In September 2005 ICANN approved the first top–level Internet domain to be dedicated to a particular human language and culture: .cat.
This paper by Peter Gerrand, Cultural diversity in cyberspace, describes the history of the Catalan campaign to win the .cat domain against political opposition from the former conservative Spanish government and the reluctance of some decision–makers within ICANN circles. While .cat creates a precedent for greater use on the Internet of ‘minority languages’, there are significant hurdles for other candidates for language–based top–level domains. The paper discusses the concomitant factors needed to support the greater use of any minority language on the Internet.*
* taken from the abstract as published on First Monday