Each 1 May is Constitution Day in the Marshall Islands to celebrate the day in 1979 when a new Constitution was adopted and status as an independent republic was achieved.
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What is today the Marshall Islands was long the abode of native tribes. The islands were first discovered by Spain in the colonial era, but Germany ultimately took control of them. During World War I, Japan seized the Marshall Islands from Germany. During World War II, the US took control of the islands from Japan.
In a referendum held in 1978, the people of Marshall Islands voted for independence, and on 1 May 1979, full independence under a new republican constitution came into effect. The constitution provides for a strong president but also for a parliament.
On Constitution Day, there are major parades all over the country, field day events at schools, and a variety of sports contests.