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The following is a list providing an overview of sovereign states around the world, with information on their status and recognition of their sovereignty.

The 206 listed states can be divided into three categories based on membership within the United Nations System: 193 member states,[1] two observer states and 11 other states. The sovereignty dispute column indicates states having undisputed sovereignty (190 states) and states having disputed sovereignty (16 states, of which there are six member states, one observer state and nine other states).

Compiling a list such as this can be a difficult and controversial process, as there is no definition that is binding on all the members of the community of nations concerning the criteria for statehood. For more information on the criteria used to determine the contents of this list, please see the criteria for inclusion section below. The list is intended to include entities that have been recognised as having de facto status as sovereign states, and inclusion should not be seen as an endorsement of any specific claim to statehood in legal terms.

List of states

Criteria for inclusion

The dominant customary international law standard of statehood is the declarative theory of statehood, which was codified by the Montevideo Convention of 1933. The Convention defines the state as a person of international law if it "possess[es] the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) a capacity to enter into relations with the other states" so long as it was not "obtained by force whether this consists in the employment of arms, in threatening diplomatic representations, or in any other effective coercive measure".[73][improper synthesis?]

Debate exists on the degree to which recognition should be included as a criterion of statehood. The declarative theory of statehood argues that statehood is purely objective and recognition of a state by other states is irrelevant. On the other end of the spectrum, the constitutive theory of statehood defines a state as a person under international law only if it is recognised as sovereign by other states. For the purposes of this list, included are all states that either:

  • consider themselves sovereign (through a declaration of independence or some other means) and are often regarded as satisfying the declarative theory of statehood, or
  • are recognised as a sovereign state by at least one UN member state

Note that in some cases, there is a divergence of opinion over the interpretation of the first point, and whether an entity satisfies it is disputed. Unique political entities which fail to meet the classification of a sovereign state are considered proto-states.[74][75]

On the basis of the above criteria, this list includes the following 206 entities:[76][ai]

  • 203 states recognised by at least one UN member state
  • Two states that satisfy the declarative theory of statehood and are recognised only by non-UN member states: Artsakh, Transnistria
  • One state that satisfies the declarative theory of statehood and is not recognised by any other state: Somaliland

The table includes bullets representing entities which are either not sovereign states or have a close association to another sovereign state. It also includes subnational areas where the sovereignty of the titular state is limited by an international agreement. Taken together, these include:

  • States in a free association relationship to another state
  • Two entities controlled by Pakistan which are neither sovereign states, dependent territories, or part of another state: Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan
  • Dependent territories of another state, as well as areas that exhibit many characteristics of dependent territories according to the dependent territory page
  • Subnational entities created by international agreements

See also

Notes

  1. ^ This column indicates whether or not a state is a member of the United Nations.[1] It also indicates which non-member states participate in the United Nations System through membership in the International Atomic Energy Agency or one of the specialized agencies of the United Nations. All United Nations members belong to at least one specialized agency and are parties to the statute of the International Court of Justice.
  2. ^ This column indicates whether or not a state is the subject of a major sovereignty dispute. Only states whose entire sovereignty is disputed by another state are listed.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab The member states of the European Union have transferred part of their sovereignty in the form of legislative, executive, and judicial powers to the institutions of the EU, which is an example of supranational union. The EU has 27 member states.[8]
  4. ^ Information is included on:
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Commonwealth realms are members of the Commonwealth of Nations in which the head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. The realms are sovereign states; see Relationship of the realms.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x For more information on divisions with a high degree of autonomy, see List of autonomous areas by country.[3]
  7. ^ The Argentine Constitution (Art. 35) recognises the following denominations for Argentina: "United Provinces of the Río de la Plata", "Argentine Republic" and "Argentine Confederation"; furthermore, it establishes the usage of "Argentine Nation" for purposes of legislation.
  8. ^ Argentina's claimed Antarctic territory of Argentine Antarctica (Antártida Argentina) is one of five constituent departments of the province Tierra del Fuego.[4]
  9. ^ The legal name for Canada is the sole word; an officially sanctioned, though disused, name is Dominion of Canada (which includes its legal title); see: Name of Canada, Dominion.
  10. ^ The government of Cape Verde declared "Cabo Verde" to be the official English name of the country in 2013.[11]
  11. ^ Chile's claimed Antarctic territory of the Chilean Antarctic (Antártica Chilena) is a commune of the Antártica Chilena Province of the Magallanes Region.
  12. ^ a b The People's Republic of China (PRC) is commonly referred to as "China", while the Republic of China (ROC) is commonly referred to as "Taiwan". The ROC is also occasionally known diplomatically as Chinese Taipei, or by another alternative name.
  13. ^ a b In 1949, the Republic of China government led by the Kuomintang (KMT) lost the Chinese Civil War to the Communist Party of China (CPC) and set up a provisional capital in Taipei. The CPC established the PRC. As such, the political status of the ROC and legal status of Taiwan (alongside the territories under ROC jurisdiction) are in dispute. In 1971, the United Nations gave the China seat to the PRC. In the view of the United Nations, no member of the organisation withdrew as a consequence of this but the ROC representatives declared that they were withdrawing. Most states recognise the PRC to be the sole legitimate representative of all China, and the UN classifies Taiwan as "Taiwan, Province of China". The ROC has de facto relations with most sovereign states. A significant political movement within Taiwan advocates Taiwan independence.
  14. ^ See also Dates of establishment of diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China and Foreign relations of China.
  15. ^ a b c More information on more or less federal structures can be found at a List of federations.[12]
  16. ^ Also known as Congo-Kinshasa. Formerly referred to as Zaire, its official name from 1971 to 1997.
  17. ^ Also known as Congo-Brazzaville.
  18. ^ A simpler official short name has been encouraged by the Czech government, "Czechia". This variant remains uncommon, but has been adopted by several companies and organisations. See Name of the Czech Republic.
  19. ^ The designation "Denmark" can refer either to continental Denmark or to the short name for the entire Kingdom of the Danish Realm (e.g. in international organizations).
  20. ^ The government of East Timor uses "Timor-Leste" as the official English name of the country.
  21. ^ Formerly referred to as the Kingdom of Swaziland, its official name until 2018.
  22. ^ Åland was demilitarised by the Treaty of Paris in 1856, which was later affirmed by the League of Nations in 1921, and in a somewhat different context reaffirmed in the treaty on Finland's admission to the European Union in 1995.
  23. ^ France's claimed Antarctic territory of Adélie Land (Terre Adélie) is one of five constiuent districts of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands.
  24. ^ Also known as Guinea-Conakry.
  25. ^ While sometimes referred to as the "Republic of Iceland"[20][21] and sometimes its counterpart Lýðveldið Ísland in Icelandic, the official name of the country is simply "Iceland".[22] One example of the former is the name of the Constitution of Iceland, which in Icelandic is Stjórnarskrá lýðveldisins Íslands and literally means "the Constitution of the republic of Iceland". However, note that in this usage "republic" is not capitalised.
  26. ^ "Ireland" is the official name of the country in English. "Republic of Ireland" (the official description in English) and "Éire" (the official name in Irish) have sometimes been used unofficially to distinguish the state from the larger island of Ireland, however, this is officially deprecated.[24] See names of the Irish state.
  27. ^ The government of Ivory Coast uses "Côte d'Ivoire" as the official English name of the country.
  28. ^ The country's official name of Myanmar, adopted in 1989, has been mixed and controversial, with the former name Burma still being used in many cases. See Names of Myanmar.
  29. ^ The designation "Netherlands" can refer either to the continental Netherlands or to the short name for the entire Kingdom (e.g. in international organizations).
  30. ^ Formerly known constitutionally as the Republic of Macedonia from 1991 to 2019 and under the international designation of "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (FYROM) from 1993 to 2019 due to the Macedonia naming dispute with Greece. Following the Prespa agreement going into effect in February 2019, the country was renamed to North Macedonia.
  31. ^ Spain holds several small overseas territories scattered along the Mediterranean coast bordering Morocco, known as the Plazas de soberanía.
  32. ^ Formerly known as Ceylon until 1972.
  33. ^ The UK formally withdrew from the Eu

    The dominant customary international law standard of statehood is the declarative theory of statehood, which was codified by the Montevideo Convention of 1933. The Convention defines the state as a person of international law if it "possess[es] the following qualifications: (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) government; and (d) a capacity to enter into relations with the other states" so long as it was not "obtained by force whether this consists in the employment of arms, in threatening diplomatic representations, or in any other effective coercive measure".[73][improper synthesis?]

    Debate exists on the degree to which recognition should be included as a criterion of statehood. The declarative theory of statehood argues that statehood is purely objective and recognition of a state by other states is irrelevant. On the other end of the spectrum, the constitutive theory of statehood defines a state as a person under international law only if it is recognised as sovereign by other states. For the purposes of this list, included are all states that either:

    • consider themselves sovereign (through a declaration of independence or some other means) and are often regarded as satisfying the declarative theory of statehood, or
    • are recognised as a sovereign state by at least one UN member state

    Note that in some cases, there is a divergence of opinion over the interpretation of the first point, and whether an entity satisfies it is disputed. Unique political entities which fail to meet the classification of a sovereign state are considered proto-states.[74][75]

    On the basis of the above criteria, this list includes the following 206 entities:[76][ai]

    • 203 states recognised by at least one UN member state
    • Two states that satisfy the declarative theory of statehood and are recognised only by non-UN member states: Artsakh, Transnistria
    • One state that satisfies the declarative theory of statehood and is not recognised by any other state: Somaliland

    The table includes bullets representing entities which are either not sovereign states or have a close association to another sovereign state. It also includes subnational areas where the sovereignty of the titular state is limited by an international agreement. Taken together, these include:

    • States in a free association relationship to another state
    • Two entities controlled by Pakistan which are neither sovereign states, dependent territories, or part of another state: Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan
    • Dependent territories of another state, as well as areas that exhibit many characteristics of dependent territories according to the dependent territory page
    • Subnational entities created by international agreements

    See also