Independence is a condition of a nation, country, or state in which its residents and population, or some portion thereof, exercise self-government, and usually sovereignty, over the territory. The opposite of independence is a dependent territory.
Definition of independence
Whether the attainment of independence is different from revolution has long been contested, and has often been debated over the question of violence as legitimate means to achieving sovereignty. While some revolutions seek and achieve national independence, others aim only to redistribute power — with or without an element of emancipation, such as in democratization — within a state, which as such may remain unaltered. The Russian October Revolution, for example, was not intended to seek national independence (though it did result in independence for Poland, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia). In contrast, the American Revolutionary War was intended to achieve independence from the beginning. Causes for a country or province wishing to seek independence are many. The means can extend from peaceful demonstrations, like in the case of the Indian independence movement, to a violent war like in the case of Algeria.
Distinction between independence and autonomy
Autonomy refers to a kind of independence which has been granted by an overseeing authority that itself still retains ultimate authority over that territory (see Devolution). A protectorate refers to an autonomous region that depends upon a larger government for its protection as an autonomous region.
Declarations of independence
Sometimes, a state wishing to achieve independence from a dominating power will issue a declaration of independence; the earliest surviving example is Scotland's Declaration of Arbroath in 1320, with the most recent example being Azawad's declaration of independence in 2012. Declaring independence and attaining it however, are quite different. A well-known successful example is the U.S. Declaration of Independence issued in 1776. The dates of established independence (or, less commonly, the commencement of revolution), are typically celebrated as a national holiday known as an independence day.
Historically, there have been three major periods of declaring independence:
- from the 1770s, beginning with the American Revolutionary War through the 1830s, when the last royalist bastions fell at the close of the Spanish American wars of independence;
- the immediate aftermath of the First World War following the breakup of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires;
- and 1945 to circa 1979, when seventy newly independent states emerged from the European colonial empires.
|Continent||No.||Oldest Country||Newest Country|
|54||Ethiopia (1137)||South Sudan (2011)|
|35||United States (1776)[a]||Saint Kitts and Nevis (1983)[b]|
|44[c]||China (2070 BC)[d]||East Timor (2002)|
|50[c]||San Marino (301)|| Montenegro (2006)
|14||Australia (1901)||Palau (1994)[f]|
|8||de facto condominium international|
- ^ Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain declared.
- ^ Independence from the United Kingdom.
- ^ a b Part of Transcaucasian Region, at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Physiographically, Armenia falls entirely in Western Asia, while Georgia and Azerbaijan are mostly in Asia with small portions north of the Caucasus Mountains divide in Europe.
- ^ The Xia dynasty (Chinese: 夏朝; pinyin: Xià Cháo; Wade–Giles: Hsia-Ch'ao; IPA: [ɕiâ tʂʰɑ̌ʊ̯]; c. 2070 – c. 1600 BC) is the first dynasty in traditional Chinese history.
- ^ Partially recognized de facto self-governing entity. It is recognised by 110 UN members the Cook Islands, Niue and Taiwan. Claimed by Serbia as the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija under UN administration.
- ^ An independent state in free association with the United States.
- Independence constitution
- Independence referendum
- List of countries by Independence Day
- List of sovereign states by date of formation
- Lists of active separatist movements
- Special Committee on Decolonization
- Wars of independence
- Unilateral declaration of independence
- United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories
- Benjamin, Walter (1996) . Walter Benjamin: Selected Writings, Volume 1: 1913–1926. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. 236–252. ISBN 0-674-94585-9.
- David Armitage, The Declaration of Independence in World Context, Organization of American Historians, Magazine of History, Volume 18, Issue 3, Pp. 61–66 (2004)
- "Kosovo" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-02-16. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
The dates of independence, as they have been ported into many articles from the CIA World Factbook are defined as follows:
- For most countries, [the given date is that] when sovereignty was achieved ... For the other countries, the date given may not represent "independence" in the strict sense, but rather some significant nationhood event such as the traditional founding date or the date of unification, federation, confederation, establishment, or fundamental change in the form of government, such as state succession.
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