Independence Day in Nauru
Observed annually on January 31st, Nauru Independence Day is a holiday that’s observed in the Republic of Nauru—an island that was once known as Pleasant Island. This country is an island nation in Micronesia in the South Pacific. The nearest neighbor to this nation is Kiribati—an island that lies some 186 miles to the east.
Nauru is a country with only 9,378 residents and is approximately 8.1 square miles. This holiday commemorates Nauruan independence. The holiday was first observed on January 31, 1968—and this date was chosen because it was the 22nd anniversary of the return of Nauruans from Truk (now known as Chuuk).
The History Of Nauru Independence Day
During the 18th century, the island was sighted by an English sailing vessel, and by the 1830s, Nauru would become a port of call for various whaling and shipping vessels in the area of Micronesia. Germany would incorporate Nauru into the Marshall Islands protectorate in 1888. At the turn of the 20th century, a British company known as the Pacific Phosphate Company negotiated an agreement with the German administration to mine the island’s phosphate deposits.
After WWI, Nauru would become a mandate territory within the League of Nations. Over the next few decades, phosphate mining would continue on the island by the British. During WWII, Japanese forces arrived on the island, and 1,200 Nauruans were removed and taken to Truk—islands that are now known as Chuuk. These Nauruans were enslaved to work as forced laborers on Japanese military installations located on the islands.
When WWII concluded, Nauruans would return from Truk in 1946, and Nauru would become a UN Trust Territory in November of 1947. Over the next couple of decades, Nauru would eventually gain some political independence and was even able to take control of the phosphate industry. In October 1967, Nauru was granted independence, and the country decided to celebrate Independence Day in 1968 on the 22nd anniversary of when Nauruans returned to the island.
Observing Nauru Independence Day
Independence Day is celebrated in Nauru by people raising their flags, listening to speeches from local politicians, and by singing the national anthem. This holiday is also celebrated with fishing competitions, wrestling matches, and even a tug of war.