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How Many Countries Are in the World?

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There are 191 members of the United Nations.  Unfortunately, the number 191 is too often used to represent the number of countries in the world. Although this number represents almost all of the countries in the world, there is still one country (the Vatican City) that is independent and has chosen not to become a member of the U.N. so 191 really is not the number of countries in the world. Their list of 192 countries reflects the political agenda of the United States of America and its allies. Missing from the State Department’s list is one entity that may or may not be considered a country, depending on who you talk to.

Taiwan meets most, but not all of the requirements of independent country or state status. However, due to political reasons, it fails to be recognized by the United States and much of the rest of the world. If it were recognized, it would be considered a country.  Taiwan was actually a member of the United Nations (and even the Security Council) until 1971, when mainland China replaced Taiwan in the organization. Taiwan continues to press for full recognition by other countries, to become “part of the club” and fully recognized worldwide but China claims that Taiwan is simply a province of China.

Wikipedia  considers there to be 196 countries in the world, which is probably the best current answer to the question, “How many countries are in the world?” unless Taiwan becomes officially recognized by the international community.  Recognize that there are dozens of territories and colonies that are sometimes erroneously called “countries” but don’t count at all – they’re governed by other countries. Places commonly confused as being countries include Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Greenland, Palestine, Western Sahara, and even the components of the United Kingdom (such as Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England – sorry folks, they’re not countries, states, or nation-states.   How Many Countries Are in the World?


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