7 Reasons Why Countries Want Independence

There are 193 independent countries in the world. There are also twelve self-governed territories that claim to be independent. On top this, there are thousands of separatist movements globally that are fighting to break away from countries and form independent states. But why is independence important for a country? And why do so many countries want to be independent?

Actually, there a range of reasons why nations want to be independent, let us explain…

1. To Have A National Home

A first reason why countries want independence is so they can have a national home for their people.

Generally, countries are made up one ethnic, religious, cultural, or linguistic group. The nation state provides a home for this group and allows them to control their own affairs.

People want an independent country so that they can govern their land and ensure their security, safety, and prosperity.

Although not every country is made up of a single group, all countries aim to be a national home for the people who live there. However, independence movements grow when a group within a country feels they are not represented or fully included, and so feel creating a national state of their own would benefit their people, over staying part of a larger nation state.

Many countries fight for independence because they feel it is important that their people have state in which to call home.

Examples of countries that got independence in order to try and create a national home for their people include Turkey (1923), Israel (1948), and Croatia (1991).

2. To Protect A People’s Culture

A second reason why countries want independence is to protect a people’s culture.

All groups of people have unique cultures. These can be linguistic, artistic, and spiritual. All peoples have their own traditions, customs, and beliefs.

Countries want independence to create a nation where their culture can be protected. They also want to ensure that their traditions and ways of living are passed on to future generations, and that they are not at risk of losing their culture.

Independent nation states can act as the guardians of a people’s culture. Every country provides an outlet for people to enact their customs and traditions and for their people to conduct their lives in accordance with their beliefs.

Where there are distinct people without a nation state, they are often fiercely protective of their cultures and customs. Often these groups wish for an independent country to protect their ways of life.

Examples of some countries that wanted independence to protect their peoples culture include Greece (1830), Algeria (1964), and Kosovo (2008).

3. To Get Greater Political Control

A third reason why countries want independence is so they can have greater political control.

Independent states govern their own affairs. They set their own government policies, taxation systems, laws and legal systems, defence and security policies and internal regulations. Countries want independence so that they can control how they are governed and ensure that the state is working in the interests of their people.

Regions that lack independence are sometimes governed by a central state that does not always act in their best interests. Many countries want independence because they feel they could use political controls to improve the lives of people.

Essentially, countries want independence because they see it as a way to take control of how they are governed.

There are a wide range of advantages for an independent country having its own political controls. These include being able to use government policy, such as taxation and business regulations, to improve the economy. It also allows nations to ensure the laws that are passed are in-line with the way the people of that country want to be governed.

Countries that wanted independence because they wished for more political controls include India (1947) and many post-Soviet states such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, which gained independence in 1991.

4. To Take Management Of The Economy

Another reason why countries want to be independent is so that they can manage their own economies.

When countries are independent, their governments are able to make laws that can control the economy. Independent states are able to set their own business regulations, labour market laws, import duties, trade policies and develop their own infrastructure. Effective management of areas such as these are vital for an economy’s success.

Countries want to be independent because it allows them to oversee their own economies.

Without independence, the management of a region’s economy sits with a national government. Often this means economic policies are passed that are not beneficial for a region, or that do not take unique factors within a region into account.

Countries want to be independent states so that they can oversee their economies for the benefit of their people, and to ensure that the national government manages the economy effectively.

Some examples of countries that wanted independence so that they could take greater control of their own economies include Belarus and Azerbaijan (1991), as well as the Czech Republic (1992).

5. To Stop A People From Being A Minority

A further reason why nations want to be independent is so that their people will no longer be a minority within a larger state.

Many independence movements around the world, and throughout history, have fought to create independent nations for people who are minorities within a country.

Often ethnic, religious, linguistic, or cultural minorities within a country are unable to access employment, education, rights, and services in the same way the majority of the population can. Discrimination if often rampant and this prevents people of minority groups from living fully empowered lives.

Countries want independence so as to stop a people from being a minority, therefore reducing discrimination and ensuring a people are able to have their rights fully protected.

Almost all large countries are made up multiple ethnic groups. However, when tensions between these groups rise, or people feel they are being treated unfairly, then people often begin to want to form another independent state.

A few examples of countries that wanted independence so as to stop a people from being a minority within a larger country include Lebanon (1943), Pakistan (1947) and Kosovo (2008).

6. To Gain Control Of Natural Resources

Many countries want independence so that they can control their natural resources.

Natural resources, such as oil, gas, gold, copper, timber, cocoa, uranium, and iron can make a country incredibly rich. However, these resources need to be effectively managed. Companies need to be established, or brought in, that can extract and refine natural resources, supply chains need to be established to bring the resources to market, and a labour force with the technical skills needed to work on natural resource projects needs to be established.

Countries want independence because they feel they can better manage their own natural resources.

Another reason countries want independence is because they want to maximise the profits that can be made from natural resource extraction. Many separatist movements around the world fight for independence because they want a greater share of the wealth that the natural resources of their regions can bring.

A fairer distribution of the money made from natural resources, as well as greater control of how the money made is spent, is a major reason why countries want independence.

Example of countries that wanted independence because they wanted greater control of their natural resources include Egypt (1953), and the Democratic Republic of Congo (1960), and South Sudan (2011).

7. To Form Diplomatic Relations And Alliances

A final reason why countries want independence is so they can build their own alliances and manage their own international relations.

In the modern globalized world, all countries need to be involved in the international system. Global diplomacy, alliances, trade blocs, memberships of international organizations and formal alliances are all key to a nation’s success.

One reason countries want independence is so they can oversee their own relationships with other countries. They feel they can better ensure their strategic interests are met and that their economies, as well as defence and security needs, can be guaranteed.

Independent countries are able to join global bodies such as the United Nations. Many are also members of regional international organisations such as the European Union, African Union, or ASEAN. Free trade agreements, such as North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as well as defence alliances such as NATO, are also open to independent countries. Being able to take a country’s place within the global community of nations is a major reason why countries want independence.

A few examples of countries where being able to form their own international relations was at least part of the reasons for wanting independence include many European post-Soviet countries such as Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania; which got independence in 1991.

Global Affairs Explained

Global Affairs Explained is an ongoing project aiming to provide concise guides to world events. Focusing on international relations, history, and geo-politics, Global Affairs Explained uses original research and data to answer questions often not covered by traditional media.

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