Scotland could take steps toward seceding from Britain, The Times' Henry Chu reports. It isn’t the only place in the world with an independence movement. Click on our photo gallery to see other places and people with strong or vocal pushes for autonomy -- or just browse through them here on the blog:
Tibet -- The Himalayan region is ruled by China. A Harvard academic was elected prime minister of its government-in-exile, which contends that Tibet was colonized by China. Monks say about 30 Tibetans were injured this month when Chinese police fired into a crowd of protesters.
Puerto Rico --The Caribbean island has debated whether to remain a U.S. protectorate or become a U.S. state. The Puerto Rican Independence Party wants it to become independent.
The Basques -- The Basques live in a region straddling the border of Spain and France. The Basque separatist group ETA, which is classified as a terrorist group by Spain, declared an end to violence in October.
Corsica -- The Mediterranean island is under French control. Separatists have carried out bombings since the 1970s. The top French official on the island was assassinated in 1998.
Zanzibar -- The archipelago is a semi-autonomous part of Tanzania off the east African coast. Zanzibar was independent before it merged with Tanganyika to create Tanzania; some groups want it to regain independence.
The Uighurs -- The Turkic minority group once dominated northwestern China. Some Uighur separatists argue the region was independent for most of its history and should become so again.
Alaska -- The Alaskan Independence Party has pushed since the 1970s to hold a referendum on whether Alaska should secede from the United States.
Somaliland -- The northern region of Somalia declared independence in 1991 but has yet to get international recognition. It has tried to distance itself from the chaos raging in Somalia.
Chechnya -- The republic on the southern edge of Russia won some autonomy under a peace agreement in the 1990s, but separatists want independence. Some want an Islamic state.
Quebec -- The largely French-speaking Canadian province nearly embraced sovereignty in 1995, but its independence movement seems to have slid into decline since then.
-- Emily Alpert
Photo: Tibetan exile students stop in Bangalore, India, on Jan. 25 on a bicycling trip to raise awareness of alleged human rights violations by Chinese authorities in Tibet. Credit: Aijaz Rahi / Associated Press