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A stateless nation is an ethnic group, religious group, linguistic group or other cohesive group which is not the majority population in any nation state. The term implies that the group "should have" such a state, and thus expresses irredentism. This is orthogonal to statelessness in the sense of an individual's complete lack of a legal nationality: members of stateless ethnic groups may be citizens/nationals of the country in which they live, or they may be denied citizenship by that country. Stateless nations are usually not represented as a nation in international sports such as FIFA, Olympics or in international communities such as the United Nations. Nations without state are classified as fourth world nations.
Stateless nations either are dispersed across a number of states (for example, the Kurdish people are found in Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Armenia and Syria) or form the native population of a province within a larger state (such as the Uyghur people in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region within the People's Republic of China). Some stateless nations historically had a state, which was absorbed by another; for example, Tibet's declaration of independence in 1913 was not recognized, and it was invaded in 1951 by the People's Republic of China which claims that Tibet is an integral part of China, while the Tibetan government-in-exile maintains that Tibet is an independent state under unlawful occupation. Some ethnic groups were once a stateless nation that later became a nation state (for example, the nations of the Balkan such as the Croats, Serbs, Bosnians, Slovenes, Montenegrins, Kosovars and Macedonians were once part of a multinational state of Yugoslavia. Since the breakup of Yugoslavia many nation states were formed). The Romani people may be a special case, being distributed among numerous countries with no clear homeland; as a traditionally "nomadic" people, the Romani/Roma are a classical "stateless nation" without aspiration to sovereign territory. As not all states are nation states, there are a number of ethnic groups who live in a multinational state without being considered "stateless nations". As there are several thousand individual languages and fewer than 200 independent states, it follows that the vast majority of ethnic groups is "stateless" in the sense that they do not have their own nation state.
Consequences of colonialism and imperialism
During the imperial and colonial era, powerful nations extended their influence outside their homeland and this resulted that many occupied nations lost their self-determination and suffer since then as a stateless nation. In some cases the indigenous ethnic groups were victims of atrocities or were forcibly expelled from their homeland, for example Chagossians. Some nations have been victims of "carve out" and their homeland was divided among several nations. Even today the colonial boundaries are visible that were detected during the colonial era and differ from cultural boundaries. This caused that people of same language or culture were separated by national borders, for example New Guinea splits as West Papua (former Dutch colony) and Papua New Guinea (former British colony). During decolonization, the colonial powers imposed a unified state structure irrespective of the ethnic differences and released their colony as a multinational state. This led that many ethnic groups have become a minority in the successor states and lost their right to self-determination. Because of the ethnic differences came in some countries to discrimination, ethnic conflict, separatism, ethnic cleansing, genocide, forced assimilation, and partition.
Nationalism and Stateless nations
Most peoples have their own history, language, culture, religion and customs, but the rise of own national consciousness make them to a nation. A nation can exist without a state but a state can not without a nation, this is well represented by the stateless nations. In a multinational state different national consciousnesses can coexist or compete, example Britain, there exists the English nationalism and Scottish nationalism both held together by British nationalism. Nationalism is often brought into connection with separatism, because a nation reaches its completeness by its independence.  Throughout history, numerous nations declared their independence, but not all ended successfully with a state. Even today, there are unresolved autonomy and independence movements around the world.
Not all claim themselves as a nation or aspire for a state. Some of them identify themselves more as part of the multinational state and believe that their interests are well represented by it. It is also associated with Pan-nationalism. (Spanish nationalism, Indian nationalism or Chinese nationalism).
Claims of stateless nations
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This list of stateless nation was created based on the following criteria.
- Has no own Sovereign State.
- Does not form a majority in any Sovereign State.
- Autonomist or secessionist movements is known to exist.
- Not recognized by any UN members.
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- Ethnic nationalism
- European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages
- Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
- List of active autonomist and secessionist movements
- List of federally recognized tribes
- List of First Nations peoples
- List of unrecognized tribes in the United States
- Multinational state
- Non-FIFA international football
- Stateless person
- Stateless society
- Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization
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- Bodlore-Penlaez, Mikael, ed. (2011), Atlas of Stateless Nations in Europe, minority peoples in search of recognition, Ceredigion: Y Lolfa, ISBN 978-1-84771-379-7
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- Map of stateless nations in Europe - Eurominority
- Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations, James Minahan, pg. 1661
- Atlas of Stateless Nations in Europe: Minority Peoples in Search of Recognition, Mikael Bodlore-Penlaez, 2011
- New Challenges for Stateless Nationalist and Regionalist Parties, Eve Hepburn
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