Now for the January 1st lineup, before I go on holiday:
Cuba: (1899; 1959)
--- Liberation Day
Cuba's Liberation Day came as a result of the Spanish-American War, in 1899. With defeats in Cuba and the Philippines, and both of its fleets incapacitated, Spain sued for peace. Hostilities were halted on August 12, 1898, with the signing in Washington of a Protocol of Peace between the United States and Spain. After over two months of difficult negotiations, the formal peace treaty, the Treaty of Paris, was signed in Paris on December 10, 1898, and was ratified by the United States Senate on February 6, 1899. The United States gained almost all of Spain's colonies in the treaty, including the Philippines, Guam and Puerto Rico. The treaty came into force in Cuba April 11, 1899, with Cubans participating only as observers. Having been occupied since July 17, 1898, and thus under the jurisdiction of the United States Military Government (USMG), Cuba formed its own civil government and gained independence on May 20, 1902, with the announced end of USMG jurisdiction over the island. However, the U.S. imposed various restrictions on the new government, including prohibiting alliances with other countries, and reserved the right to intervene. The U.S. also established a perpetual lease of Guantánamo Bay.
On 2 December 1956 a party of 82 people on the yacht Granma landed in Cuba. They landed a week later, off course and under attack from Batista's forces, who had been anticipating their arrival. Fewer than 20 of the men on the ship survived. Batista's men claimed to have killed Castro yet could not produce a body. Months later New York Times reporter Herbert Matthews would publish the first in a series of articles that proved Castro was very much alive and made him a legend: "Fidel Castro, the rebel leader of Cuba's youth, is alive and fighting hard and successfully in the rugged, almost impenetrable fastness of the Sierra Maestra, at the southern tip of the island." The party, led by Fidel Castro, had the intention of establishing an armed resistance movement in the Sierra Maestra. While facing armed resistance from Castro's rebel fighters in the mountains, Fulgencio Batista's regime was weakened and crippled by a United States arms embargo imposed on 14 March 1958. By late 1958, the rebels broke out of the Sierra Maestra and launched a general popular insurrection. After the fighters captured Santa Clara, Batista fled from Havana on 1 January 1959 to exile in Portugal. Barquín negotiated the symbolic change of command between Camilo Cienfuegos, Che Guevara, Raúl Castro, and his brother Fidel Castro after the Supreme Court decided that the Revolution was the source of law and its representatives should assume command. Fidel Castro's forces entered the capital on 8 January 1959. Shortly afterward, a liberal lawyer, Dr Manuel Urrutia Lleó became president. He was backed by Castro's 26th of July Movement because they believed his appointment would be welcomed by the United States. Disagreements within the government culminated in Urrutia's resignation in July 1959. He was replaced by Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado, who served as president until 1976. Castro became prime minister in February 1959, succeeding José Miró in head of the state.
--- Independence Day
When the French government changed, new members of the national legislature – lobbied by planters – began to rethink their decisions on colonial slavery. After Toussaint Louverture created a separatist constitution, Napoléon Bonaparte sent an expedition of more than 20,000 men under the command of his brother-in-law, General Charles Leclerc in 1802 to retake the island. Leclerc's mission was to oust Louverture and restore slavery. The French achieved some victories, but within a few months, yellow fever had killed most of the French soldiers. More than 50,000 French troops died in an attempt to retake the colony, including 18 generals. Leclerc invited Toussaint Louverture to a parley, kidnapped him and sent him to France, where he was imprisoned at Fort de Joux. He died there in 1803 of exposure and tuberculosis or malnutrition and pneumonia. Slaves, along with free gens de couleur and allies continued their fight for independence after the French transported Louverture to France. The native leader Jean-Jacques Dessalines – long an ally and general of Toussaint Louverture, brilliant strategist and soldier – defeated French troops led by Donatien-Marie-Joseph de Vimeur, vicomte de Rochambeau, at the Battle of Vertières. In late 1803, France withdrew its remaining 7,000 troops from the island and Napoleon gave up his idea of re-establishing a North American empire. With the war going badly, he sold Louisiana to the United States. At the end of the double battle for emancipation and independence, former slaves proclaimed the independence of Saint-Domingue on 1 January 1804, declaring the new nation be named "Ayiti", both a Native American and African term, meaning "home or mother of the earth" in the Taíno-Arawak Native American language and "sacred earth or homeland" in the Fon African language, to honor one of the indigenous Taíno names for the island.
--- Independence Day
The continued British occupation of Sudan fueled an increasingly strident nationalist backlash in Egypt, with Egyptian nationalist leaders determined to force Britain to recognise a single independent union of Egypt and Sudan. With the formal end of Ottoman rule in 1914, Hussein Kamel was declared Sultan of Egypt and Sudan, as was his brother and successor Fuad I. They continued their insistence of a single Egyptian-Sudanese state even when the Sultanate was retitled as the Kingdom of Egypt and Sudan, but the British continued to frustrate such reaches for independence. The Egyptian Revolution of 1952 finally heralded the beginning of the march towards Sudanese independence. Having abolished the monarchy in 1953, Egypt's new leaders, Muhammad Naguib, whose mother was Sudanese, and later Gamal Abdel-Nasser, believed the only way to end British domination in Sudan was for Egypt to officially abandon its claims of sovereignty over Sudan. The British on the other hand continued their political and financial support for the Mahdi successor Sayyid Abdel Rahman who, they believed, could resist the Egyptian pressures for Sudanese independence. Rahman was able to resist the pressures, but his regime was plagued with political ineptitude, which garnered him a loss of support in northern and central Sudan. Egypt and Britain both sensed a great political instability forming, and opted to allow the Sudanese in the north and south to have a free vote on independence to see whether they wished for a British withdrawal. A polling process was carried out resulting in composition of a democratic parliament and Ismail al-Azhari was elected first Prime Minister and led the first modern Sudanese government. On 1 January 1956, in a special ceremony held at the People's Palace, the Egyptian and British flags were lowered and the new Sudanese flag, composed of green, blue and white stripes, was raised in their place by the prime minister Ismail al-Azhari.