Stateless nation  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A stateless nation is a political term for an ethnic group or nation that does not possess its own state and is not the majority population in any nation state. The term "stateless" implies that the group "should have" such a state. Members of stateless nations may be citizens of the country in which they live, or they may be denied citizenship by that country. Stateless nations are usually not represented in international sports or in international organisations such as the United Nations. Nations without state are classified as fourth world nations. Some of the stateless nations have a history of statehood, some were always a stateless nation, dominated by another nation.

The term was coined in 1983 by political scientist Jacques Leruez in his book "L'Ecosse, une nation sans Etat" about the peculiar position of Scotland within the British state. It was later adopted and popularized by Scottish scholars such as David McCrone, Michael Keating and T.M. Devine.

Stateless nations either are dispersed across a number of states (for example, the Yoruba people are found in the African states of Nigeria, Benin and Togo) 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 an unlawful occupation. Some ethnic groups were once a stateless nation that later became a nation state (for example, the nations of the Balkans such as the Croats, Serbs, Bosniaks, Slovenes, Montenegrins, Kosovars and Macedonians were once part of a multinational state of Yugoslavia; since the breakup of Yugoslavia many nation states were formed).

Stateless nations can have large populations. For example, the Tamils are a stateless nation in South Asia with a population of more than 75 million. They form one of the largest ethnic groups in South India. Governments may respond differently to stateless nations in their states. For example, the suppression of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka led to the Sri Lankan civil war between 1983 and 2009, one of the longest and most violent separatist conflicts. However, a similar ethnic conflict was absent among Tamils in India during this period, because they were peacefully integrated into the federal structure of India. Multiple stateless nations can reside in the same geographical region or country; for example, Catalans, Basques, Aragonese, Galicians, Asturians, Valencians and Andalusians within Spanish State, or the Brahui, Santhals and Balochs in South Asia. However, not all peoples within multi-cultural states have the same conscience to be a stateless nation. In Spain, only Basques and Catalans have claimed their right of self-determination, which in the Basque country gave rise to the militant movement ETA, and in the case of Catalonia, has led to multiple attempts of secession from Spain during the past four centuries, as an independent Catalan Republic.

The Romani people are another stateless people. They 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".

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Stateless nation" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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