The Celtic League is a political and cultural organisation in the modern Celtic nations of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall and the Isle of Man. It places particular emphasis on the indigenous Celtic languages.
"Each Celtic nation is conditioned by a different history and so we must not expect uniformity of thought, but instead allow diversity to express itself within the Celtic League. In this way, we may better recognise those areas of possible co-operation and eventually formulate a detailed common policy. With this we can work out which kind of relations between our communities will enable them to enjoy freedoms and liberties at both individual and community level."
In other words, the Celtic League aims to bring together the various independence movements of these peoples. Often language and cultural organisations play a part. There is some variation in the understanding of these aims, which ranges from general meetings, to an actual federation along the lines of the Nordic Council.
The six main branches are usually referred to by the name of the country in the local Celtic language; for example, Ireland is known as Éire, Scotland as Alba, Wales as Cymru, Brittany as Breizh, Cornwall as Kernow and the Isle of Man as Mannin.
There is also an International Branch, and others based in the USA and London. There used to be a branch in Cape Breton Island, Canada, where a small Scottish Gaelic-speaking community still exists. Attempts to set up branches in Australia, and the Chubut Valley, Patagonia, (where there is a Welsh-speaking colony) have failed.
The Celtic League, American Branch (CLAB) prints its own quarterly newsletter, Six Nations, One Soul, which provides news of Branch activities and events within the Celtic communities in the United States, publishes letters from members, and reviews books and recordings of Celtic interest. It also produces its own calendar each year, with art from members, appropriate quotations and anniversaries.
Other Branches have published their own magazines from time to time, but few have been very long lived.
It was started at the 1961 National Eisteddfod which was held at Rhosllanerchrugog near Wrexham in north east Wales. Two of the founding members were Gwynfor Evans and J E Jones, who were respectively president and secretary-general of Plaid Cymru at the time. Interest was expressed by Scottish parties, and also by two prominent Breton exiles, Yann Fouéré and Alan Heusaff.
In the mid-1990s, the Celtic League started a campaign to have the word "Alba" on the Scottish football and rugby tops. Since 2005, the SFA have supported the use of Scots Gaelic on their teams's strip in recognition of the language's revival in Scotland. However, the SRU is still being lobbied to have "Alba" on the national rugby strip.
The following Celtic nations have some degree of autonomy, although Ireland is still divided into two parts
There is also a campaign for a Cornish Assembly. In 2000 the Cornish Constitutional Convention launched the Declaration for a Cornish Assembly campaign. In less than two years, more than 50,000 people signed the Assembly petition and Lord Whitty, in the House of Lords, recognised that Cornwall has a "special case" for devolution. On a visit to Cornwall, John Prescott said "Cornwall has the strongest regional identity in the UK."
Thus three of the countries are completely within the United Kingdom, one partially, and another is a British dependency. Brittany is part of the French state, and does not have any legislative autonomy, but four départements have some financial autonomy as one of the Regions of France, whilst the fifth département is in another French region. The Republic of Ireland is completely independent.
The Celtic League should not be confused with the similar organisation, the Celtic Congress, which tends to be purely cultural and apolitical.
An arrow indicates the editor later relocated to one of the other Celtic countries.