When we talk of “Independence Day”, for most people, the Fourth of July (USA) springs to mind. For some, the movie in which Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith do battle with an invading alien force comes to the fore. But many countries the world over celebrate their independence day, often having fought or negotiated hard from an old colonial power.
These celebrations are often a time of great colour, loud music and demonstrations of a strong pride in the culture and traditions of the country, rich with culture and pageantry.
The Flexicover Team look at some of the countries celebrating their independence this month.
In the late 1980s Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev introduced his campaigns of glasnost ("openness") and perestroika ("restructuring"). On May 4th 1990, after some 50 years of Soviet rule, the Latvian assembly passed a declaration on the renewal of independence - even though full independence wasn’t gained until 1991. As such May 4th is now celebrated as the second Independence Day in Latvia (the other being November 18th 1918). Today, Latvia's capital Riga is extremely popular as a citybreak destination but the country has plenty more to offer. Not only is half of Latvia covered with forests rich with wildlife – ideal for nature lovers – but they even claim to have the longest beach on the northern side of Europe at the resort town of Jurmala.
Some may believe that Cuban independence was attained after the Cuban Revolution (1953-1959). However, the Republic of Cuba was born on May 20th 1902 when the island nation ceased being a colony of Spain and US forces withdrew – although the Platt Amendment meant that the US was still heavily involved in Cuban affairs until its repeal in 1934. Nowadays, Cuba is becoming an increasingly popular holiday destination and more of a revelation than a revolution. It boasts all the modern comforts you would find in the Mediterranean with 300 days of sunshine a year and an average temperature of 25 degrees!
The question of independence divided Montenegro, with its opponents arguing it would damage economic, family and political ties with Serbia. But on 21st May 2006 just over 55% of the population opted for independence from State union with Serbia - itself only created 3 years earlier out of the remnant of the former Yugoslavia, Montenegro's tourism having suffered greatly from Yugoslavia's civil war in the 1990s. In recent years, along with stability in the region, tourism has begun to recover. The tiny republic encompasses an Adriatic coastline with some pristine beaches and boasts stunning mountainous landscapes, dramatic coastlines, historic monuments and truly beautiful walled towns. What’s more, about half of the country is covered in thick forest and the Tara River canyon is the deepest and longest in Europe!
On 25 May 1946 the League of Nations (now the United Nations) approved the end of the 24 year British Mandate and recognized Transjordan as an independent sovereign kingdom. The Parliament of Transjordan proclaimed King Abdullah as the first King and the country's name was later changed from Transjordan to Jordan. Following the death of King Abdullah in 1999 his eldest son, King Abdullah II, assumed the throne and over the last 14 years has overseen Jordan's development into one of the most modern and liberal nations in the region. Jordan's biggest tourist draw are the archaeological ruins at Petra, a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans. Another must-see location is the dramatic, beautiful landscape of the Dead Sea, at over 400m below sea level, the lowest point on Earth. Its high salt content makes you super buoyant - you can float without a care in the world!
Despite being on the South American mainland, Guyana has more in common with its Caribbean neighbours. And on 26th May 1966, it burst into song, dance and vivid colours to celebrate its self-rule from Britain. Not your traditional tourist destination, the country is opening up to the more ambitious traveller! Visit St George’s Cathedral in the capital, Georgetown, to see one of the tallest surviving wooden churches (143ft high). Today its eco-tourism is also significant with trekking-and-activity lodges springing up along its myriad of river banks. But the crowning glory is taking a Cessna flight from Ogle airport, soaring over the Amazon rainforest (its forest covers more than 80% of the country) to Kaieteur National Park where a short trek lets you gaze at the magnificent Kaeiteur Falls (251m / 822ft), one of the world’s most powerful waterfalls!
Wherever you decide to travel to and whichever country you are fortunate enough to visit, Flexicover, the travel insurance specialists are committed to providing you the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.