Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

Top 10 Nations That Chose Not to Be Nation States for Quite a While

By Tram Anh Mar 29, 2024

10 Republic of West Florida, number ten (1810)

Ep. 99 of NatchezTV’s The Republic of West Florida

There was a brief period when a territory in what is now far-west Florida—including the panhandle and what was then called the “Florida Parishes”—became a republic. This area had just been part of the Louisiana Purchase when the United States gained it. People still didn’t give a hoot about the neighboring countries, whether it was the United States or the Spanish, who were leaving.

However, in September 1810, the inhabitants of these so-called “Florida Parishes” in what is now the panhandle of that state rose up in rebellion and forcefully expelled the Spaniards before they could leave. Consequently, they established their own sovereign nation and called it the Republic of West Florida.

However, that was short-lived. American officials in the nation’s capital were keeping a close eye on developments. What had become their borders was now the scene of an armed rebellion, and they took no pleasure in it. It didn’t matter if it was an uprising against the Spanish; the United States had no interest in supporting separatist movements or new countries. They hurried in as a result.

The new nation of West Florida was founded by people who chose St. Francisville as its capital and even elected Fulwar Skipwith (yes, really) as president. However, that was resolved by the end of 1810. The United States of America forcibly annexed the territory, dissolving the Republic of West Florida.[1]

9 Commune of Paris (1871)

Our First Revolution: The Paris Commune

In the spring and early summer of 1871 in Paris, France, an independent socialist government known as the Paris Commune was forcefully established and then violently dismantled. In 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War, everything started to unravel. The French National Guard had effectively protected Paris by the beginning of 1871. However, significant dissatisfaction existed among their troops.

The Third Republic was founded in France in September 1870 by its leaders. However, it was short-lived. Paris was taken over by French National Guard soldiers on March 18, 1871. They defied the Third Republic’s authority after murdering two French army generals. The Paris Commune, on the other hand, declared independence and formed an autonomous administration.

The illustrious city of Paris was ruled by the Paris Commune for the subsequent two months. The troops drew on a variety of theoretical traditions from the field of political science in the nineteenth century to craft a set of policies, the majority of which were progressive. Among these measures were the following: a greater emphasis on worker rights, self-policing, the end of child labor, and the separation of church and state. No Roman Catholic school or church could remain open either.

The goals of the Paris Commune were never realized. May 21, 1871 was the start of the “Bloody Week”—a mere two months and three days later than planned. “La Semaine Sanglante” is the French term for the “Bloody Week” when the national French Army decisively crushed and destroyed the temporary Paris Commune nation.

8 The Mahabad Republic (1946)

Oh, my goodness!

There was a Kurdish ethnic state in Iran called the Republic of Mahabad, and it only existed for the better part of 1946. This brief and autonomous republic, which was founded on January 22, 1946, in what is now western Iran, was also known as the Republic of Kurdistan.

Soviet financial, logistical, and political backing for the Republic of Mahabad came early in the post-war era, when the USSR was assessing its geopolitical choices in the Middle East. They weren’t even the sole country in the region. The Azerbaijan People’s Government, a Soviet puppet state that existed for a brief period but was completely ignored, was also active in that region. However, the Republic of Mahabad was somewhat more important, and they possessed more important aspirations.

Covering only a little portion of what is now northwest Iran and stretching down the western side of that country, the Republic of Mahabad didn’t have much land to its name. The cities of Oshnavieh, Bukan, Naghadeh, and Piranshahr were formidable, though. Urmia, Khoy, and Salmas were three other cities that were contested. Similarly ardently nationalistic were those who supported this Kurdish state.

However, the US and other Western nations pushed the Soviets to withdraw from the area in late March of 1946, only approximately two months into the Mahabad experiment. The Soviet Union capitulated, and Mahabad’s most important ally vanished without a trace. Economic and social isolation of Mahabad ensued as Iran promptly reasserted its dominance over the surrounding region. The nation’s brief existence was cut short by the government’s collapse in the middle of December.[3]

7 South Maluku’s Republic (1950)

The Moluccan Question and the Netherlands’ New Guinea as a Result of Dutch Colonialism in Indonesia

As WWII drew to a close, the Netherlands started to evacuate its colonies in what is now Indonesia, ceding control of the islands, their neighboring territories, and part of New Guinea. Independence for modern-day Indonesia was achieved in 1949 as a result of this process. There was a single, significant issue with that.

Many different ethnic groups did not get along with the early rulers that Indonesians put in place, and the country itself is made up of countless islands, some larger than others. In 1950, a group of Moluccan people established the Republic of South Maluku as an independent and sovereign nation.

Because of their extreme apprehension of the potentially devastating power of separatist states, neither the Dutch nor the Indonesians were concerned about this. The fate of many thousand pro-Moluccan soldiers who wished to fight for their local region’s independence became a major concern when the time came to disband the old Dutch colonial forces that had been serving in Indonesia.

So, the Republic of South Maluku was formally declared, and the Indonesians were now compelled to take action in order to bring them back into line. Consequently, they made an intriguing decision regarding the Moluccan soldiers: they sent them to the Netherlands, which is thousands of miles distant. Forced migration to the Netherlands occurred with over 12,500 Moluccans.

The Republic of South Maluku’s already strong desire for permanent independence was further fueled by this, which caused Indonesia immense problems. Thousands of Moluccan refugees needed a place to stay in Amsterdam and other cities that had recently recovered from the devastating effects of World War II, which was a huge burden on the Dutch.

The independent Republic of South Maluku was swiftly and violently reabsorbed into Indonesian sovereignty before the year 1950 came to a close. The Republic of South Maluku no longer exists, but other separatist movements do emerge from time to time in Indonesia (the most recent and violent being those in West Papua).

The intriguing part starts here: the majority of the 12,500 Moluccans who were relocated to the Netherlands in 1950 never returned! As a result of all of their descendants becoming naturalized Dutch citizens, accurate census estimates are now in short supply. Still, there are an estimated forty thousand to fifty thousand Moluccans who have been claiming the Netherlands as their (no longer adopted) home for two, three, or even four generations![4]

6 Katanga State (1960–1963)

Napoleon Tshombe and Joseph Mobutu, two presidents of the Congo

A new, independent nation was proclaimed by Moïse Tshombe and his highly influential political party in the southern area of the Congo on July 11, 1960. After the Belgian colonial authority departed and the wildness of freedom set in, a breakaway nation known as the State of Katanga decided it didn’t want any part of the Congo.

Katanga, located in the extreme southern part of the current Democratic Republic of the Congo, was a region rich in minerals. There, many multinational corporations bloodthirstily extracted resources from the “Copperbelt,” reaping enormous riches at the expense of the Katangan workforce.

Because of this, Tshombe departed from the madness in the Congo; he was also astute enough to see that his part of the world had economic promise. Tshombe famously rebuked the widespread anarchy in the rest of the Congo by saying, “We are seceding from chaos” when declaring independence on July 11, 1960.

The only catch was that absolutely no one else on Earth desired the existence of the State of Katanga. Nobody cared about the secessionist elements within any of the young African nations—not the US administration, the CIA, the KGB, the Soviet Union, or any of the other countries in the region. Companies mining diamonds, copper, and other precious metals were raking in too much money to risk any kind of political unrest in the region.

Everyone else agreed that Tshombe and his allies had a terrible concept when it came to full independence. Reportedly bringing over a million gold bars with him, Tshombe was forced into exile in Spain by 1963. He did return a few years later in his role as Prime Minister of the Congo, but the State of Katanga did not make it until 1964.[5]

5 The Biafran Republic (1967–1970)

The reasons for Ojukwu’s 1967 proclamation of the Biafran Republic

Following intense ethnic strife, the Republic of Biafra briefly declared independence from Nigeria in what is now Nigeria. In terms of wealth and trade connections, northern Nigeria has always been light years ahead of its southern and western counterparts. Northern Nigeria was likewise teeming with Hausa, while the Igbo minority was utterly outnumbered.

A full-scale civil war had broken out in the northern region of Nigeria by late 1966, after the slaughter of tens of thousands of Igbo people. Odumegwu Ojukwu, a lieutenant colonel who rose to the rank of general, announced the formation of a new independent nation known as the Republic of Biafra after the brutal expulsion of another group of Igbo from northern and eastern Nigeria.

Adamantly refusing to recognize Biafra as an independent state was General Yakubu Gowon, the head of Nigeria’s federal government. However, others did. Several African countries formally established democratic ties with Biafra in early 1967. These included Gabon, Tanzania, Côte d’Ivoire, and Zambia. To top it all off, France handed the fledgling nation a large arsenal of weapons to help them fight back.

Another factor was that a violent internal conflict was inevitable due to Nigeria’s opposition to Biafra’s secession. The Nigerian Civil War broke out at this point and lasted the remainder of the 1960s, killing half a million people (and maybe as many as three million, according to some estimates).

Biafra was never intended to be. During the conflict, the region’s core economic trading patterns were hindered because it was landlocked and lacked its own shipping channels. Even more problematic was the difficulty of delivering goods to the residents of Biafra. In the midst of the seemingly endless civil conflict, the region was hit hard by starvation and sickness in 1969.

After a string of crucial engagements in December 1969 and January 1970, the Nigerian army was able to decisively defeat the Biafran army. Ojukwu escaped to Côte d’Ivoire because he was afraid for his life. The last of Biafra’s generals fully surrendered to Nigeria on January 15, 1970, when the country was already on the verge of collapse.

This is the Republic of Formosa from 1895.

4 When did China decide to leave Taiwan in 1895?

Japan absorbed the tiny republic of Formosa after it had barely been in existence for a brief period of time. Also, we mean exactly what we say when we say something is “short-lived.” The Qing dynasty emperor of China officially handed up Taiwan to the Japanese Empire in 1895. The Treaty of Shimonoseki called for the occupation of the island by Japanese forces.

Japan would then assume complete administrative responsibility, displacing the Qing emperor of China and ending his reign. Taiwan, which was formerly known as Formosa to Westerners, piqued Japan’s interest, but the natives were adamantly opposed to having Japan take over their life.

Thus, the Republic of Formosa was officially established by the natives of Taiwan on May 23, 1895. The installation of a government chosen by the people was unprecedented at the time and in that part of the globe. However, it failed to maintain its impact. The island of Formosa was conquered by Japanese forces on October 21, 1895, barely 151 days after the Republic of Formosa was proclaimed. Tainan, the capital city, was almost quickly taken over. With that, the Republic of Formosa came to an end.

For those of you who are interested in history, there is one fascinating (albeit tiny) sidenote here. A lot of people take satisfaction in the fact that the Republic of Formosa leans toward democracy, as we mentioned before in this section. That’s fantastic, however it’s not accurate that it was the first republic to be created in East Asia.

Originating in 1777 and continuing for an extremely lengthy period, the Lanfang Republic in Borneo was created. In 1869, Japan established the Republic of Ezo, which lasted for quite some time. Nonetheless, Taiwanese history is incomplete without the Republic of Formosa. Not to mention it has one of the shortest histories of any nation in the world![7]

3 Period in East Timor (1975–1976)

The independence of East Timor: a brief account of a bloody war

After declaring independence from the island nation of Indonesia in late 1975, East Timor was a breakaway entity inside Indonesia. East Timor has always been considered an independent nation, even though the majority of Indonesia was under Dutch administration until its 1949 independence from Dutch colonial domination.

Despite the Dutch conquest of the remainder of Indonesia, East Timor continued to be a colony of Portugal, which had arrived centuries earlier. However, the Portuguese total withdrawal from East Timor was one of several colonial effects stemming from the 1974 Carnation Revolution in Portugal.

So, the Timorese people were hell-bent on escaping Indonesian control. Consequently, they did not, and East Timor was proclaimed a nation in late 1975. They moved quickly, the Indonesians. Indonesian forces invaded and seized East Timor on December 7, 1975. The already weak government that East Timor had installed in a hurry was demolished in the following months. East Timor was fully absorbed by Indonesia by early 1976, and it ceased to exist as a sovereign entity.

Now, you might be thinking, “I’m pretty sure East Timor exists as a country right now, though,” if you’re a geography enthusiast. And you’d be absolutely correct! The Indonesians violently ruled the region and perpetrated wanton acts of brutality for the subsequent 23 years, beginning in early 1976. In 1999, East Timor was once again petitioned for independence through a referendum. It had come to pass by 2002.

East Timor, sometimes known as Timor-Leste, is a stable, independent nation again today. However, during that initial attempt in 1975, their nation’s existence was brief and ultimately ended in disaster.[8]

2 The Hatay Republic (1938–1939)

The Hatay Province, the site of Turkey’s long-standing conflict with Syria

During its brief nine-month existence, the Republic of Hatay enjoyed full independence and sovereignty within the territory that is now known as Turkey. The events that would later come to be known as the Hatay State began on September 2, 1938, when a gathering within the former Hatay area declared the formation of the Sanjak of Alexandretta.

After Alexandretta was designated as the capital city, there was relative calm for a period. The state was even subject to joint military surveillance by the French and the Turks while it regained its footing and attempted to adapt to life apart from Turkey.

But alas, fate had other plans for the Republic of Hatay. The legislature of Hatay State resolved to disband Hatay State on June 29, 1939, after a public referendum. This occurred just approximately nine months after the nation was formally constituted. The Hatay region’s return to Turkey was ratified by an overwhelming majority in that referendum.

Many people, both then and still, have questioned the legitimacy of the referendum, wondering if it was “phony” or “rigged” from the start. As World War II’s rumblings intensified, the French perceived Hatay’s reunion with Turkey as a potential means to prevent Turkey from forging an alliance with Nazi Germany. And that was the end of Hatay’s nine-month stint as a sovereign nation, regardless of how legitimate it was.[9]

1 In 1941, the Slovene Republic was established.

Slovenia from 1941 until 1945, the duration of World War II

Europe was a jumbled mess during WWII. The relocation and abuse of populations for years on end was truly astounding, and the death toll in terms of both civilians and military was in the millions. Beyond the ones you usually learn about in school, the continent as a whole experienced significant political revolutions. Consider the situation in Slovene Styria as an illustration.

That area is very similar to Slovenia as it is today. According to the revised Yugoslav Constitution of 1931, it was a part of Yugoslavia at the time, shortly before WWII broke out. And for a time, that was the way things were for Slovene Styria. But Nazi Germany invaded Yugoslavia in April 1941. They promptly claimed Slovene Styria as their own region after doing that. The native Slovene population was, unsurprisingly, not fond of that.

The period from early 1941 to late May 1942 was a brutal skirmish within the larger World War II conflict, during which Nazi forces spread over Slovene Styria and outlawed the use of Slovene as a language and all cultural artifacts associated with Slovene history. They insisted that everyone speak German and swear loyalty to Hitler.

Notable people, including pastors, intellectuals, and others, were either banished or murdered. However, the Slovene people resisted. Gathering up loyal battalions of soldiers, they proclamated themselves an independent state. As a Republic determined to protect its homeland and culture, the inhabitants engaged in a bloody struggle against the Nazis during the following year.

Naturally, we are all aware of the Nazis’ ultimate demise. Tens of thousands of Slovene men sacrificed themselves for their nation, which was brief in existence. Following WWII, the Slovenes were fine with being restructured as part of the newly constituted Yugoslavia, with Ljubljana designated as their capital.

In that era, Slovene Styria was formally recognized as the Socialist Republic of Slovenia and became renowned as an integral and economically flourishing part of Yugoslavia. Even though it is once again a nation, this region is best known as Slovenia, and it is one of Europe’s best-kept tourist secrets.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 The Most Notable Sex Scandals of All Time

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