Romansh people

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Romansh
Map Languages CH.png
Romansh language areas are in magenta
Total population
Over 75,000
Regions with significant populations
  Switzerland 75,000[1]
Languages
Romansh language, Swiss German
Religion
Christianity (majority Roman Catholic, Swiss Reformed), non-religious
Related ethnic groups
German Swiss, Italian Swiss, French Swiss

The Romansh people are a people and ethnic group of Switzerland, native speakers of the Romansh language. They are usually multilingual, also speaking German (both the standard variety and the local Swiss German) and sometimes Italian, which are the other official languages of Graubünden, the canton where they are concentrated.

They make up about 1% of Switzerland's population and 15% of Graubünden's.[1][2]

The Romansch people began advocating for an end to German dominion over them starting with World War I. Switzerland's armed neutrality during that and subsequent wars allowed them the freedom to pursue this goal without the usual nationalizing "we-are-one-people" rhetoric that has accompanied most of Europe's more recent wars. In 1937 the Swiss government recognized the Romansch language for the first time as one of Switzerland's four national languages, though only for use within the canton, not at the federal level.

The Romansch people appeared to be mostly satisfied with this status until the 1980s when debate arose over Switzerland's relationship with the greater European continent and the concept of the European Union began to form. The Romansch people advocated heavily for Switzerland's membership in the Union, but the referendum to join it was narrowly defeated in 1992 by the German majority and Switzerland remained a nation apart with the Romansch people a nation apart within it though with ever-increasing sovereignty and recognition at the federal level to the point that Romansch is now considered one of the official federal languages of the Swiss Confederation.

It should also be noted that the Romansch national leadership in Switzerland expressly stated its interest in Switzerland joining the European Union in terms of a pro-European stance and not an anti-Swiss-Confederation one, openly recognizing that the Confederation, though dominated by the Swiss Germans and with large Swiss French and Swiss Italian contingents, had sheltered the tiny Romansch minority population for nearly 200 years, never engaging in programs to erase their identity or language nor forcing them to relocate to accommodate any other ethnic group as had been the norm with a variety of other ethnic minorities throughout Europe. Though there have been some stumbling blocks, the history of the relationship between the Romansch people and the other ethnic peoples of Switzerland appears to have been and continues to be an unusually polite and respectful one.[3]

Notable Romansh people[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b CIA World Factbook - Switzerland
  2. ^ (German) (Italian) Canton of Graubünden Website accessed October 26, 2008
  3. ^ James Minahan (1 January 2002). Encyclopedia of the stateless nations. 3. L - R. Greenwood. p. 1602. ISBN 978-0-313-32111-5. Retrieved 12 July 2013.