List of countries that have gained independence from the United Kingdom

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This is a list of 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.

Territories excluding Dominions[edit]

Country Date Year of Independence
 Afghanistan August 19 1919 Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919 The treaty granted complete independence from Britain; although Afghanistan was never a part of the British Empire.
 Antigua and Barbuda 1 November 1982
 Akrotiri and Dhekelia 03-07|3 July 1901
 Australia 1 January 1901 Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900


 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 22 September 1981 September Celebrations of Belize
 Botswana 30 September 1966
 Brunei 1 January 1984
 Canada 1 July 1867 British North America Act 1867
 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
 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)
 Israel 14 May 1948 Yom Ha'atzmaut
 Iraq 3 October 1932
 Jamaica 6 August 1962 Independence Day (August 6)
 Jordan 25 May 1946
 Kenya 12 December 1963
 Kiribati 12 July 1979
 Kuwait 25 February 1961
 Lesotho 4 October 1966
 Malawi 6 July 1964
 Malaysia 31 August 1957 Hari Merdeka


 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 26 September 1907 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 (recognized in 1974).

 Qatar 3 September 1971 Qatar National Day
 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 11 December 1910 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.


 Namibia gained independence from South Africa on 21 March 1990.

 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 3 September 1783 Fourth of July. Declaration of Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776. Independence achieved de facto 1781, and de jure 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
{Responsible self-government 1923. de facto independence 11 November 1965.

Evolution of Dominions to Independence[edit]

Country Date of Dominion Status Date of adoption of the Statute of Westminster Date of final relinquish 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 Canada Day
 Ireland 6 December 1922 11 December 1931 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 31 March 1949 Newfoundland referendums, 1948 Newfoundland Act, 1949. Newfoundland voted to join Canada in 1948 in a 52-48 vote.
 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 status[edit]

Country Date Year Notes
 Anguilla July 1971 Although not the result of a vote; Anguilla declared independence from St Kitts and Nevis in 1969, 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 Crown[edit]

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 status[edit]

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 country[edit]

Country Date Year Notes
 Bermuda 16 August 1995 Bermudans 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 Kingdom[edit]

Country Date Year Notes
 Northern Ireland 8 March 1973 In the Northern Ireland sovereignty referendum, 1973, 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 country[edit]

Country Date Year Notes
 Scotland 18 September 2014 In the Scottish independence referendum, 2014, 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'. There was not an option for the 'United Kingdom' on the ballot paper, unlike the Northern Ireland sovereignty referendum, 1973. Scotland's constitutional status thus remained unchanged.

Countries which did not vote to terminate British rule yet were relinquished to another sovereign power[edit]

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.

Map[edit]

List of countries gained independance from the UK 2.svg

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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