Wednesday, 14 October 2015


This is a difficult system of government because it requires co-operation between Federal and State administrations. That is illustrated by the following list of failed federations and the dates of their short existences. Gran Colombia 1819-31; Federal Republic of Central America 1823-40; Austria-Hungary 1867-1918; Czechoslovakia 1918-92; Yugoslavia 1918-2003; Soviet Union 1922-91; French Union 1946-58; Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland 1953-63; Federation of the West Indies 1958-62; United Arab Republic 1958-61; Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan 1958; Federation of Mali 1959-60.

Some federations endure, however; their names and dates of formation are: Switzerland, 1291; United States of America, 1776; Canada, 1867; Germany, 1871; Australia, 1901; Nigeria, 1914; India (without Pakistan) 1947; Federation of Malaysia, 1963; United Arab Emirates 1971.

The question arises therefore as to why they endured? Each has a common language: Arabic for United Arab Emirates; English for Australia, Canada, Nigeria and USA; German for Germany and Switzerland; Hindi for India; and Malay for Malaysia. Each also occupies a defined geographical area, ie a sub-continental peninsula, (India); two adjacent islands, (Australia); coastland, (Malaysia, and United Arab Emirates); coast to coast (Canada, and USA); coast to mountains, (Germany); interconnecting mountain valleys, (Switzerland); a river basin (Nigeria).

Most important, however, each surviving federation has a patriotic sense of national identity which was lacking in those which were dissolved.

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