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Island Identity and Traditions

Sunday, April 27, 2014

In my experience of living and travelling across many countries, this is my—purely unscientific—observation: Those who come from island states have a distinct sense of identity that differs from people who live in countries where borders are shared. 



It may have something to do with the isolation that would come with having limited options and resources, and being forced to utilise creatively what is available within water-locked borders. Do that generation after generation, and no wonder a regional pride would develop. Look at Japan, Sri Lanka, Great Britain, or Cuba. 



And my theory was reinforced last week, after spending a few days in The Azores, the Portuguese islands floating in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. When you meet someone from The Azores, they introduce themselves as Azorean, not as Portuguese. The history, landscape and economy of the islands has developed an identity distinct from their mainland Portuguese siblings.


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