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Independence days around the world:
It is a National holiday in Bulgaria today. The 107th Independence day. This made me think about the different Independence days around the world. What I found was rather interesting.
It seems that 171 countries from 196 have been occupied.
It comes as no surprise that a major colonizer was the United Kingdom. Neither do the others as it is from common knowledge (from geography classes). What really surprised me the list of the countries (10) that were never colonized.
1) Liberia: While it's officially a country since 1847, some claim that the US had set up colonial rule for a period. The Cape Mesurado Colony on the Grain Coast was established in 1821 as a place to send former slaves from the U.S., but the short time-frame and lack of over-reaching American influence allows Liberia to qualify for this list.
2) Japan: One of the only Asian countries that was not occupied but colonized Korea, Taiwan, South Sakhalin and its surrounding islands.
3) Thailand: There is a phrase in Thailand that is truer than the blueness of the sky and that is that Thailand is "the land of freedom". Ever since the first millennia B.C. it has remained free, with colonizing powers - namely France and Great Britain - in neighbouring countries.
4) Bhutan: Bhutan is one of those countries that have indisputably clean reputation as for occupation and colonizers.
5) Iran: The country suffered during the 1800s as the Russians and British fought to build their empires in the Middle East, but was never subjugated to colonization in any official sense. The country did lose some of its territory during the Russo-Persian and Anglo-Persian Wars, and was briefly occupied by the Russians in 1911 and the British during World War I, but was still considered an autonomous state throughout history.
6) Nepal: Since Nepal was united by King Prithvi Narayan Shah in 1744 C.E., it has existed as a sovereign nation. While it was briefly a protectorate of Great Britain, it was never a British colony, even fighting a war and ceding a third of its territory to ensure its continued autonomy from the empire. It is thought that Nepal’s isolated geographical position high in the Himalayas helped it withstand colonial rule, though it is agreed that both India and China exerted some influence in the region.
7) Tonga In 1900, Tonga became a protected state under the Treaty of Friendship with Britain, setting up a British Consul in the state until 1970, but no higher permanent representative was permitted. The indigenous monarchy of Tonga has been maintained until the present day, and has enjoyed an uninterrupted succession of hereditary rulers from the same family since its inception.
8) China, not including Hong Kong and Macao, has never been an official colony of any other power. However, during the 19th and early 20th centuries, China did enter into trade agreements with most Western powers, including Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, and the U.S., that were largely considered disadvantageous to China, as it was forced to make some territorial concessions. This period of unequal treaties is sometimes considered semi-colonialist, though no one power ever exerted complete control across the country.
9) Ethiopia Apart from a five-year period when Ethiopia fell to Mussolini’s New Roman Empire, Ethiopia has maintained its autonomy throughout history. The Italians were ejected by the British in 1941, and Ethiopia regained its full independent status in 1944, but had existed independently way before then. Even during the Italian occupation from 1936 to 1941, Mussolini’s troops were under constant attack from Ethiopian guerrilla troops and Italy never maintained full order in the country.
10) Korea Back when Korea existed as one nation state, it resisted colonial rule from Western powers. It is somewhat difficult to consider Korea wholly independent throughout history, however, as it was under Japanese rule for more than 30 years until independence in 1945 during World War II. But in the lens of resisting Western colonization, Korea is said to have maintained its independence from European rule throughout history.
I would like to end my short post with this short poem on sovereignty that I found on the internet, written by Dane Ann Smith-Johnsen:
"The brave and the free,
Lain to rest for liberty.
Souls sacrificed, protecting.
Sovereignty wrought with valor."