The Cornish are to be recognised as a national minority group for the first time, Chief Secretary Danny Alexander has announced today.
The Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister said the decision meant for the first time Cornish people would receive the same rights and protections as other minorities in the UK.
It means they are classified under the European Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities the same as the UK's other Celtic people, the Scots, the Welsh and the Irish.
Mr Alexander, who is making a visit to Bodmin today, said: "Cornish people have a proud history and a distinct identity. I am delighted that we have been able to officially recognise this and afford the Cornish people the same status as other minorities in the UK."
Communities Minister Stephen Williams added: "This is a great day for the people of Cornwall who have long campaigned for the distinctiveness and identity of the Cornish people to be recognised officially.
"The Cornish and Welsh are the oldest peoples on this island and as a proud Welshman I look forward to seeing Saint Piran's Flag flying with extra Celtic pride on March 5 next year."
The announcement follows previous commitments, which included formal recognition of the Cornish language.
In March, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the Government would be investing a further £120,000 into the Cornish Language Partnership to promote and develop the language.
North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson said: "Today's announcement means that the Cornish will finally be recognised as one of the constituent peoples of the UK alongside the Welsh, Scottish and Irish.
"It will also make sure that public institutions take account of Cornwall's unique identity.
"Despite the fact that the last Labour Government said that the Cornish couldn't be recognised in this way, Liberal Democrats in Coalition Government have made sure that the Cornish people, and our traditions, culture and heritage, now have the same status as everyone else.
"I'd like to thank Lib Dem Communities Minister Stephen Williams, his predecessor Don Foster, and the Chief Secretary Danny Alexander for listening to the case that we made.
"Thanks is also due to supporters for the cause from across the Duchy, and particularly to Ian Saltern who has edited the last two reports that we submitted to the Government, which made the case for National Minority Status for the Cornish."