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How Many Countries Are There In The World?

Posted by Gummy Tran on June 22, 2022.

The question “how many countries are there in the world?” seems to be quite simple, but it is far more complicated than it seems to be due to political, socio-economic, and geographical complexities. The number of countries can vary widely depending on the source, with no global consensus on the whole.

How many countries are there in the world: 195 countries recognized by the United Nations

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According to the United Nations, there are 195 countries in the world, 193 of which are UN members and 2 non-member permanent observers, Palestine and the Holy See. Except for voting in the General Assembly, these 2 countries can participate in all UN activities.

 

How many countries are there in the world: The Complicated Cases

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  • It is worth noting that certain well-established states have not been members of the United Nations since its inception, thus further complicating the UN figures. Switzerland, for example, joined the United Nations in 2002, although its status as an independent country was argued long before that. As a result, it may be worth looking at other international institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization for collecting data. 
  • When looking at a map of the world, it’s easy to spot some regions of the globe that appear to be countries. For example, between the Arctic and Atlantic seas, there is a vast island called Greenland that looks to be a country. Greenland, on the other hand, is not a member of the United Nations and is controlled by Denmark, a much smaller European country thousands of miles away, although Greenland administers and governs most of its local activities and domestic affairs.
  • Even a country like the United Kingdom, which is regarded as the world’s major economic player and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council with veto power, is a conflicted country. The term “United Kingdom” refers to the 4 individual countries of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales as a whole. Each country has a complicated political history with England and territorial conflicts that even keep going today.
  • There are 39 regions that are regarded as Dependent Territories. They are defined as places that lack political independence and are administered by governing powers from afar. Some of them are Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, Ross Dependency, Bouvet Island, Peter I Island, Queen Maud Land…

That means determining the exact number of countries on the globe is difficult. The ever-changing nature of global politics adds to the complexity of the question, as sovereignty issues are unlikely to be fully addressed because the idea of nationhood is continuously redefined.

 

#1. Partially Recognized States

Apart from the countries listed above, there are some other grey-area states that are not members of the UN but are recognized by at least one of its members. Northern Cyprus, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia are among these regions. They are claimed by other states but are not completely governed by them. The number of UN members that recognize them as separate countries varies greatly, with Northern Cyprus being recognized by only one country and Kosovo by 100.

  • How many countries are there in the world: Western Sahara

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The Western Sahara dispute is a long-running conflict between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic/Polisario Front. The conflict arose from the Polisario Front’s uprising against Spanish colonial forces from 1973 to 1975, followed by the Western Sahara War against Morocco from 1975 to 1991. The Polisario Front and its self-proclaimed SADR state are now leading unarmed civil movements to gain fully recognized independence for Western Sahara.

By the end of 2019, ten African nations have established diplomatic ties with Western Sahara as part of the Rabat mission. Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Belize, Libya, Iran, Guatemala, and Jamaica are among the countries that have pledged their assistance to the country.

  • How many countries in the world: Abkhazia and Ossetia

Abkhazia and Ossetia are two disputed areas in the Caucasus region. They were both split from Georgia as a result of the 2008 Russo-Georgian War. Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Nauru, and Syria have all recognized these areas as separate sovereign countries.

  • List of countries in the world: Northern Cyprus 

The region of Northern Cyprus is recognized by Turkey only. At the moment, Turkey has an embassy in North Nicosia, while Northern Cyprus has an embassy in Ankara. Since 1974, when a coup attempt to annex the island into the territory of Greece failed, Turkey has controlled the northern part of the island.

 

#2. Self-Declared Countries

The 6 partly recognized states aren’t the only entities with complete sovereignty and self-governance. There are at least 3 more self-declared states operating independently of the states that claim them, in addition to those 6 states.

These, as well as the partially recognized countries, are referred to as “de facto” sovereign countries, which is a Latin term that describes their state, implying that they are truly independent countries, even if not acknowledged on paper.

Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), Transnistria, and Somaliland are the 3 most generally considered de facto independent entities despite UN zero recognition. Since 2014, two new territories, the Donetsk Republic and the Lugansk Republic have competed for the same goal.

These 2 self-declared nations are not as well structured and established as the others mentioned above, but they have been in existence for over 7 years and are frequently included in lists of de facto states.

 

How many countries are there in the world: The Future

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Many researchers and analysts believe that there are chances that independent states will form in the future. Consider the situation in the east and west of Libya. After the government of Qaddafi is overthrown, Libya is in constant turmoil, with militants and extremists fighting for power and authority, and different governments attempting to take over.

Therefore, the answer to the question “How many countries are there in the world?” may change in the near future.

 

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