(see the "executive summary" at the bottom if this post is too long.)
Ahzoh wrote:Map-related, but I don't know how I can go about dividing it into nations.
IRL there are pairs (or trios or other small ensembles?) of countries that haven't decided which parts of the desert between them belong to which country.
A "nation" is a group of people who share several commonalities (or communities or things-in-common):
first is descent (otherwise the group is called something else instead of a nation)
second is usually language
third is frequently religion
fourth is, often, territory
fifth often is custom and/or law, if that's even separate from religion
sixth is somewhat-less-frequently defense
seventh is sometimes government
and there may be others I've left out; also maybe the order should have been different.
Of course "states" are also communities of several shared things;
territory, defense, law, and government are the necessary communities to make a populace a "state".
"National states" or "nation-states" were an invention of the Napoleonic era and the post-Napoleonic reaction to it.
If your peoples haven't gotten to some similar watershed bit of history, they probably neither need, nor want, nor have, national states.
Before Napoleon, states were held together by communities of one or both of two things:
Multi-national empires, or as the Soviet Union and South Africa among other modern states have put it "states with more than one nationality", were usually held together mostly by a common monarch.
They might indeed have a common religion too; or maybe not.
They almost never
had a common descent.
They usually did not have a common law but usually did have a common way to negotiate differences in law.
They frequently did not have a common native language, but often they had a very common L2 that was a kind of "lingua franca" for the whole empire.
It also sometimes happened that what we'd (and they'd!) think of as a single nationality, was split into several states; e.g. the "Balkanization" of medieval Italy and Germany.
The reason our minds think "national state" whenever we think of sovereign states, is that the unifying bonds of sharing so many things in common, feel so strong to us.
They're not at all the natural kind of state to have, to go by historical example.
And they're also not the natural fate of nationality.
tl;dr? Executive summary:
What I'm saying is:
1. There's no need to assign every hectare of territory to be the property of one state or another.
2. You can have nationalities without national states.
3. You can have states without national states.