscovy established); 22 October 1721 (Russian Empire proclaimed); 30 December 1922 (Soviet Union established)
Rwanda 1 July 1962 (from Belgium-administered UN trusteeship)
Saint Barthelemy none (overseas collectivity of France)
Saint Helena none (overseas territory of the UK)
Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha none (overseas territory of the UK)
Saint Kitts and Nevis 19 September 1983 (from the UK)
Saint Lucia 22 February 1979 (from the UK)
Saint Martin none (overseas collectivity of France)
Saint Pierre and Miquelon none (territorial collectivity of France; has been under French control since 1763)
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 27 October 1979 (from the UK)
Samoa 1 January 1962 (from New Zealand-administered UN trusteeship)
San Marino 3 September 301
Sao Tome and Principe 12 July 1975 (from Portugal)
Saudi Arabia 23 September 1932 (unification of the kingdom)
Senegal 4 April 1960 (from France)
Serbia 5 June 2006 (from Serbia and Montenegro)
Serbia and Montenegro 5
Seychelles 29 June 1976 (from the UK)
Sierra Leone 27 April 1961 (from the UK)
Singapore 9 August 1965 (from Malaysian Federation)
Slovakia 1 January 1993 (Czechoslovakia split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia)
Slovenia 25 June 1991 (from Yugoslavia)
Solomon Islands 7 July 1978 (from the UK)
Somalia 1 July 1960 (from a merger of British Somaliland that became independent from the UK on 26 June 1960 and Italian Somaliland that became independent from the Italian-administered UN trusteeship on 1 July 1960 to form the Somali Republic)
South Africa 31 May 1910 (Union of South Africa formed from four British colonies: Cape Colony, Natal, Transvaal, and Orange Free State); 31 May 1961 (republic declared); 27 April 1994 (majority rule)
South Korea 15 August 1945 (from Japan)
South Sudan 9 July 2011 (from Sudan)
Spain 1492; the Iberian peninsula was characterized by a variety of independent kingdoms prior to the Muslim occupation that began in the early 8th century A.D. and lasted nearly seven centuries; the small Christian redoubts of the north began the reconquest almost immediately, culminating in the seizure of Granada in 1492; this event completed the unification of several kingdoms and is traditionally considered the forging of present-day Spain
Sri Lanka 4 February 1948 (from the UK)
Sudan 1 January 1956 (from Egypt and the UK)
Suriname 25 November 1975 (from the Netherlands)
Svalbard none (territory of Norway)
Swaziland 6 September 1968 (from the UK)
Sweden 6 June 1523 (Gustav VASA elected king)
Switzerland 1 August 1291 (founding of the Swiss Confederation)
Syria 17 April 1946 (from League of Nations mandate under French administration)
Tajikistan 9 September 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
Tanzania 26 April 1964; Tanganyika became independent on 9 December 1961 (from UK-administered UN trusteeship); Zanzibar became independent on 10 December 1963 (from UK); Tanganyika united with Zanzibar on 26 April 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar; renamed United Republic of Tanzania on 29 October 1964
Thailand 1238 (traditional founding date; never colonized)
The Bahamas 10 July 1973 (from the UK)
The Gambia 18 February 1965 (from the UK)
Togo 27 April 1960 (from French-administered UN trusteeship)
Tokelau none (territory of New Zealand)
Tonga 4 June 1970 (from UK protectorate)
Trinidad and Tobago 31 August 1962 (from the UK)
Tunisia 20 March 1956 (from France)
Turkey 29 October 1923 (successor state to the Ottoman Empire)
Turkmenistan 27 October 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
Turks and Caicos Islands none (overseas territory of the UK)
Tuvalu 1 October 1978 (from the UK)
Uganda 9 October 1962 (from the UK)
Ukraine 24 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union); notable earlier dates: ca. 982 (VOLODYMYR I consolidates Kyivan Rus), 1648 (establishment of Cossack Hetmanate)
United Arab Emirates 2 December 1971 (from the UK)
United Kingdom 12 April 1927 (Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act establishes current name of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland); notable earlier dates: 927 (minor English kingdoms united); 3 March 1284 (enactment of the Statute of Rhuddlan uniting England and Wales); 1536 (Act of Union formally incorporates England and Wales); 1 May 1707 (Acts of Union formally unite England and Scotland as Great Britain); 1 January 1801 (Acts of Union formally unite Great Britain and Ireland as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland); 6 December 1921 (Anglo-Irish Treaty formalizes partition of Ireland; six counties remain part of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland)
United States 4 July 1776 (declared); 3 September 1783 (recognized by Great Britain)
Uruguay 25 August 1825 (from Brazil)
Uzbekistan 1 September 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
Vanuatu 30 July 1980 (from France and the UK)
Venezuela 5 July 1811 (from Spain)
Vietnam 2 September 1945 (from France)
Virgin Islands none (territory of the US)
Wallis and Futuna none (overseas territory of France)
Yemen 22 May 1990 (Republic of Yemen was established with the merger of the Yemen Arab Republic [Yemen (Sanaa) or North Yemen] and the Marxist-dominated People's Democratic Republic of Yemen [Yemen (Aden) or South Yemen])(from the Ottoman Empire) and became a republic with the overthrow of the theocratic Imamate in 1962; South Yemen became independent on 30 November 1967 (from the UK)
Zambia 24 October 1964 (from the UK)
Zimbabwe 18 April 1980 (from the UK)


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