What is the longest continuous functioning civilization?

Sorry if this is vague. Let me qualify.

  1. The civilization must have governed itself continuously. It can’t have been invaded and ruled by another group even for a short period of time.
  2. It must be fairly homogeneous in terms of ethnicity. The country must consist of a group who share a common heritage.
  3. It must have existed in the same geographic location. It can’t be the United States even though some of its citizens can trace their roots back to the Mayflower.
    In the end, I’m looking for the group of people of earth who could claim to have the richest continuous heritage.
    I’m thinking China or Greece or maybe Japan.

Probably Nepal.

Wasn’t Japan occupied and ruled by the US for a while back in the 40s?

Unfair condition. China has been conquered and ruled by foreigners several times yet it still remains China, which is a sign of its strength as a civilization and culture. Leave out that condition, and China wins in a walk. Much older then Japan. Egypt and Iraq might have been civilized longer, but their bronze-age cultures are long dead. Same with India, although I admit that’s a close one.

I believe that India was ruled by Britain for a while.

I don’t understand this condition. America has existed in the same regions the colonists of the Mayflower lived ever since they put down roots. America has moved west while still keeping the same original territory.

Yes, but as an earlier poster said about China, it didn’t change the fundamental India-ness of the place.

If the “invade-and-rule” rule is strictly enforced then England must be in the running. Nearly a thousand years.

A dificult question indeed. Some thoughts:
1.) India. Out of considerations due to its time as part of the british empire.

2.) Egypt. Conquered by Hyksos (unless Hyksos were Egyptian…I never was too sure about that), Macedonians, Romans, Arabs, and Turks. Out.

3.) Greece. Conquered by Macedonians, Romans, Turks, and (more recently) Itallian Facists.

4.) China. Two Words: Ghengis Khan.

5.) Almost anywhere in Europe has been conquered at some point by Romans, Mongols, during WW II, Napoleon, all four, or all four and then some (see: Poland). Exceptions: Sweden.

6.) All of African nations have at times been ruled by Europeans/Arabs/Romans/Turks.

7.) All nation states in the Americas are disqualified for obvious reasons.

8.) IIRC Tailand was not colonized by Europeans, but it definitely was conquered by Japan in WW II, as was most of China and Korea.

9.) Japan was certainly defeated by the Allies at the close of WW II, and occupied by American (and maybe British?) forces. Would this qualify as foriegn rule?

10.) Nepal (again, IIRC) has been ruled by the British Empire and various Indian Empires.

So what are we left with?
1.) Sweden
2.) Japan (maybe)
3.) Tibet which has only recently been conquered by China, IIRC.

Actually, we had James I (VI of Scotland) ruling us 500 years ago, so that might count under rule if not invade. Scotland itself doesn’t count since we’ve been in and out of there for years.

Wales, on the other hand, might count.

Iceland is up there; it hasn’t been invaded since the original settlement in the ninth century. It was, however, a colony of Denmark for a while, due to various shell games between the Scandinavian crowns that I won’t pretend to understand.

I know that you’re allowing some flexibilty here but would India’s 28% non-Indo-Aryan population (cite ) count against them?

China is hugely dominated by Han, and granted there’s been the odd change at the top, but surely the life and culture of the vast bulk of the people has followed a path untramelled by outside interference for longer than any other group on the planet.

You beat me to it.

I was also going to mention the fact that England has had Dutch and German Kings in relatively recent past (though I don’t know if that counts). It’s also been conquered by Romans, various Germanic peoples, and Normans.

Hasn’t Wales been ruled by the English for a while? Isn’t it still today?

It was more of a reverse-leveraged buyout or something. Certainly it was amicable, and really had little effect on the English.

I wonder if there is a “stone-age” tribe living on a physical or metaphorical island somewhere who’ve been there for a few thousand years and remain blissfully unaware of the various changes of ownership their land has been subject to. They would likely win the thread.

Technically the current royal house is German in origin, although I think they’ve been here long enough to be considered British by now. I mentioned James I since that cuts down the length of time under a continuous system by the largest amount - I assume the “thousand years” mentioned by Struan was referring to the Normans taking over.

Hmm. Well, Wales has a regional assembly now, but I think (could be wrong) it’s still subject to Parliament, so technically it’s ruled by Britain, not just England.

Anyway, Wales generally held out longer during the various invasions of Britain than England (generally since it’s further away from the mainland) so I’d say it’s had a “continuous functioning civilisation” longer than England, if not many other places.
How about Native Americans? The South American native civilisations warred against each other quite often, but how about the peoples of what became the U.S.? I have to admit knowing little to nothing about their history, though.

Since William the Bastard took control in 1066, every monarch has had some claim to the throne. Indeed, William himself did. I think though that the Norman Conquest set off many cultural and linguistic changes, so it’s a fair argument that modern England is a direct descendant of the country it was immediately post Hastings. Certainly much of the nobility that had great influence for the next few centuries dates from this time.

The subsequent Dutch, German and Scottish monarchs were really just the most suitable extended family members given the political and religious mood prevailing. A vaguely similar event happened in the twentieth century.

The canonical example of which would be the Sentinel Islanders.

I’m not sure that it matters much about the intra-European nationality. It’s all the same enormously extended family.

/PS how do you seperate out more than one quote from the same post, is there a way to use the buttons or do you just quote it manually?

Pretty much, yeah. You could count “the European interconnected royal families” as a ruling party, but since the seperate nations are so different nowadays it isn’t really fair to say that we’re one continuous functioning civilization.

Manually, i’m afraid. Just add in [ quote ] and [ /quote ] tags (without the spaces) before and after each seperation. If you’re replying to more than one person, make sure you add in their name to the first part of their post you quote; it makes it easier to read.

You mean Khubilai Khan.

I was just speculating in my post, but wow that’s astonishing. OK, they inhabit an island, but not all that far from some of the most densely populated parts of the world. I’d kinda thought Amazon basin, the hills of New Guinea, or somewhere in the wilds of Australia. It’s a bit Prime Directive though, how did they cope with the tsunami in the region?