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Martyrs’ Day Commemorated in Togo

Martyrs’ Day is a public holiday celebrated in Togo.

Martyrs’ Day: June 21

Martyrs’ Day is a public holiday celebrated in Togo.

The Togolese Republic celebrates Martyrs’ Day every year on June 21. Martyr’s Day is a very solemn day as it honors those brave soldiers who gave up their lives so that others could live a free and independent life.

History of Martyrs’ Day in Togo

The country of Togo was one of the major centers of slave trade in the middle ages, eventually earning the label of “The Slave Coast.” This continued for centuries until it came under the control of Germany in 1884. Germany ruled it as a model state until on August 8, 1914, the United Kingdom and France invaded, eventually taking control of it.

After World War II, Togo became a UN trust territory. The country finally took its independence on April 27, 1960 with the leadership of Sylvanus Olympio, first president of the Togolese Republic. However, a long period of instability and strife took hold with Sylvanus Olympio being murdered in 1963. Opposition leader Nicolas Grunitzky took the reigns but was deposed in 1967. A long series of transitions and bloodshed followed for decades, culminating with the reign of Eyadema Gnassingbe. It’s said that before the death of Gnassingbe in 2005, he was responsible for the deaths of over 15,000 people.

Togo’s Martyrs’ Day Traditions, Customs and Activities

Togo remembers its martyrs and the people that have died during the many years of civil unrest. People like Sylvanus Olympio are commemorated for the work they did to bring peace in the face of a strong opposition. Military parades bring mixed feelings to people, some who think of the military as a symbol of strength and some who equate the military to the deaths of so many innocent people.

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