I always cringe in our local pub quiz when the geography questions come along – and pray that they refer to something I know in order to maintain my street-cred.
In a recent quiz, a couple of questions referred to ‘new’ countries of the world, and it led me to check that I was up to speed with all of the newest countries to gain world recognition.
Here is my list:
- South Sudan – declared independence from Sudan in 2011, and is currently the newest sovereign country of the world, and a member of the United Nations.
- Timor Leste – formerly East Timor, which gained independence from Indonesia in 2002.
- Eritrea – annexed by Ethiopia in 1962 after a long civil war, eventually gained independence in 1993.
- Palau – Gained independence in 1994, and now exists in free association with the USA which is responsible for its defence and foreign affairs.
- Kosovo – part of the former Yugoslavia, broke away from Serbia and unilaterally declared independence in 2008. Recognised by the UK and many other United Nations countries, but is not actually a UN member state.
- Montenegro – joined with Serbia in 1992 after the collapse of Yugoslavia – but Montenegro withdrew from this alliance in 2006.
- Serbia – formed in 2006 after the alliance with Montenegro collapsed.
- Slovakia – born as a nation in 1993 following the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.
- Czech Republic – created in 1993 following the disintegration of Czechoslovakia.
- Bosnia & Herzegovina – created in 1992 following the break up of Yugoslavia.
- Croatia – formed in 1991 following the break up of Yugoslavia.
- Slovenia – formed in 1991 following the break up of Yugoslavia.
In addition to these, the earlier disintegration of the USSR gave rise to 15 new countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.
And what of the future? Maybe these will be the next ‘new’ countries to figure in pub quizzes –
Catalonia – a region of Spain located on the north east coast and bordering France and Andorra; Flemish Republic – (Belgium) Flanders differs greatly from Wallonia in terms of language and culture; Venito – some in Venice envision the city becoming a European version of Singapore; Scotland – calls for Scottish independence are still alive; Abkhazia – this region has been disputed for centuries, and tried to separate from Georgia when it was made independent; South Ossetia – recognised by Russia as an independent nation; Transnistra – currently an unrecognised state within Moldova; New Russia – Donetsk and Luhansk, 2 self-declared republics in Ukraine; West Papua – western half of New Guinea; Somaliland – a state within Somalia