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Thread: Nations in the Wizarding World

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  1. #1
    Seventh Year Ravenclaw
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    Nations in the Wizarding World

    How does the Magical political map of the world differ from that of the Muggle world? This question came to my attention by this passage from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them:

    The International Confederation of Wizards has had to fine certain nations repeatedly for contravening Clause 73. Tibet and Scotland are two of the most persistent offenders.
    This suggests that Tibet is its own independent nation with its own Magical government, though it is part of the People's Republic of China in the Muggle world. With that in mind, what countries do you think exist in the Magical world but not the Muggle world, and vise-versa?

    On a related note, how patriotic do you think witches/wizards are? Or is blood status more important than nationality?

    Tim the Enchanter

  2. #2
    Inverarity
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    A topic near and dear to my heart. The Confederation in my Alexandra Quick series is not the same as the United States, and its borders are not exactly the same either.

    I see wizarding governments as being "shadow ministries" that exist alongside Muggle nations, and wizards tend to identify with the culture they come from. However, I don't think wizarding nations would necessarily have firm borders the way Muggle nations do. There's no evidence that wizards have ever gone to war over territory. Nations define borders and fight over them because there are people and/or resources that they want to include within their borders. Such disputes are certainly possible between two wizarding cultures, but magical populations were no doubt historically much more mobile than Muggle populations, making them less tied to a particular region, and it would also be pretty hard to "lock down" a particular parcel of land or natural resource and keep wizards from another country away from it. Armies, walls, forts, and border patrols aren't much of an obstacle to wizards. So they'd have to come to an agreement in some other fashion, and defend themselves against trespassers in similarly unique ways.

    I think they would largely rely on the Muggles to secure territory, while seeing borders as somewhat "fuzzy" themselves. This also means they wouldn't be quite as nationalistic as Muggles tend to be. As far as we can tell, the Ministry of Magic governs all of Britain. There is no mention of separate Ministries for Scotland, Wales, England, and Ireland. You'd think that would have been mentioned during the war against Voldemort.

    There is that mention of Scotland being fined, though. So perhaps Scotland has some sort of status as a quasi-independent nation still under the Ministry of Magic.

    I think in some places, wizarding nations will be larger and more stable than the Muggle nations contained within their jurisdiction. (Africa comes to mind.) There may also be places where there are no "wizarding nations" -- wizards just live in isolation or in small groups, in a sort of tribal arrangement, and make their own accomodations with the Muggles. (Africa comes to mind again.) Places like Russia and China might actually have many wizarding nations that do not recognize the greater Muggle nation around them.

    It's too neat and implausible to think that everywhere there is a Congress or Senate or Parliament or dictator, there is a corresponding Wizengamot equivalent. I also question whether the International Confederation of Wizards really has global reach. I suspect it's more like the UN, except possibly even less capable of exerting its authority. Muggles formed the UN mostly because they were terrified of another World War, involving nuclear weapons, and because a few "superpowers" dominate global politics. What reason would there be for wizards in South America to care what wizards living in a different hemisphere think? Why would Chinese wizards let European wizards propose laws they must follow, or vice versa?

  3. #3
    JOHN91043353
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    Inverarity, I'm always impressed by your replies, they're always so well written and thoughtful.

    This suggests that Tibet is its own independent nation with its own Magical government, though it is part of the People's Republic of China in the Muggle world.
    I just wanted to add that during the QWC Transylvania is mentioned to have it's own National Quidditch team although it's only a rather small region in Romania in the Muggle world. This suggests that you and Inverarity is correct that Muggle and Wizard boarders are not the same.

    Well during the Quidditch Cup the wizards seemed patriotic enough, and we have those anti_French comments from aunt Murial, so some sort of patriotism as well as national prejudice exists, but I think blood status is considered higher and more important of those who actually care.

    MvH Johan

  4. #4
    hannah_the_seeker
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    hm...

    thats a really good question.

    i've always thought that muggles use continental, country, state, and county lines to differ from each other. Wizards seem to refer to the Ministers to differentiate from each other. For example, like John said, Translyvania is a region in Romania but they have their own Minster of Magic and national quidditch team.

  5. #5
    AurorKeefy
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    You know, it's peculiar that Scotland should have it's own distinct wizarding government, while Hogwarts - which is in Scotland - comes under the English ministry. Methinks J.K. Rowling didn't add up those factors.

    In general, however, I am inclined to agree with everyone else; that national boundaries are not necessarily the same for wizards and muggles. Certainly the canon examples cited above would appear to confirm this, at least to some degree. Perhaps Scotland and Transylvania do not have their own governments, relying upon the British and Romanian ministries respectively, but do hold some form of quasi-autonomous status. Not vastly unlike the present situation with Scotland and the UK now.

    The only other suggestions/points/questions I would offer up, are...

    1. The above examples cite situations where wizards split nations into multiple governments, but the reverse could also be true. Perhaps there are no wizarding governments for Algeria, Morroco and Tunisia - just one government for the North African State (or Algrocsia, if you'd prefer). Things can be joined as well as split. Indeed, judging by Durmstrang's wide selection of students, that seems like a distinct possibility.

    2. The examples used so far (and all canon ones I can think of) cite actual muggle acknowledged regions, such as Tibet and Wales. It seems far more plausible that wizards should have their own distinct areas and nations, depending, I suppose, on local relationships with muggles. (all of which seems to be an extension of Inverarity's point)

  6. #6
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    Thank you everyone for contributing to this interesting (not to mention fun) topic! I too think that wizarding governments would be established generally on cultural, ethnic, and linguistic lines, presumably creating more wizarding nations than Muggle ones.

    However, there are undoubtedly a few exceptions, like Britain. I now remember that in when Harry first visited the Ministry of Magic in Order of the Phoenix, the Department of Magical Games and Sports included the British and Irish Quidditch League headquarters, implying that Ireland is indeed under the jurisdiction of the British Ministry of Magic (as is Scotland and Wales).

    But generally, more or less culturally homogeneous nations like France or Spain would have their own ministries, though I can imagine the Basques having their own wizarding nation formed out of a little piece of both of those countries at the Muggle border. Same goes for other large minorities in countries all over the world, though there may be some strange exceptions like the one present in Britain.

    With this in mind, I think wizards would find nations founded on ideology rather than common heritage like the United States or the former Soviet Union to be rather alien. (Speaking of which, there's a plot bunny that I've been thinking about for some time, in which Josef Stalins tries to incorporate into the CCCP the various wizarding governments of Russia, the Ukraine, Siberia, etcetera.) However, I suppose this invariably raises this question:

    Do you think there are any wizarding nations founded on ideology rather than culture, language, etcetera? For instance, I happen to think that Grindelwald's Germany (the Zauberereich, as I call it) was envisioned to be a pan-wizarding state that transcended national/cultural allegiances.

    Here's another question: Where exactly is the headquarters of the International Confederation of Wizards? For some reason, I think it's in Luxembourg, but that's just me.

    Thanks again for all your replies. This really is a fascinating subject.

    Tim the Enchanter

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