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List of countries that have gained independence from the United Kingdom

This is a list of the countries and territories formerly ruled or administered by the United Kingdom or part of the British Empire, with their independence days. Some countries did not gain their independence on a single date, therefore the latest day of independence is shown with a break down of dates further down. There are a total of 63 countries which have claimed their independence.



Country Date Year of Independence Notes
  Afghanistan 19 August 1919 Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919
  Antigua and Barbuda 1 November 1981
  Australia 11 December 1931 Statute of Westminster 1931 and Australia Act 1986
  Papua New Guinea gained independence from Australia on 16 September 1975.
  The Bahamas 10 July 1973
  Bahrain 15 August 1971
  Barbados 30 November 1966 Barbados Independence Act 1966
  Belize 21 September 1981 September Celebrations of Belize
  Botswana 30 September 1966
  Brunei 1 January 1984
  Canada 11 December 1931 Statute of Westminster, 1931

British North America Act 1867, July 1st: Canada Day
Constitution Act, 1982

  Cyprus 1 October 1960 16 August 1960, but Cyprus Independence Day is commonly celebrated on 1 October.[1]
  Dominica 3 November 1978
  Egypt 28 February 1922
True Egyptian independence only came in 1952; during the 1922-1952 period, the Egyptian rulers were forced by the UK to defer to British "advisers" in Cairo and the UK truly controlled Egypt's foreign policy and defense and at will stationed British troops on Egyptian territory.
  Fiji 10 October 1970
  The Gambia 18 February 1965
  Ghana 6 March 1957
  Grenada 7 February 1974 Independence Day (Grenada)
  Guyana 26 May 1966
  India 15 August 1947 Independence Day (India)
  Ireland 6 December 1922 Republic of Ireland Act and Ireland Act 1949
  Iraq 3 October 1932
  Israel 14 May 1948 Independence gained after League of Nations mandate ended, and reaffirmed by a UN resolution to divide the Palestine mandate to a Jewish and an Arab states.
  Jamaica 6 August 1962 Independence Day (6 August)
  Jordan 25 May 1946
  Kenya 12 December 1963
  Kiribati 12 July 1979
  Kuwait 19 June 1961
  Lesotho 4 October 1966
  Libya 24 December 1951 Libya had been under the rule of the Ottoman Empire since the middle of the sixteenth century. Following the Italo-Turkish war of 1912, Libya became an Italian colony. With their defeat in World War II, the Italians lost control of Libya. The country came under UN administration. Control was split between France and Britain, with France administering the province Fezzan while the British administered the provinces of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. In 1949, the UN General Assembly declared that Libya should become an independent country by 1 January 1952. On 24 December 1951, Libya declared its independence from France and Britain becoming the United Kingdom of Libya, a constitutional and hereditary monarchy under King Idris.
  Malawi 6 July 1964
  Malaysia 31 August 1957 As the Federation of Malaya (Federation of Malaya Independence Act 1957). North Borneo (now Sabah), Sarawak and Singapore gained full independence and joined Malaysia on 16 September 1963 under the Malaysia Agreement (Malaysia Act 1963).
  Singapore gained independence from Malaysia on 9 August 1965.
  Maldives 26 July 1965
  Malta 21 September 1964
  Mauritius 12 March 1968
  Myanmar 4 January 1948 Gained independence as Burma. Renamed Myanmar in 1989, but still officially known by the United Kingdom government as Burma.
  Nauru 31 January 1968 Independence from the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand on 31 January 1968.
  New Zealand 11 December 1931 Dominion Day

  Samoa gained independence from New Zealand on 1 January 1962.

New Zealand has responsibilities for two freely associated states:
  Cook Islands (from 4 August 1965)
  Niue (from 19 October 1974)

  Nigeria 1 October 1960
  Pakistan 14 August 1947 Independence Day (Pakistan)

  Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan in 1971 (recognised in 1972).

  Qatar 3 September 1971
  Saint Lucia 22 February 1979
  Saint Kitts and Nevis 19 September 1983
  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 27 October 1979
  Seychelles 29 June 1976
  Sierra Leone 27 April 1961
  Solomon Islands 7 July 1978
  South Africa 31 May 1961 1931 adoption of Statute of Westminster. Not a public holiday. Union of South Africa formed on 31 May 1910 and Republic declared on 31 May 1961 and left the British Commonwealth on the same day. South Africa later rejoined the British Commonwealth in 1994.

  Namibia gained independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990.

  Palestine 5 November 1988
  Sri Lanka 4 February 1948 Gained independence as the Dominion of Ceylon. Renamed Sri Lanka in 1972.
  Sudan 1 January 1956   South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on 9 July 2011.
  Swaziland 6 September 1968
  Tanzania 9 December 1961
  Tonga 4 June 1970
  Trinidad and Tobago 31 August 1962
  Tuvalu 1 October 1978
  Uganda 9 October 1962
  United Arab Emirates 2 December 1971 National Day (United Arab Emirates)
  United States 4 July 1776 Fourth of July. Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776. Last major battle of the American Revolutionary War fought in 1781. British government recognized independence in 1783.
  Vanuatu 30 July 1980 Independence from United Kingdom and France in 1980
  Yemen 30 November 1967 South Yemen 1967
  Zambia 24 October 1964
  Zimbabwe 18 April 1980 Rhodesia declared independence from United Kingdom on 11 November 1965

Evolution of Dominions to IndependenceEdit

Country Date of Dominion Status Date of adoption of the Statute of Westminster Date of final relinquishment of British powers Final Event in question. Other important Dates
  Australia 1 January 1901 9 October 1942 (effective from 1939) 3 March 1986 Australia Act 1986
  Canada 1 July 1867 11 December 1931 17 April 1982 Canada Act 1982
  Ireland 6 December 1922 11 December 1931 18 April 1949 Republic of Ireland Act and Ireland Act 1949 The 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic and 1919 Irish Declaration of Independence were never recognised by the UK but given symbolic priority by post-1922 Irish leaders. From the 1932 Irish election, successive governments unilaterally amended the state's status: the Constitution (Removal of Oath) Act on 3 May 1933 implicitly abrogated the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty; the 27th amendment and External Relations Act, both on 12 December 1936, attenuated the role of the monarchy; the enactment of the Constitution on 29 December 1937 established the office of President; the Republic of Ireland Act came into force on 18 April 1949 with Ireland formally leaving the British Commonwealth. Related UK statutes included the Éire (Confirmation of Agreements) Act 1938 and the Ireland Act 1949.
  Dominion of Newfoundland 26 September 1907 17 April 1982 Canada Act 1982 Newfoundland voted to join Canada in 1948 in a 52-48 vote; this became effective on 31 March 1949.
  South Africa 31 May 1910 11 December 1931 21 May 1961 South African Constitution of 1961
  New Zealand 26 September 1907 25 November 1947 13 December 1986 Constitution Act 1986 Declaration of Independence of New Zealand 1835, Treaty of Waitangi 1840

Former British Crown Colonies that became part of another British Crown Colony then later restored previous statusEdit

Country Date Year Notes
  Anguilla July 1971

Anguilla declared independence from St Kitts and Nevis in 1967, following a revolution; in favour of returning to British authority in 1971 with full British Crown Colony status (renamed in 2002 as British Overseas Territory status) returning in 1980.

British Overseas Territories that have voted against another independent country sharing sovereignty over the territory with the British CrownEdit

Country Date Year Notes
  Gibraltar 7 November 2002 Gibraltar held a referendum on whether or not to share sovereignty with Spain. They rejected the proposal by 98.48% to 1.02% in favour of remaining solely a British overseas territory.

British Overseas Territories that have voted to retain their British Overseas Territory statusEdit

Country Date Year Notes
  Falkland Islands 11 March 2013 Falkland Islanders voted in favour of remaining a British overseas territory by 99.8% to 0.2%.

British Overseas Territories that have voted not to be an independent countryEdit

Country Date Year Notes
  Bermuda 16 August 1995 Bermudians voted against independence for the territory in a 1995 referendum by 73.6% to 25.7%.

Countries or province forming part of the United Kingdom that have voted to remain part of the United KingdomEdit

Country Date Year Notes
  Northern Ireland 8 March 1973 In the 1973 Northern Ireland sovereignty referendum, voters in Northern Ireland were asked to decide if they wanted to remain in the United Kingdom or to leave and join with the Republic of Ireland. They voted in favour of the United Kingdom by 98.9% to 1.1%, although Irish Republicans boycotted the vote.

Countries forming part of the United Kingdom that have voted not to be an independent countryEdit

Country Date Year Notes
  Scotland 18 September 2014 In the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, 55.3% of voters who qualified as residents of Scotland, chose 'No' to the question: 'Should Scotland be an independent country?' 44.7% of voters chose 'Yes'. In March 2017, permission to run a second referendum was requested from Westminster by the Scottish Parliament, triggered by the Brexit vote, which saw a majority of voters in England and Wales vote to leave the EU while a majority in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain.


Countries which did not vote to terminate British rule yet were relinquishedEdit

Country Date Year Notes
  Hong Kong 30 June 1997 In 1984 the British government signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration with China and agreed to turn over Hong Kong and its dependencies in 1997. It was never put forward to the people of the territory to decide in the form of a referendum, and neither was it ever agreed by an elected legislature. British rule ended on 30 June 1997, with China taking over at midnight, 1 July 1997.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "United Nations Member States". Retrieved 4 November 2008.