Barbados declared a republic, removing Queen Elizabeth II
Fireworks filled the sky over Barbados on Nov. 30 as the Caribbean island nation declared itself the world's newest republic, lowering Queen Elizabeth's flag as it severed colonial-era ties to the British throne to the sound of jubilant gun salutes.
"Republic Barbados has set sail on her maiden voyage," Dame Sandra Mason said in her inauguration speech as the first president of the country, recognizing the "complex, fractured and turbulent world" it would need to navigate.
"Our country must dream big dreams and fight to realize them," the former governor-general told those gathered for the ceremony, including Britain's Prince Charles.
The new era for the nation of 285,000 ends Britain's centuries of influence, including more than 200 years of slavery until 1834.
Addressing the matter during the handover, Charles acknowledged the mark slavery had left on the two countries.
"From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude," he told the crowd.
A long-running pandemic curfew was suspended to allow Barbadians to enjoy festivities, which included projections at various points across the country and large fireworks displays timed to mark the historic transition.
The "Pride of Nationhood" ceremony itself was closed to the wider public but Barbados' most famous citizen, the singer Rihanna, took place alongside top officials for the event, complete with military parades, a mounted guard of honor and gun salutes.
One of the first acts of the prime minister of the new republic was to declare Rhianna a National Hero of Barbados:
"May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring...