An early example of secession is that of northern Israelite tribes from the larger Davidian kingdom after the death of Solomon (933 B.C.). Venezuela and Ecuador were created in 1830 when they seceded from Gran Colombia. Military action by Finnish nationalists enabled Finland to secede from a weakened Russia after 1917. In the 1960s the attempts of Katanga to secede from the newly independent Congo and of Biafra to break away from Nigeria were both crushed in long and bloody civil wars. By contrast, the secession (1971) of Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) from the state of Pakistan was accomplished successfully with the help of India, the Baltic states regained independence from the USSR immediately before its dissolution, and Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1993 after the overthrow of the latter nation's government.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.