The Westphalian State System
In 1648, the Peace of Westphalia, a number of
treaties signed by many European states,
established what we know of as the modern
“state system” defined by sovereign states with
specific borders instead of Empires.
Before that, a territory was defined by a society,
afterwards, a territory defined the society.
The rise of nationalism changed the attitudes of
citizens towards what constituted the state.
The European Impact on the non-European world
helped shaped how states formed world-wide.
The overthrow of colonial powers, called
decolonization, has created more states than any
A shared cultural
heritage or belief.
Loyalty towards one
another and to the
nation as a whole.
A distinct homeland
(even if everyone is
not living there)
or the ability or
desire to form their
own sovereign state.
A Nation is
a group of people
Discuss: What is the difference between a
state and a nation?
A stateless nation is a nation
that has no territory of its
own but whom it is implied
The Kurdish people are a stateless nation that live in
contiguous areas of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.
Many Kurds advocate for the establishment of their own
state to be created from the parts of the other states that
they live in. This is also known as irredentism.
For centuries, the Jewish people were a stateless nation
that was scattered throughout the world. This diaspora
of people retained their national identity, even though
separated across multiple countries.
The Age of Discovery, also known as the first wave of
European colonization, lasted from the early 15th century
until the early 19th century. It included the colonization of
North and South America as well as India and Southeast
Africa was generally only used as a place to establish
trading posts, especially for the slave-trade to maintain
the triangle trade route.
Most North and South American colonies had gained
their independence by the early 19th century and ended
the Age of Discovery.
Imagine: You are a British Citizen after losing
the North American colonies. How do you feel?
The Scramble for Africa was
the process of invasion,
occupation, colonization and
annexation of African
territory by European powers
in the late 19th century.
Reasons for the Scramble for Africa
1. A renewed interest in exploration by the European
2. New technology such as the steam engine allowed for
easier travel and medical advances made it safer.
3. The Industrial Revolution called for even greater
resources – which were found in inner-Africa.
4. A greater work-force and military force could be had
via the population of Africa.
5. More land made European Countries feel more
powerful in comparison to their neighbors.
Great Britain (32%)
Independent and Other (4%)
Who owned what in Africa?
After World War I, Germany was stripped of its colonies,
and after World War II, most other countries could not
afford to maintain theirs. This caused the end of direct