Was there any form of government that was stable (in terms of separatist revolts and cultural disputes) enough to maintain a fair lifespan, even though it had a diverse population [see footnote 1]?

How long did their lifespan last? What made them stable? How was the majority-minority (if they had any) relations?
What was the reason of their downfall?

[Footnote 1] A population that can be either composed of many different populations (varying by religion or just cultures), of just a big majority and a relatively small minority

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    The Roman Empire did pretty well! 😏
    – TheHonRose
    Nov 9, 2019 at 14:33
  • 3
    Austro-Hungaria? Although they had separatist movements, e.g. in 1848/49
    – Jan
    Nov 9, 2019 at 14:40
  • @Jan: I dunno, calling that one stable seems a bit of a stretch. The example would make a good answer though, by raising that it started mostly stable, ultimately ended up with separatist movements, with an explanation of how/why it went from one to the other. Nov 9, 2019 at 15:19
  • 3
    Welcome to History:SE. Could you edit your question to clarify what you've looked into already, complete with links and references, and context if applicable? In particular, please let us know what you find missing or unclear about the Wikipedia entry on the topic, if one exists. This allows those who might want to answer to do so without needing to redo the work you've already done. You might find it helpful to review the site tour and Help Centre and, in particular, How to Ask.
    – MCW
    Nov 9, 2019 at 16:52
  • 8
    The united states? The United Kingdom? Germany? France? Nearly every nation state is forged from diverse cultures.
    – MCW
    Nov 9, 2019 at 16:54

3 Answers 3


Most empires (Achaemenid, Roman, Eastern Roman, Osman, Austro-Hungarian and Russian) had very diverse populations and were quite sustainable. Even if you count Eastern Roman empire separately from the Western one, the Western one existed for more than 400 years, and the Eastern one for 1000 years after that.

Actually many European countries have very diverse populations, and the question is really what is meant by "sustainable". How long should a country exist to be qualified as "sustainable"?


Switzerland consists of German-speaking and French-speaking populations, plus some smaller groups. Pretty stable for 500 years.

  • Thanks for your reply :) Can you elaborate on the other parts of the question ?
    – Ma250
    Nov 9, 2019 at 14:52
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    a) 500 years and continuing b) That's a PhD dissertation c) The Wiki article Demographics of Switzerland breaks it down in many ways d) see a). Nov 9, 2019 at 16:08
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    Also Italian and Romansh languages. Though these days English is effectively a fifth language...
    – jamesqf
    Nov 9, 2019 at 17:31

Both Japan and China have long had people of different religious convictions (Buddhism and Shintoism in Japan, Buddhism and Daoism in China). But neither of these religions insists on "You shall have no other gods beside me", so they do not lead to the emergence of clearly distinguishable groups and therefore the effect on political stability is small.

Edit: That does not mean that these countries did not have large religion-related conflicts: Japan had christian uprisings and persecution of Christians in the 17th century, and China had the Taiping rebellion and several muslim rebellions in the 19th century. However, there does not seem to have been much conflict between the mainstream religions, i.e. Buddhists and Daoists and Shintoists.

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    This is an inaccurate description of religious conflict in Japan. Thousands were tortured to death for their belief in Shin Buddhism, Nichiren Buddhism, and Christianity between roughly 1600 and 1868.
    – Avery
    Nov 9, 2019 at 17:09
  • Also, for the effect of Buddhism on political stability between 1200 and 1600, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C5%8Dhei
    – Avery
    Nov 9, 2019 at 17:13
  • So than Japan could have been free of religious conflict if buddhist monks would not have a tendency towards forming armed mobs. I stand by my claim that there was not that much conflict between Buddhism and Shintoism, however. Except post-1868, if I read wikipedia correctly.
    – Jan
    Nov 9, 2019 at 17:52

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