How Many Countries are there in the World?

Updated: Oct 13, 2019

By: Manel Bouazza

Throughout history, humans evolved in groups for hunting, protection and survival purposes at first, then later, to satisfy the need of belonging, they formed tribes structured by

various hierarchies.

It was only during the time of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment in the late 17th

and 18th centuries in Europe, for the concept of the nation state to be born.

20th Century Independent States

The growth of the modern nation state picked up pace after World War 2 and during the

1960s when many African states became independent from their colonial rulers. Almost all have gained international recognition, with the exception of Somaliland and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic - leading to the 'unrecognized country' classification.

In addition, following the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the amount of independent countries in the world exploded once again. Many of these states gained independence but have remained unrecognized by the international community, leaving them in a state known as 'post-Soviet frozen conflicts.'

They include; Abkhazia, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh), South Ossetia and Transnistria. Although, The People's Republic of Donetsk and the Luhansk People's Republic may also be classified as unrecognized countries.

Number of States Today

The question that often arises of how many states are there in the world today has no

seemingly simple answer because this question depends on various different factors.

The United Nations recognizes 193 independent states. The United States, however,

officially recognizes 195 sovereign states.

In addition, FIFA recognizes 211 entities and the Confederation of Independent Football Associations (CONIFA) recognizes another 56 - totalling 267. The Unrepresented Nations & Peoples Organization (UNPO), recognizes and addition 44 unrecognized nations, ranging from those who have full or partial sovereignty over their claimed territory to none at all.

Ultimately, the international consensus seems be roughly 195 - 197 recognized independent states in the world, depending on the status of Kosovo and Taiwan. But where did this number come from exactly?

There are 193 member states in the United Nations. This total is often cited inaccurately as the actual number of countries in the world; it's inaccurate because there are two other members with limited status.

Both the Vatican (officially known as the Holy See), which is an independent nation, and the Palestinian Authority, which is a quasi-governmental body in the West Bank, that has been granted permanent observer status at the United Nations.

However, the latter may be better classified as an autonomous region because while it does enjoy international recognition, it does not have sovereignty over its claimed territory. In addition, the status of both Kosovo and Taiwan as partially recognized states slightly change the equation.

The United States officially recognizes other nations through the State Department. It

recognized 195 independent countries around the world as of May 2018, though The island of Taiwan, formally known as the Republic of China is missing from this list.

Unrecognized Countries

Over the last few decades, the world has witnessed the birth of unrecognized countries, such as; Abkhazia, Northern Cyprus, South Ossetia, Transnistria, Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and Somaliland.

These states have sovereignty over their territory, a government, a military, police force and sometimes even their own currency and passports.

These nations are either partially recognized or completely unrecognized by the international community. Many of them possess most or all of the criteria of statehood, but are still struggling to secure the status of sovereign states, recognized by the international community. Some of them, have survived in this ‘frozen state’ for decades.

So How Many Countries Are There?

The general international consensus seems to be 196 independent states in the world. However, this is seriously disputed, with most countries and international organizations providing a slightly different number.

Below, is a list of the 196 recognized independent states and their capital cities; (and 9 unrecognized countries)

1. Afghanistan (Kabul) (AS)

2. Albania (Tirana) (EU)

3. Algeria (Algiers) (AF)

4. Andorra (Andorra la Vella) (EU)

5. Angola (Luanda) (AF)

6. Antigua and Barbuda (St. John's) (NA)

7. Argentina (Buenos Aires) (SA)

8. Armenia (Yerevan) (EU)

9. Australia (Canberra) (AU)

10. Austria (Vienna) (EU)

11. Azerbaijan (Baku) (AS)

12. Bahamas (Nassau) (NA)

13. Bahrain (Manama) (AS)

14. Bangladesh (Dhaka) (AS)

15. Barbados (Bridgetown) (NA)

16. Belarus (Minsk) (EU)

17. Belgium (Brussels) (EU)

18. Belize (Belmopan) (NA)

19. Benin (Porto-Novo) (AF)

20. Bhutan (Thimphu) (AS)

21. Bolivia (Sucre) (SA)

22. Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sarajevo) (EU)

23. Botswana (Gaborone) (AF)

24. Brazil (Brasilia) (SA)

25. Brunei (Bandar Seri Begawan) (AS)

26. Bulgaria (Sofia) (EU)

27. Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou) (AF)

28. Burma/Myanmar (Nay Pyi Taw) (AS)

29. Burundi (Bujumbura) (AF)

30. Cambodia (Phnom Penh) (AS)

31. Cameroon (Yaounde) (AF)

32. Canada (Ottawa) (NA)

33. Cape Verde (Praia) (EU - Portugal)

34. Central African Republic (Bangui) (AF)

35. Chad (N'Djamena) (AF)

36. Chile (Santiago) (SA)

37. China (Beijing) (AS)

38. Colombia (Bogota) (SA)

39. Comoros (Moroni) (AF)

40. Congo (Brazzaville) (AF)

41. Congo, Democratic Republic of (Kinshasa) (AF)

42. Costa Rica (San Jose) (NA)

43. Cote d'Ivoire/Ivory Coast (Yamoussoukro) (AF)

44. Croatia (Zagreb) (EU)

45. Cuba (Havana) (NA)

46. Cyprus (Nicosia) (AS) and/or (EU)

47. Czech Republic (Prague) (EU)

48. Denmark (Copenhagen) (EU)

49. Djibouti (Djibouti) (AF)

50. Dominica (Roseau) (NA)

51. Dominican Republic (Santo Domingo) (NA)

52. East Timor (Dili) (AS)

53. Ecuador (Quito) (SA)

54. Egypt (Cairo) (AF)

55. El Salvador (San Salvador) (NA)

56. Equatorial Guinea (Malabo) (AF)

57. Eritrea (Asmara) (AF)

58. Estonia (Tallinn) (EU)

59. Ethiopia (Addis Ababa) (AF)

60. Fiji (Suva) (AU - Oceania)

61. Finland (Helsinki) (EU)

62. France (Paris) (EU)

63. Gabon (Libreville) (AF)

64. Gambia (Banjul) (AF)

65. Georgia (Tbilisi) (EU)

66. Germany (Berlin) (EU)

67. Ghana (Accra) (AF)

68. Greece (Athens) (EU)

69. Grenada (St. George's) (NA)

70. Guatemala (Guatemala City) (NA)

71. Guinea (Conakry) (AF)

72. Guinea-Bissau (Bissau) (AF)

73. Guyana (Georgetown) (SA)

74. Haiti (Port-au-Prince) (NA)

75. Honduras (Tegucigalpa) (NA)

76. Hungary (Budapest) (EU)

77. Iceland (Reykjavik) (EU)

78. India (New Delhi) (AS)

79. Indonesia (Jakarta) (AS)

80. Iran (Tehran) (AS)

81. Iraq (Baghdad) (AS)

82. Ireland (Dublin) (EU)

83. Israel (Jerusalem) (AS)

84. Italy (Rome) (EU)

85. Jamaica (Kingston) (NA)

86. Japan (Tokyo) (AS)

87. Jordan (Amman) (AS)

88. Kazakhstan (Astana) (AS)

89. Kenya (Nairobi) (AF)

90. Kiribati (South Tarawa) (AU - Oceania)

91. Korea, North (Pyongyang) (AS)

92. Korea, South (Seoul) (AS)

93. Kuwait (Kuwait City) (AS)

94. Kyrgyzstan (Bishkek) (AS)

95. Laos (Vientiane) (AS)

96. Latvia (Riga) (EU)

97. Lebanon (Beirut) (AS)

98. Lesotho (Maseru) (AF)

99. Liberia (Monrovia) (AF)

100. Libya (Tripoli) (AF)

101. Liechtenstein (Vaduz) (EU)

102. Lithuania (Vilnius) (EU)

103. Luxembourg (Luxembourg) (EU)

104. Macedonia (Skopje) (EU)

105. Madagascar (Antananarivo) (AF)

106. Malawi (Lilongwe) (AF)

107. Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) (AS)

108. Maldives (Male) (AS)

109. Mali (Bamako) (AF)

110. Malta (Valletta) (EU)

111. Marshall Islands (Majuro) (AU - Oceania)

112. Mauritania (Nouakchott) (AF)

113. Mauritius (Port Louis) (AF)

114. Mexico (Mexico City) (NA)

115. Micronesia (Palikir) (AU - Oceania)

116. Moldova (Chisinau) (EU)

117. Monaco (Monaco) (EU)

118. Mongolia (Ulan Bator) (AS)

119. Montenegro (Podgorica) (EU)

120. Morocco (Rabat) (AF) (including Western Sahara)

121. Mozambique (Maputo) (AF)

122. Namibia (Windhoek) (AF)

123. Nauru (no official capital) (AU - Oceania)

124. Nepal (Kathmandu) (AS)

125. Netherlands (Amsterdam, The Hague) (EU)

126. New Zealand (Wellington) (AU)

127. Nicaragua (Managua) (NA)

128. Niger (Niamey) (AF)

129. Nigeria (Abuja) (AF)

130. Norway (Oslo) (EU)

131. Oman (Muscat) (AS)

132. Pakistan (Islamabad) (AS)

133. Palau (Koror) (AU - Oceania)

134. Panama (Panama City) (NA)

135. Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby) (AU)

136. Paraguay (Asuncion) (SA)

137. Peru (Lima) (SA)

138. Philippines (Manila) (AS)

139. Poland (Warsaw) (EU)

140. Portugal (Lisbon) (EU)

141. Qatar (Doha) (AS)

142. Romania (Bucharest) (EU)

143. Russia (Moscow) (AS)

144. Rwanda (Kigali) (AF)

145. Saint Kitts and Nevis (Basseterre) (NA)

146. Saint Lucia (Castries) (NA)

147. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Kingstown) (NA)

148. Samoa (Apia) (AU - Oceania)

149. San Marino (San Marino) (EU)

150. Sao Tome and Principe (Sao Tome) (AF)

151. Saudi Arabia (Riyadh) (AS)

152. Senegal (Dakar) (AF)

153. Serbia (Belgrade) (EU)

154. Seychelles (Victoria) (AF)

155. Sierra Leone (Freetown) (AF)

156. Singapore (Singapore City) (AS)

157. Slovakia (Bratislava) (EU)

158. Slovenia (Ljubljana) (EU)

159. Solomon Islands (Honiara) (AU - Oceania)

160. Somalia (Mogadishu) (AF)

161. South Africa (Pretoria, Cape Town, Bloemfontein) (AF)

162. South Sudan (Juba) (AF)

163. Spain (Madrid) (EU)

164. Sri Lanka (Colombo) (AS)

165. Sudan (Khartoum) (AF)

166. Suriname (Paramaribo) (SA)

167. Swaziland (Mbabane) (AF)

168. Sweden (Stockholm) (EU)

169. Switzerland (Bern) (EU)

170. Syria (Damascus) (AS)

171. Taiwan (Taipei) (AS)

172. Tajikistan (Dushanbe) (AS)

173. Tanzania (Dodoma) (AF)

174. Thailand (Bangkok) (AS)

175. Togo (Lome) (AF)

176. Tonga (Nuku'alofa) (AU - Oceania)

177. Trinidad and Tobago (Port-of-Spain) (NA)

178. Tunisia (Tunis) (AF)

179. Turkey (Ankara) (AS) & (EU)

180. Turkmenistan (Ashgabat) (AS)

181. Tuvalu (Funafuti) (AU - Oceania)

182. Uganda (Kampala) (AF)

183. Ukraine (Kiev) (EU)

184. United Arab Emirates (Abu Dhabi) (AS)

185. United Kingdom (London) (EU)

186. United States (Washington D.C.) (NA)

187. Uruguay (Montevideo) (SA)

188. Uzbekistan (Tashkent) (AS)

189. Vanuatu (Port-Vila) (AU - Oceania)

190. Vatican City (na) (EU)

191. Venezuela (Caracas) (SA)

192. Vietnam (Hanoi) (AS)

193. Yemen (Sana) (AS)

194. Zambia (Lusaka) (AF)

195. Zimbabwe (Harare) (AF)

196. Kosovo (Pristina) (EU)

Unrecognized Countries

1. Abkhazia (Sukhum) (EU)

2. Artsakh / Nagorno-Karabakh (Stepanakert) (AS)

3. Donetsk (Donetsk) (EU)

4. Luhansk (Luhansk) (EU)

5. North Cyprus (North Nicosia) (EU)

6. Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (Laayoune/Tifariti de-facto) (AF)

7. Somaliland (Hargeisa) (AF)

8. South Ossetia (Tskhinval) (AS)

9. Transnistria (Tiraspol) (EU)


MSG Management Study Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Rosenberg, M. (2019, June 24). Why the Number of Countries in the World Is a Difficult

Question. Retrieved from

Florea, & Adrian. (2017, March 23). De Facto States: Survival and Disappearance

(1945–2011). Retrieved from

#unrecognizedcountries #Abkhazia #Artsakh #SouthOssetia #NagornoKarabakh #Somaliland #Transnistria #UnrecognizedCountry #UnitedNations #FIFA #CONIFA

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