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Autonomous region

An autonomous region is a subnational region with special powers of self-rule. Typically an autonomous region contains a national minority which is different from the national majority.

Nations with autonomous regions include China, Spain, Portugal, Russia, Ukraine, and Italy.

In the case of Spain, after the drafting of the Spanish Constitution of 1978, the first areas to become autonomous communities were highly nationalistic, ethnically distinct ones such as the Basque Country and Catalonia. It was not intended that all Spanish regions should become autonomous communities; however, this is what ended up happening, in what was dubbed café para todos ("coffee for everyone"). However, the more ethnically distinct autonomous communities have more powers than ones that are less so.

In Portugal, the two island regions of Azores and Madeira became autonomous regions in 1976 with self-rule by a regional government and a regional legislative assembly.

In the People's Republic of China, there are also 30 autonomous prefectures (such as Yanbian Korean) and 116 autonomous counties.

There are three autonomous bannerss in China, all in Inner Mongolia: