LONDON – The residents of England's windswept, wave-lashed southwest are Europe's newest official minority.
The British government said Thursday Cornish people have been given the same status as Scots, Welsh and Irish — the U.K.'s other Celtic peoples — under EU law protecting national minorities.
Residents of Cornwall traditionally spoke a Celtic language similar to that of France's Brittany region. Cornwall is famous for its seafaring heritage and for the Cornish pasty, a popular lunch food.
Some in Cornwall have long campaigned for greater autonomy, and even independence.
Dick Cole, leader of independence party Mebyon Kernow, said it was "a proud day for Cornwall," though it is unclear what the status will mean in practice.
The measure commits Britain to preserving and promoting the Cornish identity, but does not bring extra money.