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An island country or an island nation is a
country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized social ...

country
whose primary territory consists of one or more
island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, i ...

island
s or parts of islands. Approximately 25% of all independent countries were island countries.


Politics

Historically, island countries have been less prone to political instability than their continental counterparts. The percentage of island countries that are
democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the a ...

democratic
is higher than that of
continental Continental may refer to: Places * Continent * Continental, Arizona, a small community in Pima County, Arizona, US * Continental, Ohio, a small town in Putnam County, US Arts and entertainment * Continental (album), ''Continental'' (album), an alb ...
countries.


War

Island countries have often been the basis of maritime conquest and historical rivalry between other countries. Island countries are more susceptible to attack by large, continental countries due to their size and dependence on
sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
and air lines of communication. Many island countries are also vulnerable to predation by mercenaries and other foreign invaders, although their isolation also makes them a difficult target.


Natural resources

Many developing small island countries rely heavily on
fish Fish are , , -bearing animals that lack with . Included in this definition are the living , s, and and as well as various extinct related groups. Around 99% of living fish species are ray-finned fish, belonging to the class , with over 95 ...
for their main supply of food. Some are turning to
renewable energy Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resource File:Global Vegetation.jpg, Global vegetation A renewable resource, also known as a flow resource, is a natural resource which will replenish to replace the portion resou ...
—such as
wind power Wind power or wind energy is the use of s to . Wind power is a popular, , source that has a much smaller than burning s. s consist of many individual wind turbines, which are connected to the . In 2020, wind supplied almost 1600 of elec ...

wind power
,
hydropower Hydropower (from el, ὕδωρ, "water"), also known as water power, is the use of falling or fast-running water Water (chemical formula H2O) is an inorganic, transparent, tasteless, odorless, and nearly colorless chemical substance, ...
,
geothermal power Geothermal power is electrical power generated from geothermal energy Geothermal energy is the thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth. Thermal energy is the energy that determines the temperature of matter. The geothermal energy ...
and
biodiesel Biodiesel is a form of diesel fuel Diesel fuel in general is any liquid fuel Liquid fuels are combustible or energy-generating molecules that can be harnessed to create mechanical energy In physical sciences Physical science is a ...

biodiesel
from —to defend against potential rises in
oil An oil is any nonpolar chemical substance A chemical substance is a form of matter In classical physics and general chemistry, matter is any substance that has mass and takes up space by having volume. All everyday objects that can b ...

oil
prices.


Geography

Some island countries are more affected than other countries by
climate change Contemporary climate change includes both the global warming caused by humans, and its impacts on Earth's weather patterns. There have been previous periods of climate change, but the current changes are more rapid than any known event ...
, which produces problems such as reduced
land use Land use involves the management and modification of natural environment or wilderness Wilderness or wildlands (usually in the plural), are natural environments on Earth that have not been significantly modified by human activity or any nonur ...
,
water scarcity Water scarcity (water stress or water crisis) is the lack of fresh water resources to meet the standard water demand. Humanity is facing a water crisis, due to unequal distribution (exacerbated by climate change Climate change inclu ...

water scarcity
, and sometimes even resettlement issues. Some low-lying island countries are slowly being submerged by the rising water levels of the
Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth's five oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic Ocean in the north to the Southern Ocean (or, depending on definition, to Antarctica) in the south and is bounded by the continents o ...

Pacific Ocean
. Climate change also impacts island countries by causing natural disasters such as
tropical cyclone A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm, storm system characterized by a Low-pressure area, low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, Beaufort scale, strong winds, and a spiral arrangement of thunderstorms that ...
s, hurricanes,
flash flood A flash flood after a thunderstorm in the Gobi, Mongolia A flash flood is a rapid flooding of low-lying areas: Washland, washes, rivers, dry lakes and Depression (geology), depressions. It may be caused by heavy rain associated with a severe thu ...
s and
drought A drought is an event of prolonged shortages in the water supply, whether atmospheric (below-average precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the atmospheric sciences Atmospheric science is the study of the Earth's atm ...

drought
.


Climate change


Economics

Many island countries rely heavily on imports and are greatly affected by changes in the global economy. Due to the nature of island countries their economies are often characterised by being smaller, relatively isolated from world trade and economy, more vulnerable to shipping costs, and more likely to suffer environmental damage to infrastructure; exceptions include Japan, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. The dominant industry for many island countries is
tourism at the archaeological site of Chichén Itza. in Vienna. Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring (disambiguation), touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and th ...

tourism
.


Composition

Island countries are typically small with low populations, although some, like
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pacific Ocean, Pacific oceans. It consists of over List of islands of I ...

Indonesia
and
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
are notable exceptions. Some island countries are centred on one or two major islands, such as the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
,
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago (, ), officially the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, is the southernmost island country in the and is known for its fossil-fuel wealth. Consisting of the main islands and , and numerous much , it is situated south of ...

Trinidad and Tobago
,
New Zealand New Zealand ( mi, Aotearoa ''Aotearoa'' (; commonly pronounced by English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon Engl ...

New Zealand
,
Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud Isla de la Juventud (; en, Isle of Youth) is the second-largest Cuban islan ...

Cuba
,
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ar, البحرين, al-Baḥrayn, , locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain ( ar, مملكة البحرين, links=no '), is a country in the Persian Gulf The Persian Gulf ( fa, خلیج فارس, translit=xalij-e fâr ...

Bahrain
,
Singapore Singapore (), officially the Republic of Singapore, is a sovereign state, sovereign island city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. It lies about one degree of latitude () north of the equator, off the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, bor ...

Singapore
,
Iceland Iceland ( is, Ísland; ) is a Nordic Nordic most commonly refers to: * Nordic countries, written in plural as Nordics, the northwestern European countries, including Scandinavia, Fennoscandia and the List of islands in the Atlantic Ocean#No ...

Iceland
,
Malta Malta ( , , ), officially known as the Republic of Malta ( mt, Repubblika ta' Malta ) and formerly Melita, is a Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern subregion of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is one of ...

Malta
, and
Taiwan Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere, Eastern and N ...

Taiwan
. Others are spread out over hundreds or thousands of smaller islands, such as
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pacific Ocean, Pacific oceans. It consists of over List of islands of I ...

Indonesia
, the
Philippines The Philippines (; fil, Pilipinas, links=no), officially the Republic of the Philippines ( fil, Republika ng Pilipinas, links=no), * bik, Republika kan Filipinas * ceb, Republika sa Pilipinas * cbk, República de Filipinas * hil, Republ ...

Philippines
,
The Bahamas The Bahamas (), known officially as The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, is a sovereign country within the of the in the . It takes up 97% of the Lucayan Archipelago's land area and is home to 88% of the archipelago's population. The consists ...
,
Seychelles Seychelles (; ), officially the Republic of Seychelles (french: link=no, République des Seychelles; Creole: ''La Repiblik Sesel''), is an archipelagic island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country ...

Seychelles
, and the
Maldives Maldives (, ; dv, ދިވެހިރާއްޖެ, translit=Dhivehi Raajje IPA: ), officially the Republic of Maldives, is an archipelagic country in the Indian subcontinent of Asia Asia () is 's largest and most populous , located prima ...

Maldives
. Some island countries share one or more of their islands with other countries, such as the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' and Telegraph' use Britain as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Some prefer to use Britain as shorth ...

United Kingdom
and
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Great Britain and Ireland), North Channel, the Irish Sea ...

Ireland
;
Haiti Haiti (; ht, Ayiti ; french: Haïti ), officially the Republic of Haiti (; ), and formerly known as Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola Hispaniola (, also ; es, La Española; Latin language, Latin and french: Hispan ...

Haiti
and the
Dominican Republic The Dominican Republic ( ; es, República Dominicana, ) is a country located on the island of in the archipelago of the region. It occupies the eastern five-eighths of the island, which it shares with , making Hispaniola one of only tw ...

Dominican Republic
; and
Indonesia Indonesia ( ), officially the Republic of Indonesia ( id, Republik Indonesia, links=yes ), is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania between the Indian Ocean, Indian and Pacific Ocean, Pacific oceans. It consists of over List of islands of I ...

Indonesia
, which shares islands with
Papua New Guinea Papua New Guinea (PNG; , ; tpi, Papua Niugini; ho, Papua Niu Gini), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea ( tpi, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niugini; ho, Independen Stet bilong Papua Niu Gini), is a country in Oceania ...

Papua New Guinea
,
Brunei Brunei ( ; ), officially the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace ( ms, Negara Brunei Darussalam, JawiJawi may refer to: People and languages *Australia: **Jawi dialect, a nearly extinct Australian aboriginal language **Jawi people, an Aus ...

Brunei
,
East Timor East Timor () or Timor-Leste (; tet, Timór Lorosa'e), officially the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste ( pt, República Democrática de Timor-Leste, tet, Repúblika Demokrátika Timór-Leste), is an island country in Southeast Asia. It co ...

East Timor
, and
Malaysia Malaysia ( ; ) is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the geographical southeastern subregion of Asia, consisting of the regions ...

Malaysia
. Bahrain, Singapore, and the United Kingdom have fixed links such as bridges and tunnels to the continental landmass: Bahrain is linked to Saudi Arabia by the
King Fahd Causeway The King Fahd Causeway ( ar, جسر الملك فهد ''Jisr al-Malik Fahd'') is a series of bridge A bridge is a Nonbuilding structure, structure built to Span (engineering), span a physical obstacle, such as a body of water, valley, or road ...
, Singapore to Malaysia by the
Johor–Singapore Causeway The Johor–Singapore Causeway ( ms, Tambak Johor–Singapura) is a 1,056-metre causeway A causeway is a track, road or railway on the upper point of an embankment (earthworks), embankment across "a low, or wet place, or piece of water". It ...

Johor–Singapore Causeway
and Second Link, and the United Kingdom has a railway connection to France through the
Channel Tunnel The Channel Tunnel (also referred to as the Chunnel) is a railway tunnel A tunnel is an underground passageway, dug through the surrounding soil/earth/rock and enclosed except for entrance and exit, commonly at each end. A pipeline ...
. Geographically, the country of
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
is considered a
continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest in area to smal ...

continent
al landmass rather than an island, covering the largest landmass of the
Australian continent The continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered from largest in ...
. In the past, however, it was considered an island country for tourism purposes (among others) and is sometimes referred to as such.


List


See also

*
Archipelagic stateAn archipelagic state is a designation used for island country, island countries that consist of an archipelago. The designation is legally defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. In various conferences, The Bahamas, Fiji, In ...
*
Effects of climate change on island nations Global warming and climate change proponents believe because of their low lying, ocean-fronted borders, relatively small land masses, and exposure to extreme weather Extreme weather or extreme climate events includes unexpected, unusual, severe, ...
*
Landlocked country A landlocked country is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. A country may be an independent sovereign s ...
*
List of Caribbean island countries by population This list of Caribbean countries and dependent territories is sorted by the mid-year normalized demographic projections. Inland and island countries in the Caribbean region, even if technically not in the Caribbean Sea itself, are included. Tabl ...
*
List of island countries 350px, Sovereign states and states with limited recognition fully on islands (Australia is regarded a continent): those with land borders shaded green, and those without shaded dark blue This is a list of island countries. An island is a landmas ...
*
List of islands by area A ''list'' is any set of items. List or lists may also refer to: People * List (surname)List or Liste is a European surname. Notable people with the surname include: List * Friedrich List (1789–1846), German economist * Garrett List (1943 ...
*
List of islands This is a list of the lists of islands in the world grouped by country, by continent, by body of water, and by other classifications. For rank-order lists, see the #Other lists of islands, other lists of islands below. Lists of islands by countr ...
(by country) *
List of sovereign states and dependent territories in Oceania This is a list of sovereign states and dependent territory, dependent territories in the geopolitical region of Oceania. Although it is mostly ocean and spans many continental plates, Oceania is occasionally listed as one of the continents. This ...
* List of sovereign states and dependent territories in the Indian Ocean *
Microstate upright=1.4, Map of the smallest states in the world by land area. Note many of these are not considered microstates A microstate or ministate is a sovereign state A sovereign state is a political entity that is represented by one centralize ...
*
City state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance la ...
*
Pacific Islands Forum The Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) is an inter-governmental organization An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an entity – such as a company, an institution, or an association – comp ...

Pacific Islands Forum
*
Small Island Developing States Small Island Developing States (SIDS) are a group of Developing country, developing countries that are small island countries which tend to share similar sustainable development challenges. These include small but growing populations, limited resou ...
*
Thalassocracy A thalassocracy or thalattocracy (from grc-x-classical, θάλασσα, translit=thalassa, , , and grc, κρατεῖν, translit=kratein, lit=power; giving grc-x-koine, θαλασσοκρατία, translit=thalassokratia, lit=sea power), somet ...
* '''' * ''''


References

{{Lists of countries and territories by continent
Island nation An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some ...
Country classifications is:Eyríki