Trisha Shetty (Editor)


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Irredentism (from Italian irredento for "unredeemed") is any political or popular movement intended to reclaim and reoccupy a "lost" or "unredeemed" area; territorial claims are justified on the basis of real or imagined national and historic (an area formerly part of that state) or ethnic (an area inhabited by that nation or ethnic group) affiliations. It is often advocated by nationalist and pan-nationalist movements and has been a feature of identity politics and cultural and political geography.


An area that may be subjected to a potential claim is sometimes called an irredenta. Not all irredentas are necessarily involved in irredentism.


The word was coined in Italy from the phrase Italia irredenta ("unredeemed Italy"). This originally referred to rule by Austria-Hungary over territories mostly or partly inhabited by ethnic Italians, such as Trentino, Trieste, Gorizia, Istria, Rijeka and Dalmatia during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

A common way to express a claim to adjacent territories on the grounds of historical or ethnic association is by using the adjective "Greater" as a prefix to the country name. This conveys the image of national territory at its maximum conceivable extent with the country "proper" at its core. The use of "Greater" does not always convey an irredentistic meaning.

Formal irredentism

Some states formalize their irredentist claims by including them in their constitutional documents, or through other means of legal enshrinement.


The Afghan border with Pakistan, known as the Durand Line, was agreed to by Afghanistan and British India in 1893. The Pashtun tribes inhabiting the border areas were divided between what have become two nations; Afghanistan never accepted the still-porous border and clashes broke out in the 1950s and 1960s between Afghanistan and Pakistan over the issue. All Afghan governments of the past century have declared, with varying intensity, a long-term goal of re-uniting all Pashtun-dominated areas under Afghan rule.


The Argentine government has maintained a claim over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas, in Spanish) since 1833, and renewed it as recently as January 2013. It considers the archipelago part of the Tierra del Fuego Province, along with South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

The Argentine claim is included in the transitional provisions of the Constitution of Argentina as amended in 1994:

The Argentine Nation ratifies its legitimate and non-prescribing sovereignty over the Malvinas, Georgias del Sur and Sandwich del Sur Islands and over the corresponding maritime and insular zones, as they are an integral part of the National territory.

The recovery of these territories and the full exercise of sovereignty, respecting the way of life for its inhabitants and according to the principles of international law, constitute a permanent and unwavering goal of the Argentine people.


The 2009 constitution of Bolivia states that the country has an unrenounceable right over the territory that gives it access to the Pacific Ocean and its maritime space. This is understood as territory that Bolivia and Peru ceded to Chile after the War of the Pacific, which left Bolivia as a landlocked country.


The preamble to the Constitution of the People's Republic of China states, "Taiwan is part of the sacred territory of the People's Republic of China (PRC). It is the lofty duty of the entire Chinese people, including our compatriots in Taiwan, to accomplish the great task of reunifying the motherland." The PRC claim to sovereignty over Taiwan is generally based on the theory of the succession of states, with the PRC claiming that it is the successor state to the Republic of China.

The Government of the Republic of China formerly administered both mainland China and Taiwan; the government has been administering only Taiwan since its defeat in the Chinese Civil War by the armed forces of the Communist Party of China. While the official name of the state remains 'Republic of China', the country is commonly called 'Taiwan', since Taiwan makes up 99% of the controlled territory of the ROC.

Article 4 of the Constitution of the Republic of China originally stated that "[t]he territory of the Republic of China within its existing national boundaries shall not be altered except by a resolution of the National Assembly" Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the Government of the Republic of China on Taiwan maintained itself to be the legitimate ruler of Mainland China as well. As part of its current policy continuing of the 'status quo', the ROC has not renounced claims over the territories currently controlled by the People's Republic of China, Mongolia, Russia, Burma and some Central Asian states. However, Taiwan does not actively pursue these claims in practice; the remaining claims that Taiwan is actively seeking are of uninhabited islands: the Senkaku Islands, whose sovereignty is also asserted by Japan and the PRC; and the Paracel and Spratly Islands in South China Sea, which is currently being developed by China (PRC).


Article 1 of the Constitution of the Union of the Comoros begins: "The Union of the Comoros is a republic, composed of the autonomous islands of Mohéli, Mayotte, Anjouan, and Grande Comore." Mayotte, geographically a part of the Comoro Islands, was the only island of the four to vote against independence from France (independence losing 37%–63%) in the referendum held December 22, 1974. Mayotte is currently a department of the French Republic.


All of the European colonies on the Indian subcontinent which were not part of the British Raj have been annexed by India since it gained its independence from the British Empire. An example of such territories was the 1961 Indian annexation of Goa. An example of annexation of a territory from the British Raj was the Indian integration of Junagadh.

Akhand Bharat, literally Undivided India, is an irredentist call to reunite Pakistan and Bangladesh with India to form an Undivided India as it existed before partition in 1947 (and before that, during other periods of political unity in South Asia, such as during the Maurya Empire, the Gupta Empire, the Mughal Empire or the Maratha Empire). The call for Akhand Bharat has often been raised by mainstream Indian nationalistic cultural and political organizations such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Other major Indian political parties such as the Indian National Congress, while maintaining positions against the partition of India on religious grounds, do not necessarily subscribe to a call to reunite South Asia in the form of Akhand Bharat.

The region of Kashmir in northwestern India has been the issue of a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947, the Kashmir conflict. Multiple wars have been fought over the issue, the first one immediately upon independence and partition in 1947 itself. To stave off a Pakistani and tribal invasion, Maharaja Hari Singh of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir signed the Instrument of Accession with India. Kashmir has remained divided in three parts, administered by India, Pakistan and China, since then. However, on the basis of the instrument of accession, India continues to claim the entire Kashmir region as its integral part. All modern Indian political parties support the return of the entirety of Kashmir to India, and all official maps of India show the entire Jammu and Kashmir state (including parts under Pakistani or Chinese administration after 1947) as an integral part of India.


Indonesia claimed all territories of the former Dutch East Indies, and previously viewed British plans to group the British Malaya and Borneo into a new independent federation of Malaysia as a threat to its objective to create a united state called Greater Indonesia. The Indonesian opposition of Malaysian formation has led to the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation in the early 1960s. It also held Portuguese Timor (modern East Timor) from 1975 to 2002 based on irredentist claims.

The idea of uniting former British and Dutch colonial possessions in Southeast Asia actually has its roots in the early 20th century, as the concept of Greater Malay (Melayu Raya) was coined in British Malaya espoused by students and graduates of Sultan Idris Training College for Malay Teachers in the late 1920s. Some of political figures in Indonesia including Mohammad Yamin and Sukarno revived the idea in the 1950s and named the political union concept as Greater Indonesia.


The nation state of Israel was established in 1948. The United Nations General Assembly passed U.N. Resolution 181 otherwise known as the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine with 72% of the valid votes. Eventually, Israeli independence was achieved following the liquidation of the former British-administered Mandate of Palestine, the departure of the British and the "Independence War" between the Jews in ex-Mandatory Palestine and five Arab states' armies. The Jewish claim to Palestine as a Jewish homeland can be seen as an example of irredentist reclamation of what is considered lost Jewish land by Zionists. These claims are based on ancestral inhabitance (and in some periods sovereignty) in the land and the cultural/religious significance of it in the Hebrew Bible, the latter is particularly relevant to the Israeli claim to Jerusalem. It should be noted that Mandatory Palestine had sizable Jewish and Arab populations before the Second World War. Judea and Samaria, as they are called in the Bible, were part of the ancient Kingdom of Israel (designated the West Bank by Jordan in 1947) and the Gaza Strip, previously annexed by Jordan and occupied by Egypt respectively, were conquered and occupied by Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967. Israel withdrew from Gaza in August 2005; Judea and Samaria (West Bank) remain under Israeli control. Israel has never explicitly claimed sovereignty over any part of the West Bank apart from East Jerusalem, which it unilaterally annexed in 1980. However, the Israeli military supports and defends hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens who have migrated to the West Bank, incurring criticism by some who otherwise support Israel. The United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, and some countries and international organizations continue to regard Israel as occupying Gaza. (See Israeli-Occupied Territories.)

The Israeli annexing instrument, the Jerusalem Law—one of the Basic Laws of Israel (Israel does not have a constitution)—declares Jerusalem, "complete and united", to be the capital of Israel. Article 3 of the Basic Law of the Palestinian Authority, which was ratified in 2002 by the Palestinian National Authority and serves as an interim constitution, claims that "Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine." De facto, the Palestinian government administers the parts of the West Bank that Israel has granted it authority over from Ramallah, while the Gaza Strip is administered by the Hamas movement from Gaza.

The United States does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem and maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv. In Jerusalem, the United States maintains two Consulates General as a diplomatic representation to the city of Jerusalem alone, separate from representation to the state of Israel. One of the Consulates General was established before the 1967 war, and the other in a recently constructed building on the Israeli side of Jerusalem. However, Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995 that says the US shall move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, but allows the president to delay the move every year if it is deemed contrary to national security interests. Since 1995, every president has delayed the move.

A number of Israelis and Jews regard the East Bank of the Jordan river (which is today the Kingdom of Jordan) as the eastern parts of the Land of Israel (following the revisionist idea) because, according to the Bible, the Israelite tribes of Menasseh, Gad, and Reuben settled on the east bank of the Jordan, and because that area was designated a Jewish national home by the League of Nations in the Mandate for Palestine based upon the recognized historical connection of the Jewish people to the land. Cited as an explicit basis not to create, but to "reconstitute" the historical homeland of the Jewish people as a nation-state roughly analogous to the former Kingdom of Israel subject to change by treaty, capitulation, grant, usage, sufferance or other lawful means, it forms a basis for claims of sovereign jurisdiction.


Since their founding, both Korean states have disputed the legitimacy of the other. South Korea's constitution claims jurisdiction over the entire Korean peninsula. It acknowledges the division of Korea only indirectly by requiring the president to work for reunification. The Committee for the Five Northern Korean Provinces, established in 1949, is the South Korean authority charged with the administration of Korean territory north of the Military Demarcation Line (i.e., North Korea), and consists of the governors of the five provinces, who are appointed by the President. However the body is purely symbolic and largely tasked with dealing with Northern defectors; if reunification were to actually occur the Committee would be dissolved and new administrators appointed by the Ministry of Unification.

North Korea's constitution also stresses the importance of reunification, but, while it makes no similar formal provision for administering the South, it effectively claims its territory as it does not diplomatically recognise the Republic of Korea, deeming it an "entity occupying the Korean territory".

Other territories sometimes disputed to belong to Korea are Manchuria and Gando.


The Guayana Esequiba is a territory administered by Guyana but claimed by Venezuela. It was first included in the Viceroyalty of New Granada and the Captaincy General of Venezuela by Spain, but was later included in Essequibo by the Dutch and in British Guiana by the United Kingdom. Originally, parts of what is now eastern Venezuela were included in the disputed area. This territory of 159,500 km2 (61,600 sq mi) is the subject of a long-running boundary dispute inherited from the colonial powers and complicated by the independence of Guyana in 1966. The status of the territory is subject to the Treaty of Geneva, which was signed by the United Kingdom, Venezuela and British Guiana governments on February 17, 1966. This treaty stipulates that the parties will agree to find a practical, peaceful and satisfactory solution to the dispute.

Former Yugoslavia

Some of the most violent irredentist conflicts of recent times in Europe flared up as a consequence of the break-up of the former Yugoslavian federal state in the early 1990s. The conflict erupted further south with the ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo seeking to switch allegiance to the adjoining state of Albania.


Greater Albania or Ethnic Albania as called by the Albanian nationalists themselves, is an irredentist concept of lands outside the borders of Albania which are considered part of a greater national homeland by most Albanians, based on claims on the present-day or historical presence of Albanian populations in those areas. The term incorporates claims to Kosovo, as well as territories in the neighbouring countries Montenegro, Greece and the Republic of Macedonia. Albanians themselves mostly use the term ethnic Albania instead. According to the Gallup Balkan Monitor 2010 report, the idea of a Greater Albania is supported by the majority of Albanians in Albania (63%), Kosovo (81%) and the Republic of Macedonia (53%). In 2012, as part of the celebrations for the 100th Anniversary of the Independence of Albania, Prime Minister Sali Berisha spoke of "Albanian lands" stretching from Preveza in Greece to Preševo in Serbia, and from the Macedonian capital of Skopje to the Montenegrin capital of Podgorica, angering Albania's neighbors. The comments were also inscribed on a parchment that will be displayed at a museum in the city of Vlore, where the country's independence from the Ottoman Empire was declared in 1912.


Based on the territorial definition of a historic Bulgarian state, a "Greater Bulgaria" nationalist movement has been active for more than a century that would annex most of Macedonia, Thrace, and Moesia.


The idea of the natural borders of France is a political theory conceptualized primarily in the late 18th and early 19th centuries that focused on widening the borders primarily based on either practical reasons or the territory that was thought to be the maximum extent that the ancient Gauls inhabited. This theory lays claim to portions of Belgium and Germany.


During the unification of Germany (1871), the term Großdeutschland "Greater Germany" referred to a possible German nation consisting of the states that later comprised the German Empire and Austria. The term Kleindeutschland "Lesser Germany" referred to a possible German state without Austria. The term was also used by Germans referring to Greater Germany, a state consisting of pre-World War I Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland. This issue was known as the German Question.

A main point of Nazi ideology was to reunify all Germans either born or living outside of Germany to create an "all-German Reich." These beliefs ultimately resulted in the Munich Agreement, which ceded to Germany areas of Czechoslovakia that were mainly inhabited by those of German descent and the Anschluss, which ceded the entire country of Austria to Germany; both events occurred in 1938.


Following the Greek War of Independence in 1821–1832, Greece began to contest areas inhabited by Greeks, primarily against the Ottoman Empire. The Megali Idea (Great Idea) envisioned Greek incorporation of Greek-inhabited lands, but also historical lands in Asia Minor corresponding with the predominantly Greek and Orthodox Byzantine Empire and the dominions of the ancient Greeks.

The Greek quest began with the acquisition of Thessaly through the Convention of Constantinople in 1881, a failed war against Turkey in 1897 and the Balkan Wars (Macedonia, Epirus, some Aegean Islands). After World War I, Greece acquired Western Thrace from Bulgaria as per the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine, but also Ionia/Smyrna and Eastern Thrace (excluding Constantinople) from the Ottoman Empire as ordained in the Treaty of Sèvres. Subsequently, Greece launched an unsuccessful campaign to further their gains in Asia Minor, but were halted by the Turkish revolution. The events culminated into the Great Fire of Smyrna, Population exchange between Greece and Turkey and Treaty of Lausanne which returned Eastern Thrace and Ionia to the newfound Turkish Republic. The events are known as the "Asia Minor Catastrophe" to Greeks. The Ionian Islands were ceded by Britain in 1864, and the Dodecanese by Italy in 1947.

Another Greek irredentist claim includes Northern Epirus (currently part of Albania), where a sizable Greek minority lives. Greece officially annexed Northern Epirus in March 1916, but was forced to revoke by the Great Powers. In 1917 Greece lost control of the rest of Northern Epirus to Italy. The Paris Peace Conference of 1919 awarded the area to Greece after World War I, however, political developments such as the Greek defeat in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22) and, crucially, Italian, Austrian and German lobbying in favor of Albania resulted in the area being ceded to Albania in November 1921.

Another concern of the Greeks is the incorporation of Cyprus which was ceded by the Ottomans to the British. As a result of the Cyprus Emergency the island gained independence as the Republic of Cyprus in 1960. The failed incorporation by Greece through coup d'état and the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 led to the formation of the mostly unrecognized Northern Cyprus and has culminated into the present-day Cyprus issue.

The Aegean islands of Imbros and Tenedos which were not ceded to Greece over the course of the 20th century and where the dominant Greek community has faced persecution are also of concern.


The restoration of the borders of Hungary to their state prior to World War I, in order to unite all ethnic Hungarians within the same country once again.


From 1937 until 1999, Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution of Ireland provided that "[t]he national territory consists of the whole island of Ireland". However, "[p]ending the re-integration of the national territory", the powers of the state were restricted to legislate only for the area that had seceded from the United Kingdom. Arising from the Northern Ireland peace process, the matter was mutually resolved in 1998. The Republic of Ireland's constitution was altered by referendum and its territorial claim to Northern Ireland was suspended. The amended constitution asserts that while it is the entitlement of "every person born in the island of Ireland ... to be part of the Irish Nation" and to hold Irish citizenship, "a united Ireland shall be brought about only by peaceful means with the consent of a majority of the people, democratically expressed, in both jurisdictions in the island." Certain joint policy and executive bodies were created between Northern Ireland, the part of the island that remained in the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, and these were given executive authority. The advisory and consultative role of the government of Ireland in the government of Northern Ireland granted by the United Kingdom, that had begun with the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, was maintained, although that Agreement itself was ended. The two states also settled the long-running dispute concerning their respective names: Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, with both governments agreeing to use those names.


Italy's territorial claims were on the basis of re-establishing a Romanesque Empire, a fourth shore according to the concept of Mare Nostrum (Latin for 'Our Sea') and traditional ethnic borders. Evident in Italy's rapid takeover of surrounding territories under Fascist leader Benito Mussolini and claims following the collapsed 1915 Treaty of London and 1918 Treaty of Versailles which established feelings of betrayal. Similar to the Nazis' stab-in-the-back myth, Mussolini and Hitler's similarities including a joint hatred towards the French and wanting to expand their territories brought the two leaders together, solidified in the Pact of Steel and later WW2. By 1942 Italy had conquered Abyssinia (modern day Ethiopia), Libya, Much of Egypt, Tunisia, Kenya and Somalia. And – on the European continent – Istria, Dalmatia, Albania, Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, the Spanish island of Majorca and France's Corsica; Malta was also bombed. Underlying tensions remained with France, over its territories of Corsica, Nice and Savoy.


The Republic of Macedonia promotes the irredentist concept of a United Macedonia (Macedonian: Обединета Македонија, Obedineta Makedonija) among ethnic Macedonian nationalists which involves territorial claims on the northern province of Macedonia in Greece, but also in Blagoevgrad Province ("Pirin Macedonia") in Bulgaria, Albania, and Serbia. The United Macedonia concept aims to unify the transnational region of Macedonia in the Balkans (which they claim as their homeland and which they assert was wrongfully divided under the Treaty of Bucharest in 1913), into a single state under Macedonian domination, with the Greek city of Thessaloniki (Solun in the Slavic languages) as its capital.


The Kingdom of Norway maintains some claim to territories lost at the dissolution of the Denmark-Norway union. The Norwegian Empire, which was the Norwegian territories at its maximum extent, included Iceland, the settleable areas of Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Shetland among others. Under Danish sovereignty since they established a hegemonic position in the Kalmar Union, the territories were considered as Norwegian colonies. When in the Treaty of Kiel in 1814, Norway's territories were transferred from Denmark to Sweden, the territories of Iceland, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands were maintained by Denmark. In 1919, Norway declared sovereignty over an area in Eastern Greenland in the Ihlen Declaration, which led to a dispute with Denmark that was not settled until 1933, by the Permanent Court of International Justice. Norway formerly included the provinces Jämtland, Härjedalen, Idre, Särna (lost since the Second Treaty of Brömsebro), and Bohuslän (lost since the Treaty of Roskilde), which were ceded to Sweden after Danish defeats in wars such as the Thirty Years' War and Second Northern War.


Kresy ("Borderlands"), is a term that refers to the eastern lands that formerly belonged to Poland. In 1921, Polish troops crossed the Curzon Line, the border between ethnic Polish and ethnic Ukrainian and Belorussian territories and seized large Ukrainian and Belorussian territories, and also seized 7 percent of Lithuania's territory in 1920. These territories were re-annexed by the Soviet Union in 1939 under the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, and include major cities, like Lviv (Ukraine), Vilnius (the capital of Lithuania), and Hrodna (Belarus). Even though Kresy, or the Eastern Borderlands, are no longer Polish territories, the area is still inhabited by a significant Polish minority, and the memory of a Polish Kresy is still cultivated. The attachment to the "myth of Kresy", the vision of the region as a peaceful, idyllic, rural land, has been criticized in Polish discourse.

In January, February and March 2012, the Centre for Public Opinion Research conducted a survey, asking Poles about their ties to the Kresy. It turned out that almost 15% of the population of Poland (4.3–4.6 million people) declared that they had either been born in the Kresy, or had a parent or a grandparent who came from that region. Numerous treasures of Polish culture remain and there are numerous Kresy-oriented organizations. There are Polish sports clubs (Pogoń Lwów, FK Polonia Vilnius), newspapers (Gazeta Lwowska, Kurier Wileński), radio stations (in Lviv and Vilnius), numerous theatres, schools, choirs and folk ensembles. Poles living in Kresy are helped by Fundacja Pomoc Polakom na Wschodzie, a Polish government-sponsored organization, as well as other organizations, such as The Association of Help of Poles in the East Kresy (see also Karta Polaka). Money is frequently collected to help those Poles who live in Kresy, and there are several annual events, such as a Christmas Package for a Polish Veteran in Kresy, and Summer with Poland, sponsored by the Association "Polish Community", in which Polish children from Kresy are invited to visit Poland. Polish language handbooks and films, as well as medicines and clothes are collected and sent to Kresy. Books are most often sent to Polish schools which exist there — for example, in December 2010, The University of Wrocław organized an event called Become a Polish Santa Claus and Give a Book to a Polish Child in Kresy. Polish churches and cemeteries (such as Cemetery of the Defenders of Lwów) are renovated with money from Poland.


Portugal does not recognize Spanish sovereignty over the territory of Olivenza, ceded under coercion to Spain during the Napoleonic Wars. Since the Rexurdimento of the mid-nineteenth century, there has been an intellectual movement pleading for the reintegration between Portugal and the region of Galicia. Although this movement has become increasingly popular on both sides of the border, there is no consensus in regard to the nature of such reintegration: whether political, socio-cultural or merely linguistic.


Romania lays claims to Greater Romania, which include Bessarabia and Bucovina as Moldova, since they were parts of Romania' and are inhabited in majority by Romanians (same people as Moldavians).


The annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014 was based on a claim of protecting ethnic Russians residing there. Crimea was part of the Russian Empire from 1783 to 1917, after which it enjoyed a few years of autonomy until it was made part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (which was a part of Soviet Union) from 1921 to 1954 and then transferred to Soviet Ukraine (which also was a part of Soviet Union) in 1954. After the dissolution of Soviet Union, Crimea still remained part of Ukraine until February 2014. Russia declared Crimea to be part of the Russian Federation in March 2014, and effective administration commenced. The Russian regional status is not currently recognised by the UN General Assembly and by many countries.

Russian irredentism also includes southeastern and coastal Ukraine, known as Novorossiya, a term from the Russian Empire.


Serbian irredentism is manifested in "Greater Serbia". Used in the context of the Yugoslav wars, however, the Serbian struggle for Serbs to remain united in one country does not quite fit the term "irredentism". In the 19th century, Pan-Serbism sought to unite all of the Serb people across the Balkans, under Ottoman and Habsburg rule. Some intellectuals sought to unite all South Slavs (regardless of religion) into a Serbian state. Serbia had gained independence from the Ottoman Empire in 1878. Bosnia and Herzegovina, annexed by the Austrians in 1908, was viewed of as a part of the Serbian homeland. Serbia directed its territorial aspirations to the south, as the north and west was held by Austria. Macedonia was divided between Serbia and Greece after the Balkan Wars. In 1914 aspirations were directed towards Austria-Hungary. A government policy sought to incorporate all Serb-inhabited areas, and other South Slavic areas, thereby laying the foundation of Yugoslavia. With the establishment of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia), the Serbs now lived united in one country. During the breakup of Yugoslavia, the Serb political leadership in break-away Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina declared their territories to be part of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).

The project of unification of Serb-inhabited areas in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina during the Yugoslav wars (see United Serb Republic) ultimately failed. The Croatian Operation Storm ended large-scale combat and captured most of the Republic of Serbian Krajina, while the Dayton Agreement ended the Bosnian War. Bosnia and Herzegovina was established as a federal republic, made up by two separate entities, one being Serb-inhabited Republika Srpska. There has since been calls by Bosnian Serb politicians for the secession of Republika Srpska, and possible unification with Serbia.

After the Kosovo War (1998–99), Kosovo became a UN protectorate, still de jure part of Serbia. The Albanian-majority Kosovo assembly unilaterally declared the independence of Kosovo in 2008, and its status is since disputed.


Spain maintains a claim on Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory near the southernmost tip of the Iberian Peninsula, which has been British since the 18th Century.

Gibraltar was captured in 1704, during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). The Kingdom of Spain formally ceded the territory in perpetuity to the British Crown in 1713, under Article X of the Treaty of Utrecht. Spain's territorial claim was formally reasserted by the Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in the 1960s and has been continued by successive Spanish governments. In 2002 an agreement in principle on joint sovereignty over Gibraltar between the governments of the United Kingdom and Spain was decisively rejected in a referendum. The British Government now refuses to discuss sovereignty without the consent of the Gibraltarians.


Irredentism is acute in the Caucasus region, too. The Nagorno-Karabakh movement's original slogan of miatsum ('union') was explicitly oriented towards re-unification with Armenia as to the pre-Soviet status, feeding an Azerbaijani understanding of the conflict as a bilateral one between itself and an irredentist Armenia. According to Prof. Thomas Ambrosio, "Armenia's successful irredentist project in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan" and "From 1992 to the cease-fire in 1994, Armenia encountered a highly permissive or tolerant international environment that allowed its annexation of some 15 percent of Azerbaijani territory". In the view of Nadia Milanova, Nagorno-Karabakh represents a combination of separatism and irredentism. Azerbaijan's irredentism, on the other hand, is quite explicit in official statements of the Azerbaijani officials by claiming the UN member-state Republic of Armenia as Azerbaijani territory despite of absence of historical evidence of Azerbaijan existed as a separate state up until 1918. On his official meeting in Gyanja (Գանձակ) on 21 January 2014 the president Aliyev said in particular "The present-day Armenia is actually located on historical lands of Azerbaijan. Therefore, we will return to all our historical lands in the future. This should be known to young people and children. We must live, we live and we will continue to live with this idea." ()


Whole Azerbaijan is a concept of the political and historical union of territories currently and historically inhabited by Azerbaijanis or historically controlled by them. Western Azerbaijan is an irredentist political concept that is used in Azerbaijan mostly to refer to Armenia. Azerbaijani statements claim that the territory of the modern Armenian republic were lands that once belonged to Azerbaijanis.


Pan-Iranism is an ideology that advocates solidarity and reunification of Iranian peoples living in the Iranian plateau and other regions that have significant Iranian cultural influence, including the Persians, Azerbaijanis, Ossetians, Kurds, Zazas, Tajiks of Tajikistan and Afghanistan, the Pashtuns and the Baloch of Pakistan. The first theoretician was Dr Mahmoud Afshar Yazdi.

The ideology of pan-Iranism is most often used in conjunction with the idea of forming a Greater Iran, which refers to the regions of the Caucasus, West Asia, Central Asia, and parts of South Asia that have significant Iranian cultural influence due to having been either long historically ruled by the various Iranian (Persian) empires (such as those of the Medes, Achaemenids, Parthians, Sassanians, Samanids, Timurids, Safavids, and Afsharids and the Qajar Empire), having considerable aspects of Persian culture in their own culture due to extensive contact with the various Empires based in Persia (e.g., those regions and peoples in the North Caucasus that were not under direct Iranian rule), or are simply nowadays still inhabited by a significant amount of Iranic-speaking people who patronize their respective cultures (as it goes for the western parts of South Asia, Bahrain and China). It roughly corresponds to the territory on the Iranian plateau and its bordering plains. It is also referred to as Greater Persia, while the Encyclopædia Iranica uses the term Iranian Cultural Continent.


Saddam Hussein's Iraq wanted to annex Khuzestan Province of Iran during the Iran–Iraq War due to the Arab population living there.


Kurds have often used the ancient entity of Corduene as evidence that they should have a state separate from the countries where they are now a minority.


The Lebanese nationalism goes even further and incorporates irredentist views going beyond the Lebanese borders, seeking to unify all the lands of ancient Phoenicia around present day Lebanon. This comes from the fact that present day Lebanon, the Mediterranean coast of Syria, and northern Israel is the area that roughly corresponds to ancient Phoenicia and as a result the majority of the Lebanese people identify with the ancient Phoenician population of that region. The proposed Greater Lebanese country includes Lebanon, Mediterranean coast of Syria, and northern Israel.


The French Mandate of Syria handed over the Sanjak of Alexandretta to Turkey which turned it into Hatay Province. Syria disputes this and still regards the region as belonging to Syria.

The Syrian Social Nationalist Party, which operates in Lebanon and Syria, works for the unification of most modern states of the Levant and beyond in a single state referred to as Greater Syria. The proposed Syrian country includes Israel, Syria, Jordan, and parts of Turkey, and has at times been expanded to include Iraq, Cyprus, and the Sinai peninsula.


Misak-ı Millî is the set of six important decisions made by the last term of the Ottoman Parliament. Parliament met on 28 January 1920 and published their decisions on 12 February 1920. These decisions worried the occupying Allies, resulting in the Occupation of Constantinople by the British, French and Italian troops on 16 March 1920 and the establishment of a new Turkish nationalist parliament, the Grand National Assembly, in Ankara.

The Ottoman Minister of Internal Affairs, Damat Ferid Pasha, made the opening speech of parliament due to Mehmed VI's illness. A group of parliamentarians called Felâh-ı Vatan was established by Mustafa Kemal's friends to acknowledge the decisions taken at the Erzurum Congress and the Sivas Congress. Mustafa Kemal said "It is the nation's iron fist that writes the Nation's Oath which is the main principle of our independence to the annals of history." Decisions taken by this parliament were used as the basis for the new Turkish Republic's claims in the Treaty of Lausanne.

United Arab Emirates

The Greater and Lesser Tunbs are disputed by the United Arab Emirates against Iran.


Greater Yemen is a theory giving Yemen claim to former territories that were held by various predecessor states that existed between the 13th and 18th centuries. The areas claimed include parts of Saudi Arabia and Oman.


When Hong Kong and Macau were British and Portuguese territories, respectively, China considered these two territories to be Chinese territories under British and Portuguese administration. Therefore, Hong Kong people and Macanese people descended from Chinese immigrants were entitled to Hong Kongs or Macao Special Administrative Region passports after the two territories became the special administrative regions.


Japan claims the two southernmost islands of the Russian-administered Kuril Islands, the island chain north of Hokkaido, annexed by the Soviet Union following World War II. Japan also claims the South Korean-administered Liancourt Rocks, which are known as Takeshima in Japan and have been claimed since the end of the Second World War.


The 1909 Gando Convention addressed a territory dispute between China and Joseon Korea in China's favor. Both Korean states now accept the convention border as an administrative boundary. However, because the convention was made by the occupying Empire of Japan, South Korea has disputed its legality and some Koreans claim that Korea extends into de facto PRC territory, viz. Dandong and Liaoning. The most ambitious claims include all parts of Manchuria that the Goguryeo kingdom controlled.


The irredentist idea that advocates cultural and political solidarity of Mongols. The proposed territory usually includes the independent state of Mongolia, the Chinese regions of Inner Mongolia (Southern Mongolia) and Dzungaria (in Xinjiang), and the Russian subjects of Buryatia. Sometimes Tuva and the Altai Republic are included as well.

South Asia

South Asia too is another region in which armed irredentist movements have been active for almost a century, in North-East India, Burma and Bangladesh. Most prominent amongst them are the Naga fight for Greater Nagaland, the Chin struggle for a unified Chinland, the Sri Lankan Tamil struggle for a return of their state under Tamil Eelam and other self-determinist movements by the ethnic indigenous peoples of the erstwhile Assam both under the British and post-British Assam under India.


Greater Bangladesh is an assumption of several Indian intellectuals that the neighboring country of Bangladesh has an aspiration to unite all Bengali dominated regions under their flag. These include the states of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam as well as the Andaman Islands which are currently part of India and the Burmese Arakan Province. The theory is principally based on a widespread belief amongst Indian masses that a large number of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants reside in Indian territory. It is alleged that illegal immigration is actively encouraged by some political groups in Bangladesh as well as the state of Bangladesh to convert large parts of India's northeastern states and West Bengal into Muslim-majority areas that would subsequently seek to separate from India and join Muslim-majority Bangladesh. Scholars have reflected that under the guise of anti-Bangladeshi immigrant movement it is actually an anti-Muslim agenda pointed towards Bangladeshi Muslims by false propaganda and widely exaggerated claims on immigrant population. In 1998, Lieutenant General S.K. Sinha, then the Governor of Assam, claimed that massive illegal immigration from Bangladesh was directly linked with "the long-cherished design of Greater Bangladesh.


Akhand Bharat

The call for creation of the Akhand Bharat or Akhand Hindustan has on occasions been raised by some Indian right wing Hindutvadi cultural and political organisations such as the Hindu Mahasabha, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The name of one organisation sharing this goal, the Akhand Hindustan Morcha, bears the term in its name. Other major Indian non-sectarian political parties such as the Indian National Congress, maintain a position against the partition of India on religious grounds, do not subscribe to a call for Akhand Bharat.

Sri Lanka

Tamil Eelam is a proposed independent state that Tamils in Sri Lanka and the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora wish to reclaim in the north and east of Sri Lanka. The name is derived from the ancient Tamil name for Sri Lanka, Eelam. Tamils have often used the former state of the Vanni country, home of the Jaffna kingdom as evidence that they should have a state separate from the countries where they are now a minority. Their former state's dissolution began earlier in Sri Lanka's European colonial history, but was sealed in the Colebrooke–Cameron Commission of British Ceylon in 1833.


Irredentism is commonplace in Africa due to the political boundaries of former European colonial nation-states passing through ethnic boundaries, and recent declarations of independence after civil war. For example, some Ethiopian nationalist circles still claim the former Ethiopian province of Eritrea (internationally recognized as the independent State of Eritrea in 1993 after a 30-year civil war).


Greater Somalia refers to the region in the Horn of Africa in which ethnic Somalis are and have historically represented the predominant population. The territory encompasses The Republic of Somalia, the Ogaden region in Ethiopia, the North Eastern Province in Kenya and southern and eastern Djibouti. Ogaden in eastern Ethiopia has seen military and civic movements seeking to make it part of Somalia. This culminated in the 1977–78 Ogaden War between the two neighbours where the Somali military offensive between July 1977 and March 1978 over the disputed Ethiopian region Ogaden ended when the Somali Armed Forces retreated back across the border and a truce was declared. The Kenyan Northern Frontier District also saw conflict during the Shifta War (1963–1967) when a secessionist conflict in which ethnic Somalis in, what is now known as the North Eastern Province of Kenya, attempted to join with their fellow Somalis in a "Greater Somalia". There has been no similar conflicts in Djibouti, which was previously known as the "French Somaliland" during colonisation. Here the apparent struggles for unification manifested itself in political strife that ended when in a referendum to join France as opposed to the Somali Republic succeeded among rumours of widespread vote rigging. and the subsequent death of Somali nationalist Mahmoud Harbi, Vice President of the Government Council, who was killed in a plane crash two years later under suspicious circumstances. Some sources say that Somalia has also laid a claim to the Socotra archipelago, which is currently governed by Yemen.


Irredentism is also expressed by some Mexican-American activists in the Reconquista movement. They call for the return of formerly Mexican-dominated lands in the Southwestern United States to Mexico. These lands were annexed by the US in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and became the present-day states of California, Texas, Nevada and Utah; and parts of Colorado, Arizona, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Kansas, and New Mexico.


Irredentism Wikipedia