Have you ever wondered what the smallest country in the world is? You probably know some of them, but you will definitely be surprised to know what is number 1 on the list.
The Republic of Maldives is situated in the Indian Ocean, southwest of India and Sri Lanka. With the population of 341,356, the Maldives occupies 298 sq km (115 sq mi) of land area. The rest 99% of the Maldives’ area is the ocean. Located on the top of a vast underwater mountain range, the republic has around 1200 islands, 200 of which are inhabited. The Maldives is the world’s lowest country with the maximum natural height of 2.6 m. Due to that, they are threatened by global warming, as subsequent rises in sea level could make them uninhabitable. But now you can go and enjoy “the last paradise on earth” with swaying palm trees, beautiful beaches and rich colorful coral reefs.
9. Saint Kitts and Nevis
Located in the Caribbean Sea, these two islands comprise a sovereign with the combined area of 261 sq km (104 sq mi). With the population of around 48,000, it is the smallest country in the Americas, in both area and population. These islands were among the first in the Caribbean to be settled by Europeans. Only in 1983 this country gained its independence from Britain. Both islands are of volcanic origin with mountain peaks covered in tropical rainforest.
8. Marshall Islands
With the average altitude above sea level of 2.1 m ( 7 feet), Marshall Islands is one of the flattest countries in the world. Although this country comprises around 1150 islands and islets, the total land area is only 180 sq km (70 sq mi) with the population of 72,000. The Republic of Marshall Islands is located in the Pacific Ocean near the equator. During the World War II before the attack on Pearl Harbor, the country was the administrative center of the 6th Fleet of Japanese Imperial Navy. Following occupation by the United States during World War II, Marshall Islands passed formally to the US in 1947. Unfortunately, the US conducted nuclear testing there. As a result, they were exposing local residents to radioactive fallout and completely destroyed the island of Elugelab. Only in 1979, the country gained its independence from the US.
This small German-speaking country is situated between Austria and Switzerland. The total area is 160 sq km (61 sq mi) and population is around 37,000. It is a constitutional monarchy headed by the Prince of Liechtenstein. Being an alpine country, Liechtenstein is mainly mountainous, which makes it a perfect winter sport destination. Same as a few other countries in the world, Liechtenstein has no army. However, it maintains the police force and a SWAT team. Although it is not a member of European Union, it still participates in the Schengen area. This small country is the largest producer of false teeth in the world. Also, it produces ceramics, power tools, anchor bolts, calculators, pharmaceuticals, and food products.
6. San Marino
The Rebublic of San Marino is situated on the Italian peninsular and is surrounded by Italy. Its size is just 61 sq km (24 sq mi) with an estimated population of 32,000. San Marino is considered to be the oldest republic in the world. Its history dates back to 301 AD. Though it is one of the smallest countries, it is one of the wealthiest as well in terms of GDP. It is the only country with more vehicles than people. It is also known for its beautiful stamps and coins. San Marino has one of the smallest armies in the world.
Tuvalu is located in the South Pacific Ocean between Australia and Hawaii. The country consists of nine islands with total land area of only 26 sq km (10 sq mi). But the land area is shrinking every year due to global warming and rising sea levels. Scientists believe that Tuvalu will be completely under water by the end of this century.
The islands have all you need for a perfect beach vacation – coral reefs, white beaches, palms and friendly people. However, remote location makes Tuvalu not a very popular tourist destination. You would need to get to Fiji first and fly to Tuvalu from there.
Nauru is also located in the South Pacific Ocean. This nation is even smaller and has only 21 sq km (8 sq mi) of land. Nauru achieved its independence in 1969 and was formerly known as Pleasant Island. In the middle of last century the island was one of the wealthiest places on Earth. It contained significant reserves of phosphate. However, the natural resources are gone and Nauru is desperately poor today. The country almost entirely depends on Australian support. Australia is using the island as a detention center for refugees.
Monaco is the second smallest country and the most densely populated country in the world. The area is only 2.02 sq km (0.78 sq mi) and population about 37,800. This beautiful place is situated at the Mediterranean coastline. Monaco doesn’t have personal income tax and, as a result, is very popular among rich people. About 30% of population are millionaires. It is also known as the capital of Grand Prix of Formula One. In addition, the Monte Carlo casino is located here. Ironically, local citizens are prohibited to enter the casinos.
2. Vatican City
Vatican City is the smallest country as well as the city in the world. The is the capital of Catholicism. Its population is 842 people and area only 0.44 sq km (0.17 sq mi). Vatican City is completely surrounded by Rome, Italy. The country has unique economy supported by tourist fees for admissions to museums and sale of postage stamps. In addition, the produce mosaics and stuff uniforms. Vatican City stamps its own coins, which are very popular among collectors.
It is likely that you never heard of Sealand. It’s really tiny, only 0.025 sq km (0.001 sq mi). This principality is unrecognized micronation that claims an offshore platform as its territory. The platform was build by British during World War II as anti-aircraft defense. Since 1967 it was occupied by former major of the British Army Paddy Roy Bates. He claimed independent sovereign state. In 1975 Bates created a constitution for Sealand, a national flag, and even currency and passports. During 20 years the country issued about 150,000 passports, but Bates family revoked them all in 1997. In 2007 The Pirate Bay attempted to purchase Sealand as they were looking for a way to escape copyright laws. Later it was offered for sale for US$900 million.
In 1987, the UK extended its territorial waters from 6 to 22 km and now Sealand is inside British waters. The UK is a part of the United Nation Convention of the Law of the Sea which states that artificial islands do not possess the status of islands. Thus, Sealand cannot be recognized as a country as it is a man-made structure.
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