On 1 July, Somalis celebrate the creation of the Somali Republic by observing Republic Day. This is also considered to be Somalia’s “National Day”. It commemorates the unification of two former colonies to create modern-day Somalia in the year 1960.
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Note: Republic Day is observed throughout Somalia except for Somaliland.
During the European “Scramble For Africa” and its subsequent colonisation, what is today Somalia was taken by Italy and the UK. The northern, Red Sea Coast part of Somalia was colonised by Italy and called Italian Somaliland. The southern part, along the Indian Ocean, became British Somaliland.
On 26 June, 1960, British Somaliland became an independent nation. Within days, on 1 July that same year, Italy lost its colony too and the two former colonies voluntarily united to form the Somali Republic. The new constitution for now-independent Somalia was approved by popular referendum on 20 July in 1961, enabling the country to move past its “interim” government.
Independence Day comes on 26 June in Somalia, while 1 July is Republic Day. What is mostly the former Italian Somaliland now has special autonomy within Somalia and celebrates that status with Somaliland Sovereignty Day on 18 May. So it’s a very complex situation in Somalia both as to history and corresponding holidays.
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