General Question

OpryLeigh's avatar

Cornwall, is it part of England or a country in it's own right?

Asked by OpryLeigh (25265points) August 25th, 2009

I have friends in Cornwall who are extremely defensive of the fact that Cornwall is not part of England and is a country in it’s own right that is, like Wales for example, part of the United Kingdom. I have done some brief, online research (ok, I checked Wikipedia!) and can’t find anything that says Cornwall is a country. It all says that it is a county in southwest England. I know they have their own language (although I wonder how many people ACTUALLY speak it anymore) but that doesn’t actually make a country does it?

Side question – what does make a country?

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20 Answers

unit's avatar

I go to Cornwall a lot as it’s a great holiday destination. It is part of the UK. There are a small group who want independece but it will never happen.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@unit The weird thing with this is, I am from Somerset in Engand (which isn’t that far away from Cornwall) and up until recently I had never heard that some people considered it to be a country in it’s own right.

Is it wrong that I find theses people a tinny bit pretentious?

janbb's avatar

Cornwall is a part of England and has been for ages. It does have a somewhat different ethnic heritage from other parts of England since many of its early settlers were Celts, like the Scottish, Welsh and people from Brittany in France. As unit says, there may be a small group wishing for independence but I can’t see it ever happening.

macca's avatar

Cornwall is not a country. I lived there when I was younger. They actually have their own language (Cornish, similar to Welsh), but it is part of England. Some people think that it should be a separate country (like Wales), but it’s not, officially. Cornwall is a county of England.

unit's avatar

A lot of Cornish people fly the cornish flag (black background, white cross)

janbb's avatar

@Leanne1986 I’ve always heard that the Cornish are fiercely proud, but I too had never heard of an independence movement. It does seem a bit silly but what do I know? I’m American.

Sarcasm's avatar

Wikipedia tells me it’s part of England, that’s all I need to hear!

Jack79's avatar

It’s an interesting issue, because even though Cornwall is in fact part of England legally and historically, the people are just as different from English as the Welsh, and yes, it does make sense that they would feel different. I guess a comparable example for Americans would be Alaska or Hawaii, where the native population is certainly not your average American.

Historically, when the English conquered the different “countries” that now make up the UK, there were different results in different cases. Funnily enough, the Welsh who surrendered got the best deal, and even today have managed to keep their own language and heritage respected. The Scots, who fought the most, got the worst. Cornish resistance eventually got crushed and Cornwall became an intrinsic part of England as a result, with absolutely no independence.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Sarcasm yeah, that was the extent of my “research” too

Mozart's avatar

Cornwall is and always has been a part of England.

It has it’s own flag though.

gailcalled's avatar

For a wonder read, check out the Poldark series, situated in Cornwall and starting with the return to Cornwall after the American Revolution by Ross Poldark, hero. By Winston Graham, the twelve novels explores the complicated lives of a vast cast of characters of all classes and bents.

It was made into an extremely popular BBC series in the mid 1970s and shown on Masterpiece Theater in the US.

(it’s means it is. Possessive is its flag.)

eponymoushipster's avatar

I like cornish hens just as much as i like liver birds.

kfingerman's avatar

@Jack79…While I like the Alaska/Hawaii reference, it seems to me that the native population in the lower 48 are also “not your average American” ... it’s just that they got massacred a longer time ago.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

what makes a country?

enough guns to kick you out of it.

Jack79's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 probably so
@kfingerman yes, I know what you mean, and this is true everywhere. I was referring to the notion of an “average American”. If we are to go into details, then the differences are vast.

Even within England itself, there are huge numbers of people who are black, or of asian descent (mainly Indians and Pakistanis, but also Chinese nowadays), or of course Cypriots, Italians, French and so on. Not to mention the class differences even within the “pure English” population, which is itself a mixture of Angles and Saxons (ie Germans, though we hate to admit it) and Normands (ie the evil Frogs from across the channel). So if you think Americans are not homogenous, try walking down Oxford Street on a typical Monday morning (and that’s your “posh” West End btw).

But Cornwall is even more different than that. It was different even back in the day when the English were considered one nation, all wore the same clothes and had a choice of only 15 names from which to pick for their newborn, all of them Christian. I guess what I’m trying to describe is a more or less homogenous group within England itself, which is geographically contained, historically traceable, linguistically different and has a very strong sense of identity, conscious of all the above.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@gailcalled I have seen all of the Poldark programmes and read most of the books, absoutely love them! Demelza was my favourite :)

YARNLADY's avatar

@Jack79 @kfingerman Interestingly enough, there are several “soverign nations” within the borders of the lower 48 as well, such as the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, of which I am a member. We have our own constitution, our own flag, and our own language.

tabbycat's avatar

Part of England—an especially beautiful part!

aprilsimnel's avatar

I was under the impression that Cornwall is more or less where the last of the original pre-Invasions peoples of Britain ended up. Like, they’re the real Britons, and the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans are the Johnny-Come-Lately-s. Is this the case? Or are there any people who are descendants of the original inhabitants of the island today living in a particular area?

EdMayhew's avatar

Cornwall does not have an independent government, therefore is not a separate country.


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