Looking at the list of separatist movements it seems that all of them are focused around a region which has its own language/dialect and an associated culture. But are there any active secessionist movements where the region in question does not have a language distinct from the main country?

  • 2
    This rather demands the question of what you consider an active movement, and whether the language needs to be living, or if reconstructed languages count.
    – origimbo
    Oct 4, 2017 at 18:31
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    In that case, it's possible London counts: d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/…
    – origimbo
    Oct 4, 2017 at 18:35
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    @notstoreboughtdirt - I'm not sure polls without actual movement count as "movement"
    – user4012
    Oct 4, 2017 at 18:42
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    Would a historic event (such as the US civil war) count? That involved a very significant secessionist movement.
    – JAB
    Oct 4, 2017 at 18:48
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    @JonathanReez - I think you meant back in 1648
    – user4012
    Oct 4, 2017 at 19:51

6 Answers 6


Apparently, most of the examples are found in... surprise... the United States.

Such as:

  • California (NOT based on the Spanish language, so it counts)

  • New England Independence Movement

  • Texas

  • Vermont

  • Cascadia

  • Alaska

  • As a commenter noted, if you add history, you have the secession that prompted the US Civil War (and on the same page, you can add the Russian civil war, which included secessionist efforts in some areas that were Russian speaking).

(There're obviously some with separate languages - mostly Native American groups like Lacota or Hispanic-origin groups.)

  • Do any of those movements have wide support or elected delegates? Historical events don't count as the concept of nation-states wasn't fully developed until the 19th century. Oct 4, 2017 at 19:20
  • @JonathanReez Do you mind explaining your point? The US Civil War was in the 19th Century, and the Russian in the 20th.
    – origimbo
    Oct 4, 2017 at 19:23
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    @JonathanReez - eh? " the concept of nation-states wasn't fully developed until the 19th century" is patently wrong, it was developed sufficiently enough by 17th century (peace of Westfalia) and most certainly by 18th century (numerous independence movements, e.g. Corsica; Italy)
    – user4012
    Oct 4, 2017 at 19:49
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    @JonathanReez: Your question doesn't ask whether the movements have wide support or elected delegates, only whether such movements exist.
    – jamesqf
    Oct 6, 2017 at 3:39
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    @JonathanReez what then do you imagine the USA was between the 1770s and the 1860s?
    – phoog
    Oct 6, 2017 at 7:40

Australia also has successionist movements, with the most prominent being that for Western Australia. A major stated grievance is not getting a fair deal of government resources considering what the state contributes to the country. All states in Australia primarily speak English. Non English speakers are either immigrants or indigenous people, rather than belonging to a specific area of Australia.

  • What percentage of West Australians support the secession? Oct 5, 2017 at 21:11
  • @JonathanReez it would fluctuate. There have been times in the past where it had majority support.
    – Golden Cuy
    Oct 6, 2017 at 8:58

Alberta speaks English like most of Canada but is considering secession from the rest of Canada due to being disproportionately taxed for welfare for other provinces. French-speaking Quebec is a particularly large recipient of this aid, but the discontent in Alberta (where no one is forced to learn French) seems to rise from taxation, not language.


There is an influent secessionnist movement in northern Italy, on a territory they name "Padania" (from the Po river). Main arguments for secession are economical (the south of Italy is less rich) and cultural, but Padania has no specific language and Italian is pretty much the same in Milan or in Rome.

The party Lega Nord (far-right, secessionnist for long through it seems to have evolved) is one of the main political local forces and has even joined Italian government in several Berlusconi-driven coalitions.


There's the English independence movement, which I think meets the criterion: although there are many dialects and even at least one language which are distinctive to subregions of England, the prestige dialect of the UK is one of them.

Some regions of Spain may be candidates, although it's hard to tell purely from a quick web search how active e.g. the secessionist (vs nationalist federalist) side of Canarian nationalism is currently.

Hong Kong seems like a reasonable candidate, although the question of language is complicated. Do you consider the fact that English is one of the official languages to disqualify it? If not, I think arguing for disqualification on the basis of Cantonese is unsound because Hong Kongers are a minority of Cantonese speakers.

I've saved my most controversial candidate for last. ISIS/ISIL/Daesh could be considered to be a separatist movement in that its goal is specifically to create a new state rather than to replace the governments of existing states. It's not defined by any particular dialect of Arabic.

  • Transdnistria and Moldova. They use the same language but differen alphabet on principle (until recently the alphabet was the same). Also Moldova does not desire to join Romania.

  • ISIS and Shia Iraq. The same language and ethnicity but different religion.

  • Tajikistan is not in desire to join Iran despite the same language (but different script), again different religion (Shia vs Sunni).

  • Bosnia-Croatia-Serbia thing (the same, Serbo-Croatian language but different religions, Orthodox Christian, Catholic Christian, Muslim)

  • North and South Korea

  • Austria and Germany (I heard they somewhat dislike each other). Again, mostly, different religion (Austria is Catholic, Germany is mostly Protestant with exceptions).

  • Thailand, Philippines, Nigeria, Kenya - Muslim separatists speaking the same language and of the same ethnicity.

  • Sudan - Christian separatists against Muslims.

Usially if some regions adverse to each other, they intentionally invent differences in their languages, introduce new words, new spelling etc.

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    Austria and Germany? Neither of those is seceding from the other, unless you consider Anschluss to have created a country from which Austria seceded in 1945, but I think that would be a rather unusual interpretation. Either way, both states recognise each other so it doesn't really qualify as an active secession movement. As for Tajikistan and Iran: a lack of desire to merge with a country which it doesn't even border is not secession. Oct 5, 2017 at 20:59
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    Transnistria is heavily focused on preserving the use of Russian language. Tajikistan is not a a part of Iran. ISIS is not a state. North Korea never seceded and both parts of the country claim the other. Austria has it's own dialect and was never part of Germany. Consider shortening your list. Oct 5, 2017 at 21:08
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    @JonathanReez if ISIS is not a state, then any secessionist movement is not a state as well. ISIS came closer to being a state than many of them, they became a de facto state. "Austria has it's own dialect and was never part of Germany." - it is a dialect, but it is the same language by any standard, like American and British English. Germany itself has greater dialect diversity. It also WAS a part of Germany during WWII.
    – Anixx
    Oct 5, 2017 at 22:06
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    Ok, I'll take your ISIS example. Austria was forcibly occupied by Germany, so it doesn't count. As for German dialects - there are indeed a great number of them and for example the Bavarian secession movement is closely linked to the Bavarian dialect and culture. America seceding from the British Empire is in fact a good historical example as to this very day English is considered a unified language, rather than a collection of independent dialects. Oct 5, 2017 at 22:14
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    Not sure if North and South Korea count. They are basically one country stuck in a long civil war for political reasons. Both governments claim to be the legitimate leaders of the whole peninsula.
    – Taladris
    Oct 6, 2017 at 4:49

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