Has there ever arisen a nation-state (building/birth/creation of a new nation state) without violence/war/extreme subordination? But rather peacefully, organically, with all parties and neighbours being enthusiastic?

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    – MCW
    Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 9:52
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    People who've attempted to answer this question, Wallerstein, Braudel, Engels, Hobsbaum, verge constantly on the border of the accusation of being diachronic sociologists rather than historians. Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 10:08
  • Nation State is a 19th century phenomenon which constrains the preliminary research. Canada, and Australia come to mind as do other examples of devolution. I'm not sure what the term "extreme subordination" means.
    – MCW
    Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 10:10
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    This question has been crossposted at Politics and already has an answer there. politics.stackexchange.com/questions/57211/…
    – Brian Z
    Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 12:22
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    Does Slovakia count?
    – Jan
    Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 12:51

2 Answers 2


Iceland would probably count. It left its union with Denmark in 1918 at the end of a peaceful independence movement. However, it continued to share Denmark's king as head of state until 1944, when Nazi occupation of Denmark made that problematic.

The Icelandic independence movement was peaceful from its start in the post-Napoleonic period to the accomplishment of independence in 1944. Common explanations for the peaceful nature of Iceland's independence struggle include:

  • Iceland's distance to Copenhagen.
  • Iceland's homogenous population.
  • The accommodating responses of Denmark to Icelandic demands.
  • The unwillingness of Denmark to respond violently, in part due to a respect for Icelandic culture but also an unwillingness to shoulder the costs of quelling the Icelandic independence movement.
  • The peaceful trends in the Nordic region after the Napoleonic Wars.
  • The question is so theoretically stated, this: does Iceland comprise a nation. Does Iceland possess a state (rather than being a colony in fact of Denmark and then the US/Proto-eu). Has Iceland ever been a nation state? These would be best expanded for the most superlative answer. Commented Sep 16, 2020 at 4:07
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    @SamuelRussell - While you're right that the question is mushy, it seems like you'd have to practically define the term "Nation" away to nothingness to make Iceland not qualify (and it was not a "colony" of Denmark. The original settlers did not come from there. It ended up attached to Denmark for a while only because Denmark acquired Norway during the Kalmar Union).
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Sep 16, 2020 at 14:07
  • I think that "state" has more leverage to improving the question than nation; but, the strong claims about "nation" in various theory are belied in the case of Iceland by the lack of (for example) a national mission to invade the Germans over some riverland etc. The 19th century was messed up. Commented Sep 16, 2020 at 19:35

I'd include the partition of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. According to Wikipedia,

The separation occurred without violence, and was thus said to be "velvet", much like the "Velvet Revolution" that preceded it, which was accomplished through massive peaceful demonstrations and actions. In contrast, other post-communist break-ups (such as the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia) involved violent conflict. Czechoslovakia is the only former Eastern bloc state to have an entirely peaceful breakup.

  • Slovakia’s history didn’t begin in 1945, and past extreme subordination of Slovakians taints that state with at least heroic victimisation. Commented Sep 15, 2020 at 22:48
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    @SamuelRussell - Its history in 1945 was very much about Nazi suborning of the country's democratic system for their own benefit. I know in her history Madeline Albright claimed there was no ethnic separatist movement there before the Nazis created it. However, as a child refugee whose Czech father worked for that government, I'm not sure I trust her impartiality on that one.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Sep 16, 2020 at 0:50
  • This is what I’m trying to get at. Zimbabwe is former Rhodesia. Slovakia is former Nazi or Austrian subalterns. The abuse sticks into the culture and healing takes a long time. It can’t even start until the weapon is removed from the wound (Australia I’m looking at you.) Commented Sep 16, 2020 at 4:03

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