Why I consider myself European

OK, the current map of Europe is incredibly recent (last 20 years or so) and is still changing.   Most of my “German Ancestors” weren’t from Germany since it didn’t exist as such until 1871 (and Current Germany has only existed since German reunification on 3 October 1990)Also, there were lots of little realms prior to unification of Germany and Italy..[1]


Gaul is a Celt (Breton)

As Alfred Jarry pointed out in Ubu Roi, Pere Ubu is King of Poland, which is an imaginary nation since it didn’t exist as such when the play was written.  Some of the places my ancestors came from have been contested for ages (e.g., Lorraine).  There is this French-German-Burgundian thing going on for me, which is probably why Belgium is the Second place I relate to after Britain. Although there is strong Celtic heritage as well with ancestors hailing from Galicia (it was fun seeing “Pays de Galles” and realising that could be a lot of places besides Wales).

Yes, this map obsesses me in how fluid Europe is:


Anyway, one of the reasons for the European Union is the fact that European culture can be fluid, as the map demonstrates. Even being “French” or “British” isn’t all that straight forward, given I also have Welsh and Borders ancestry. There are three centres of gravity for me on this map: Britain, The Rhine Valley, and what would be Eastern Germany/Austria-Hungary.

There is  lot more to this, but the bottom line is that being “European” isn’t really a question of being from a place since the boundaries kept moving–as did the people.

[1] The same applies to Italy which didn’t unify until 1861.

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