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Stateless nation

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Title: Stateless nation  
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Subject: Catalan language, Safwa people, Minority language, Secession, Tamil nationalism
Collection: Autonomy, Cultural Geography, Human Rights by Issue, Independence Movements, Nationalism, Political Science Terms, Secession, Sovereignty
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Stateless nation

A stateless nation is an ethnic group, religious group, linguistic group or other cohesive group which is not the majority population in any nation state. The term implies that the group "should have" such a state, and thus expresses irredentism. This is orthogonal to statelessness in the sense of an individual's complete lack of a legal nationality: members of stateless ethnic groups may be citizens/nationals of the country in which they live, or they may be denied citizenship by that country. Stateless nations are usually not represented as a nation in international sports such as FIFA, Olympics or in international communities such as the United Nations. Nations without state are classified as fourth world nations.[1]

Stateless nations either are dispersed across a number of states (for example, the Kurdish people are found in Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Armenia and Syria) or form the native population of a province within a larger state (such as the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region within the People's Republic of China). Some stateless nations historically had a state, which was absorbed by another; for example, Tibet's declaration of independence in 1913 was not recognized, and it was invaded in 1951 by the People's Republic of China which claims that Tibet is an integral part of China, while the Tibetan government-in-exile maintains that Tibet is an independent state under unlawful occupation.[2][3] Especially Ethnic groups in Asia, Africa, Australia and America lost their self-determination by a result of colonialism and suffer since then as a stateless nation. The colonial powers imposed a unified state structure irrespective of the ethnic differences and released their colony later as a multinational state. Many ethnic groups have become a minority who have to live in a state that is mostly dominated by a majority. Because of the ethnic differences came in some countries later to discrimination, ethnic conflict, separatism, ethnic cleansing, genocide and partition.[4] Some ethnic groups were once a stateless nation that later became a nation state (for example, the nations of the Balkan such as the Croats, Serbs, Bosnians, Slovenes, Montenegrins, Kosovars and Macedonians were once part of a multinational state of Yugoslavia. Since the breakup of Yugoslavia many nation states were formed).

The Romani people may be a special case, being distributed among numerous countries with no clear homeland; as a traditionally "nomadic" people, the Romani/Roma are a classical "stateless nation" without aspiration to sovereign territory.

As not all states are nation states, there are a number of ethnic groups who live in a multinational state without being considered "stateless nations". As there are several thousand individual languages and fewer than 200 independent states, it follows that the vast majority of ethnic groups is "stateless" in the sense that they do not have their own nation state.


  • Claims of stateless nations 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4

Claims of stateless nations

This is a list of the largest groups without a nation of their own for which an autonomist and secessionist movements is known to exist. Groups claiming to be representatives of these stateless nations are fighting for their rights to self-determination with peaceful and violent movements, but their sovereignty and legitimacy is not recognized by the world community.

People Flag Language (ca.) Population States Homeland Irredentist movement Notes
Tamil people
Tamil language 77,000,000 Sri Lanka, Republic of India Tamilakam and Tamil Eelam Sri Lankan Tamil nationalism, Tamil nationalism, LTTE, Sri Lankan Civil War, TNLA [5] regional autonomy in Tamil Nadu
Sindhi 60,000,000 Pakistan, India Sindhudesh JSQM, JSMM, Sindhudesh Liberation Army
African Americans
African American English 42,000,000 United States Black Belt (U.S. region) Republic of New Afrika, Black Liberation Army, Black Guerrilla Family, various New Communist Movement groups[9][10]
Kurdish language 35,000,000 Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Armenia, Syria Kurdistan Kurdish–Turkish conflict and Kurdish-Iranian conflict regional autonomy in Iraqi Kurdistan
Yoruba people
Yoruba language 35,000,000 Nigeria, Benin, Togo Yorubaland Oodua Peoples Congress
Mexican Americans
Spanish language, English language 34,500,000 United States Aztlán tendencies within the MEChA, Raza Unida Party, Chicano Moratorium, Brown Berets, various New Communist Movement groups[11][12]
Igbo people
Igbo language 30,000,000 Nigeria Biafra Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra
Punjabi language 27,000,000 Republic of India, Pakistan Khalistan Khalistan movement
Palestinian people
Arabic language 11,000,000 West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel Palestine Arab–Israeli conflict limited autonomy in the Palestinian territories, majority in Jordan
Baloch people
Balochi 10,000,000 Pakistan, Iran, Afghanistan Balochistan Balochistan conflict
Andalusian people
Andalusian Spanish 9,500,000 Spain Andalucia Andalusian nationalism See also Nationalisms and regionalisms of Spain
Uyghur people
Uyghur language 9,000,000 People's Republic of China Chinese Turkestan irredentism is politically fragmented (East Turkestan independence movement) limited autonomy in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region
Ahwazi people
Arabic language
Persian language
8,000,000 Iran Al-Ahwaz Arab separatism in Khuzestan
Catalan people
Catalan language 8,000,000 Spain, France Catalonia Catalan separatism See also Nationalisms and regionalisms of Spain
Tatar language 7,000,000 Russian Federation Tatarstan All-Tatar Public Center regional autonomy in Tatarstan
French language 6,200,000 Canada Quebec Quebec sovereignty movement The total population of the Province of Quebec is 7.9 million, of which 6.2 million are French speakers
Shan people
Shan language 6,000,000 Burma Shan State Declaration of independence in 2005; see also Hso Khan Pha
Tibetan people
Tibetan language 6,000,000 People's Republic of China Tibet Tibetan independence movement limited autonomy in the Tibet Autonomous Region
Kashmiri people
Kashmiri language 5,600,000 Republic of India, Pakistan, People's Republic of China Kashmir Insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir Administered by India (Kashmir Valley, Jammu, Ladakh), by Pakistan (Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan), by China (Aksai Chin).
Scottish people
English, Scots, Scottish Gaelic 5,200,000 United Kingdom Scotland Scottish independence regional autonomy in Scotland
French, Wallon, Picard, German 5,200,000 Belgium Wallonia Partition of Belgium, Walloon Movement regional autonomy in Wallonia, Seeks independence from Belgium or reuniting with France.
Kabyle people
Kabyle language, Algerian Arabic 5,000,000 Algeria Kabylie Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylie
Acehnese people
Acehnese language 4,000,000 Indonesia Aceh Insurgency in Aceh regional autonomy in Aceh
Hmong people
Hmong language 4,000,000 Laos, People's Republic of China, Vietnam, Thailand Hmong ChaoFa Federated State Insurgency in Laos
Puerto Rican people
Spanish language 3,638,484 United States Puerto Rico Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Nacional Puertorriqueña, Boricua Popular Army Unincorporated territory of the United States
Rohingya people
Rohingya language 3,600,000 Burma, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, Malaysia Burma, Rakhine state Rohingya conflict in Western Burma
Assyrian people (aka Syriac/Aramaean people)
Neo-Aramaic language 3,500,000 Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey Assyrian homeland Assyrian nationalism, Assyrian independence
Breton people
French, Breton, Gallo 3,120,288 France Brittany Breton nationalism
Welsh people
English, Welsh language 3,000,000 United Kingdom Wales Welsh independence regional autonomy in Wales
Galician people
Galician language 2,800,000 Spain Galiza Galician nationalism See also Nationalisms and regionalisms of Spain
Basque people
Basque language 2,600,000 France, Spain Basque Country Basque nationalism
Naga people
Tibeto-Burman dialects / Nagamese creole 2,000,000 Republic of India Nagaland Naga National Council, Insurgency in Northeast India regional autonomy in Nagaland
Chechen language 2,000,000 Russian Federation Chechnya and Dagestan Chechen insurgency, Chechen Republic of Ichkeria regional autonomy in Chechnya
Canarian people
Spanish, Guanche language (extinct) 1,600,000 Spain, Venezuela, Cuba Canary Islands Canarian nationalism National devolution, further autonomy or total secession from Mainland Spain.
Bodo people
Bodo language 1,300,000 Republic of India Bodoland National Democratic Front of Bodoland
Tuareg people
Tuareg language 1,200,000 Mali, Niger Azawad Tuareg rebellion (2012)
Hawaiian people
Hawaiian language 1,000,000 United States Hawaii Hawaiian sovereignty movement
Inuit languages 1,000,000 Canada, United States, Denmark Siberia, Alaska, Northern Canada, Greenland Greenland Referendum, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Semi-autonomous rule in Greenland, Autonomy in Canada
Mapudungun 1,000,000 Argentina, Chile Araucanía Mapuche conflict
Ryukyuan people
Ryukyuan language 1,000,000 Japan Ryukyu Kingdom Ryukyu independence movement
Occitan people
Occitan language 100,000 to 800,000 France, Italy, Spain Occitania Occitan Party
Māori people
Māori, English 750,000 New Zealand New Zealand Māori protest movement
Australian Aborigines
Aboriginal languages 680,000 Australia Australia Movement is fragmented or focused on specific aboriginal groups
Cornish people
Cornish English, Cornish 534,300 (only Cornwall) United Kingdom Cornwall Cornish nationalism, Mebyon Kernow, Cornish Nationalist Party Cornwall demand a devolution or autonomy.
Sami people
Sami languages, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Russian 163,400 Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia Sapmi Has their own Parliaments in Norway, Sweden & Finland
Lakota people (Sioux)
Lakota, English 103,255 United States Lakotah Sioux Wars Native American reservation politics

See also


  1. ^ David Newman, Boundaries, Territory and Postmodernity
  2. ^ Clark, Gregory, In fear of China, 1969, saying: "Tibet, although enjoying independence at certain periods of its history, had never been recognised by any single foreign power as an independent state. The closest it has ever come to such recognition was the British formula of 1943: suzerainty, combined with autonomy and the right to enter into diplomatic relations."
  3. ^ "The Legal Status of Tibet". Cultural Survival. 
  4. ^ Donald L. Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict
  5. ^ "Tehelka - India's Independent Weekly News Magazine". Retrieved 18 October 2014. 
  6. ^ 1928 and 1930 Communist International Resolutions on the Negro Question in the United States [1928 and 1930 Communist International Resolutions on the Negro Question in the United States]
  7. ^ Haywood, Harry, The Struggle for the Leninist Position on the Negro Question in the United States, 1933
  8. ^ Gilmore, Glinda, Defying Dixie: The Radical Roots of Civil Rights, 1919-1950, 2008
  9. ^ "1981 - RWH Pamphlet - Build the Black Liberation Movement". Retrieved 18 October 2014. 
  10. ^ """Full text of "In Defense of the Right to Political Secession for the Afro-American Nation. Retrieved 18 October 2014. 
  11. ^ EROL. "The Struggle for Chicano Liberation, Resolution on the Chicano national question". Retrieved 18 October 2014. 
  12. ^ "Fan the Flames – A Revolutionary Position on the Chicano National Question: A Pamphlet by the August Twenty-Ninth Movement (M-L) - The Marxist-Leninist". The Marxist-Leninist. Retrieved 18 October 2014. 
  • Levinson, David, ed. (1998), Ethnic Groups Worldwide: A Ready Reference Handbook, Phoenix, AZ: The Oryx Press,  
  • Minahan, James, ed. (2002), Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: Ethnic and National Groups Around the World, Westport: Greenwood Press,  
  • Bodlore-Penlaez, Mikael, ed. (2011), Atlas of Stateless Nations in Europe, minority peoples in search of recognition, Ceredigion: Y Lolfa,  

External links

  • Map of European Stateless Nations, published by the advocacy group Eurominority
  • United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities
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