Most painful territorial losses


Ad Honorem
May 2016
Anyway, though, were Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam officially a part of Spain like northern Algeria was officially a part of France?
Yes, we can say that. Since the constitution of 1812.

Article 10 (Google translation from Spanish), second and fourth paragraph:

“The Spanish territory includes in the Peninsula with its possessions and adjacent islands, Aragon, Asturias, Castile la Vieja, Castile la Nueva, Catalonia, Córdoba, Extremadura, Galicia, Granada, Jaen, Leon, Molina, Murcia, Navarre, Basque Provinces, Seville and Valencia, the Balearic Islands and the Canary Islands with the other possessions of Africa.

In northern America, New Spain, with New Galicia and Yucatan Peninsula, Guatemala, internal provinces of the East, internal provinces of the West, island of Cuba with the two Floridas, the Spanish part of the island of Santo Domingo, and the island of Puerto Rico with the others adjacent to them and to the mainland in both sea.

In South America, New Granada, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, provinces of the Rio de la Plata, and all adjacent islands in the Pacific and Atlantic.

In Asia, the Philippine Islands, and those that depend on his government.*”

Source: (in Spanish)

* This includes Guam.
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Nov 2018
Why was the loss of Skane/Scania so hurtful to Denmark?
Skåne is a fertile area, and the population was more Danish-minded than the Schleswig / Holstein.

Moreover, when Denmark had both sides of the Sound they could control shipping out and in the Baltic Sea.

In addition, the Danes who conquered what became Denmark originated from southern Sweden, ie Skåne.

And now I go to bed, I'm going to a course tomorrow, so it's far above my bedtime.:zzz:

Good night.


Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
Spain seems to have gotten over it quickly, no?

And yet Ataturk never tried to reclaim these territories. The last Ottoman Parliament never declared it a goal to recapture most of the lost Arab territories:

Misak-ı Millî - Wikipedia

Doesn't count, unfortunately. I want only territories that were officially a part of the mother country for this scenario.

Yep, it certainly did. However, I didn't include it in my list because I don't think that Mexicans dwelled too much about this loss--did they?
What could Ataturk have done to recover those lost lands, when they were protectorates of Britain and France?
Feb 2019
I will also add the loss of eastern territories of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the 1660s. The Commonwealth never recovered from this loss and the massive financial and civilian losses from the Deluge. This pretty much made them lose their great power status.

Another loss, though brief was Napoleon ripping Prussia of half its territory in 1807. This didn't last long but it pretty much crippled Prussia and ensured that they could no longer do anything until Napoleon lost in the invasion of Russia. The fact that Jena-Auersterdt was fought only about 6 days into the war makes this loss not only a massive territorial one but also a humiliating military disaster that showcased that Prussia was no longer the military power it was just some odd 30 years earlier and made Prussia reform its military.
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Nov 2018
It was not on purpose.
I am going to bed and almost sleeping and just wanted to contribute my five cents.
Yes, the loss of Finland was just as much a loss for the Swedes as the loss of Norway for the Danes.
Now I think we've got all the painful losses in the Nordic countries. :crying:
Sorry Norway, I forgot when we lost you in 1814, you lost Iceland and Greenland.
Jan 2016
Victoria, Canada
Western Anatolia for the Byzantines, in the 1290's through 1330's, as lost to Turkoman confederacies driven west by the Mongols. It had been the base from which Romania had reconstituted itself over the early-mid 13th century as well as its richest, most densely populated, most well-organized region (having been little-effected by the chaos brought upon the Balkans after 1204), not to mention being strategically indispensable in the protection of Roman Europe. Its loss was bitterly lamented, and recognized, even as it was happening, as a grim prelude to the Empire's ultimate decline and fall. Metochites is quite explicit, in his aptly titled "Lament on how badly the people of the eastern Roman Empire are faring" :

1 On the whole what grieves me most of all are the past disasters and misfortunes of our race that history and memory report, and of the good old days of Roman glory in this Empire of ours, but I am also grieved by what happened before our eyes, yesterday and the day before, to the eastern parts of the Empire—or rather what is left of it; it is not easy to say how much—; by those many great things and our prolonged [good] fortune being replaced by adversity and finally shipwreck, just as it is natural for human beings to especially mourn the deaths of loved ones who die in their arms or before their eyes more than those who die far away and perhaps long ago, and that they only hear about later. For close experiences and associations, and what has become habitual over time and is therefore very pleasant and desirable to be close to, and to be together with; that have, so to speak, shared one’s life—oh, how, how can I bear to remember and speak about them?—now that they have left me they smite me to the heart and consume and drown my mind in the depths of dejection. Oh sweet sojourns, sweet sights, that time makes excellent by habit and experience [makes excellent] by nature; one truly cannot behold or experience anything better than you, even nearly or very nigh as good, regarding every nobility and grace. Oh lovely regions in Ionia, Lydia, Aeolis, around Phrygia and on the Hellespont, where I made myself at home from a young age and lived a most delightful life4—now I am left a mourning exile, from afar pouring libations of tears and sobs as if they were funeral offerings, so to speak. Oh dearly beloved cities, oh dearly beloved plains, mountains, glens, flowing rivers, groves, meadows—all delights for those who live with you, who behold you, who have any dealings with you. How wretched am I, who have spent so much time with you, and so rejoiced in my accustomed sojourns and stays among you, which created a totally relaxed and quite favourable disposition of my soul. Now I must grieve so much, and these memories so pain my heart, my very thoughts, I cannot breathe, my life has become a burden, and I am close to being completely carried away.

2 Oh, the harmony and order most dear to me, of life and human society, both common and private affairs, the social graces of the people, the nobility of their customs, both in their work and in their displays of luxury and opulence that were not vulgar. Everything, or rather the whole feast of life, was embellished with a seemly dignity; nothing was repulsive or unpleasant to behold or experience. Oh, the ingenuity of all kinds of arts; oh, the manifold practices, scrupulous and successful in all that was intended; oh, the ploughing of the earth, the noble arts, the incitements to successful results in every kind of contribution, natural and cultivated, all kinds of prosperity, and of business. Oh, the churches and monasteries, communities of every kind of pious worship, customs and arrangements of faith and spirituality, everything suited to all other things and to each other—nothing like this could be seen anywhere else, and now I am not just referring to other peoples and realms, but also among ourselves, i.e. in the other lands belonging to the Roman Empire and race. For what was most beautiful from the outset and always, what was most perfect with regard to virtue and happiness in human life, what was most beautiful in the Christian faith itself, and most beautiful and outstanding in our Roman Empire—in truth, which other human beings possessed it apart from those who lived in these regions and tracts of the earth to which I refer, both long ago and more recently? Alas, it is lost to us of the Roman Empire who still remain, the few of us who are left!

3 Oh, the destitution, oh, the loss! For we exist in merely a few remnants and limbs of the life and body of our realm, so great and beautiful, almost like people who have had most, and the most essential, of their limbs amputated, and we continue to live in shame and ridicule, completely helpless regarding opportunities for existence and life, vulnerable and liable to perish easily from any small blow or assault; we who—alas!— had whatever was most beautiful, every grace, the most splendid strength, and were prominent among all other peoples of the whole world as in a common theatre, looked up to from all directions and admired in every way. Now we live all the more miserably and dishonourably, as our state shows us up to everybody, as does the former ceremony and splendour of the glory from which we have fallen; and we live all the more dangerously now, since we have been deprived of so much in the sight of all. And since up till now we have clearly lived in a manner that caused envy and was conspicuous from afar, we cannot hide that fact that we are [now] in an extremely bad situation. For we did not earlier drag ourselves through our lives, however important, in obscurity, and were later crushed with hardly even our neighbours noticing it. We cannot live in obscurity—indeed, we are virtually unable to live at all—[as we would have been had we merely been] stripped of some small power and glory. No, we are truly compelled to live in competition with great achievements and as though we were doing splendidly; we cannot live otherwise, not even moderately well. No: one must thus tacitly leave the rest to Providence, which regulates everything by means of fixed boundaries; though they are invisible to all of us, even so [does Providence guide us] in a way that could not be better, and it is an inescapable duty to accept its decisions, and perhaps in a praiseworthy manner if we are grateful, or perhaps not in our distress and suffering, since we, too, are wholly unable to live without discernment. Men of sound judgement who are not completely unsuccessful must somehow understand what we used to be and what we have become, and grieve wholeheartedly, greatly fearing, in the wake of previous events, that worse dangers are bound to follow; and one man does this more than another according to his capacity for reasoning.

4 Oh, so often when I give all my thoughts over to myself and the current situation, or tear myself away from the work that surrounds me, I immediately lose all hope, and for a while long most of all for death until I realise what I believe it is absolutely necessary to realise if one is going to endure for [even] a short while among the living. But perhaps it is possible to be ignorant even of this, for every man is blind regarding the future, as the old saying has it, and that which we think will happen, based on what is reasonable, usually turns out differently, and indeed sometimes the totally unexpected happens. And thus, by rights, nothing should ever be more unexpected [than anything else] for human beings. From the best comes what is most miserable and hateful; and again from that [misery], that which is equal to total bliss and better than anyone could wish for. May God supply us, too, with better thoughts—[better] from what is reasonable considering what we have seen and what happened previously—so that we will not be guilty of complete unreason, turning all our attention to and focusing entirely on things that in our view and judgement are beyond all hope, as if under some compulsion, I know not what; so that we can change every thought concerning these things into hope for things great and fine.

The Empire of 1337 with the outline of the Empire of 1265, for context:

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Mar 2018
The Austrian-Hungarian empire in 1918 losing just about all of its territory and the majority of its population, not to mention 2/3 of its name. I'm not sure you can even talk about this as a country losing territory; it is more one country being destroyed and a bunch of others created in its place.

For Austria it was a complete change of identity in every way: as a major power, the system of government, the economic landscape, linguistics, culturally, ethnically, and much besides.