This public holiday starts on 30 September every year and lasts for two days. It is Botswana's National Day and marks independence from the United Kingdom in 1966.
In the late nineteenth century, the Tswana inhabitants in the region were being attacked by tribes from the north-east and threatened by the advancing Dutch Boer settlers from the south and east.
To combat these threats, the Batswana leaders Khama III, Bathoen and Sebele appealed to the British Government for assistance. The British put the northern part of the region, Bechuanaland (the name came from an English corruption of the 'Land of the Tswana'), under its protection on 31 March 1885.
When the Union of South Africa was formed in 1910 from the main British colonies in the region, provision was made that Bechuanaland would eventually join the union. However, the regional tribal chief wanted to stay out of the union as he didn't think it would be good for his people. His lobbying was successful and the British effectively stalled in transferring the region to South Africa. With the adoption of apartheid in 1948, any possible integration into South Africa evaporated.
Weakened by the efforts of World War II and a rising desire for independence, Britain began the process of reducing its colonies around the world, including those Africa.
In 1964, the UK accepted proposals for self-government in Botswana. A new constitution adopted in 1965 paved the way for the first general elections, resulting in independence on 30 September 1966.
Seretse Khama who had been a key figure in the independence movement was elected as the first President.