Celtic nations

Celtic nations

Celtic nations are areas of modern northwest Europe which identify themselves with the Celtic cultures, specifically speakers of Celtic languages. Since the mid-20th century, people of many nations and regions have used modern 'Celticity' to express their identity. Over time, these nations and regions have come to be widely labelled as Celtic. These areas of Europe are sometimes referred to as the "Celt belt" [Nathalie Koble, "Jeunesse et genèse du royaume arthurien", Paradigme, 2007, ISBN 2868782701, p.145] or "Celtic fringe" [The term "Celtic Fringe" gained currency in late-Victorian years (Thomas Heyck, "A History of the Peoples of the British Isles: From 1870 to Present", Routledge, 2002, ISBN 0415302331, p.43) and is now widely attested, e.g. Michael Hechter, "Internal Colonialism: The Celtic Fringe in British National Development", Transaction Publishers, 1999, ISBN 0765804751; Nicholas Hooper and Matthew Bennett, "England and the Celtic Fringe: Colonial Warfare" in "The Cambridge Illustrated Atlas of Warfare", Cambridge University Press, 1996, ISBN 0521440491] because of their location generally on the western edges of the continent, and of the nations they inhabit (e.g. Brittany is in the northwest of France, Wales and Cornwall lie to the west of England, and the Gaelic-speaking parts of Ireland and Scotland are in the west of those countries). Additionally, this region is known as the "Celtic Crescent" [Ian Hazlett, "The Reformation in Britain and Ireland", Continuum International Publishing Group, 2003, ISBN 0567082806, p.21] because of the near crescent shaped position of the nations in Europe. Some claim Fact|date=October 2008 that Celtic nations is a concept of outsider political-pressure groups, specifically minor groups such as the Celtic League and Celtic Congress, which asserts what has been described as Pan-Celticism.cite news | title =Aims of The Celtic League
publisher = CelticLeague.net
url = http://www.celticleague.net/aimsandob.html
accessdate = 2008-10-01
] Members of such pressure groups assert that there are a distinct, cultural set of "Celtic nations" in modern northwest Europe.cite news | title =Aims of The Celtic League
publisher = CelticLeague.net
url = http://www.celticleague.net/aimsandob.html
accessdate = 2008-10-01
] Some of these people speak Celtic languages, usually as a second language for example 1.2% in ScotlandCite web | url=http://lrrc3.sas.upenn.edu/popcult/CLPP/Census%202001%20-%20Gaelic1.htm | title=Census 2001 Scotland: Gaelic Language – first results| author=Kenneth MacKinnon | year=2003| accessdate=2007-03-24] and 16.3% in Wales, [http://www.bwrdd-yr-iaith.org.uk/cynnwys.php?pID=more&langID=2&mID=2&type=Pubs&cpID=90| Main Statistics about Welsh from the Welsh Language Board] ] or express a cultural identity to "Celticity". The terminology has no official recognition or standing within major political parties or legal institutions.

Most of the areas encompassed within the "Celt belt" or "Celtic fringe" are part of the United Kingdom, such as Scotland, Wales and Cornwall, the latter of which is in England. [Bryne, T., "Local Government in Britain", (1994)] Others usually included are the island of Ireland (which is divided between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the latter is part of the United Kingdom), the Isle of Man which is a Crown dependency of the United Kingdom and Brittany which is in France.cite news | title =Aims of The Celtic League
publisher = CelticLeague.net
url = http://www.celticleague.net/aimsandob.html
accessdate = 2008-10-01
] Outsider pressure groups and cultural organisations sometimes call this area the "Celtic Crescent" because of the near crescent shaped position of the nations in Europe. Limitation to the six nations and attempts to define what consists of a Modern Celt by the Celtic League and Celtic Congress, is sometimes disputed by people from England,cite news | title =Exploring England's Celtic roots: Genes
publisher = Anglo-Celtic.or.uk
url = http://www.anglo-celtic.org.uk/Genes/index.htm
accessdate = 2008-10-01
] Galicia and Asturias who also have Celtic history, culture and ethnicity links.cite news | title =Exploring England's Celtic roots: Genes
publisher = Anglo-Celtic.or.uk
url = http://www.anglo-celtic.org.uk/Genes/index.htm
accessdate = 2008-10-01

Until the expansions of the Roman Republic and Germanic tribes, the British Isles and much of continental Europe was predominantly Celtic.cite news | title = We're nearly all Celts under the skin
publisher = The Scotsman
author = Ian Johnston
date = 2006-09-21
url = http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/index.cfm?id=1393742006
accessdate = 2007-11-24
] Only extreme north-western regions retained their Celtic cultureFact|date=October 2008 and language,Fact|date=October 2008 because these expansions were halted and had little or no influence. In Britain for example, the expansions of the Roman Empire and then the Anglo-Saxons supplanted the Celtic Britons and the Brythonic languages in most of what is modern-day England.Fact|date=October 2008


The Celtic League, Celtic Congress, and some otherFact|date=October 2008 pan-Celtic groups base the criterion of Celticity on language — each of the six nations within the concept has its own Celtic language. It should be noted that within these areas, the majority speak the English or French as their first language: for example in the Republic of Ireland which has the largest percentage of Celtic language speakers, only 11% [ [http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_243_en.pdf Eurobarometer - "Europeans and their languages"] ] call Irish their mother tongue. While in Brittany the majority speak the French language as their first language. Brittany, Ireland, Scotland and Wales contain areas where a Celtic language is still used in a communityFact|date=October 2008 (see Gaeltacht on Ireland, Gàidhealtachd, and compare also Breizh-Izel and areas by Welsh language known as Y Fro Cymraeg). [ [http://www.breizh.net/icdbl/saozg/Celtic_Languages.pdf Visio-Map of Europe Celtic Europe.vsd ] ] Generally these communities are in the west of the countries, in upland or island areas.

For certain purposes, such as the Festival Interceltique de Lorient, Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria are considered three of the "nine" Celtic nations. It should also be remembered that Welsh and Scots Gaelic speaking minorities are still extant, respectively, in the Chubut Province of Patagonia in Argentina, and Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Other claims

legend|#ffff43|core Hallstatt territory, by the 6th century BCIn general most countries of Western and Central Europe can be considered to have been influenced by the Celts. In a number of them, there are also 'Celtic' movements, wanting recognition as a Celtic Nation. None of them has a living Celtic language, unlike "the Six", and for those who base claims of Celticity around linguistics, this is a matter of controversy.

Iberian Peninsula

The north-western part of the Iberian Peninsula is an area influenced by Celtic culture. In particular this includes the regions of Galicia, Asturias, Portugal, Cantabria and León.

In none of these regions has a Celtic language survived (although some place names are of Celtic origin), which means that the most common criterion for Celticity, that of having a Celtic language, does not apply.

The main basis for these regions' present-day claim to Celticity is, rather, Celtic consciousness itself, which derives from a factual long-time tradition of Celtism in these regions, due to the fact that numerous Celtic tribes settled in the Iberian Peninsula (see Celtiberians) and left their mark, culturally and genetically. [http://www.breakingnews.ie/2004/09/09/story165780.html] [http://killarney-ireland.info/genealogy/dark-irish-celt-genealogy.html] [ [http://www.prospect-magazine.co.uk/article_details.php?id=7817 Special report: 'Myths of British ancestry' by Stephen Oppenheimer | Prospect Magazine October 2006 issue 127 ] ] Consequently, similarities in both the cultural (music, dance, folklore) and genetic aspects can be found between the inhabitants of these areas and those of other Celtic nations. [http://www.asturies.com/belenos/memoriacelta/]


Celtic traditions and customs have continued in England, particularly in extremities of the south west and the north (see Devon, Lancashire and Cumbria). England lacks a Celtic language after the extinction of the Cumbric and Cornish languages; during the 'Celtic' era, Great Britain was populated by a number of regional Celtic tribes, none of whom directly ended up forming the English nation, only the gene pool. In Celtic languages, it is usually referred to as "Saxon-land" ("Sasana", "Pow Saws", "Bro-Saoz" etc), and in Welsh as "Lloegr" (though the Welsh translation of English also refers to the Saxon route: Saesneg, with the English being referred to as "Saeson", or "Saes" in the singular). This is because the Celtic peoples of England succumbed to the invading Saxons and took on their culture and language, although spoken Cumbric survived until the 12th Century. The northern half of England forms the historic land of Hen Ogledd, Welsh for 'the Old North', and its population were known as the 'men of the north' to other Celtic peoples. Hen Ogledd, along with Wales and Cornwall, form the three Brythonic areas of modern Great Britain.

Unlike many of the above examples, there is little political motivation behind this search for a more complex identity, but a recognition that local linguistic and cultural peculiarities can be traced back to Celtic origins. Cumbria, for example, retains some Celtic influences from local sports (Cumberland wrestling) to superstitions, and traces of Cumbric are still spoken, famously by shepherds to count their sheep. Lancashire still retains Celtic culture, eg. its own wrestling system (Lancashire wrestling) and other things such as cooking Parkin cake and place names like Pendle and Cuerden. The name Lancashire derives from Lune-Castra (Lancaster), a Celtic name, and the name 'Cumbria' is derived from the same root as Cymru, the Welsh name for Wales, meaning 'the land of comrades'. There is a current attempt to revive Cumbric and about 50 words of a reconstructed, hypothetical "Cumbric" exist. However, most competent scholars believe that it would be little different from an archaic dialect of Northern Welsh. The county is also home to the Rheged discovery centre profiling the Celtic history of Cumbria and surrounding areas.

English Celtic revivalism has not always been popular with its neighbours, many of whose own revivals have sought to counteract the majority culture of England within the United Kingdom. It also tends to be apolitical, in strict contrast to that of the "Six", Galicia or even Padania. Early revivalism concentrated on King Arthur, fairy and folklore and also Boudicca, whose statue stands outside the Palace of Westminster. Boudicca, who fought Roman imperialism, was looked up to by one or two Victorian English imperialists, who claimed "her new empire" was bigger than the Roman. Modern revivalism has focused more on music, mythology, rituals such as the Druids and a better understanding of Celtic festivals that have been observed in England since the Celtic period, and dialect or language.

Formerly Gaulish regions

s. The French- and Arpitan-speaking Aosta Valley region in Italy also presents a casual claim of Celtic heritage and the Northern League autonomist party often exalts what it claims are the Celtic roots of Padania. Reportedly, Friuli also has an ephemeral claim to Celticity.

Walloons are sometimes characterized as "Celts", mainly opposed to "Teutonic" Flemish and "Latin" French identities; the word "Walloon" derives from a Germanic word meaning "foreign", cognate with "Welsh" and "Vlach".

Central European regions

Celtic tribes inhabited land in what is now southern Germany and Austria. [ [http://celts.etrusia.co.uk/celtic_cultures.php Celts - Hallstatt and La Tene cultures ] ] Many scholars have associated the earliest Celtic peoples with the Hallstatt culture. [ [http://www.celticimpressions.com/celts.asp Celtic Impressions - The Celts ] ] Boii, Scordisci [http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Post/234056 - 27k] and the Vindelici [ [http://www.ancientworlds.net/aw/Families/Family/209577 Vindelici ] ] are some of the tribes that inhabitted Central Europe, including what is now Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia, Poland and the Czech Republic as well as Germany and Austria. The Boii gave their name to Bohemia. [ [http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9080441/Boii Boii - Britannica Online Encyclopedia ] ] Celts also founded Singidunum present-day Belgrade, leaving many words in Serbian language (over 5000).The La Tène culture also covered much of central Europe. The name of the culture is from the location in Switzerland. [ [http://www.angelfire.com/wi/THECELTS/latene.html The Early Celts ] ]

Outside Europe

In other regions, people with a heritage from one of the 'Celtic Nations' also associate with the Celtic identity. In these areas, Celtic traditions and languages are significant components of local culture. These include the Permanent North American Gaeltacht in Tamworth, Ontario, Canada which is the only Irish Gaelic gaeltacht outside of Ireland, the Chubut valley of Patagonia with Welsh speaking Argentinians (known as "Y Wladfa"), Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, with Gaelic-speaking Canadians and southeast Newfoundland with Irish-speaking Canadians. Also at one point in 1900's there were well over 12,000 Gaelic Scots from the Isle of Lewis living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada, with place names that still exist today recalling those inhabitants.

Appalachia and parts of the Southern United States were also heavily settled by Celts, with much of the culture reflecting this fact. [ [http://www.marshall.edu/orahist/appalachia.html Appalachia ] ]

In his autobiography, the South African poet Roy Campbell recalled his youth in the Dargle Valley, near the city of Pietermaritzburg, where people spoke only Gaelic and Zulu.

In New Zealand the southern regions of Otago and Southland were settled by the Free Church of Scotland. Many of the place names in these two regions (such as the main cities of Dunedin and Invercargill and the major river, the Clutha) have Scottish Gaelic names, and Celtic culture is still highly prominent in this area [ [http://www.teara.govt.nz/NewZealanders/NewZealandPeoples/Scots/8/en Te Ara: Encyclopedia of New Zealand] ] . In addition to these, a number of people from the USA, Australia, South Africa and other parts of the former British Empire may consider themselves to have 'Celtic nationality'.

ee also

*Celtic Art
*Celtic fusion
*Celtic language
*Celtic music
*Celtic Revival
*Germanic Europe
*Latin Europe
*Modern Celts
*Slavic Europe


Further reading

*National Geographic, "The Celtic Realm". March, 2006.

External links

* [http://www.celticleague.net/ Celtic League]
* [http://www.celtic-league.org/ Celtic League International]
* [http://www.celticleague.org/ Celtic League - American Branch]
* [http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0603/sights_n_sounds/index.html The Celtic Realm]
* [http://www.celtic-world.net/ Celtic-World.Net, - Various information on Celtic culture and music]
*PDFlink| [http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0603/feature3/images/mp_download.3.pdf National Geographic
] |306 KiB

* [http://www.celticgrounds.com/chapters/c-nations.htm The Celtic Nations]
* [http://www.le.ac.uk/ar/stj/celtindex.html Simon James Ancient Celts Page]
* [http://www.celticrealms.org/blog/2006/01/celtic-whole-thing-has-become-negative.html an article on Celtic Realms by Jim Gilchrist of The Scotsman]
* [http://www.celticrealms.org/ The Celtic Nations Association]

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