Language • How can language link or divide regions? Think about some languages around the world and where they are found.
Language • Arab world - The Arab world is a cultural region that is unified by the Arabic language. This region is found in North Africa and the Middle East. Some countries in the Arab world are: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, and Oman.
Language • The following countries have many Muslims but Arabic is NOT the major language: Iran, Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
Language • Hispanic America is a region that is unified by language. The major language in this region is Spanish. Some countries that are in this region are: Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, and all of the countries in Central America except Belize.
Language • The following countries are NOT part of Hispanic America: Haiti, Jamaica, Belize, and Brazil.
Language • Brazil - The major language in Brazil is Portuguese because Brazil was colonized by Portugal. There are more people who speak Portuguese in Brazil than Portugal.
Language • Canada is a good example of a country that is divided by language. In the province of Quebec, Canada there are many people who speak French. The rest of the people in Canada speak English. Quebec has tried to break away from Canada several times because the people feel they have different cultural characteristics.
Language • Switzerland is a good example of a country that has multiple languages but the country is still unified. Some of the languages spoken in Switzerland are: German (official) 63.7%, French (official) 20.4%, and Italian (official) 6.5%.
Language • English as a world language - English is a language that has become an international language of business and finance. As the economic power of China grows it is possible that Chinese may replace English in the future.
Ethnic Heritage • Examples of countries or regions that have experienced ethnic conflict: • The Balkans (Former Yugoslavia) • Rwanda • Cyprus
Key Vocabulary • Ethnicity • Ethnic Cleansing • Genocide • Balkanization • Nation • Stateless Nation
Balkan Peninsula • The Balkan Peninsula has many different ethnic groups such as; Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, and Albanians. This region has experienced ethnic conflict for thousands of years. The most recent conflict lasted from 1992 - 1995, when Serbia invaded Bosnia. Thousands of Bosniaks were killed by Serbian and Croatian forces because they were a different ethnic and religious group.
Rwanda • Rwanda is a small country in East Africa with two major ethnic groups, the Hutu and the Tutsi. In 1994, the Hutu controlled military and militia groups began killing Tutsis. Over a period of three months at least 800,000 Tutsis were murdered in one of the worst genocides in history.
Cyprus • Cyprus is an island in the eastern Mediterranean. The country is divided into two countries based on ethnicity. One country is primarily Turkish and the other country is primarily Greek.
Ethnic Heritage • Examples of countries or regions that have many ethnic groups but are unified: • The United States • Switzerland
The United States • The United States is a good example of a country that has multiple ethnic groups but is still stable. The major ethnic groups in the United States are: White 79%, Black 13%, Asian 5%. The U.S. Census Bureau does not include Hispanic because it considers Hispanic to mean a person of Latin American descent, which means they could be of many different ethnic groups such as Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican.
Switzerland • Switzerland has remained unified despite having several ethnic groups. The ethnic groups in Switzerland are as follows: 65% German, 18% French, 10% Italian.
Ethnic Heritage • Examples of countries that have a single ethnic group: • Korea (There are a few Chinese) • Japan (98.5% Japanese, .5% Korean, .4% Chinese and around 200,000 Brazilians of Japanese origin)
Religion (Unifying Force) • Religion can serve as a unifying force for entire regions where most people follow the same religion.
Religion (Divisive Force) • There are religious conflicts in the following areas: • Kashmir (conflict between Hindus and Muslims. • Northern Ireland (conflict between Protestants and Catholics) • Jerusalem (Jews, Christians, and Muslims all claim it as a holy city)
Kashmir • India and Pakistan both claim a region called the Kashmir. Part of the problem is based on religion. Pakistan is a Muslim country and India is Hindu.
Northern Ireland • Northern Ireland is part of the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom refers to Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The country is about evenly divided between Protestants and Catholics. The Protestants want to remain part of the U.K. and the Catholics want to be part of Ireland.
Northern Ireland • Protestants and Catholics formed gangs in Belfast and would kill each other. The Catholics also bombed government buildings and police stations. The violence was so bad in Belfast that they constructed large walls to separate neighborhoods. Since then both sides have signed a peace agreement.
Jerusalem • Christians consider Jerusalem to be holy because Jesus was crucified there. • Jews consider Jerusalem to be holy because there temple was located there. • Muslims consider Jerusalem to be holy because Muhammed ascended to heaven there and received the word of Allah.
Jerusalem • Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, a Jewish country that was created by the United Nations in 1948. Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Palestine but Israel occupies East Jerusalem.