The position of a stateless nation in the modern world is a precarious one. As states have developed, they have become the principal political institution, offering legitimacy and legal protections for those they represent. As such, it is no surprise that many stateless nations around the world have agitated for statehood. However there are many nations which are content to remain a part of a multinational state, never truly displaying a desire for independence. This study attempts to explain this difference. The literature highlights a few important aspects of secession, with factors like ethnic conflict and natural resource wealth appearing frequently. I attempt to test the ethnic conflict hypothesis, arguing that those sub-state regions which have experienced ethnic conflict will be more likely to have a strong independence movement. To test this hypothesis I conduct a comparative analysis of Catalonia and Wales, comparing the two cases across four independent variables. From the results, the ethnic conflict hypothesis is supported. However due to some conflicting results a true causal relationship cannot be established. I conclude that while ethnic conflict may play an important role in the presence of secessionist movements, further research is required in this area to obtain conclusive results and rule out other factors.


N'Diaye, Boubacar

Second Advisor

Kille, Kent J.


Political Science


Comparative Politics | International Relations


Wales, Catalonia, Secession, Independence

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2016 Ian M. Herrera