The nation state is a certain form of state that has a where mainly one nation lives. The state is a political entity; the nation is a cultural and/or ethnic entity. The term "nation-state" means that the two are on the same territorium, and this distinguishes the nation state from the other types of state, which existed before.
Clear examples of nation states include:
- Iceland: although the inhabitants are ethnically related to other Scandinavian groups, the national culture and language are found only in Iceland. There are no cross-border minorities— the nearest land is too far away.
- Japan: Japan is also traditionally seen as a good example of a nation-state, although Japan includes minorities of ethnically distinct Ryūkyū peoples, Koreans, Chinese, and on the northern island of Hokkaidō, the indigenous Ainu minority; see also Japanese Demographics .
- Portugal: although surrounded by other lands and people, the Portuguese nation has occupied the same territory for almost 900 years. The modern Portuguese nation is a very old amalgam of formerly distinct historical populations that passed through and settled in the territory of modern Portugal: native Iberian peoples, Celts, ancient Mediterraneans (Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans), Germanic peoples like the Suebi and the Visigoths, invading Berbers and Arabs, and Jews.
What states existed before nation-states? [change]
In Europe, in the eighteenth century, the classic non-national states were the multi-ethnic empires, (the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Russian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the French Empire, the British Empire).
Characteristics of the nation-state [change]
- They have a different attitude to their territory, compared to the dynastic monarchies. No nation would swap territory with other states simply, for example, because the king's daughter got married.
- They have a different type of border, in principle defined only by the area of settlement of the national group, although many nation states also sought natural borders (rivers, mountain ranges).
- The most noticeable characteristic is the degree to which nation-states use the state as an instrument of national unity, in economic, social and cultural life.
- But a unifying "national identity" can exist also in countries which have several ethnic or language groups. For example, Switzerland is constitutionally a confederation of cantons, and has four official languages, but it has also a 'Swiss' national identity, a national history, and a classic national hero, Wilhelm Tell.(see: Thomas Riklin, 2005. Worin unterscheidet sich die schweizerische "Nation" von der Französischen bzw. Deutschen "Nation"? 
- The creation of a new ethnicity from disparate elements is discussed at ethnogenesis.
Further reading [change]
- Hobsbawm, Eric J. (1992). Nations and Nationalism Since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality. 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43961-2.
- White, Philip L. (2006). "Globalization and the Mythology of the Nation State," In A.G.Hopkins, ed. Global History: Interactions Between the Universal and the Local Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 257–284. 
Other pages [change]
Other websites [change]
- From Paris to Cairo: Resistance of the Unacculturated (Identity and the Nation state)