Which countries' independence nowadays would you say are the biggest historical flukes?

Larrey

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Sep 2011
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Poland, Finland, Norway, Ukraine, Iceland, Luxemburg, Belgium, Ireland, Belorussia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania...
 
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Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
Italy. For almost its entire post-Roman history many of its constituent regions had been under the influence - if not direct dominance - of foreign powers, from the Holy Roman Empire, to France, to Spain, to Austria, often at the same time. Even when Italy - or most of it - was relatively unified like under the Franks in the 8th to 9th centuries or the French during the early 19th century, this was a unity imposed and controlled by foreigners. Seeing the rapid and unexpected independence and subsequent unification of Italy in barely two decades in the mid-19th century is pretty amazing, considering that no such thing had ever happened in fifteen hundred years of Italian history.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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SoCal
Italy. For almost its entire post-Roman history many of its constituent regions had been under the influence - if not direct dominance - of foreign powers, from the Holy Roman Empire, to France, to Spain, to Austria, often at the same time. Even when Italy - or most of it - was relatively unified like under the Franks in the 8th to 9th centuries or the French during the early 19th century, this was a unity imposed and controlled by foreigners. Seeing the rapid and unexpected independence and subsequent unification of Italy in barely two decades in the mid-19th century is pretty amazing, considering that no such thing had ever happened in fifteen hundred years of Italian history.
Yeah, that makes sense. I mean, a unified Germany at least had a recent predecessor in the form of the HRE, no?

Poland, Finland, Norway, Ukraine, Iceland, Luxemburg, Belgium, Ireland, Belorussia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania...
Good examples--though I would be somewhat wary about putting Poland on this list since I think that any Tsarist Russia that eventually reforms might eventually feel compelled to give Poland (and perhaps Finland as well) its independence.
 
Mar 2016
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Australia
I mean, a unified Germany at least had a recent predecessor in the form of the HRE, no?
Even disregarding any concept of "unification", the HRE was still defined by essentially being "by Germans, for Germans". Just about every state - large or small - in the HRE was German both dynastically, linguistically and culturally. The unique constitutional and legalistic style of Imperial governance meant that the sovereignty and independence of German states in the HRE was strictly upheld, protecting them against both foreigners and other Germans (mostly). They had a concept called "German liberty" which they took very seriously, especially in the Early Modern era. Even if politically they still were vaguely subordinate to the Emperor, it was only surface level most of the time, and from a psychological perspective they were independent because their rights and privileges were usually respected. Italy, on the other hand, had no such luxuries, and was called the 'battleground of empires' for a good reason. In the eyes of the French, the Germans and the Spanish, Italy was nothing but a land to assert their control over and exploit its wealth and resources. A thousand years of mostly foreign dominance made serious considerations of independence pretty unrealistic, especially when faced with the enormous military might of the French and the Habsburgs.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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Even disregarding any concept of "unification", the HRE was still defined by essentially being "by Germans, for Germans". Just about every state - large or small - in the HRE was German both dynastically, linguistically and culturally. The unique constitutional and legalistic style of Imperial governance meant that the sovereignty and independence of German states in the HRE was strictly upheld, protecting them against both foreigners and other Germans (mostly). They had a concept called "German liberty" which they took very seriously, especially in the Early Modern era. Even if politically they still were vaguely subordinate to the Emperor, it was only surface level most of the time, and from a psychological perspective they were independent because their rights and privileges were usually respected. Italy, on the other hand, had no such luxuries, and was called the 'battleground of empires' for a good reason. In the eyes of the French, the Germans and the Spanish, Italy was nothing but a land to assert their control over and exploit its wealth and resources. A thousand years of mostly foreign dominance made serious considerations of independence pretty unrealistic, especially when faced with the enormous military might of the French and the Habsburgs.
That makes sense--though I wouldn't say that Germany wasn't also a battleground for foreign powers. It was--especially during the Thirty Years' War and during the Napoleonic Wars.
 
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
That makes sense--though I wouldn't say that Germany wasn't also a battleground for foreign powers. It was--especially during the Thirty Years' War and during the Napoleonic Wars.
True, but these were under very specific circumstances and were the exceptions rather than the rule, compared to 1,500 years of almost uninterrupted foreign wars in Italy. The description is more fitting for Italy than any other region in Europe, except maybe the Balkans.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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True, but these were under very specific circumstances and were the exceptions rather than the rule, compared to 1,500 years of almost uninterrupted foreign wars in Italy. The description is more fitting for Italy than any other region in Europe, except maybe the Balkans.
Just how involved were other countries in Italian affairs before 1494 or after 1559, though?
 
Mar 2016
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Just how involved were other countries in Italian affairs before 1494 or after 1559, though?
Before 1494 Northern Italy was still nominally under the influence of the HRE, however weak it was in many states, and Sardinia, Sicily and Naples were under Aragonese/Spanish control (with a couple of brief interruptions). France also had some control over Genoa in the late 14th/early 15th century, if I remember rightly. After 1559 most of Italy was either directly part of the Spanish Empire (e.g. Milan, Mantua, Sardinia, Sicily, Naples) or in their sphere of influence (e.g. Rome and Genoa). This Spanish dominance wasn't seriously altered until 1714, when much of Italy was transferred to the dominion of the Austrian branch of the Habsburgs.
 
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Futurist

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May 2014
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Before 1494 Northern Italy was still nominally under the influence of the HRE, however weak it was in many states, and Sardinia, Sicily and Naples were under Aragonese/Spanish control (with a couple of brief interruptions). France also had some control over Genoa in the late 14th/early 15th century, if I remember rightly. After 1559 most of Italy was either directly part of the Spanish Empire (e.g. Milan, Mantua, Sardinia, Sicily, Naples) or in their sphere of influence (e.g. Rome and Genoa). This Spanish dominance wasn't seriously altered until 1714, when much of Italy was transferred to the dominion of the Austrian branch of the Habsburgs.
Very interesting!
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,541
Republika Srpska
Not that much of a fluke due to the historical tensions in both of these places as well as due to Western support for both of these.
Sure, but the conflicts there could have easily been won by the other side. For example, without the Communists and NATO or if we go even further back, without the reign of terror that the Kosovo Serbs endured during the bloody century of 1804-1904, Kosovo would still be part of Serbia. AFAIK, it took a lot of fighting for South Sudan to get its independence as well.
 
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