Each 24 September is National Day in Guinea-Bissau. It was on this day in 1973 that the colony of Portuguese Guinea declared its independence from the Portuguese Empire. A year later, Portugal formally recognised Guinea-Bissau’s independence.
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Since French Guinea also became independent and known as simply “Guinea”, the “Bissau” was added to the name of former Portuguese Guinea to give it distinct recognition.
In the years just before Portugal started colonising the Guinea coast, what is today known as Guinea-Bissau was part of the Mali Empire. Later, it was part of Gabu, a state that broke away from Mali. As Portugal pressed gradually inland, Gabu gradually gave way and ultimately fell.
After World War II, a 20-year-long guerrilla war against Portugal began in Guinea-Bissau. It took from 1956 to 1974 before the country was fully independent and recognised as such by the international community. It was a bloody struggle, but in the end, the independence movement succeeded.
On National Day, there are many patriotic events held all over Guinea-Bissau, including public ceremonies and patriotic speeches. The main events tend to take place in the capital city of Bissau.