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#1
geomancer

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What nation in the world has never been colonized, conquered, occupied, or governed by an external power -- at least not within the period of its recorded history? In other words, what nation has an uninterrupted history of autonomy? By "nation" I mean a people or a territory.

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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What nation in the world has never been colonized, conquered, occupied, or governed by an external power -- at least not within the period of its recorded history? In other words, what nation has an uninterrupted history of autonomy? By "nation" I mean a people or a territory.


Interesting question, and one that will spark some debate.

It depends on whether you consider a nation conquered if only part of its territory is occupied by an external power (in which case for example Russia would be out, since Germany occupied part of it in World War 2) or when it is fully occupied (in which case they might be in).

Switzerland comes to mind, and that's about the only one I can think of right now.
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Rafal

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What nation in the world has never been colonized, conquered, occupied, or governed by an external power -- at least not within the period of its recorded history? In other words, what nation has an uninterrupted history of autonomy? By "nation" I mean a people or a territory.


Perhaps some north Sweden Vikings ?

#4
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Debate you say? No doubt.

Well, Sweden was neutral during WWII, but was occupied by guess-who, and I believe at one point, lost/sold/gave territory to Norway.
How about England? (Sure the Romans were there, but long before England was England). How about Canada? Boy this is getting confusing.

Anyway - its Liberation Day here in Italy (Liberation by Allied forces during WWII).

#5
Hans van der Maarel

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Debate you say? No doubt.

Well, Sweden was neutral during WWII, but was occupied by guess-who, and I believe at one point, lost/sold/gave territory to Norway.
How about England? (Sure the Romans were there, but long before England was England). How about Canada? Boy this is getting confusing.

Anyway - its Liberation Day here in Italy (Liberation by Allied forces during WWII).


England:
That's debateable... If the Prince of Orange, Stadtholder of Holland, arrives with an army and says: "Ha, nu ben ik de koning!" ("Hah, now I'm the king!") while there is some sort of a civil war going on, one could potentially call that conquering. He was invited by one of the warring factions and his wife had a valid claim to the throne anyway, but the point remains that after that, he ruled England... Then there's 1066...

Canada:
Didn't they fight a war with the USA once? 1812 or something like that. Then again, at that point they were still part of the British Empire. Plus, during WW2 they gave some territory to The Netherlands

Sweden:
Part of what is now Sweden used to be Danish, so I guess they're out.
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#6
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Canada - debate indeed - I was thinking after the official creation of Canada as a nation (by its colonizers) in 1860's.
Ok - Hopefully others will weigh in here. Erin, Jacques?

#7
DaveB

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I guess it depends on definitions of terms.
For example, England has been invaded and at least partially conquered and/or occupied several times - the Romans, the Angles and Saxons and Jutes (invited in originally, but then there was a sort of hostile takeover of part of the island), the Vikings (mostly raids, but some settlements, too), the Danes (remember King Canute and the Danelaw), the Normans (William the Conquerer), the Scots (William Wallace, Border Reivers - that worked both ways), to name a few.
If you could argue for Canada you could also argue for the United States.
Same could be said for Israel (as a modern nation-state, since its recorded history basically begins in 1948).
You could probably add a number of smaller countries like the Vatican City.
Probably many other countries as well. For instance, how many Latin American countries would fall into this category since they became nations?
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#8
rudy

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How about Iceland? No one lived there prior to the Norse coming and then they just stuck around, for a long time controlled by Denmark until recently.

I'm sure there are a few islands that would fall into that category.

Don't forget - part of England (Channel Islands) was ocuppied by the Germans during WW2.

#9
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I dont think the question refers to any technically 'new' country. Canada, Australia, etc, were colonized. Switerland was under (Hungarian?) domination before the 1500's. I would venture a guess with Thailand or Siam as it was called. I know that it was left alone by both the French and the English as a buffer between them.
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#10
ELeFevre

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Seems like a trick question to me. If we are talking about a people or territory as a nation, then why wouldn't the United States fit the criteria? After all, it didn't exist officially until 1776. Has the US ever been conquered, occupied or goverened by an external power within the period of it's recorded history? Just posing the question here...



#11
Hans van der Maarel

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Iceland was occupied by US troops in World War 2, so I guess they are out. There is a strong case for the US, but based on how you put your definitions, they too have been at least partially occupied: Attu and Kiska Islands in the Aleutians were occupied by the Japanese in 1942 as a diversion for the attack on Midway. Alaska wasn't a state at that time, but it was part of the US.

Thailand was invaded by the Japanese as well and prior to that they lost some territory to (Vichy) France.
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#12
Jean-Louis

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Well then, maybe geomancer is refering to some obscure isolated tribe. They are people like the Piraha in the Amazonian jungle who have been autonomous for thousands of years but then again they have no concept of time beyond a generation or two let alone a recorded history. Ok give us a hint. Are we talking about a 'real' country or territorry?
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#13
Rafal

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Well then, maybe geomancer is refering to some obscure isolated tribe. They are people like the Piraha in the Amazonian jungle who have been autonomous for thousands of years but then again they have no concept of time beyond a generation or two let alone a recorded history. Ok give us a hint. Are we talking about a 'real' country or territorry?


Heh, what about Liechtenstein ? But hey, they were occupied last month, when some Swiss soldiers lost their way to bar :)

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#14
geomancer

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Let me clarify the terms I used when I posed the question. When I said NATION I did not mean a STATE measured from its last political reorganization, but a PEOPLE (or group of peoples) with a history in a territory. So the USA and Canada started out as British colonies long before they gained independence.

I'd like to know if there are any nations that have always been independent throughout history, that did not start out as colonies or part of a bigger nation.

It's OK if a nation lost a piece of territory along the way, or a part of it was occupied (like Britain lost the Channel Islands to Germany or USA lost some Alaskan islands to Japan in WWII)--as long as it maintained its independence, and did not send its government into exile (like France in WWII). Most people would agree that France was conquered in WWII, but Britain was not.

I guess I would accept a nation that moved around. For example, the Anglo-Saxons/English were never subject to the Romans, but after they settled in Britain, they were conquered by the Normans in 1066.

I suppose some Amazonian tribes are actually autonomous, but they are nominally subject to the Brazilian government. Likewise the North Sentinelese are nominally ruled by India. These are pretty good answers, but I wondered about any nations that are generally recognized as independent.

#15
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Geomancer,
Do you have an answer to the question... or is this strictly for the sake of discussion?






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