Freelanders are a sort of anti-ethnicity: the only unifying culture that they share is that they hold no culture in common with their ancestral homes, preferring the borderless, unexplored spaces between civilizations to the civilizations themselves. Freelanders may be of any sentient species or ethnic background, taking up the mantle of Freelanders as a matter of shared affirmation of individualistic virtues. Settlements established by Freelanders - both active and abandoned - litter cube layers over which the great powers of the Manifold hold no sway. Some Freelanders trace their ancestry back to the Lost Tribes, though such claims are difficult to verify due to the cultural fusion inherent to the Freelander lifestyle. Freelanders are defined by Manifold sociologists as any individuals or small groups of people who choose to live in areas where no other territorial power holds sway and intentionally withhold themselves from the social life of those powers. Freelanders are differentiated from exiles, outcasts, or nomadic cultures by the fact that they evince an active rejection of society, mingle freely with one another and traveling members of other societies, and do not recognize any territorial claims which are held by mere fiat (i.e. they do recognize force or obvious land development). Freelanders are further differentiated from sovereign citizens or other subversive groups in that they physically exit from the territories held by other societies. Despite a similarly strong anti-authoritarian stance, Craterites are not considered Freelanders, as Craterites do share nationalistic sentiment and a legal doctrine (albeit a very lose one Craterites are staunch libertarians, but Freelanders are actually anarchists. In a similar fashion, Freelanders who gather together in large enough numbers and establish a shared sense of nationality or other social contract definitionally become a new, different ethnicity - thought the exact point at which this change occurs is a matter of scholarly debate.
Culture and cultural heritage
Freelanders are defined by their habitats - isolated far from the industrialized centers of developed societies - and their rejection of established societal mores. Freelanders are free, within their material limitations, to set their own rules within their domains. While their racial and cultural origins are diverse, all Freelanders share a common culture of individualism, self-sufficiency, and focused effort towards important life goals; a Freelander who cannot survive on their own either returns to the safety of civilization or perishes when faced with the rigors of living in the wild. Freelanders also share a strong self-defense culture, as living outside the protection of the law in the Manifold puts one at high risk from collateral damage, banditry/piracy, and other forms of interpersonal violence.