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  Independence, as an idea in history and political science, is both a value and a descriptive concept, suggesting lack of dependence on others. Thus an independent state is a sovereign state it possesses the maximal degree of internal autonomy which a state may possess. In (what is called) international law the recognition of a state\'s independence means that the state is supposedly legally protected from external interference in its domestic affairs. In practice the autonomy of independent states is limited by the geopolitical interests of world and regional powers, and all states are characterized by some level of interdependence: ‘no state is an island’, that is, unaffected by events and processes beyond its borders.

Since the 19th century (when the legitimacy of self-determination and nationalism became widely recognized) independence movements have been the most important foci of political change throughout the world. The Versailles Treaty (1919) entrenched the concept of self-determination in international relations although it was usually granted only to existing states. One reason for the proliferation of independence movements is that independence represents the ultimate protection and recognition of a group\'s collective identity. However, multiethnic or multicultural independence movements have been common, especially in territories formerly governed by colonial or imperial powers. BO\'L

See also sovereignty.



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Indigenous Metaphysics


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