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Old 02-28-2006, 12:55 AM
rippingtons_fan rippingtons_fan is offline
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How Long Can Most Nations Expect to Last??

Is there any kind of an upper limit (in years for example) in which a "fairly stable" nation can expect to still exist (as measured by political scientists or whoever else studies this kind of thing?)

For example, can the USA reasonably be expected to be in existence in another century or two?
Didn't Soviet citizens expect that the USSR would always exist?
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Old 02-28-2006, 02:38 AM
Whack-a-Mole Whack-a-Mole is offline
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It is hard to decide exactly where to draw the lines but the Roman Empire lasted some 800 years (difficult to draw because when exactly would someone say it "started" and when it "ended"). For instance do you start the US empire at 1776 (or earlier) or 1945?

Anyway...not sure you can say there is some defined upper limit on the existance of a nation. Do you count government changes as being a "different" nation? If you do then the US is among the oldest (if not the oldeat) nations today. If you do not count government changes then places like England or China have been around for ages.
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Old 02-28-2006, 03:38 AM
gum gum is offline
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The Netherlands: In 1579, the northern half of the Seventeen Provinces declared itself independent and formed the Union of Utrecht, which is seen as the foundation of the modern Netherlands. Philip II, the son of Charles V, was not prepared to let them go that easily. It would not be until 1648 that Spain would recognise Dutch independence.

So....400 years, more or less.

[Het Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek: Volgens het CBS vindt er op dit moment een emigratiegolf onder jonge Nederlanders plaats, waardoor de groei van de autochtone bevolking op het punt van kantelen staat. Voor elke autochtoon die er in Nederland bijkomt, komen er bijna dertig allochtonen bij.]

The central bureau of statistics says there's a huge emigration of young Dutch going on. The grow of 'natives' has nearly come to a standstill.
For each native, 30 immigrants enter the Netherlands.

My guess is that the Netherlands doesn't reach the 450 years.
Well, it might reach that, but under a different name.

'Caliphate of the Lowlands' ?
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Old 02-28-2006, 07:48 AM
Kimstu Kimstu is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gum
The Netherlands: In 1579, the northern half of the Seventeen Provinces declared itself independent and formed the Union of Utrecht, which is seen as the foundation of the modern Netherlands. Philip II, the son of Charles V, was not prepared to let them go that easily. It would not be until 1648 that Spain would recognise Dutch independence.

So....400 years, more or less.
If we're allowing for dynastic and territorial changes on that scale, then I'd say that England counts as at least 800 years old, right? France too.

The answer is obviously going to depend a lot on whether we define "nation" by a particular dynasty or form of government, or by general ethnic/linguistic cohesion, or by something else.
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Old 02-28-2006, 09:20 AM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
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"Nation" or "state": an important distinction. China as a nation goes back thousands of years. As a state?

England and Germany go back a thousand years or so as nations, but there was no single German state until fairly recently.

It can be argued that the indenpendent Canadian state only dates from 1982, when the constitution was patriated. But the Canadian nation, culturally, if it exists at all, is a creature of the early twentieth century.

I think nations last a lot longer than states.
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Old 02-28-2006, 09:25 AM
RickJay RickJay is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunspace
"Nation" or "state": an important distinction. China as a nation goes back thousands of years. As a state?

England and Germany go back a thousand years or so as nations, but there was no single German state until fairly recently.

It can be argued that the indenpendent Canadian state only dates from 1982, when the constitution was patriated. But the Canadian nation, culturally, if it exists at all, is a creature of the early twentieth century.
Well, no, as a nation, it's clearly a creation of the early to mid nineteenth century. "Canada" and "Canadians" as concepts by back at at least the early 1800s.

Similarly, "America" and "Americans" as a nationhood predate 1776.
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Old 02-28-2006, 09:45 AM
Sunspace Sunspace is offline
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Originally Posted by RickJay
Well, no, as a nation, it's clearly a creation of the early to mid nineteenth century. "Canada" and "Canadians" as concepts by back at at least the early 1800s.
I wonder. There were les canadiens, yes, but I remember seeing my father's schoolbooks from the second world watr period and it was very much all "for King and Empire" stuff. So I'm not sure whether the sense of English-speaking Canada as a separate cultural entity much predates the first world war.
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Old 02-28-2006, 09:55 AM
Evil Captor Evil Captor is online now
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If you don't consider changes in government, Egypt and China demonstrate that there's no practical limit to the term of existence of a nation, that we know of.
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Old 02-28-2006, 10:13 AM
LonesomePolecat LonesomePolecat is offline
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Webster's New Dictionary and Thesaurus, 2002, page 423, definitions of "nation":

1. A stable community of people with a territory, culture and language in common

2. the people united under a single government; country


In the first sense, I don't see a definite upper limit, though obviously no nation can survive forever and the human race itself will eventually become extinct. However, having a territory, culture and language in common is not a guarantee that a people will see themselves as a single community. Tribalism can and often does keep people who are closely related culturally divided and fighting among themselves.

In the second sense, Tsarist Russia lasted four or five centuries, the Chinese emperors went on for something like a millennium, and the ancient Egyptian Pharoahs lasted a similar time. I seem to recall the current Swiss government has been in continuous operation for at least three or four centuries if not longer (please correct me if I am wrong). I don't recall how long the French and Spanish monarchies lasted. Didn't the Ottomans last at least a half a millenium?

There doesn't appear to be any definite answer to the OP's question.
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