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Independence Day of Nauru

When is the Independence Day of Nauru Celebrated?
The Republic of Nauru became an independent nation on January 31, 1968. The date is very significant in the history Nauru, as this day marked the 22nd anniversary of the return of the Nauruans from Truk. Since then, the Independence Day of Nauru is celebrated as a national holiday.

From whom did Nauru gain its independence?
In the years leading to its independence, Nauru had been ruled and governed by a number of nations. Towards the end of the 19th century, Nauru was colonized by Germany. The Germans soon discovered Nauru’s huge phosphorus reserves and started mining its natural resources. After the end of World War I, Nauru was governed jointly by Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain, in accordance with the League of Nations mandate. During World War II, Japan occupied Nauru and used it as an air base. Post World War II, Nauru was again placed under the governance of these three nations, Australia, New Zealand, and Great Britain, with Australia providing the actual administration. Finally, on January 31, 1968, Nauru gained its independence from Great Britain and became a sovereign country.

What is the historical significance of this date?
After the Japanese troops captured Nauru on March 22, 1945, they sent 1200 Nauruans to the Chuuk Islands as laborers. Following the defeat of the Japanese, 737 Nauruans returned to their homeland on January 31, 1946. To commemorate this historic event, January 31 was chosen as the Independence Day of Nauru.

What does the national flag of Nauru represent?
The national flag of Nauru was chosen through a local design competition. The flag depicts the geographical position of Nauru, a degree below the equator. Equator is represented by a golden horizontal line while Nauru is represented by 12-pointed white star. While, each of the 12 indigenous tribes of the island symbolizes a point, the white color represents phosphate, the source of this island nation’s wealth. The flag has a blue background, symbolizing the Pacific Ocean. When Nauru was under the administration of Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, it had two different flags – one from 1919 to 1948 and the other from 1948 to 1968.

Who composed the national anthem of Nauru?
"Nauru Bwiema" – "Nauru, our homeland" was adopted as the country's national anthem following its independence in 1968. The lyrics for the national anthem were written by Margaret Hendrie in 1862. Laurence Henry Hicks composed the music of the national anthem.