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Archiver > CORNISH > 1998-03 > 0890976459

From: "John Coles" <>
Subject: Re: WILLIAMS
Date: Thu, 26 Mar 98 21:27:39 PST

Ken Nelson wrote:
> England means anything the author wanted it to mean.
> Growing up in Nebraska, England was some far off distant country. As such, I
> never learned that there was any difference between "England", Wales and
> Cornwall. Ireland was even just a country over there somewhere


Hi Ken,

This is an interesting question, and bound to give rise to some debate.

It's also, with a small 'p' a 'political' question, and the answer to it would depend on what period we are, or were, talking about. Certainly, the perception of the various parts of the 'United Kingdom' as seen from elsewhere throughout the world, is synonymous with 'England'.

The educated German tourist in the Canary Islands is just as likely as the un-educated street vendor in a third world country to say, "You are English?" and neither is likely to understand the differences between England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and (yes) Cornwall.

However, the question of identity is an important one, and to put that in a context, just think how irate Canadians get when folk here ask them if the are 'American', or how upset the good folk of New Zealand get if they are identified as Australian.

In the case of Cornwall, this IS the CORNISH list, and most of the people on this list feel a STRONG sense of identity. That sense of identity is shared - increasingly - by people in Cornwall, and the small minority of Cornish activists have been finding (all of a sudden, since the closure of South Crofty mine, ending 4,000 years of Cornish mining) that they are talking to each other, finding popular support, and receiving national TV coverage.

But this is also a question of culture (and I don't mean 'highbrow' culture, but the indigenous culture of a race, or nationality). Just like Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, CORNWALL has it's own language. It died out over two hundred years ago, but is being spoken again, as people like Anna learn it again, and Dave Annear promotes it to Cornish people worldwide through his web site.

If you had asked a Cornishman where he came from a hundred years ago, he would maybe have said, 'England'.By the end of the 19th. Century, the Cornish had lost virtually everything, and the vast wealth created by the tin mines had already gone up to the English owners, (or sometimes, I regret to say, been spent by the Cornish owners in London society). But if you had asked 250 years ago, the answer may well have been (in Cornish) "Cornwall", and this was fully recognised by the Romans, 1500 years ago, and the Phoenicians, coming here to trade tin before Christ was even born..

If Cornwall win the semi final on Saturday, and get through to the Rugby finals at Twickenham again.... THEN you'll see that Cornwall just isn't England!!!!

John & Anna at Kernow Sound magazine
"The Sounds of Cornwall"

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