How many countries are there in the world? Well, there are 237 official nations in the world, plus de facto states. If all of them were full members of the UN, that would be 207 countries. Yet, there are more than 400 “micronations” that claim to be independent nations and have not been recognized by any other nation. For example, the Principality of Seborga encompasses a village on the border of Italy and France. The region’s prince was born there.

While the number of countries is difficult to determine, some have argued that the list of independent states is far too small. For instance, the island of Bougainville is currently a part of Papua New Guinea, but its people have fought a long civil war to gain their own country. In 2019, the island voted to become an independent state, but now it’s facing a disease pandemic. Bougainville would be roughly equivalent to the size of Cyprus and Lebanon combined.

In addition to independent countries, there are many colonies and territories. Some people mistakenly believe these territories are countries. In fact, there are only 195 independent countries. There are two non-member observer states – the Holy See and the State of Palestine. And two states that aren’t fully independent, but do enjoy a degree of autonomy, such as Niue and Cook Islands. Many of these countries are members of the United Nations specialized agencies.

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