“As cautioned by our first prime minister ... we ought no longer to be found loitering on colonial premises. We must seek to redefine our definition of self, of state, and the Barbados brand, in a more complex, fractured and turbulent world. ... Our country and people must dream big dreams and fight to realize them.”

Barbados stopped pledging allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II on Tuesday as it shed another vestige of its colonial past and became a republic for the first time in history, AP reports.

Several leaders, dignitaries and artists, including Prince Charles and Rihanna, attended the ceremony that began late Monday in a popular square where the statue of a well-known British lord was removed last year amid a worldwide push to erase symbols of oppression.

Fireworks peppered the sky at midnight as Barbados officially became a republic, with screens set up across the island so people could watch the event that featured an orchestra with more than 100 steel pan players and numerous singers, poets and dancers. It was also broadcast online, prompting a flurry of excited messages from Bajans living in the U.S., Canada and beyond.

“Happy Independence Day and freedom to all,” wrote one viewer.

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