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A painting from 1887 depicting a child being taught about the "lost" province of Alsace-Lorraine in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War that is depicted in the colour black on a map of France.

Irredentism (from Italian irredento for "unredeemed") is any political or popular movement intended to reclaim and reoccupy a lost homeland. As such irredentism tries to justify its territorial claims on the basis of (real or imagined) historic or ethnic affiliations. It is often advocated by nationalist and pan-nationalist movements and has been a feature of identity politics, cultural, and political geography.

An area that may be subjected to a potential claim is sometimes called an irredenta. Not all irredentas are necessarily involved in irredentism.[1]


The word was coined in Italy from the phrase Italia irredenta ("unredeemed Italy"). This originally referred to rule by Austria-Hungary over territories mostly or partly inhabited by ethnic Italians, such as Trentino, Trieste, Gorizia, Istria, Rijeka and Dalmatia during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

A common way to express a claim to adjacent territories on the grounds of historical or ethnic association is by using the epithet "Greater" before the country name. This conveys the image of national territory at its maximum conceivable extent with the country "proper" at its core. The use of "Greater" does not always convey an irredentistic meaning.

Formal irredentism

Some states formalize their irredentist claims by including them in their constitutional documents, or through other means of legal enshrinement.


The Afghan border with Pakistan, known as the Durand Line, was agreed to by Afghanistan and British India in 1893. The Pashtun tribes inhabiting the border areas were divided between what have become two nations; Afghanistan never accepted the still-porous border and clashes broke out in the 1950s and 1960s between Afghanistan and Pakistan over the issue. All Afghan governments of the past century have declared, with varying intensity, a long-term goal of re-uniting all Pashtun-dominated areas under Afghan rule.[2][3]


The Argentine government has maintained a claim over the Falkland Islands since 1833, and renewed it as recently as January 2013.[4] It considers the archipelago part of the Tierra del Fuego Province, along with South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

The Argentine claim is included in the transitional provisions of the Constitution of Argentina as amended in 1994:[5][6]

The Argentine Nation ratifies its legitimate and non-prescribing sovereignty over the Malvinas, Georgias del Sur and Sandwich del Sur Islands and over the corresponding maritime and insular zones, as they are an integral part of the National territory.

The recovery of these territories and the full exercise of sovereignty, respecting the way of life for its inhabitants and according to the principles of international law, constitute a permanent and unwavering goal of the Argentine people.


Bolivian irredentism over losses in the War of the Pacific (1879-1884): "What once was ours, will be ours once again", and "Hold on rotos (Chileans), because here come the Colorados of Bolivia"

The 2009 constitution of Bolivia states that the country has an unrenounceable right over the territory that gives it access to the Pacific Ocean and its maritime space.[7] This is understood as territory that Bolivia and Peru ceded to Chile after the War of the Pacific, which left Bolivia as a landlocked country.


The preamble to the Constitution of the People's Republic of China states, "Taiwan is part of the sacred territory of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It is the lofty duty of the entire Chinese people, including our compatriots in Taiwan, to accomplish the great task of reunifying the motherland." The PRC claim to sovereignty over Taiwan is generally based on the theory of the succession of states, with the PRC claiming that it is the successor state to the Republic of China (1912–49).[8]

Official territorial claims according to the Constitution of the Republic of China

The Government of the Republic of China formerly administered both mainland China and Taiwan; the government has been administering only Taiwan since its defeat in the Chinese Civil War by the armed forces of the Communist Party of China. While the official name of the state remains 'Republic of China', the country is commonly called 'Taiwan', since Taiwan makes up 99% of the controlled territory of the ROC.

Article 4 of the Constitution of the Republic of China originally stated that "[t]he territory of the Republic of China within its existing national boundaries shall not be altered except by a resolution of the National Assembly". Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the Government of the Republic of China on Taiwan maintained itself to be the legitimate ruler of Mainland China as well. As part of its current policy continuing of the 'status quo', the ROC has not renounced claims over the territories currently controlled by the People's Republic of China, Mongolia, Russia, Burma and some Central Asian states. However, Taiwan does not actively pursue these claims in practice; the remaining claims that Taiwan is actively seeking are the Senkaku Islands, whose sovereignty is also asserted by Japan and the PRC; Paracel Islands and the Spratly Islands in South China Sea, with multiple claimants.


Article 1 of the Constitution of the Union of the Comoros begins: "The Union of the Comoros is a republic, composed of the autonomous islands of Mohéli, Mayotte, Anjouan, and Grande Comore." Mayotte, geographically a part of the Comoro Islands, was the only island of the four to vote against independence from France (independence losing 37%–63%) in the referendum held December 22, 1974. The total vote was 94%–5% in favor of independence. Mayotte is currently a department of the French Republic.[9][10]


All of the European colonies on the Indian subcontinent which were not part of the British Raj were annexed by the India since it gained its independence from the British Empire. An example of such territories was the 1961 Indian annexation of Goa. An example of annexation of a territory from the British Raj was the Indian integration of Junagadh.

Akhand Bharat, literally Undivided India, is an irredentist call to reunite Pakistan and Bangladesh with India to form an Undivided India as it existed before partition in 1947 (and before that, during other periods of political unity in South Asia, such as during the Maurya Empire, the Gupta Empire, the Mughal Empire or the Maratha Empire). The call for Akhand Bharat has often been raised by mainstream Indian nationalistic cultural and political organizations such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).[11][12][13] Other major Indian political parties such as the Indian National Congress, while maintaining positions against the partition of India on religious grounds, do not necessarily subscribe to a call to reunite South Asia in the form of Akhand Bharat.

The region of Kashmir in northwestern India has been the issue of a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947, the Kashmir conflict. Multiple wars have been fought over the issue, the first one immediately upon independence and partition in 1947 itself. To stave off a Pakistani and tribal invasion, Maharaja Hari Singh of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir signed the Instrument of Accession with India. Kashmir has remained divided in three parts, administered by India, Pakistan and China, since then. However, on the basis of the instrument of accession, India continues to claim the entire Kashmir region as its integral part. All modern Indian political parties support the return of the entirety of Kashmir to India, and all official maps of India show the entire Jammu and Kashmir state (including parts under Pakistani or Chinese administration after 1947) as an integral part of India.[citation needed]


Indonesia claimed all territories of the former Dutch East Indies, and previously viewed British plans to group the Straits Settlements, the Federated Malay States, the Unfederated Malay States, Sarawak and North Borneo into a new independent federation of Malaysia as a threat to its objective to create a united state called Greater Indonesia. The Indonesian opposition of Malaysian formation has led to the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation in the early 1960s. It also held Portuguese Timor (modern East Timor) from 1975 to 2002 based on irredentist claims.

The idea of uniting former British and Dutch colonial possessions in Southeast Asia actually has its roots in the early 20th century, as the concept of Greater Malay (Melayu Raya) was coined in British Malaya espoused by students and graduates of Sultan Idris Training College for Malay Teachers in the late 1920s.[14] Some of political figures in Indonesia including Mohammad Yamin and Sukarno revived the idea in the 1950s and named the political union concept as Greater Indonesia.

Israel and Palestine

The nation state of Israel was established in 1948. The United Nations General Assembly passed U.N. Resolution 181 otherwise known as the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine by an overwhelming 78% of the UNGA passing the resolution. Eventually, Israeli independence was achieved following the liquidation of the former British-administered Mandate of Palestine, the departure of the British and the "Independence War" between the Jews in ex-Mandatory Palestine and five Arab states' armies. The Jewish claim for Palestine as the "Jewish homeland" can be seen as an example of irredentism, based on legendary ancestral conquest and theology in the Bible. Proponents of the formation, expansion, or defense of Israel, who subscribe to these historical or theological justifications, are sometimes called (and refer to themselves as) "Zionists". It should also be noted that Mandatory Palestine had sizable Jewish and Arab populations before the Second World War.

In further irredentist claims, Judea and Samaria, as it is called in the Bible, were part of the ancient legendary Kingdom of Israel (designated the West Bank by Jordan in 1947) and the Gaza Strip, previously annexed by Jordan and occupied by Egypt respectively, were conquered and occupied by Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967. Israel withdrew from Gaza in August 2005; Judea and Samaria (West Bank) remain under Israeli control. Israel has never explicitly claimed sovereignty over any part of the West Bank apart from East Jerusalem, which it unilaterally annexed in 1980. However, the Israeli military supports and defends hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who have migrated to the West Bank, incurring criticism by some who otherwise support Israel. The United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, and some countries and international organizations continue to regard Israel as occupying Gaza. (See Israeli-Occupied Territories.)

Article 3 of the Basic Law of the Palestinian Authority, which was ratified in 2002 by the Palestinian National Authority and serves as an interim constitution, states that "Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine." The Israeli annexing instrument, the Jerusalem Law—one of the Basic Laws of Israel that "serve in the place of a constitution"—declares Jerusalem, "complete and united", to be the capital of Israel, creating a conflict with Palestinian claims. De facto, the Palestinian government administers the parts of the West Bank that Israel has granted it authority over from Ramallah, while the Gaza Strip is administered by the Hamas movement from Gaza.

The United States does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem and maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv. In Jerusalem, the United States maintains two Consulates General as a diplomatic representation to the city of Jerusalem alone, separate from representation to the state of Israel. One of the Consulates General was established before the 1967 war, and the other in a recently constructed building on the Israeli side of Jerusalem. However, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995 that says the US shall move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but allows the president to delay the move every year if it is deemed contrary to national security interests. Since 1995, every president has delayed the move.

A small minority of Israelis and Jews regard the East Bank of the Jordan river (which is today the Kingdom of Jordan) as the eastern parts of the Land of Israel (following the revisionist idea) because the legendary Israelite tribes of Menasseh, Gad, and Reuben settled on the east bank of the Jordan, and because that area was designated a Jewish national home by the League of Nations in the Mandate for Palestine.


Since their founding, both Korean states have disputed the legitimacy of the other. South Korea's constitution claims jurisdiction over the entire Korean peninsula. It acknowledges the division of Korea only indirectly by requiring the president to work for reunification. The Committee for the Five Northern Korean Provinces, established in 1949, is the South Korean authority charged with the administration of Korean territory north of the Military Demarcation Line (i.e., North Korea), and consists of the governors of the five provinces, who are appointed by the President. However the body is purely symbolic and largely tasked with dealing with Northern defectors; if reunification were to actually occur the Committee would be dissolved and new administrators appointed by the Ministry of Unification.[15]

North Korea's constitution also stresses the importance of reunification, but, while it makes no similar formal provision for administering the South, it effectively claims its territory as it does not diplomatically recognise the Republic of Korea, deeming it an "entity occupying the Korean territory".

Other territories sometimes disputed to belong to Korea are Manchuria and Gando.


The Guayana Esequiba is a territory administered by Guyana but claimed by Venezuela. It was first included in the Viceroyalty of New Granada and the Captaincy General of Venezuela by Spain, but was later included in Essequibo by the Dutch and in British Guiana by the United Kingdom. Originally, parts of what is now eastern Venezuela were included in the disputed area. This territory of 159,500 km² is the subject of a long-running boundary dispute inherited from the colonial powers and complicated by the independence of Guyana in 1966. The status of the territory is subject to the Treaty of Geneva, which was signed by the United Kingdom, Venezuela and British Guiana governments on February 17, 1966. This treaty stipulates that the parties will agree to find a practical, peaceful and satisfactory solution to the dispute.[16]

Other irredentism


Former Yugoslavia

Some of the most violent irredentist conflicts of recent times in Europe flared up as a consequence of the break-up of the former Yugoslavian federal state in the early 1990s.[dubious ][clarification needed] The conflict erupted further south with the ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo seeking to switch allegiance to the adjoining state of Albania.[17]


Greater Albania[18] or Ethnic Albania as called by the Albanian nationalists themselves,[19] is an irredentist concept of lands outside the borders of Albania which are considered part of a greater national homeland by most Albanians,[20] based on claims on the present-day or historical presence of Albanian populations in those areas. The term incorporates claims to Kosovo, as well as territories in the neighbouring countries Montenegro, Greece and the Republic of Macedonia. Albanians themselves mostly use the term ethnic Albania instead.[19] According to the Gallup Balkan Monitor 2010 report, the idea of a Greater Albania is supported by the majority of Albanians in Albania (63%), Kosovo (81%) and the Republic of Macedonia (53%).[20][21] In 2012, as part of the celebrations for the 100th Anniversary of the Independence of Albania, Prime Minister Sali Berisha spoke of "Albanian lands" stretching from Preveza in Greece to Preševo in Serbia, and from the Macedonian capital of Skopje to the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica, angering Albania's neighbors. The comments were also inscribed on a parchment that will be displayed at a museum in the city of Vlore, where the country's independence from the Ottoman Empire was declared in 1912.[22]


Based on the territorial definition of a historic Bulgarian state, a "Greater Bulgaria" nationalist movement has been active for more than a century that would annex most of Macedonia, Thrace, and Moesia.


The idea of the natural borders of France is a political theory conceptualized primarily in the late 18th and early 19th centuries that focused on widening the borders primarily based on either practical reasons or the territory that was thought to be the maximum extent that the ancient Gauls inhabited. This theory lays claim to portions of Belgium and Germany.


During the unification of Germany, the term Großdeutschland "Greater Germany" referred to a possible German nation consisting of the states that later comprised the German Empire and Austria. The term Kleindeutschland "Lesser Germany" referred to a possible German state without Austria. The term was also used by Germans referring to Greater Germany, a state consisting of pre-World War I Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland. This issue was known as the German Question.

A main point of Nazi ideology was to reunify all Germans either born or living outside of Germany to create an "all-German Reich." These beliefs ultimately resulted in the Munich Agreement, which ceded to Germany areas of Czechoslovakia that were mainly inhabited by those of German descent and the Anschluss, which ceded the entire country of Austria to Germany; both events occurred in 1938.


Following the Greek War of Independence in 1821-1832, Greece began to contest areas inhabited by Greeks, primarily against the Ottoman Empire. The Megali Idea (Great Idea) envisioned Greek incorporation of Greek-inhabited lands, but also historical lands in Asia Minor corresponding with the predominantly Greek and Orthodox Byzantine Empire and the dominions of the ancient Greeks.

Territorial evolution of modern Greece

The Greek quest began with the acquisition of Thessaly through the Convention of Constantinople in 1881, a failed war against Turkey in 1897 and the Balkan Wars (Macedonia, Epirus, some Aegean Islands). After World War I, Greece acquired Western Thrace from Bulgaria as per the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine, but also Ionia/Smyrna and Eastern Thrace (excluding Constantinople) from the Ottoman Empire as ordained in the Treaty of Sèvres. Subsequently, Greece launched an unsuccessful campaign to further their gains in Asia Minor, but were halted by the Turkish revolution. The events culminated into the Great Fire of Smyrna, Population exchange between Greece and Turkey and Treaty of Lausanne which returned Eastern Thrace and Ionia to the newfound Turkish Republic. The events are known as the "Asia Minor Catastrophe" to Greeks. The Ionian Islands were ceded by Britain in 1864, and the Dodecanese by Italy in 1947.

Another Greek irredentist claim includes Northern Epirus (currently part of Albania), where a sizable Greek minority lives. Greece officially annexed Northern Epirus in March 1916, but was forced to revoke by the Great Powers. In 1917 Greece lost control of the rest of Northern Epirus to Italy. The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 awarded the area to Greece after World War I, however, political developments such as the Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22) and, crucially, Italian, Austrian and German lobbying in favor of Albania resulted in the area being ceded to Albania in November 1921.

Another concern of the Greeks is the incorporation of Cyprus which was ceded by the Ottomans to the British. As a result of the Cyprus Emergency the island gained independence as the Republic of Cyprus in 1960. The failed incorporation by Greece through coup d'état and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 led to the formation of the mostly unrecognized Northern Cyprus and has culminated into the present-day Cyprus issue.

The Aegean islands of Imbros and Tenedos which were not ceded to Greece over the course of the 20th century and where the dominant Greek community has faced persecution are also of concern.


The restoration of the borders of Hungary to their state prior to World War I, in order to unite all ethnic Hungarians within the same country once again.


From 1937 until 1999, Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution of Ireland provided that "[t]he national territory consists of the whole island of Ireland". However, "[p]ending the re-integration of the national territory", the powers of the state were restricted to legislate only for the area that had ceded from the United Kingdom. Arising from the Northern Ireland peace process, the matter was mutually resolved in 1998. The Republic of Ireland's constitution was altered by referendum and its territorial claim to Northern Ireland was suspended. The amended constitution asserts that while it is the entitlement of "every person born in the island of Ireland[citation needed] ... to be part of the Irish Nation" and to hold Irish citizenship, "a united Ireland shall be brought about only by peaceful means with the consent of a majority of the people, democratically expressed, in both jurisdictions in the island." Certain joint policy and executive bodies were created between Northern Ireland, the part of the island that remained in the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, and these were given executive authority. The advisory and consultative role of the government of Ireland in the government of Northern Ireland granted by the United Kingdom, that had begun with the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, was maintained, although that Agreement itself was ended. The two states also settled the long-running dispute concerning their respective names: Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with both governments agreeing to use those names.


Italian territory claims by Italian irredentism activists in the 1930s, including Nice, Ticino and Dalmatia in green, Malta in red, and later also claimed Corsica in purple.

Italy's territorial claims were on the basis of re-establishing a Romanesque Empire, a fourth shore according to the concept of Mare Nostrum (Latin for 'Our Sea') and traditional ethnic borders. Evident in Italy's rapid takeover of surrounding territories under Fascist leader Benito Mussolini and claims following the collapsed 1915 Treaty of London and 1918 Treaty of Versailles which established feelings of betrayal. Similar to the Nazis' stab-in-the-back myth, Mussolini and Hitler's similarities including a joint hatred towards the French and wanting to expand their territories brought the two leaders together, solidified in the Pact of Steel and later WW2. By 1942 Italy had conquered Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia), Libya, Much of Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya and Somalia. And - on the European continent - Istria, Dalmatia, Albania, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, the Spanish island of Majorca and France's Corsica; Malta was also bombed. Underlying tensions remained with France, over its territories of Corsica, Nice and Savoy.


File:Macedonia barbed wire.jpg
A map distributed by ethnic Macedonian nationalists circa 1993. Shows the geographical region of Macedonia split with barbed wire between the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria and Greece.

The Republic of Macedonia promotes the irredentist concept of a United Macedonia (Macedonian: Обединета Македонија, Obedineta Makedonija) among ethnic Macedonian nationalists which involves territorial claims on the northern province of Macedonia in Greece, but also in Blagoevgrad Province ("Pirin Macedonia") in Bulgaria, Albania, and Serbia. The United Macedonia concept aims to unify the transnational region of Macedonia in the Balkans (which they claim as their homeland and which they assert was wrongfully divided under the Treaty of Bucharest in 1913), into a single state under Macedonian domination, with the Greek city of Thessaloniki (Solun in the Slavic languages) as its capital.[23][24]


The Kingdom of Norway at its greatest extent.

The Kingdom of Norway maintains some claim to territories lost at the dissolution of the Denmark-Norway union. The Norwegian Empire, which was the Norwegian territories at its maximum extent, included Iceland, the settleable areas of Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Shetland among others. Under Danish sovereignty since they established a hegemonic position in the Kalmar Union, the territories were considered as Norwegian colonies. When in the Treaty of Kiel in 1814, Norway's territories were transferred from Denmark to Sweden, the territories of Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands were maintained by Denmark. In 1919, Norway declared sovereignty over an area in Eastern Greenland in the Ihlen Declaration, which led to a dispute with Denmark that was not settled until 1933, by the Permanent Court of International Justice. The Former national homeland does also include Jämtland, Härjedalen and Idre & Särna (lost since the Second Treaty of Brömsebro), and Bohuslän (lost since the Treaty of Roskilde) who was ceded to Sweden as a results of loss of wars by Denmark like the Thirty Years' War and Second Northern War.


Kresy ("Borderlands"), is a term that refers to the eastern lands that formerly belonged to Poland. In 1921, Polish troops crossed the Curzon Line, the border between ethnic Polish and ethnic Ukrainian and Belorussian territories and seized large Ukrainian and Belorussian territories, and also seized 7 percent of Lithuania's territory in 1920. These territories were re-annexed by the Soviet Union in 1939 under the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, and include major cities, like Lviv (Ukraine), Vilnius (the capital of Lithuania), and Hrodna (Belarus). Even though Kresy, or the Eastern Borderlands, are no longer Polish territories, the area is still inhabited by a significant Polish minority, and the memory of a Polish Kresy is still cultivated. The attachment to the "myth of Kresy", the vision of the region as a peaceful, idyllic, rural land, has been criticized in Polish discourse.[25]

In January, February and March 2012, the Centre for Public Opinion Research conducted a survey, asking Poles about their ties to the Kresy. It turned out that almost 15% of the population of Poland (4.3 - 4.6 million people) declared that they had either been born in the Kresy, or had a parent or a grandparent who came from that region. Numerous treasures of Polish culture remain and there are numerous Kresy-oriented organizations. There are Polish sports clubs (Pogoń Lwów, FK Polonia Vilnius), newspapers (Gazeta Lwowska, Kurier Wileński), radio stations (in Lviv and Vilnius), numerous theatres, schools, choirs and folk ensembles. Poles living in Kresy are helped by Fundacja Pomoc Polakom na Wschodzie, a Polish government-sponsored organization, as well as other organizations, such as The Association of Help of Poles in the East Kresy (see also Karta Polaka). Money is frequently collected to help those Poles who live in Kresy, and there are several annual events, such as a Christmas Package for a Polish Veteran in Kresy, and Summer with Poland, sponsored by the Association "Polish Community", in which Polish children from Kresy are invited to visit Poland.[26] Polish language handbooks and films, as well as medicines and clothes are collected and sent to Kresy. Books are most often sent to Polish schools which exist there — for example, in December 2010, The University of Wrocław organized an event called Become a Polish Santa Claus and Give a Book to a Polish Child in Kresy.[27] Polish churches and cemeteries (such as Cemetery of the Defenders of Lwów) are renovated with money from Poland.


Portugal does not recognize Spanish sovereignty over the territory of Olivenza, ceded under coercion to Spain during the Napoleonic Wars.[28] Since the Rexurdimento of the mid-nineteenth century, there has been an intellectual movement pleading for the reintegration between Portugal and the region of Galicia, under Spanish sovereignty. Although this movement has become increasingly popular on both sides of the border, there is no consensus in regard to the nature of such reintegration: whether political, socio-cultural or merely linguistic.


Romania lays claims to Greater Romania, which include Bessarabia and Bucovina as Moldova, since they were parts of Romania' and are inhabited in majority by Romanians (same people as Moldavians).


The annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014 was based on a claim of protecting ethnic Russians residing there. Crimea was part of the Russian Empire from 1783 to 1917, after which it enjoyed a few years of autonomy until it was made part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic(which was a part of Soviet Union) from 1921 to 1954 and then transferred to Soviet Ukraine(which also was a part of Soviet Union) in 1954, which remained part of Ukraine until February 2014. Russia declared Crimea to be part of the Russian Federation in March 2014, and effective administration commenced. The Russian regional status is not currently recognised by the UN General Assembly and by many countries.

Russian irredentism also includes southeastern and coastal Ukraine, known as Novorossiya, a term from the Russian Empire.


Pan-Serbism or Greater Serbia sees the creation of a Serb land which would incorporate all regions of traditional significance to the Serbian nation, and regions outside of Serbia that are populated mostly by Serbs. This movement's main ideology is to unite all Serbs (or all historically ruled or Serb populated lands) into one state, claiming, depending on the version, different areas of many surrounding countries.


Spain maintains a claim on Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory near the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, which has been British since the 17th Century.

Gibraltar was captured in 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). The Kingdom of Castile formally ceded the territory in perpetuity to the British Crown in 1713, under Article X of the Treaty of Utrecht. Spain's territorial claim was formally reasserted by the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in the 1960s and has been continued by successive Spanish governments. In 2002 an agreement in principle on joint sovereignty over Gibraltar between the governments of the United Kingdom and Spain was decisively rejected in a referendum. The British Government now refuses to discuss sovereignty without the consent of the Gibraltarians.[29]

During World War II the Spanish Falangist media agitated for irredentism, claiming for Spain those parts of Catalonia and the Basque Country which were under French administration.[citation needed] Morocco makes similar claims against Spain over the North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.


At certain periods, Ukrainians made up a majority of the population in regions of Russia such as the historical Kuban Oblast. Some Ukrainians believe in the incorporation of lands once controlled by Ukraine, including Kuban, Transnistria and the Prešov Region of Slovakia.[citation needed]

Western Asia


Irredentism is acute in the Caucasus region, too. The Nagorno-Karabakh movement's original slogan of miatsum ('union') was explicitly oriented towards unification with Armenia, feeding an Azerbaijani understanding of the conflict as a bilateral one between itself and an irredentist Armenia.[30][31][32][33][34] According to Prof. Thomas Ambrosio, "Armenia's successful irredentist project in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan" and "From 1992 to the cease-fire in 1994, Armenia encountered a highly permissive or tolerant international environment that allowed its annexation of some 15 percent of Azerbaijani territory".[35] In the view of Nadia Milanova, Nagorno-Karabakh represents a combination of separatism and irredentism.[36]




Whole Azerbaijan is a concept based on the political and historical union of territories currently and historically inhabited by Azerbaijanis or historically controlled by them.[37] Western Azerbaijan is an irredentist political concept that is used in Azerbaijan mostly to refer to Armenia. Azerbaijani statements claim that the territory of the modern Armenian republic were lands that once belonged to Azerbaijanis.[38]


Saddam Hussein's Iraq wanted to annex Khuzestan Province of Iran during the Iran–Iraq War due to the Arab population living there.


Kurds have often used the ancient entity of Corduene as evidence that they should have a separate state from the countries they are now ruled by.


The Lebanese nationalism goes even further and incorporates irredentist views going beyond the Lebanese borders, seeking to unify all the lands of ancient Phoenicia around present day Lebanon.[39] This comes from the fact that present day Lebanon, the Mediterranean coast of Syria, and northern Israel is the area that roughly corresponds to ancient Phoenicia and as a result the majority of the Lebanese people identify with the ancient Phoenician population of that region.[40] The proposed Greater Lebanese country includes Lebanon, Mediterranean coast of Syria, and northern Israel.


The French Mandate of Syria handed over the Sanjak of Alexandretta to Turkey which turned it into Hatay Province. Syria disputes this and still regards the region as belonging to Syria.

The Syrian Social Nationalist Party, which operates in Lebanon and Syria, works for the unification of most modern states of the Levant and beyond in a single state referred to as Greater Syria.[citation needed] The proposed Syrian country includes Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Kuwait; and southern Turkey, northern Egypt, and southwestern Iran.


Misak-ı Millî is the set of six important decisions made by the last term of the Ottoman Parliament. Parliament met on 28 January 1920 and published their decisions on 12 February 1920. These decisions worried the occupying Allies, resulting in the Occupation of Constantinople by the British, French and Italian troops on 16 March 1920 and the establishment of a new Turkish nationalist parliament, the Grand National Assembly, in Ankara.

The Ottoman Minister of Internal Affairs, Damat Ferid Pasha, made the opening speech of parliament due to Mehmed VI's illness. A group of parliamentarians called Felâh-ı Vatan was established by Mustafa Kemal's friends to acknowledge the decisions taken at the Erzurum Congress and the Sivas Congress. Mustafa Kemal said "It is the nation's iron fist that writes the Nation's Oath which is the main principle of our independence to the annals of history." Decisions taken by this parliament were used as the basis for the new Turkish Republic's claims in the Treaty of Lausanne.

United Arab Emirates

The Greater and Lesser Tunbs are disputed by the United Arab Emirates against Iran.


Greater Yemen is a theory giving Yemen claim to former territories that were held by various predecessor states that existed between the 13th and 18th centuries. The areas claimed include parts of Saudi Arabia and Oman.

East Asia


When Hong Kong and Macau were British and Portuguese territories, respectively, China considered these two territories to be Chinese territories under British and Portuguese administration, respectively. Therefore, Hong Kong people and Macanese people descended from Chinese immigrants were entitled to Hong Kongs or Macao Special Administrative Region passports after the two territories became the special administrative regions.


Japan claims the two southernmost islands of the Russian-administered Kuril Islands, the island chain north of Hokkaido, annexed by the Soviet Union following World War II. Japan also claims the South Korean-administered Liancourt Rocks, which are known as Takeshima in Japan and have been claimed since the end of the Second World War.


The 1909 Gando Convention addressed a territory dispute between China and Joseon Korea in China's favor. Both Korean states now accept the convention border as an administrative boundary. However, because the convention was made by the occupying Empire of Japan, South Korea has disputed its legality and some Koreans claim that Korea extends into de facto PRC territory, viz. Dandong and Liaoning. The most ambitious claims include all parts of Manchuria that the Goguryeo kingdom controlled.


The irredentist idea that advocates cultural and political solidarity of Mongols. The proposed territory usually includes the independent state of Mongolia, the Chinese regions of Inner Mongolia (Southern Mongolia) and Dzungaria (in Xinjiang), and the Russian subjects of Buryatia. Sometimes Tuva and the Altai Republic are included as well.

South Asia

South Asia too is another region in which armed irredentist movements have been active for almost a century, in North-East India, Burma and Bangladesh.[dubious ][clarification needed] Most prominent amongst them are the Naga fight for Greater Nagaland, the Chin struggle for a unified Chinland and other self-determinist movements by the ethnic indigenous peoples of the erstwhile Assam both under the British and post-British Assam under India.[citation needed]


Greater Bangladesh is an assumption of several Indian intellectuals that the neighboring country of Bangladesh has an aspiration to unite all Bengali dominated regions under their flag. These include the states of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam as well as the Andaman Islands which are currently part of India and the Burmese Arakan Province. The theory is principally based on a widespread belief amongst Indian masses that a large number of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants reside in Indian territory. It is alleged that illegal immigration is actively encouraged by some political groups in Bangladesh as well as the state of Bangladesh to convert large parts of India's northeastern states and West Bengal into Muslim-majority areas that would subsequently seek to separate from India and join Muslim-majority Bangladesh. Scholars have reflected that under the guise of anti-Bangladeshi immigrant movement it is actually an anti-Muslim agenda pointed towards Bangladeshi Muslims by false propaganda and widely exaggerated claims on immigrant population. In a 1998, Lieutenant General S.K. Sinha, then the Governor of Assam claimed that massive illegal immigration from Bangladesh was directly linked with "the long-cherished design of Greater Bangladesh.


Akhand Bharat

The call for creation of the Akhand Bharat or Akhand Hindustan has on occasions been raised by some Indian right wing Hindutvadi cultural and political organisations such as the Hindu Mahasabha, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).[11][12][13][41] The name of one organisation sharing this goal, the Akhand Hindustan Morcha, bears the term in its name.[42] Other major Indian non-sectarian political parties such as the Indian National Congress, maintain a position against the partition of India on religious grounds, do not subscribe to a call for Akhand Bharat.



Irredentism is commonplace in Africa due to the political boundaries of former European colonial nation-states passing through ethnic boundaries, and recent declarations of independence after civil war. For example, some Ethiopian nationalist circles still claim the former Ethiopian province of Eritrea (internationally recognized as the independent State of Eritrea in 1993 after a 30-year civil war).


Ogaden in eastern Ethiopia has seen military and civic movements seeking to make it part of Somalia.

Some sources say that Somalia also laid a claim to the Socotra archipelago, which is currently governed by Yemen.

North America


Irredentism is also expressed by some Mexican-American activists in the Reconquista movement. They call for the return of formerly Mexican-dominated lands in the Southwestern United States to Mexico. These lands were annexed by the US in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and became the present-day states of California, Texas, Nevada and Utah; and parts of Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Kansas, and New Mexico.[43][44][45][46][47][48]


There are Russian groups who want Russia to take back Alaska (which was formerly Russian America). A Russian Orthodox organization, the Pchyolki (the bees), called for the return of Alaska in 2013, arguing first of all that the original sale was not legally valid (since the United States reportedly agreed to pay Russia in gold, but instead sent a cheque), and second that the legalization of gay marriage in the United States meant that the U. S. was not honouring its pledge to allow Alaskans to practice their religion.[49][50] Under Alaska Ballot Measure 2 in 1998, however, same-sex marriage was illegal in Alaska[51] at that time. Same-sex marriage was, however, authorised by the courts on 12 October 2014.

Following the start of the Ukraine crisis in 2014, several Russian groups and individuals began advocating for the reclamation of Alaska. A petition appeared on the official White House website demanding the return of Alaska to Russia, receiving around 42,000 signatures. Russian President Vladimir Putin was even asked a question on the subject by a woman during an annual question and answer television segment; Putin dismissed the idea saying Alaska was "too cold" and Russia already had enough cold places. However, in October of that year, Putin's Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin wrote a foreword for a book called Alaska Betrayed and Sold: The History of a Palace Conspiracy. The book alleges that the original sale of Alaska was filled with "outright lies". Rogozin himself claimed that the sale was a "betrayal of Russian power status". He further stated that Russia had a "right to reclaim our lost colonies". Rogozin is the highest-ranking member of the Russian government to make such a claim.[citation needed]

See also


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  18.,"as Albanians continue mobilizing their ethnic presence in a cultural, geographic and economic sense, they further the process of creating a Greater Albania. "
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    Get out, boy, straight on the terrace
    And salute Goce's race
    Raise your hands up high
    Ours will be Thessaloniki's area.

  25. odczarować mit Kresów Czas odczarować mit Kresów Marcin Wojciechowski, Gazeta Wyborcza 2010-04-12,
  26. Dzieci z Kresów zwiedzają Łódź
  27. Zostań polskim świętym Mikołajem - podaruj książkę polskiemu dziecku na Kresach.
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Further reading

  • Willard, Charles Arthur 1996 — Liberalism and the Problem of Knowledge: A New Rhetoric for Modern Democracy," Chicago: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-89845-8, ISBN 978-0-226-89845-2; OCLC 260223405

External links