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View series: Europe and nations, 1815-1914

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National Minorities in 1914

This map is part of a series of 24 animated maps showing the history of Europe and nations, 1815-1914.

During the century following the Congress of Vienna, new national states came into being in Europe. For all this, in 1914, in the name of the principle of nationalities, a number of populations, united by one language, one religion, or by a common history, and constituting a minority in their State, yearn to see their autonomy recognized, or to be constituted as a nation:

-In the Balkans, the entanglement of peoples is such that the carving up of states that were born of the reflux from the Ottoman Empire left minorities in practically every one of them. The region of Macedonia, symbol of this complexity, is claimed by the Bulgarians, the Serbs and the Greeks.

-The Austro-Hungarian double monarchy remains a mosaic of peoples, who, for the most part, are dissatisfied with the compromise of 1867. The Czechs aspire to autonomy, but come up against opposition from German populations in Bohemia, who, themselves would become minorities; Romanians and Italians wish to become incorporated with states already constituted by Romania and Italy; Serbs and Croats begin to envision a gathering together of Slavs from the south into a Greater Yugoslavia.

-The Poles are dispersed throughout Germany, Russia and Austria-Hungary, but feel that they belong to the same nation, and have not abandoned the dream of forming a State.

-In Germany, the incorporation of duchies and Alsace-Lorraine, at the time of unification, resulted in the inclusion, in the empire, of populations that would consider themselves Danish or French.

-In old nations as well, this question of minorities is not absent, following the examples of the Basque Country and Catalonia in Spain, or Ireland, whose autonomy status is suspended, in consequence of the outbreak of World War I.