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.


Country Date Year of Independence Notes
 Afghanistan 19 August 1919 Anglo-Afghan Treaty of 1919
 Antigua and Barbuda 1 November 1981
 Australia 1 January 1901 Australia Act 1986

 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 21 September 1981 September Celebrations of Belize
 Botswana 30 September 1966
 Brunei 1 January 1984
 Canada 1 July 1867 British North America Act 1867, Canada Day

Constitution Act, 1982

 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)
 Ireland 6 December 1922 Republic of Ireland Act and Ireland Act 1949
 Iraq 3 October 1932
 Jamaica 6 August 1962 Independence Day (6 August)
 Jordan 25 May 1946
 Kenya 12 December 1963
 Kiribati 12 July 1979
 Kuwait 19 June 1961
 Lesotho 4 October 1966
 Libya 24 December 1951 Libya had been under the rule of the Ottoman Empire since the middle of the sixteenth century. Following the Italo-Turkish war of 1912, Libya became an Italian colony. With their defeat in World War II, the Italians lost control of Libya. The country came under UN administration. Control was split between France and Britain, with France administering the province Fezzan while the British administered the provinces of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. In 1949, the UN General Assembly declared that Libya should become an independent country by 1 January 1952. On 24 December 1951, Libya declared its independence from France and Britain becoming the United Kingdom of Libya, a constitutional and hereditary monarchy under King Idris.
 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 (recognised in 1972).

 Qatar 3 September 1971
 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
 Somalia 1 July 1960 The State of Somaliland gained independence from Britain on 26 June 1960 and later was unified with the Trust Territory of Somaliland which was under Italian administration to form the Somali Republic on 1 July 1960.
 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. South Africa later rejoined the British Commonwealth in 1994.

 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 4 July 1776 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 Rhodesia declared independence from United Kingdom on 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 1902 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
 Ireland 6 December 1922 11 December 1931 18 April 1949 Republic of Ireland Act and Ireland Act 1949 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 17 April 1982 Canada Act 1982 Newfoundland voted to join Canada in 1948 in a 52-48 vote; this became effective on 31 March 1949.
 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

Anguilla declared independence from St Kitts and Nevis in 1967, 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 Bermudians 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'. In March 2017, permission to run a second referendum was requested from Westminster by the Scottish Parliament, triggered by the Brexit vote, which saw a majority of voters in England and Wales vote to leave the EU while a majority in Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain.

Countries which did not vote to terminate British rule yet were relinquished[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.

See also[edit]


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