The Info List - Multinational State

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A multinational state is a sovereign state that comprises two or more nations. This is in contrast to a nation state, where a single nation accounts for the bulk of the population. Depending on the definition of "nation" (which touches on ethnicity, language, and political identity), a multinational state might also be multicultural or multilingual. Present-day examples of multinational states are Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Madagascar, Montenegro, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Historical multinational states that have since split into multiple sovereign states include Austria-Hungary, British India, Czechoslovakia, the Empire of Japan, the Soviet Union, and Yugoslavia. Some analysts have described the European Union
European Union
as a multinational state or a potential one.[1][2] Many attempts have been made to define what a multinational state is. One complicating factor is that it is possible for members of a group that could be considered a nation to identify with two different nationalities simultaneously. As Ilan Peleg wrote in Democratizing the Hegemonic State:

One can be a Scot and a Brit in the United Kingdom, a Jew and an American in the United States, an Igbo and a Nigerian in Nigeria
... One might find it hard to be a Slovak and a Hungarian, an Arab and an Israeli, a Breton and a Frenchman.[3]

A state may also be a society, and a multiethnic society has people belonging to more than one ethnic group, in contrast to societies that are ethnically homogeneous. By some definitions of "society" and "homogeneous", virtually all contemporary national societies are multiethnic. The scholar David Welsh argued in 1993 that fewer than 20 of the 180 sovereign states then in existence were ethnically and nationally homogeneous, if a homogeneous state was defined as one in which minorities made up less than 5 percent of the population.[4] Sujit Choudhry
Sujit Choudhry
therefore argues that "[t]he age of the ethnoculturally homogeneous state, if ever there was one, is over".[5]


1 History 2 Modern multinational or multiethnic states

2.1 Americas

2.1.1 Canada 2.1.2 Bolivia

2.2 Asia

2.2.1 India 2.2.2 Indonesia 2.2.3 Nepal 2.2.4 Sri Lanka 2.2.5 Afghanistan 2.2.6 Pakistan 2.2.7 Malaysia 2.2.8 People's Republic of China

2.3 Europe

2.3.1 Russian Federation 2.3.2 Belgium 2.3.3 Bosnia and Herzegovina 2.3.4 France 2.3.5 Montenegro 2.3.6 Norway 2.3.7 Serbia 2.3.8 Spain 2.3.9 United Kingdom

2.4 Africa

2.4.1 Ghana 2.4.2 Kenya 2.4.3 Nigeria 2.4.4 South Africa

3 Former multinational states

3.1 Austria-Hungary 3.2 Ottoman Empire 3.3 Soviet Union 3.4 Yugoslavia

4 See also 5 References

History[edit] According to Neil MacGregor, Director of the British Museum, the Cyrus Cylinder written by Cyrus the Great, the founder of the Persian Empire, was "the first attempt we know about running a society, a state with different nationalities and faiths—a new kind of statecraft."[6] Modern multinational or multiethnic states[edit] The CIA World Factbook provides a list[7] of the ethnic makeup of every country in the world. Americas[edit] Canada[edit] Main article: Constitutional debate in Canada Whether Canada
should be described as "multinational" is an ongoing topic in academia[8] and popular discourse. The current policy of the federal government is that Canada
is bilingual—English and French are both official languages—and multicultural. In 2006, the House of Commons of Canada
voted in favor of Government Business No. 11, which states that the Québécois "form a nation within a united Canada".[9] Bolivia[edit] Since 2010, under the presidency of Evo Morales, Bolivia
has been officially defined as a plurinational state, which recognizes the national distinctiveness of various indigenous peoples. Asia[edit] Many Asian countries recognize multiple ethnic groups:

Country Groups recognized Largest groups Date of recognition

 Vietnam 53 ethnic minorities (see list) Viet/Kinh, 86.2% (1999) Founding

 Laos 47 ethnicities, 149 groups (see list) Lao, 68% (1995) Founding

 Thailand 38 ethnicities (see list) Thai, 74% Thai Chinese, 14%


 Cambodia 38 ethnicities (see list) Khmer, 86.3% Vietnamese and Chinese, 5% each Founding

 People's Republic of China 56 ethnic groups (see list) Han, 91% (2010) Founding (1949)

 Republic of China 14 ethnic groups (see list) Chinese Taiwanese (84%) mainland Chinese (14%) indigenous peoples (2%). Founding

India[edit] Further information: Ethnic groups of India India
has more than 2,000 ethnic groups, and every major religion is represented, as are four major language families (Indo-European, Dravidian, Austroasiatic, and Sino-Tibetan) and a language isolate (Nihali). Each state and union territory of India
has one or more official languages, and the Constitution of India
recognizes in particular 22 "scheduled languages". It also recognizes 212 scheduled tribal groups, which together constitute about 7.5% of the country's population.[citation needed] Further information: Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes India
has a Muslim-majority state ( Jammu
and Kashmir) and a Muslim-majority union territory (Lakshadweep); three Christian-majority states (Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland); and a Sikh-majority state (Punjab). Most of its states are based on ethnicity, including Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, and Chhatisgarh
(Hindavi), Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
(Tamil), Andhra Pradesh and Telangana
(Telugu), Karnataka
(Kannadigas), Odisha
(Odia), Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
(Dogras and Kashmiris), Goa, Konkanis, Gujarat (Gujarati), West Bengal
West Bengal
(Bengali), Maharashtra
(Marathi), Punjab (Punjabi), Haryana
(Haryanvi), and Kerala
(Malyali). Furthermore, several Indian states are themselves ethnically, religiously, and linguistically diverse. Karnataka
is home to the Tulu and Kannada people; Jammu and Kashmir
Jammu and Kashmir
consists of Hindu-majority Jammu, Muslim-majority Kashmir, and Buddhist-majority Ladakh; and Assam
includes the Assamese, Bodo, and Karbi people. Indonesia[edit] Further information: Ethnic groups in Indonesia There are over 300 ethnic groups in Indonesia Nepal[edit] Further information: Demographics of Nepal Nepal
does not have a majority ethnic group, and its society is multiethnic, multireligious, and multilingual. Aside from the country's indigenous people, most Nepalese are descendants of migrants from Kashmir, Greater Nepal, Tibet, India, and parts of Myanmar
and China's Yunnan
Province. Khas and Mongoloids populate the hilly areas of Nepal, while the Madhesis, a diverse group of Indian origin, live in the southeast. The indigenous Tharu people
Tharu people
were the first settlers of the Terai
region, before the arrival of the Madhesis. The Himalayas
are sparsely populated above 3,000 m (9,800 ft), but north of the mountains, in central and western Nepal, ethnic Sherpas and Tamangs inhabit high, semi-arid valleys. The Kathmandu Valley, in the middle hill region, constitutes a small fraction of the nation's area but is the most densely populated, with almost 5 percent of the nation's population. Sri Lanka[edit] Further information: Demographics of Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
is inhabited by Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils, Indian Tamils, Moors, Veddas, Burghers, and other small ethnic groups. Afghanistan[edit] Further information: Ethnic groups in Afghanistan Afghanistan
has no ethnic majority, although the Pashtuns
are estimated to account for over 45% of the population.[10] Under the sovereign governance of Pashtun rulers, the term "Afghan" was changed from an ethnonym for Pashtuns
to a demonym for any citizen of Afghanistan, regardless of ethnic affiliation. This change was incorporated into the constitution, making it resemble that of a multinational state. However, irredentist disputes over Pakistan's Pashtun lands have continued. Other ethnic groups in Afghanistan
include Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, Aimaqs, Turkmens, and Balochs.[11] The government gives equal status to Pashto and Dari as official languages. Pakistan[edit] Further information: Ethnic groups of Pakistan Present-day Pakistan
arose out of the Pakistan
Movement, which demanded a separate state for the Muslims of the British Raj. The movement was based on the two-nation theory put forward by Muhammad Ali Jinnah: the idea that Hindus and Muslims in British India represented not only different religious communities but also distinct nations, and hence that, in the event of Indian independence, they should be divided into two nation states. Jinnah (known in Pakistan
as "Quaid-e-Azm", meaning "the great leader")[citation needed] outlined the theory as follows:

It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religious in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders, and it is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality, and this misconception of one Indian nation has troubles and will lead India
to destruction if we fail to revise our notions in time. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, literatures. They neither intermarry nor interdine together and, indeed, they belong to two different civilizations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions. Their aspect on life and of life are different. It is quite clear that Hindus and Mussalmans derive their inspiration from different sources of history. They have different epics, different heroes, and different episodes. Very often the hero of one is a foe of the other and, likewise, their victories and defeats overlap. To yoke together two such nations under a single state, one as a numerical minority and the other as a majority, must lead to growing discontent and final destruction of any fabric that may be so built for the government of such a state."[12][13]

This movement culminated in the creation of Pakistan
in 1947 through the partition of India. Urdu
was then promoted as the national language of all South Asian Muslims. However, Pakistan
remains ethnically diverse. Punjabis
are the largest language group, but at 45 percent of the population, they do not make up an absolute majority. Furthermore, only 8 percent of Pakistanis speak the national language, Urdu, as their mother tongue. As a result, many nationalist movements that oppose the two-nation theory have emerged, arguing that Pakistan is not only a linguistically diverse state but also a multinational one, and that, therefore, each ethnolinguistic group of Pakistan
is a distinct nation.[14] Common grievances of these movements include the idea that Punjabis
dominate Pakistan
politically and economically, thus marginalizing other groups, and that the establishment of Urdu
as the country's sole official language is a form of cultural imperialism that ignores the heritage of Pakistan's diverse peoples. The most successful of these movements was Bengali nationalism, which led to the creation of the Bengali-speaking nation-state of Bangladesh. The movement asserted that Urdu's official status gave an unfair advantage to Muhajirs (most of whom speak Urdu
as their mother tongue) and Punjabis
(whose mother tongue, Punjabi, is similar to Urdu, and many of whom were educated in Urdu
under British rule). Bengalis feared they would be marginalized despite their demographic strength as, at the time, the largest ethnic group of Pakistan. These grievances culminated in the secession of East Bengal
East Bengal
(which had been part of the administrative unit of East Pakistan) and the creation of Bangladesh. Today, nationalist movements within Pakistan
include those of the Sindhis, Pashtuns, Balochs, Mohajirs, and Kashmiris. The members of these movements assert that Islam cannot be considered the sole basis for nationhood, and that Pakistan
is therefore a multinational state. Their demands range from increased autonomy or the transformation of Pakistan
into a federation, to the recognition of language rights for non-Urdu-speaking populations, to outright secession. Despite the fact that Punjabis
are widely seen as the dominant ethnic group in Pakistan, both economically and politically, there is also a small Punjabi movement that asserts that the Punjabi language
Punjabi language
has been unfairly subordinated to Urdu
and supports the reestablishment of cultural and economic links with East Punjab
East Punjab
in India.[15] Malaysia[edit] When it was formed on 16 September 1963, Malaysia
comprised four independent, self-governing nations: Malaya, Singapore, Sabah, and Sarawak. In 1965, Singapore
seceded from the federation. Today, Malaya, Sabah, and Sarawak
each have their own ethnic majority. Generally, however, Malaysia
is considered to have three major ethnic groups: Malays, Chinese, and Indians. The Iban people
Iban people
are the majority in Sarawak, while Sabah
is dominated by the Kadazan-Dusun, Murut, and Bajau peoples. Malay is the primary national language, followed by English. In Sabah
and Sarawak, English is the official language, although many locals speak a dialect of Malay. People's Republic of China[edit] Main article: List of ethnic groups in China Although the population of China
is dominated numerically by the Han Chinese, the government recognizes 56 ethnic groups. Fifty-five of the 56 groups together account for less than 10 percent of the population. Europe[edit] Further information: Ethnic groups in Europe Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
and Montenegro
are the only European states with no ethnic majority, but many others have ethnic minorities that form a majority within a province or region (see multilingual countries and regions of Europe). Russian Federation[edit] Russia
has more than 160 ethnic groups and indigenous peoples. The largest population are the ethnic Russians, who are Slavs
with Eastern Orthodox religious traditions, while the Tatars
and Bashkirs
are predominantly Muslim. Russia
is also home to Buddhist populations, such as the nomadic Buryats
and Kalmyks; the Shamanistic peoples of Siberia
and the Far North; the Finno-Ugric peoples
Finno-Ugric peoples
of the Russian Northwest and the Volga region; the Korean inhabitants of Sakhalin; and the peoples of the North Caucasus.[16] Out of a total of more than 100 languages spoken in Russia, 27 have the status of official languages, the most widely spoken being Russian. More than 3 percent of the population speaks Tatar.[17] Belgium[edit] Further information: Communities, regions and language areas of Belgium The territory of Belgium
is almost equally divided between the two nations of Flanders
and Wallonia. This led to political unrest throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and in the aftermath of the difficult 2007–08 Belgian government formation, the Belgian media envisaged a partition of Belgium
as a potential solution. Bosnia and Herzegovina[edit]

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
consists of the Federation
of Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH), the Republika Srpska
Republika Srpska
(RS), and the Brčko District (BD).

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
is home to three ethnic "constituent peoples": Bosniaks
(50.11%), Serbs
(30.78%), and Croats (15.43%).[18] The country's political divisions were created by the Dayton Agreement, which recognized a second tier of government comprising two entities: the Federation
of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
(mostly Bosniaks
and Croats) and the Republika Srpska
Republika Srpska
(mostly Serbs), with each governing roughly half of the state's territory. A third region, the Brčko District, was governed locally. Today, all three ethnic groups have an equal constitutional status over the entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The country has a bicameral legislature and a three-member presidency composed of one member of each major ethnic group. France[edit] In order to maintain a nation state, France
does not recognize any national identity or language other than French in its territory. However, many of its current and former territories—Alsace, Brittany, Corsica, Flanders, Moselle, Northern Catalonia, Occitania, Savoy, and the Basque Country—were not culturally French until they were francized in the late 19th century. According to WikiLeaks, former Prime Minister Michel Rocard
Michel Rocard
told the American ambassador to France, Craig Roberts Stapleton, in 2005, " France
created itself by destroying five cultures: Breton, Occitan, Alsatian, Corsican, and Flemish." Montenegro[edit]

A map showing the predominant ethnic group in each municipality of Montenegro
as of 2011.

is a multiethnic state in which no ethnic group forms a majority. The preamble of the Constitution of Montenegro
identifies numerous nationalities—Montenegrins, Serbs, Bosniaks, Albanians, Muslims, Croats, and others—as citizens of a civic and democratic state. The largest ethnic groups are Montenegrins
(45%), Serbs (28.7%), Bosniaks
(8.6%), Albanians
(4.9%), and Muslims (3.3%).[19] The official language is Montenegrin,[20] but Serbian, Bosnian, Albanian, and Croatian are also in official use. In the 2011 census, Serbian was the most common mother tongue (42.88%), Montenegrin the second (36.97%), and Bosnian the third (5.33%). Norway[edit] Official policy states that Norway
was founded on the territory of two peoples, Norwegians
and Samis.[21] In addition, Forest Finns, Kvens, Jews, Romani, and the Norwegian and Swedish Travellers are recognized as national minorities.[22] Serbia[edit] See also: Ethnic groups in Serbia Nineteen ethnic groups are officially recognized as national minorities in Serbia.[23] Serbs
are the largest ethnic group in the country, constituting 83.3 percent of the population (excluding Kosovo).[24] The largest national minorities are Hungarians, Roma, and Bosniaks, and there are also significant populations of Croats, Montenegrins, Albanians, Slovaks, Romanians, Vlachs, Rusyns, Gorani, Macedonians, and Bulgarians. Since 2002, minorities have been entitled to organize their own national councils. Through those councils, members of national minorities can exercise their rights in the spheres of culture, education, information, and the official use of their own languages and scripts.[25] Vojvodina
is a multiethnic autonomous province in northern Serbia,[26] with more than 26 ethnic groups[27][28] and six official languages.[29] Spain[edit] Main article: Nationalisms and regionalisms of Spain Definitions of ethnicity and nationality in Spain
are politically fraught, particularly since the transition from Francoist Spain
to the Kingdom of Spain
in the 1970s, when local regionalisms and peripheral nationalisms became a major part of national politics. The term Spanish people
Spanish people
(Spanish: pueblo español) is defined in the Spanish Constitution of 1978
Spanish Constitution of 1978
as the political sovereign, i.e., the citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. The same constitution, in its preamble, speaks of "peoples and nationalities of Spain" (pueblos y nacionalidades de España) and their respective cultures, traditions, languages, and institutions. The CIA World Factbook (2011) describes Spain's ethnic makeup as a "composite of Mediterranean and Nordic types", instead of the usual breakdown of ethnic composition. This reflects the formation of the modern Kingdom of Spain
by the accretion of numerous independent Iberian realms: Andalusia, Aragon, Asturias, Castile, Catalonia, Galicia, León, Majorca, Navarre, and Valencia. Thus, today's Spaniards include Andalusians, Aragonese, Asturians, Basques, Cantabrians, Castilians, Catalans, Galicians, Leonese, and Valencians, and individual members of these groups may or may not consider them distinct nations. United Kingdom[edit]

The four countries of the United Kingdom.

While the Office for National Statistics
Office for National Statistics
describes the United Kingdom as a nation state,[30][31] other people, including former Prime Minister Gordon Brown,[32] describe it as a multinational state.[33][34] The term "Home Nations" is used to describe the national teams that represent the four nations of the United Kingdom: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.[35] The Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
was created on 1 May 1707 by the political union of the Kingdom of England
and the Kingdom of Scotland.[36] This unification was the result of the Treaty of Union, which was agreed to on 22 July 1706 and then ratified by the Parliament of England
and the Parliament of Scotland
in the 1707 Acts of Union.[37] The two kingdoms, along with the Kingdom of Ireland, had already been in a personal union as a result of the 1603 Union of the Crowns, in which James VI, King of Scots, inherited the Kingdoms of England
and Ireland
and moved his court from Edinburgh
to London. However, until 1707, all three had remained separate political entities with separate political institutions.[38][39] Prior to the Acts of Union, the Kingdoms of England
and Scotland
both had minority populations of their own that could themselves be called nations. Wales
and Cornwall
were part of the Kingdom of England
(Wales had been officially incorporated into England
by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542, although it had been a de facto English territory since the 13th century; Cornwall
had been conquered during the Anglo-Saxon period). The Northern Isles, with their Norse-derived culture, were part of Scotland, having been pledged by Norway
as security against the payment of a dowry for Margaret of Denmark[40] and then integrated in 1471. When the Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
was created, many of its inhabitants retained a sense of English, Scottish, or Welsh identity. Many of them also spoke languages other than English: principally Scottish Gaelic, Scots, Welsh, Cornish, and Norn. Almost a century later, the Kingdom of Ireland
Kingdom of Ireland
merged with the Kingdom of Great Britain to form the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Ireland
under the 1800 Acts of Union.[41] The United Kingdom
United Kingdom
thus became the union of the kingdoms of England, Ireland, and Scotland.[38][39] Eventually, disputes within Ireland
over the terms of Irish home rule led to the partition of the island:[42] The Irish Free State received dominion status in 1922, while Northern Ireland remained part of the UK.[43] As a result, in 1927, the formal title of the UK was changed to its current form, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.[44] Political, ethnic, and religious tensions between Irish and British groups in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
culminated in The Troubles.[45] This period of armed conflict erupted in 1966 between loyalist paramilitaries, seeking to maintain the country's position in the UK, and republican paramilitaries, seeking to unify Ireland
as a 32-county independent republic. The British Army
British Army
also played a key role. Following the deaths of over 3,500 people,[46] a peace treaty was reached in 1998,[47] although divisions remain high in some areas and sporadic violence still occurs.[48] The end of the 20th century brought major governing changes, with the establishment of devolved national administrations for Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales
following pre-legislative referendums.[49] The Scottish National Party, the current party of government in Scotland, is committed to the goal of an independent Scotland
within the European Union, but this is opposed by the leadership of the next three largest parties in the Scottish Parliament. A referendum on Scottish independence
Scottish independence
was held in September 2014, and the electorate rejected it.[50] Plaid Cymru, a Welsh party, has a similar ambition for Wales.[51] Several parties in Northern Ireland, including the second- and third-largest,[52] seek to establish an independent United Ireland, and have repeatedly called for border polls.[53] The d'Hondt system used here means that either the First Minister or Deputy First Minister will be from one of these parties.[54] Africa[edit] Most countries in Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
are former colonies and, as such, are not drawn along national lines, making them truly multinational states. Ghana[edit] During its colonial time Ghana was imperialized by many countries and empires including the British Empire, the Portuguese Empire, the Danish Empire and the German Empire. Ghana has also seen a large mass of Chinese, Malay, European, Lebanese, and other multinational immigrants. Kenya[edit] Kenya
is home to more than 70 ethnic groups, the most populous of which are the Kikuyu, at about 20 percent of the population.[55] Together, the five largest groups—the Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya, Kamba, and Kalenjin—account for 70 percent of Kenyans.[55] Nigeria[edit] The largest nation in Nigeria
is the Hausa-Fulani, which accounts for 29 percent of the country's population. However, the group actually encompasses two distinct ethnicities: the Hausa and the Fulani
(or Fulbe). While both ethnicities are found in large areas of West Africa, it is only in Nigeria
that they are classified as a single ethnic group for political expediency. South Africa[edit] Present-day South Africa
South Africa
is the successor state to the Union of South Africa, which was formed from four British colonies in 1910. South Africa
South Africa
has eleven official languages (Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swazi, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, and Zulu) and formally recognizes several other languages spoken by minority nations. Speakers of each language may be of a different nationality—for example, some members of the Ndebele and Tswana nations speak Zulu, and groups such as the Thembu and Hlubi speak Xhosa. As is the case throughout Africa, the nations of South Africa
South Africa
mostly correspond to specific regions. However, large cities such as Johannesburg
are home to a mixture of national groups, leading to a "melting pot" of cultures. The government has continuously attempted to unify the country's various nationalities and to foster a South African identity. Many of the nationalities found in South Africa
South Africa
are also found in bordering countries, and in some cases, more members live in South Africa than in the country where the group originated. For example, there are more Sotho, Tswana, and Swazi people
Swazi people
living in South Africa than in the bordering nation states of Lesotho, Botswana, and Swaziland, respectively. In the past, this has led to conflict. Lesotho
still claims large swathes of South Africa, and attempts have been made to cede some South African territory to Botswana
and Swaziland. All three states were intended to be incorporated in the Union of South Africa, but those plans never came to fruition because of power struggles within their apartheid governments. Former multinational states[edit] Main article: List of empires Further information: List of largest empires Austria-Hungary[edit]


Bohemia (1), Bukovina
(2), Carinthia (3), Carniola
(4), Dalmatia (5), Galicia (6), Küstenland (7), Lower Austria
Lower Austria
(8), Moravia
(9), Salzburg (10), Silesia (11), Styria (12), Tirol (13), Upper Austria
Upper Austria
(14), Vorarlberg
(15), Hungary (16), Croatia-Slavonia (17), and Bosnia (18).

Further information: Ethnic and religious composition of Austria-Hungary Austria-Hungary, which succeeded the Austrian Empire, was a historical multinational state. The centrifugal forces within it, coupled with its loss in World War I, led to its breakup in 1918. Its successor states included the First Austrian Republic, the Kingdom of Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and the State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs, which later became part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. Parts of Austria-Hungary
were also incorporated into Poland, Ukraine, the Kingdom of Romania, and the Kingdom of Italy. The principal languages of Austria-Hungary
were German, Hungarian, Polish, Czech, and Croatian, but there were also many minor languages, including Ukrainian, Romanian, Slovak, Serbian, Slovene, Rusyn, Italian, and Yiddish.[56] Ottoman Empire[edit] The Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
was the dynastic state of the Turkish House of Osman. At its peak in the 16th and 17th centuries, it controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia, the Caucasus, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa. In addition to Turks, the ethnic groups of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
included Albanians, Amazighs, Arabs, Armenians, Assyrians, Bosnians, Bulgarians, Circassians, Georgians, Greeks, Jews, Kurds, Laz, Macedonians, Romanians, Serbs, Tatars, and Zazas. Through millet courts, confessional communities were allowed to rule themselves under their own legal systems: for example, sharia law for Muslims, Canon law
Canon law
for Christians, and halakha law for Jews. After the Tanzimat
reforms from 1839–76, the term "millet" was used to refer to legally protected religious minority groups, similar to the way other countries use the word "nation". (The word "millet" comes from the Arabic word "millah" (ملة), which literally means "nation".)[citation needed] The millet system has been called an example of pre-modern religious pluralism.[57] Soviet Union[edit] The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
was a state composed of the Soviet republics (of which there were 15 after 1956), with the capital in Moscow. It was founded in December 1922, when the Russian SFSR—which formed during the Russian Revolution of 1917
Russian Revolution of 1917
and emerged victorious in the ensuing Russian Civil War—unified with the Transcaucasian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian SSRs. Addressing the Extraordinary Eighth Congress of Soviets of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
on 25 November 1936, Joseph Stalin
Joseph Stalin
stated that "within the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
there are about sixty nations, national groups, and nationalities. The Soviet state is a multinational state."[58] In the late 1980s, some of the republics sought sovereignty over their territories, citing Article 72 of the USSR Constitution, which stated that any constituent republic was free to secede.[59] On 7 April 1990, a law was passed allowing a republic to secede if more than two-thirds of its residents voted for secession in a referendum.[60] Many held free elections, and the resulting legislatures soon passed bills that contradicted Soviet laws, in what became known as the War of Laws. In 1989, the Russian SFSR—the largest constituent republic, with about half of the USSR's population—convened a new Congress of People's Deputies and elected Boris Yeltsin
Boris Yeltsin
its chairman. On 12 June 1990, the Congress declared Russia's sovereignty over its territory and proceeded to pass legislation that attempted to supersede Soviet laws. Legal uncertainty continued through 1991 as constituent republics slowly gained de facto independence. In a referendum on 17 March 1991, majorities in nine of the 15 republics voted to preserve the Union. The referendum gave Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
a minor boost, and in the summer of 1991, the New Union Treaty
New Union Treaty
was designed and agreed upon by eight republics. The treaty would have turned the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
into a much looser federation, but its signing was interrupted by the August Coup—an attempted coup d'état against Gorbachev by hardline Communist Party members of the government and the KGB, who sought to reverse Gorbachev's reforms and reassert the central government's control over the republics. When the coup collapsed, Yeltsin—who had publicly opposed it—came out as a hero, while Gorbachev's power was effectively ended. As a result, the balance of power tipped significantly toward the republics. In August 1991, Latvia
and Estonia
declared their independence (following Lithuania's 1990 example), while the other twelve republics continued to discuss new, increasingly loose models for the Union. On 8 December 1991, the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus signed the Belavezha Accords, which declared the Soviet Union dissolved and established the Commonwealth of Independent States
Commonwealth of Independent States
(CIS) in its place. Doubts remained about the authority of the Belavezha Accords to dissolve the Union, but on 21 December 1991, representatives of every Soviet republic except Georgia—including those that had signed the Belavezha Accords—signed the Alma-Ata Protocol, which confirmed the dissolution of the USSR and reiterated the establishment of the CIS. On 25 December 1991, Gorbachev yielded, resigning as the president of the USSR and declaring the office extinct. He turned the powers vested in the Soviet presidency over to Yeltsin, the president of Russia. The following day, the Supreme Soviet, the highest governmental body of the Soviet Union, dissolved itself. Many organizations, such as the Soviet Army
Soviet Army
and police forces, remained in place in the early months of 1992, but were slowly phased out and either withdrawn from or absorbed by the newly independent states. Yugoslavia[edit]

The breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The first country to be known by this name was the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, known until 3 October 1929 as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. It was established on 1 December 1918 by the union of the State of Slovenes, Croats, and Serbs
and the Kingdom of Serbia
(to which the Kingdom of Montenegro
had been annexed on 13 November 1918), and the Conference of Ambassadors
Conference of Ambassadors
gave international recognition to the union on 13 July 1922.[61] The Kingdom of Yugoslavia
was invaded by the Axis powers
Axis powers
in 1941 and abolished as a result of World War II. It was succeeded by Democratic Federal Yugoslavia, proclaimed in 1943 by the Yugoslav Partisans resistance movement. When a communist government was established in 1946, the country was renamed the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia. In 1963, it was renamed again, becoming the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
(SFRY). This was the largest Yugoslav state, with Istria
and Rijeka
having been added after World War II. The country consisted of six constituent "socialist republics" (SR Bosnia and Herzegovina, SR Croatia, SR Macedonia, SR Montenegro, SR Slovenia, and SR Serbia) and two "socialist autonomous provinces" (SAP Vojvodina
and SAP Kosovo, which became largely equal to other members of the federation after 1974).[62][63] Starting in 1991, the SFRY disintegrated in the Yugoslav Wars, which followed the secession of most of the country's constituent entities. The next Yugoslavia, known as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, existed until 2003, when it was renamed Serbia
and Montenegro. In 2006, this last vestige separated into Serbia
and Montenegro, but only to go further in 2008 after Kosovo
unilaterally declared its independence. See also[edit]

Multiculturalism Multiracial Nation state Stateless nation Polyethnicity


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Related concepts

Clan Ethnic group

Ethnolinguistic group Ethnoreligious group

Indigenous peoples Ingroups and outgroups Meta-ethnicity Metroethnicity Minority group Monoethnicity Nation Nationality Panethnicity Polyethnicity Population Race Symbolic ethnicity Tribe


Anthropology Ethnic studies Ethnoarchaeology Ethnobiology

Ethnobotany Ethnozoology Ethnoecology

Ethnocinema Ethnogeology Ethnography

Autoethnography Clinical Critical Cyber- Netnography Online Person-centered Salvage Transidioethnography Video

Ethnohistory Ethnolinguistics Ethnology Ethnomathematics Ethnomethodology Ethnomuseology Ethnomusicology Ethnophilosophy Ethnopoetics Ethnoscience Ethnosemiotics Ethnotaxonomy

Groups by region


Arab League


Indigenous Canada Mexico United States Central America South America


Central Asia East Asia Northern Asia South Asia Southeast Asia West Asia



Europe Oceania

Indigenous European

Identity and ethnogenesis

Cross-race effect Cultural assimilation Cultural identity Demonym Development Endonym Ethnic flag Ethnic option Ethnic origin Ethnic religion Ethnicity in census Ethnofiction Ethnonym Folk religion Historical Imagined community Kinship Legendary progenitor Lineage-bonded society Mythomoteur Mores Nation-building Nation state National language National myth Origin myth Pantribal sodality Tribal name Tribalism Urheimat

Multiethnic society

Consociationalism Diaspora politics Dominant minority Ethnic democracy Ethnic enclave Ethnic interest group Ethnic majority Ethnic media Ethnic pornography Ethnic theme park Ethnoburb Ethnocracy Indigenous rights Middleman minority Minority rights Model minority Multinational state

Ideology and ethnic conflict

Ethnic bioweapon Ethnic cleansing Ethnic hatred Ethnic joke Ethnic nationalism Ethnic nepotism Ethnic penalty Ethnic slur Ethnic stereotype Ethnic violence Ethnocentrism Ethnocide Ethnosymbolism Indigenism Separatist movements Xenophobia

Authority control