By DÁNICA COTO, The Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Barbados has stopped pledging allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II as it shed another vestige of its colonial past and became a republic for the first time in history.

Several leaders, dignitaries and artists, including Prince Charles, attended a ceremony that began late Monday and stretched into Tuesday 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.

The drive to become a republic began more than two decades ago and culminated with the island's Parliament electing its first ever president last month in a two-thirds majority vote.

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