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The Celtic Nations

The Celtic nations are territories in western Europe where Celtic languages or cultural traits have survived. The term "nation" is used in its original sense to mean a people who share a common identity and culture and are identified with a traditional territory.

The six territories widely considered Celtic nations are Brittany (Breizh), Cornwall (Kernow), Wales (Cymru), Scotland (Alba), Ireland (Éire) and the Isle of Man (Mannin or Ellan Vannin), commonly referred to as the "Celtic fringe". In each of the six nations a Celtic language is spoken.

Before the expansions of Ancient Rome and the Germanic and Slavic tribes, a significant part of Europe was dominated by Celts, leaving behind a legacy of Celtic cultural traits. Territories in north-western Iberia—particularly Galicia, northern Portugal and Asturias, historically referred to as Gallaecia and Astures, covering northern Portugal and northern Spain—are considered Celtic nations due to their culture and history. Unlike the others, however, no Celtic language has been spoken there in modern times.

A genetics study from an Oxford University research team in 2006 claimed that the majority of Britons, including many of the English, are descended from a group of tribes which arrived from Iberia around 5000 BC, prior to the spread of Celts into western Europe. However, three major genetic studies in 2015 have instead shown that haplogroup R1b in western Europe, most common in traditionally Celtic-speaking areas of Atlantic Europe like Ireland and Brittany, would have largely expanded in massive migrations from the Indo-European homeland, the Yamna culture in the Pontic-Caspian steppe, during the Bronze Age along with carriers of Indo-European languages like proto-Celtic. Unlike previous studies, large sections of autosomal DNA were analyzed in addition to paternal Y-DNA markers. They detected an autosomal component present in modern Europeans which was not present in Neolithic or Mesolithic Europeans, and which would have been introduced into Europe with paternal lineages R1b and R1a, as well as the Indo-European languages. This genetic component, labelled as "Yamna" in the studies, then mixed to varying degrees with earlier Mesolithic hunter-gatherer and/or Neolithic farmer populations already existing in western Europe.