There are several questions and answers at Politics SE which address parts of the premise of this question, including

state. Some follow military ways e.g. Bangladesh seceding from Pakistan and becoming an independent country. Some follow political ways e.g. Pakistan and India carved out of united British India. There is no way to get the entire international community on board as interests of all states vary. They rarely agree on anything anyways.

You could say that a state is considered independent if it is considered a person in international law.

There are however two theories which can be considered as "How to be Independent" guides. They are:

  1. Constitutive Theory
  2. Declarative Theory

other countries. No political power is interested in creating an objective set of criteria - the power of recognition of a country is too meaningful for their national interests.

However, the theoreticals can state the criteria for the country. It is the internal and external sovereignty - the ability to decide about themselves without acceptance from other country.

Because sovereignty is a bit tricky - no country is fully sovereign in that sense, that it could do practically anything - but there's a meaningful criterion of sovereignty - a sovereign country can limit its sovereignty itself.

i.e. a group of people who share a national identity (e.g. Kurds or Palestinians or Navajos or Kosovars or Scots) who are the dominant population of a compact and contiguous geographic area. Self-determination is a right that belongs to "peoples" not to states.

  • State: "A state is an organized community living under a unified political system, the government" (Wiki definition).

    This is basically just a community (usually in a specified territory) that was ruled by a specific government.

    It may or may not have been sovereign.

  • Nation: A nation may refer to a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, or history (Wiki).

    Note that a nation has no required geographical tie-in (as an extreme example, consider the nation of Roma, or post-Diaspora-pre-modern-Israel Jews). But they must/should, as a rule, share history, culture and language (never thought I'd quote Stalin on a Politics.SE :)

  • The idea of a nation and a state being the same thing ("Nation-state") is fairly new in modern politics[1] (it came about as one of the consequences/results of Peace of Westphalia, which ended the 30-year-war in Europe, when the concept of "Westphalian sovereignty" was introduced).

Though none of questions deal with the precarious current situation of historically so-called "Colored", "Negro" or "black", "African American" people in the United States, who have not yet formed an independent, sovereign nation or nation-state, though who could spontaneously decide to do so at any moment.

Considering that a "people" or "nation" might not have a territory, for example, the "post-Diaspora-pre-modern-Israel Jews" as described at the answer at the last linked question, and The Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta (Sovereign Military Order of Malta), which is technically a country without land, see What is the Only Recognized Country in the World Without Land?

What makes the SMOM a country?

This is the difficult but interesting question. After their ejection from Malta, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta were given extraterritoriality in their land holdings in Rome, and were not only treated as a kind of government in exile, but had diplomatic missions, and were, and still recognized by a great many nations. Which makes it kind of like a country. Right?

How many countries recognize the Sovereign Military order of Malta?

Is it a real country? Amazingly, the order has diplomatic relations with 106 countries, official relations with a further 6 states, and is even recognized by the EU. But, as Tyler Durden said in Fight Club, sticking feathers up your arse does not make you a chicken. The status of the Order in international law has been open to discussion. The Order describes itself as a “sovereign subject of international law.” And its two headquarters in Rome have all been granted extraterritoriality by Italy and Malta. These are; the Palazzo Malta in Via dei Condotti 68, where the Grand Master resides and Government Bodies meet, and the Villa del Priorato di Malta on the Aventine, which hosts the Grand Priory of Rome – Fort St. Angelo on the island of Malta, the Embassy of the Order to Holy See and the Embassy of the Order to Italy.

So whilst it exists as a kind of poor mans Holy See, the Holy See controls the Vatican City, the SMOM hasn’t had a permanent country since getting evicted from Malta in 1798. But Italy, where it is located, recognizes, in addition to extraterritoriality, the exercise by SMOM of all the prerogatives of sovereignty in its headquarters. Therefore, Italian sovereignty and SMOM sovereignty uniquely coexist without overlapping.

Confused yet?

What does the UN Say?

The United Nations does not classify it as a “non-member state” or “intergovernmental organization” but as one of the “other entities” having received a standing invitation to participate as observers. So observer status in the UN, much like Palestine has. They do not though have an internet TLD, nor a country dialing code (which would be a bit pointless). Their status is ambiguous, to say the least, with a number of scholars arguing for and against it being a subject of international law, and thus a country.

What are the objective minimum prerequisite components necessary for "Black" or "African American" people in the United States to form their own a modern independent sovereign nation-state?

  • 1
    "who have not yet formed an independent, sovereign nation or nation-state" You may want to read about the formation of Liberia. @DrunkCynic If you read the question, it is suggesting as a parallel the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which does not have a location. It's unclear to me that dual citizenship will provide what is desired, as that makes citizens who are subject to both sets of laws.
    – Brythan
    Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 18:21
  • 3
    There may be an interesting question in here, but it's way to long and rambly to tell for sure. Is the question "How can African-Americans form a landless nation-state?" Is it "How can African-Americans claim a section of land to become a state?" Is it something else?
    – Bobson
    Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 18:33
  • 1
    @Brythan Though, SMOM did have a country, before they were ejected from Malta. Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 18:47
  • 3
    I posted a Meta question about this question. If you would like to critique the question, you may find it easier to do so there at answer length rather than here under the comment restrictions. Anyone who has a critique to make can participate, but I hope that at least the two (currently) close-voters do.
    – Brythan
    Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 19:40
  • 2
    @guest271314 - If it's the former, then you should remove everything that has to do with recognizing a landed state from the question. A good question is on-point, lays out the relevant facts, and asks a specific, answerable question. If you're only asking about creating a landless state, then nothing related to recognizing a landed one is relevant. If you feel the need to indicate that it's not a duplicate, simply linking to the relevant questions and saying "Not a duplicate of these because it's about a landless state" is valid. Don't quote them at length..
    – Bobson
    Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 23:40

2 Answers 2


Note: I am not answering the question as written - instead, I'm answering the question as formulated in a comment on Meta, quoted here:

The question here asks what are the requirements for people of African descent in the Americas to form their own nation-state. Given that said population does not have land set aside for that purpose right now, you can, for the purposes of your own understanding of the question, presume that the newly formed nation-state will not initially be landed, which should resolve your confusion as to your interpretation of the question.

To the best of my knowledge, no nation in the history of the world has ever been formed without land - whether they purchased or negotiated it from whoever currently controlled it or they invaded/colonized/rebelled and held it by force of arms. Even the one semi-recognized country that doesn't currently own land (the Sovereign Military Order of Malta) originally held Malta. A historical tie (either recent or ancient) helps justify claiming land, but is certainly not required.

So that gives us our first minimum requirement: African-Americans would need to secure land somewhere in the world. Since there is no habitable land left that is unclaimed, that leaves purchasing land from the country that currently controls it, forming an army and taking it by force, or creating an artificial island in some way.

Is it possible to form a nation without land? No one's ever done it before, but that doesn't mean it can't happen. But since no one has done it, there's no way to define what would be necessary to make it happen.

What else would be necessary? Once you have land, you need to get enough people onto it to be able to build an economy. If you're acquiring existing land, there may be ports, airports, or roads pre-existing which you can use to move people. If you're invading, they may not survive the invasion, but can be rebuilt. And if you're forming the land from scratch, they certainly won't exist.

As an important corollary to this, you need to have enough people who are willing to travel to your new nation to help found it. 100 people is not enough. 1000 probably isn't either. 10,000 people might be enough to start up a modern country, but I am not aware of any research on that. 100,000 certainly is.


And that's pretty much it: To found a nation, you need land, people, and a way to get the people there. Failing that, you need to do something that has no precedent.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – yannis
    Commented Aug 16, 2018 at 20:45
  • Objectively the minimum requirement is that a sufficiently large number of “African Americans” that don’t want to be citizens of the USA and want to be citizen/subjects of the same X...Given a large enough population they can acquire the land one way or another.
    – jmoreno
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 11:16

If you want a semi-whimsical answer (popular around here with such questions):

The "minimum objective prerequisite" is

  • the US federal government agreeing to it (like the creation of South Sudan)... or
  • the US becoming a midget & pariah state internationally to the extent that a "Kosovo solution" could be imposed on it externally... or
  • the US becoming a failed state where the opinion of the federal government doesn't matter, even in the absence of external factors (like Somalia leading to Somaliland). This last case may not involve international recognition of the separatists.

Otherwise, there was a civil war last time some states tried to secede from the Union... and the Union held.

All those three scenarios are assuming African-Americans could even form a US state or take over one demographically. None of these scenarios sound very plausible. For historical attempts see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_self-determination

Finally, I'm mostly punting on the case of purely symbolic recognition, like in the case of Sovereign Military Order of Malta, which actually held land sometime in the past; Malta till 1789--so the analogy with SMOM is not too good; also the UK which ultimately took Malta (from the French, some years later) doesn't recognize the Order. (France also has a more ambigous relation with the Order than other EU countries).

Maybe if African states became less dependent on US and Western aid they might pull off some kind of "recognition" of their trans-Atlantic "brothers" like that, but the practical implications would be very limited.

  • It's not clear to me even historically what kind of recognition (anti-US) African governments migth have given African-Americans' secessionist movements; see my own question here about that: politics.stackexchange.com/questions/32881/… Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 18:33
  • Concerning the list items at your answer the question does not present the premise that any entity needs to be or will be asked anything. The question asks what the practical steps the People who form the modern, independent nation-state need to take. The SMOM was included within the question as it is clear by now that the U.S. has absolutely no intention to grant Public Land to African-Americans for the express purpose of forming their own nation-state, thus the nation-state must be formed without necessarily having control over geographic territory. Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 20:49
  • The territory can be acquired after the nation-state is formed, similar to Isreal, and can be, geographically, anywhere in the world, or, all places in the world simultaneously wherever "black" people are. Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 20:50
  • @guest271314: Sorry, I don't have specific steps to suggest how to achieve #1 ("the US federal government agreeing to it") which is probably the only scenario that doesn't imply some catastrophe hitting the US as whole. But... maybe you could ask that as a new question: how to (or is it even possible to) create a positive opinion in the US for a separate African American state. Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 20:56
  • 2
    The "That is fine" is in reference to war (not started by Black people, but defending Black people). The U.S. has been involved in a quiet war with silent weapons against Black people since its inception. Instead of being killed for nothing on the streets by agents of the Several States (or each other), at least they could be killed for forming their own nation. The fact that you allude to the U.S. opposing such a formation while supporting Isreal's self-proclaimed "state for Jewish" people is revealing. Either Black people will be free or realize they are property of the U.S. Commented Aug 12, 2018 at 21:08

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .