A place with its own borders and fully independent government. This is the definition of a sovereign state or a country by the United Nations (UN). According to the UN, there are 193 countries in the world and 2 observer states (Palestine and Vatican City).
So in total, there are 195 countries in the world.
Countries of the world with at least partial recognition – 201
In order to become a country recognised by the UN, all nations of the UN must recognise it as a country. This of course often results in countries that are not recognised by all nations. It is the reason why there is such a debate about the correct answer for how many countries in the world question.
A few examples include Kosovo (disputed by Serbia), Taiwan (disputed by China), Western Sahara (disputed by Morocco), South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Northern Cyprus (disputed by Greece).
How many countries in the world 2021? According to the United Nations, there are 195 countries in the world.
Countries of the world including self-declared states – 205
We also have to mention countries with their self-proclaimed independence. These countries are not recognised internationally; often their claim to sovereignty is disputed from the beginning.
These include Somaliland claiming independence from Somalia. They have their own currency, flag, as well as passports. Transnistria claimed independence from Moldova and Artsakh claimed its own independence from Azerbaijan.
The last is the tiny nation of Sovereign Military Order of Malta with its seat in Rome. The self-declared states are always interesting places for travellers to visit as it really starts the conversation of what makes a country a country.
Countries of the world recognised by the Olympic committee – 206
If you are a lover of sport or at least a fan of the Olympics, the countries competing at these games might seem like the logical list.
To qualify, you do not have to be a country that is fully recognised, hence why the list includes the following: Palestine, Kosovo, Taiwan as well dependent territories such as Porto Rico (USA), Cook Islands (New Zealand), Bermuda, American Samoa or Aruba.
How many countries in the world are there? FIFA recognises 211 nations that can compete in the World Cup.
Countries of the world recognised by FIFA committee – 211
The list gets even longer when looking at the qualifying countries by FIFA. This organisation added Kosovo and Gibraltar in 2016 as countries competing in football to their already extensive list.
Given the popularity of this sport in this corner of the world is not surprising to see Scotland, Wales, England and Northern Ireland compete separately as opposed to under the country name of the United Kingdom.
How many countries in the world are there? Travellers’ Century Club’s official list of countries and territories adds up to a total of 327 as of Jan. 1, 2018
Countries of the world according to Travellers Century Club – 327
Although some are not actually countries in their own right, they are included because they are removed from the parent country. Travellers have disputed the list of countries ever since wanderlust took them to explore the world…. And it’s easy to see why.
If you go to Scotland does it really feel like the United Kingdom? Is Alaska or Hawaii really the USA? Greenland is Denmark? And Ibiza is Spain?
The world divided into regions by Nomadmania – 1301
To add another dimension to this debate: Did you know that Nomadmania divides the world into 1301 regions based on territory, population, diversity, economy and tourist appeal? It really helps you to see the world in a very different way.
What will be the next new country in the world?
What about new countries in the world? Will there be a next new country soon?
Well, the one country that we must mention is Bougainville. Officially part of Papua New Guinea, Bougainville fought a long civil war over independence. In 2019 the people of Bougainville have finally had the option to vote in a referendum. 98% voted for independence, but with the pandemic, things have so far led nowhere.
The new country, when it happens, would be small as it is around the same size as Lebanon and Cyprus.
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A coffee lover, history junkie, former tour guide, and endless optimist. The mastermind of logistics and chief navigator for Very Hungry Nomads, two women on an adventure to visit EVERY country in the world. Marty is a social butterfly who describes her life as “just livin’ the dream".