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Old 11-10-2012, 07:30 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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100 years ago most of the world's sovereign nations did not exist - they were encompassed as part of colonies owned by foreign powers, or independent empires. Indeed, the age of 'nation states', one could argue, only really began after the end of World War II as colony after colony declared independence. If one considers the way in which boundaries moved and changed during Wars in the past 100 years one can see that many regions that were previously firmly entrenched as part of say x nation/ethnic group were annexed by another country. The most obvious example was the Nazis during World War II (perhaps a legacy of Prussian expansionism) although after their defeat much of these conquests and more were confiscated.

In Europe there are many examples. France gained Alsace-Lorraine. I believe the Czechs regained the Sudetenland, which correct me if I'm wrong is ethnically and culturally German. The Russians got a bit of Prussia, that enclave near Poland. Poland itself gained a lot of east Prussia/Germany which I believe has become Polish now.

In Asia, Isaan Province in Northeast Thailand is really Lao linguistically and culturally. Thailand lost the southernmost provinces of Kelantan and northern Perak to Malaysia. China has in it's territories Tibet and Xinjiang (although you could argue China has as much right to Tibet as the US has to Alaska or Hawaii) as well as Inner Mongolia. The Republic of China (Taiwan) actually claims Mongolia as well.

The Soviet Union of course ruled many independent nations from Estonia to Kazakhstan. One could argue there are still areas in the northern Caucasus that could vie for independence. But then you'd have to consider numerous other examples like Basques in Spain. The Armenians took over a part of Azerbaijan. Kurdistan was annexed into Iran. I guess one could go on forever trying to split every ethnic group into it's own country.
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Old 11-10-2012, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Keizer, OR
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A lot areas along the border of Canada in New England is probably one place. A lot of areas around there have many people who speak French due to the proximity to Quebec, and many are of French descent even. Maine has a lot of signs throughout the state in English and French.

Along the border with Mexico, many places just south of I-10 could easily go to Mexico. Most places south of San Antonio could easily be part of Mexico.

The Pacific Northwest is an interesting region where American and Canadian cultures blend. Many have proposed that Oregon, Washington, Idaho, British Columbia, and Southern Alaska could form it's own country with an independent identity.
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Old 11-10-2012, 11:53 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Originally Posted by portlanderinOC View Post
A lot areas along the border of Canada in New England is probably one place. A lot of areas around there have many people who speak French due to the proximity to Quebec, and many are of French descent even. Maine has a lot of signs throughout the state in English and French.

Along the border with Mexico, many places just south of I-10 could easily go to Mexico. Most places south of San Antonio could easily be part of Mexico.

The Pacific Northwest is an interesting region where American and Canadian cultures blend. Many have proposed that Oregon, Washington, Idaho, British Columbia, and Southern Alaska could form it's own country with an independent identity.
I've heard SW New Brunswick has an accent similar to E. New England. The Minnesota accent sounds kind of Canadian.

In far northeast England the people speak with a Scottish accent but are English. The area has switched between Scottish and English more times than people can remember.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:26 AM
 
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There is a very narrow sliver of far, far northeastern Italy where the countryside outside the large coastal towns is, for the most part, Slovenian. (It's gotten more mixed in recent years.) This little slice almost went to Yugoslavia after WWII; the western third of what is currently Slovenia was taken over by Italy after WWI and suffered greatly under Mussolini. Most, but not quite all, of that western third went to Yugoslavia. As for the eastern 2/3, once WWII got going the Germans took it over, not to mention everything else all the way down to Greece, and that's when things got real nasty.

Before WWI, that whole area belonged to Austria-Hungary, except for Slava Veneta ("Slava" meaning "Slavic"), which was under Venice until some time in the 19th century. The Slovenes up there are called "Venetian Slovenes" and are distinct from the Slovenes closer down to the Adriatic who were under Austria-Hungary until the end of WWI.

In 1949, which was the end of the Free State of Trieste, the British/Americans just kind of arbitrarily drew the new border between Italy and Tito's Yugoslavia. Entire towns and villages, and even a cemetery, were cut in half by the Iron Curtain, splitting up families and trapping individuals who happened to be visiting the wrong village on the day the new border was declared (it happened very swiftly). Now that Slovenia is full-fledged EU and the border went down, you can sneeze while riding in a car and fail to realize you just crossed it. Only the bilingual road signs would indicate that you were back in Italy.

To be sure, there are also Italians in Slovenia and Croatia, mostly in the large coastal cities. Most Italians hightailed it out of there when Marshall Tito took over, especially the newcomers that had shown up during the Mussolini years (he went out of his way to Italianize those areas; previously, these areas had been mixed for centuries and centuries, with Italians in the coastal towns and Slavs dominating the interior), but a fair number stayed. Along Slovenia's very short coastline there are Italians in Koper (Capo d'Istria), Piran (Pirano), Portoroz (Porto Rosso, I think), Ankaran (Ancarano) and so on. In Croatia they're mostly concentrated in the far northwestern Istrian peninsula, in coastal towns such as Rijeka (Fiume), **** (Pola), Umag (Umago), and so on. A smaller number can be found in Dalmatia, particularly in Split (Splitti). All of this was Venetian property for centuries, but then Austria-Hungary took over much of it.

From what I understand, Slovenia bends over backwards to ensure Italian language/cultural rights (Italy, which is huge and has clout, would protest whenever they didn't), but rumor has it that Croatia has been messing with the Italians in recent years. Don't know if that's true or not.

As for countries other than Italy and Slovenia where Slovenes can be found, there's a bit of spillover into what are now Austria and Hungary, although there are more Hungarians that ended up in what is now far northeastern Slovenia (Murska-Sobota, IIRC) than vice-versa. As for Austria, the ancient Slovenian capital was what is now Klagenfurt (called Celovec in Slovene) in the state of Carinthia. Some time around the 8th or 9th century the Slovenes turned to the Germans after getting whooped by the Avars. In recent years, Jorg Haider and his boys probably dedicated more energy to opposing the local Slovenes (for example, he went around chopping down bilingual road signs) than actual immigrants. As far as their local Carinthian activities went, I mean.

Back in Italy, and more famously, you have Sud Tirol (South Tyrol) in the region of Trento-Aldige, which is essentially a little piece of far southwestern Austria (the panhandle of Austria proper is called Tyrol, and is immediately north on the other side of the ridge) that got broken off and handed to Italy after WWI. The local population is overwhelmingly, and adamantly, German in ethnicity and language. I mean, they fought hard for it back in the 70s. I think there might have even been a few bombs planted, Quebecois style. Today, if you go there and call them "Italian" you'll have commited a major faux pas. Merkel recently went on holiday there and a reporter asked her how she liked Italy. "We're in Italy!?" she quipped, probably hoping it would stick in Berlusconni's craw.

Towards the northwestern border of Italy/France you have a group of Aquitaines who got caught on the Italian side. The Aquitanes are a linguistic minority that for the most part exist in southeastern France. The group that has found themselves in what is now Italy are in a double bind. The South Tyroleans have Austria to point to, and the Slovenian minority of the far northeast have Slovenia (although Austria has more clout, and the Slovenian government could care less), but the Aquitaines have only Aquitainia which is under France. France doesn't give a ***** about the Aquitanes maintaining their language and culture and has in fact historically opposed them (you can also ask the Bernaise and countless others how they've fared), so when they asked France for help France said "sure, we'll back you up in your struggle to maintain your French language and culture in Italy." It's like asking the old bully to save you from the new bully.

I have a saying: borders are very messy things. Nowhere is this more true than in this particular corner of Central Europe.
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Old 11-11-2012, 02:50 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Really good info Metal Lord, the situation in Europe is very complex.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:10 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Culturally, Switzerland pretty much "belongs" to Germany, France or Italy, depending on the area of Switzerland. While there may be a Swiss political mind-set, the border doesn't really separate cultures.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MetalLord View Post
To be sure, there are also Italians in Slovenia and Croatia, mostly in the large coastal cities. Most Italians hightailed it out of there when Marshall Tito took over, especially the newcomers that had shown up during the Mussolini years (he went out of his way to Italianize those areas; previously, these areas had been mixed for centuries and centuries, with Italians in the coastal towns and Slavs dominating the interior), but a fair number stayed. Along Slovenia's very short coastline there are Italians in Koper (Capo d'Istria), Piran (Pirano), Portoroz (Porto Rosso, I think), Ankaran (Ancarano) and so on. In Croatia they're mostly concentrated in the far northwestern Istrian peninsula, in coastal towns such as Rijeka (Fiume), **** (Pola), Umag (Umago), and so on. A smaller number can be found in Dalmatia, particularly in Split (Splitti). All of this was Venetian property for centuries, but then Austria-Hungary took over much of it.
Great post. The Italian name is Portorose.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
Culturally, Switzerland pretty much "belongs" to Germany, France or Italy, depending on the area of Switzerland. While there may be a Swiss political mind-set, the border doesn't really separate cultures.
only a tiny percentage of the swiss speak italian and the quater who speak french are nothing like the french , the country is much more similar to germany as a whole
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:37 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Originally Posted by irish_bob View Post
only a tiny percentage of the swiss speak italian and the quater who speak french are nothing like the french , the country is much more similar to germany as a whole
How are they nothing like the French? I heard French Swiss are more like French than Swiss Germans are like Germans. Much of Swiss identity is Swiss-German identity. Geneva could be annexed by France and you probably couldn't tell much difference.

Belgium is probably a better example of a more multi-linguistic/ethnic country, it's sort of split between France and the Netherlands.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:56 PM
 
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The high Alps are an interesting case. I don't know if this is universal, but it's my impression that ethno-linguistic barriers aren't as solid up there. I guess it was a matter of isolation and the harshness of life (before modern ski holidayers and salted tarmac) that made it so folks had more important things to do than engage in ethnic beefs. Also, I've heard that the Swiss villages that are way, way up there... that each individual village may as well be its own culture, as each such village existed in relative isolation for centuries.
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