Independence Day in Niger
In the Republic of Niger, the 3rd day of August is known as Independence Day. This public holiday commemorates the date when Niger achieved its full independence from France on this date in 1960. This landlocked country was one of the last African countries to be colonized by Europeans, but eventually, France was able to conquer the country in the 1920s.
Niger was then under French control until it was eventually able to become an autonomous state within the French community and ultimately gain its independence just a few years later. Nowadays, the holiday that celebrates this event is observed across the entire country.
The History of Independence Day in Niger
After the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 divided Africa up into little fiefdoms for European colonial powers, France decided to increase its efforts to conquer Niger—an African country that was landlocked and, as a result, wasn’t colonized yet. However, this military campaign was met with quite a bit of resistance, and it took France until 1922 to bring Niger under their control.
In 1946, the Fourth French Republic named Niger as an overseas territory, which allowed it to have its own representation in the French National Assembly and to have its own parliament. On December 4th, 1958, the country would then become an autonomous state under French control, and two weeks later, the Republic of Niger was born. In July of 1960, France agreed to allow Niger to become an independent country, which it did on August 3rd, 1960. Its first president would be Hamani Diori.
Observing Independence Day in Niger
During the 1960s, August 3rd was made a national festival, and by the mid-1970s, the government of Niger was celebrating this day as Independence Day. This holiday is observed with festivals, speeches by politicians and civic leaders to the general public, and an official government broadcast.
It has also been traditional for citizens to plant trees on this day to fight the desertification of the country. Because it’s a public holiday, it’s a day off for the general population, and many businesses are closed.