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How Long Does a Country Last?

How long do countries usually last? While this is a good question, it also isn't one that is typically tracked by any particular group or organization. Based on most reports and those who have done the research, the average country will survive approximately 150 years.

How Old is the United States?

If you are wondering, since the United States of America established its independence in 1776, it means it will be soon approaching its 250th year. What makes this interesting is that the average length of most empires, is 250 years.

The Oldest and Youngest Countries

That is a very short period of time, however, compared to the oldest country in the world, Japan. So, how old is Japan? This ancient country is dated to be about 2,673 years old. What Japan might refer to as its independence day, "National Foundation Day," is recorded as 660 BC.

Compare that to the youngest country in the world, South Sudan, which is about 14 years old, and it makes it easy to see why it might be difficult to ascertain just how long countries usually last.

There are many countries, especially throughout Europe that are around 50 years old. Many of these are the result of the fall of the British Empire, which led to its decolonization. Many of these countries, had they not been under British rule, would be around the same age as Italy, which is around 170 years old.

Predicting a Country's Lifespan

How long do countries last? There are many variables and an unfathomable amount of factors that could play a role in the lifespan of a country. History has shown that natural catastrophes can wreck a small country. We have witnessed countries fall to invasion, and others collapse from poor infrastructure.

There is also the unpredictable variable of people, and in particular the leadership they provide. We have seen dictators nearly take over the world, only to be conquered and fall. We have seen the reign of family and royalty, as it continues to get passed on from generation to generation.

The short answer is, that there is no definitive way to determine how long any country might last, and even the averages must account for countries like Japan that have existed since the beginning of time.

No, there is no way to know how long a country should normally last. The good news is there is enough evidence and history to show us that the answer may be, as long as we want it to.

At least one source calculates how long a country lasts on average to be 158 years. Most sources base figures on “empire” rather than country, which is 250 years.

Differences Between Countries and Empires

“Modern nation-states are ruled in the name of a nationally defined people, in contrast to empires, which govern to spread a faith across the world, to bring civilization to backward people, or to advance the world revolutionary cause,” says Andreas Wimmer and Brian Min, authors of “From Empire to Nation-State: Explaining Wars in the Modern World, 1816-2001.” (Quote is taken from the journal article’s abstract.)

Countries usually govern persons within specific borders. They typically don’t seek to expand their regime to the rest of the world (at least not currently), although they usually involve themselves with international relations if developed enough.

Empires usually strive to spread their agenda to everywhere else on the planet, which may explain why so many empires haven’t lasted. The word “empire” oftentimes connotates a hostile takeover. That’s what often occurs during the conquest stages of the five to seven steps of an empire’s lifecycle before peaceful commerce development that almost always ends in a decline. War doesn’t always occur as an empire grows, but it often does.

The Basis for the 158-Year Country Life Cycle Figure

“The 158-year-old average shouldn't be misconstrued as some prophetic measure for a country's life expectancy,” says Vice contributor Daniel Stuckey.

This research seems slightly arbitrary, but Stucky did retrieve independence dates as one way to measure how long countries existed.

2022 Age of Oldest Modern Democracies (Top 5)

Most of the world’s most notable democracies lasted 50 years or less. These five that have lasted the longest so far.

1. The United States

The United States became 247 years old (and counting) from the first Declaration of Independence on July 04, 1776, to July 04, 2023. The true age of the country is arguably a few years younger, however, as the United States' democratic constitution was not signed until 1789. The US is currently listed as the oldest modern democracy according to (oldest in the 18th century to the 21 century).

2. Switzerland

This country had signed its constitution in 1848 and currently operates under 26 administrative regions called “cantons.”

3. New Zealand

New Zealand gained its independence in 1840. Then, the New Zealand Constitution Act came into effect in 1852, which released them from England to set up their own government. The country reportedly became the first self-governing country to ever grant women the right to vote in 1893.

4. Canada

Canada first gained its independence on July 1, 1867, which enabled the country to set up its own government. This occurred upon the passing of the British North America Act. However, it took more than a century for Canada to begin to embrace its independence, a process that is still ongoing—Canada remains a commonwealth of Britain, and did not fully remove extract itself from the UK's constitutional influence until the Constitution Act, 1982.

5. United Kingdom

While the nations that make up the United Kingdom—Scotland, England and Northern Ireland—have existed for hundreds of years, the current grouping of countries that make up the modern UK was founded relatively recently, in 1922, when most of Ireland broke off to become the independent Irish Free State (which became modern Ireland in 1937). There is significant discourse over the precise date upon which the previous iteration of the UK adopted democracy--some historians date democracy to the Great Reform of 1832, while others cite later reforms in 1867 or 1884.

Additional Long-Lasting Democracies

Depending upon the criteria one uses for qualification, it could be argued that certain additional countries have been democracies for even longer than the countries shown above. Iceland established its democracy centuries before the United States, but that democracy was interrupted by centuries of rule by the Danes and Norwegians. Similarly, the Isle of Man and the Faroe Islands are both long-lived democracies, but are currently dependencies of the UK and Denmark.

  • The creation or dissolution of a country is traditionally defined as the dates its current government was established or dissolved.
  • For example, Russia has had several different governments over the past 1000+ years, the most recent of which was established in 1993. Therefore, modern Russia is considered founded in 1993.
  • By comparison, although the United States has added 37 new states and roughly quadrupled in size since its founding in the late 1700s, its government has remained the same. Therefore, the United States is considered founded in 1776, the year it declared its indepencence (though it would not be fully recognized until 1783 and the constitution wasn't signed until 1789)

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Birth Date
Birth Circumstances
Current Government Established
Birth of Current Government
Most Recent Territorial Changes
Afghanistan1747Durrani Empire15 August 2021Fall of Kabul reestablished the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.Asia
Albania1190Principality of Arbër was established by archon Progon29 April 1991Socialist People's Republic of Albania was replaced by the Republic of Albania28 November 1912 - Declaration of independence from Ottoman Empire| 28 November 1944 - Albanian state re-established after Italian/German occupation| 1945 - Occupied Kosovo, west Macedonia and border region of Montenegro returned to YugoslaviaEurope
Algeria202 BCMassinissa unifies Numidia which extended from the Moulouya river in the west to Cyrenaica in the east19 September 1958Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic proclaimedAlgeria reclaims sovereignty over the entire Algerian territory upon independence from France in 1962Africa
Andorra1278Independence from Aragon28 April 1993Current Constitution of Andorra entered force28 August 2001 -The Andorra–France border is adjusted to allow Andorra to construct the Envalira Tunnel access bridgeEurope
Angola11 November 1975Independence from PortugalAfrica
Antigua and Barbuda1960Independence from France1 March 1960Africa
Argentina25 May 1810May Revolution installs first local government10 December 1983The current Constitution of Argentina enters in force9 July 1816 - Argentine Declaration of Independence from Spain| 18 October 1884 - Conquest of the DesertAmericas
Armenia880Evolving as a feudal kingdom in the ninth century, Armenia experienced a brief cultural, political and economic renewal under the Bagratuni dynasty.21 September 19912015 Armenian constitutional referendum creates a parliamentary republic5 December 1936 - Establishment of the Armenian SSR| 21 September 1991 - Independence recognized by the Soviet UnionAsia
Australia1 January 1901Independence from United Kingdom1 January 1901Commonwealth of Australia established as federation3 March 1986 - Australia Act 1986| 16 September 1975 - Papua New Guinea becomes formally independent of AustraliaAustralia/Oceania
Austria17 September 1156Privilegium Minus: Sovereignty from Duchy of Bavaria as a Duchy of the Holy Roman Empire12 November 1918Declaration of the Republic of German-Austria11 August 1804 - Proclamation of the Austrian Empire| 27 April 1945 - Restoration of the Republic of Austria| 14 December 1921 - City of Sopron, and 8 other towns moved to Hungary after plebisciteEurope
Azerbaijan28 May 1918Establishment of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic18 October 1991Declaration of independence from the Soviet Union28 April 1920 - Establishment of the Azerbaijan SSRTranscontinental states
Bahamas7 January 1964Internal self-governance granted10 July 1973Independence from the United KingdomAmericas
Bahrain15 August 1971End of treaties with the United Kingdom14 February 20022002 Constutution of Bahrain1 July 1521 - Portuguese conquest of current territoryAsia
Bangladesh26 March 1971Independence from Pakistan declared4 November 1972Constitution of BangladeshFebruary 27, 1991 - First general election since restoration of parliamentary democracy| 31 July 2015 - India and Bangladesh exchange enclavesAsia
Barbados30 November 1966Independence from the United KingdomAmericas
Belarus882Formation of the Kievan Rus'28 November 1996Constitutional amendment abolishes the Supreme Soviet and establishes the National Assembly27 July 1990 - Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic| 25 August 1991 - Independence recognized by Soviet UnionEurope
Belgium4 October 1830Independence was proclaimed by the provisonial government21 July 1831King Leopold I of Belgium swears allegiance to the constitution making the country a constitutional monarchyEurope
Belize1 January 1964Self-governing colony21 September 1981Independence from the United Kingdom1859 - Treaty establishes border between British Honduras and GuatemalaAmericas
Benin1 August 1960Independence from FranceAfrica
Bhutan1885Ugyen Wangchuck ends period of civil war and unites Bhutan24 March 2008First elections to the National Assembly11 November 1865 - Treaty of SinchulaAsia
Bolivia6 August 1825Bolivian War of Independence from Spain.25 January 2009Constitution of Bolivia21 July 1844 - Independence recognized by Spain| 11 November 1903 - Treaty of Petrópolis with Brazil whereby Bolivia gained lands in Mato Grosso in exchange for the territory of AcreAmericas
Bosnia and Herzegovina3 March 1992Independence declared from the SFR Yugoslavia25 November 1943 - Establishment of SR Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Socialist Federal Republic of YugoslaviaEurope
Botswana30 September 1966Independence from the United Kingdom30 September 1966Sedudu ruled to belong to Botswana rather than Namibia by the International Court of Justice (1999)Africa
Brazil7 September 1822Independence from the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves declared5 October 1988Constitution of Brazil established as the third Federative Republic29 August 1825 - Independence recognized by Portugal| 15 November 1889 - Proclamation of the Federal Republic| 11 November 1903 - Signing of the Treaty of Petrópolis with Bolivia whereby Brazil was given the territory of Acre in exchange for lands in Mato GrossoAmericas
Brunei1 January 1984Brunei regains its independence after an agreement with the British on 4 January 197912 December 1962Martial law declared during the Brunei Revolt, suspending democratic elections indefinitely.29 September 1959 - Constitution of Brunei| 18 August 1841 - Kingdom of Sarawak foundedAmericas
Bulgaria632632, then 681 on territories of the Eastern Roman Empire10 November 1989People's Republic of Bulgaria was replaced by the Republic of Bulgaria1185 - Second Bulgarian Empire formed| 13 July 1878 - Autonomy within Ottoman Empire recognized internationally by the Treaty of Berlin| 22 September 1908 - Independence from Ottoman Empire| 28 October 1944 - Under the 1944 Armistice with the Allies, Bulgaria renounces the 1941 annexation of Vardar Macedonia from Yugoslavia and Eastern Macedonia and Western Thrace from Greece. Formally confirmed on 10 February 1947 by Paris Peace TreatiesEurope
Burkina Faso5 August 1960Independence from FranceAfrica
Burundi1 July 1962Independence from Belgium28 November 1966Monarchy replaced by republicAfrica
Cambodia9 November 1953France grants Cambodia independence21 September 1993Constitution of Cambodia26 September 1989 - Becomes free from Vietnamese occupation; it gets back its name instead of the People's Republic of KampucheaAsia
Cameroon1 January 1960Independence from France20 May 1972Merger of part of British Cameroons with Cameroon (1 October 1961)Africa
Canada1 July 1867Granted nominal independence (Dominion status), establishing as a federation11 December 1931Statute of Westminster17 April 1982 - Constitution Act, 1982 established| 1 April 1999 - Nunavut Territory created as per native land claims act from two thirds of the area of Northwest Territories.Americas
Cape Verde5 July 1975Independence from PortugalAfrica
Central African Republic13 August 1960Independence from France21 September 1979Monarchy replaced by republicAfrica
Chad11 August 1960Independence from France10 October 2022National Transitional Council establishedAouzou Strip awarded to Chad in 1977Africa
Chile18 September 1810First Government Junta17 August 1989Amendment to the Constitution of Chile ends the military dictatorship12 February 1818 - Chilean Declaration of Independence from Spain| 25 April 1844 - Independence recognized by Spain| 3 July 1929 - Chile awarded Arica district in Treaty of LimaAmericas
Colombia20 July 1810Colombia declares independence from Spain.4 July 1991Colombian Constitution of 1991 established as a presidential republic17 December 1819 - Colombia merged with Venezuela, Panama, and Ecuador| 30 January 1881 - Declaration of Independence recognized by Spain 8 August 1886 - Establishment of the current sovereignty of Colombia as a republicAmericas
Comoros6 July 1975Independence from France declaredAfrica
Costa Rica15 September 1821Costa Rica declared independence from Spain7 November 1949Constitution of Costa Rica15 November 1838 - Independence from Federal Republic of Central America| 10 May 1850 - ndependence recognized by Spain| 25 July 1824 - Partido de NicoyaAmericas
Croatia879Duke Branimir was recognized as an independent ruler of the Duchy of Croatia by Pope John VIII8 October 1991Independence from SFR Yugoslavia925 - Formation of Kingdom of Croatia by King Tomislav| 10 February 1947 - Annexation of most of Istria to SR Croatia as a result of signing the 1947 Paris Peace TreatiesEurope
Cuba10 October 1898Several wars were declared against Spain from 1868 to 1898, ending with the military support of USA to the Cuban Revolution1 January 1959Cuban Revolution10 December 1898 - Spain loses the war against the United States and the military occupation of Cuba by the U.S. begins| 20 May 1902 - United States military occupation endsAmericas
Cyprus16 August 1960Independence from United Kingdom and Constitution of Cyprus23 July 1974 - Establishment of the United Nations Buffer Zone in Cyprus| 15 November 1983 (disputed) - Northern Cyprus declares independence. The government has de facto control of the northern part of the island, but is only recognized by TurkeyTranscontinental states
Czech RepublicOctober 1918Creation of Czechoslovakia1 January 1993Dissolution of Czechoslovakia, creating Czech Republic and SlovakiaEurope
Denmark965Harald Bluetooth unifies Denmark5 June 1953Constitutional Act of Denmark15 June 1920 - Sønderjylland was recovered from GermanyEurope
Djibouti27 June 1977Independence from FranceAfrica
Dominica27 February 1967Became an associated state of the United Kingdom3 November 1978Constitution of Dominica3 November 1978 - Independence from the United KingdomAmericas
Dominican Republic27 February 1844The Dominican Republic gains independence from Haiti28 November 1966Civilian constitution of the Dominican Republic following the Dominican Civil War.14 October 1874 - Independence recognized by Spain| 9 May 1936 - Haiti and the Dominican Republic sign a treaty setting a definitive borderAmericas
Ecuador10 August 1809First declaration of Independence from Spain28 September 2008Constitution of Ecuador established.24 May 1822 - Second declaration of independence from Spain of Gran Colombia, of which Ecuador is a part of| 13 May 1830 - Dissolution of Gran Colombia| 16 February 1840 - Declaration of Independence recognized by Spain| 26 February 1946 - Rio Protocol ends border dispute with Peru|Americas
Egypt28 February 1922The UK ends its protectorate, granting independence to Egypt18 June 1953Egyptian revolution of 1952, Egyptian monarchy overthrown in a military coup, republic declaredThe eastern borders of Libya and British Egypt are changed to their present boundaries (1925)Africa
El Salvador15 September 1821El Salvador becomes independent from Spain, and 4 months later becomes province in First Mexican Empire16 December 1983Constitution of El Salvador established as the third Unitary presidential republic1 July 1823 - El Salvador becomes a state of Federal Republic of Central America from the First Mexican Empire| 2 February 1841 - Dissolution of the Federal Republic of Central America, El Salvador becomes independent nation| 18 February 1841 - El Salvador was internationally recognizedAmericas
Equatorial Guinea12 October 1968Independence from SpainAfrica
Eritrea27 April 1993Independence from Ethiopia declaredBadme ruled to be Eritrean by the Eritrea–Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC after the Eritrean–Ethiopian War). Contested by Ethiopia (1 April 2002)Africa
Estonia24 February 1918Estonian Declaration of Independence, whereby a republic was declared20 August 1991Independence (from the Soviet Union) reasserted, end of occupation1 January 1945 - Eastern coast of Narva river and most of Petseri County were transferred to Russian SFSREurope
Eswatini6 September 1968Independence from the United Kingdom8 February 2006Constitution of SwazilandAfrica
Ethiopia900Zagwe dynasty21 August 19951995 Constitution of EthiopiaBadme ruled to be Eritrean by the Eritrea–Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC after the Eritrean–Ethiopian War). Contested by Ethiopia (1 April 2002)Africa
Fiji10 October 1970Independence from the United KingdomAustralia/Oceania
Finland29 March 1809Diet of Porvoo, birth of Finland as an autonomous state entity within Russian Empire6 December 1917Independence from Russian Empire declared3 January 1918 - Independence from Russia recognized by the highest Soviet executive body| 26 January 1956 - Porkkala returned from Soviet controlEurope
France481481 then 843 - First creation with (Clovis), king of the Franks. Then creation of the Kingdom of France (West Francia), Treaty of Verdun4 October 1958Establishment of the current semi-presidential system known as the Fifth Republic22 September 1792 - French Republic founded| 30 July 1980 - The New Hebrides Condominium declares independence and becomes VanuatuEurope
Gabon17 August 1960Independence from FranceAfrica
Gambia18 February 1965Independence from the United KingdomAfrica
Georgia1008Establishment of the Kingdom of Georgia9 April 1991Independence from the Soviet Union declared26 May 1918 - Establishment of Democratic Republic of Georgia| 28 November 1991 - South Ossetia unilaterally declared independenceTranscontinental states
Germany843843 then 962 - East Francia becomes the Holy Roman Empire (with the Kingdom of Germany as a main part of the empire)23 May 1949The Basic Law of Germany comes into effect1815 - German Confederation founded| 18 January 1871 - German Empire founded| 1954 - German Democratic Republic (commonly referred to at the time as East Germany) declared fully sovereign| 5 May 1955 - Federal Republic of Germany (commonly referred to at the time as West Germany) declared fully sovereign| 3 October 1990 - Reunification of West Germany and East GermanyEurope
Ghana6 March 1957Independence from the United KingdomUnion of British Togoland with Gold Coast (13 December 1956) 1815Africa
Greece1821Greek Revolution starts, various regional administrations established during 182111 June 1975Third Hellenic Republic1 January 1822 - Provisional Administration of Greece proclaimed| 3 February 1830 - Independence recognised by the London Protocol as Kingdom of Greece| 10 February 1947 - Peace treaty with Italy awards the Dodecanese to GreeceEurope
Grenada27 February 1967Associated state of the United Kingdom30 September 1978Paul Scoon Takes power after the US Invasion Which Ousted the PRG7 February 1974 - Full independence from the United KingdomAmericas
Guatemala15 September 1821Guatemala becomes state in Federal Republic of Central America, which declared independence from Spain31 May 1985Constitution of Guatemala established17 April 1839 - Independence from Federal Republic of Central America declared| 29 May 1863 - Independence recognized by SpainAmericas
Guyana26 May 1966Independence from the United KingdomAmericas
Haiti1 January 1804The French colony Saint-Domingue gains independence as HaitiMarch 1987Constitution of 1987 (superseded)27 February 1844 - The Dominican Republic gains independence from Haiti| 9 May 1936 - Haiti and the Dominican Republic sign a treaty setting a definitive borderAmericas
Honduras15 September 1821Honduras becomes state in Federal Republic of Central America, which declared independence from Spain11 January 1982Constitution of Honduras26 October 1838 - Independence from Federal Republic of Central America| 17 November 1894 - Independence from Spain recognizedAmericas
Hungary895Principality of Hungary formed1 January 2012The Basic Law of Hungary comes into effect.1000 - Formation of the Kingdom of Hungary by Stephen I of Hungary| 23 October 1989 - People's Republic of Hungary was replaced by the Republic of Hungary| 10 February 1947- With the Paris Peace Treaty, Hungary loses all territories that were regained with the First and Second Vienna Awards and during World War II, thus it returns to the 1937 borders (except for three villages in the northwest given to Czechoslovakia)Europe
Iceland930The Icelandic Commonwealth established and first meeting held of the Althingi (Parliament).17 June 1944Kingdom of Iceland becomes a Republic.1 July 1845 - The Althingi resumes meeting after hiatus since 1799| 1 December 1918 - Iceland becomes sovereign and independent from Denmark as the Kingdom of Iceland but retains a personal union with the King of DenmarkEurope
India2500 BCIndus Valley Civillisation was the earliest settlement in India26 January 1950Constitution of India15 August 1947 - Independence from the British Empire| 31 July 2015 - India and Bangladesh exchange exclavesAsia
Indonesia17 August 1945Indonesian Declaration of Independence from Netherlands18 August 1945Ratification of the Constitution of Indonesia by the Preparatory Committee for Indonesian Independence27 December 1949 - Independence from the Netherlands recognized| 20 May 2002 - Independence of East Timor, formerly administered as a province of IndonesiaTranscontinental states
Iran2600 BCFounded by the Elamite3 December 1979New constitution was approved according to the results of the constitutional referendum of 2 and 3 December 197911 February 1979 - ended the monarchy and establishes the Islamic Republic on 11 February 1979| 10 February 1828 - Signing of the Treaty of Turkmenchay, whereby the territories that now constitute Armenia, Azerbaijan (the remaining part which hadn't been lost by the Treaty of Gulistan 1813), and Iğdır are ceded to Russia| 30 November 1971 - Recapture of Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser TunbsAsia
Iraq762The Abbasid Caliphate built the city of Baghdad along the Tigris in the 8th century as its capital, and the city became the leading metropolis of the Arab and Muslim world for five centuries15 October 2005Constitution of Iraq following the Iraq War3 October 1932 - Kingdom of Iraq| 28 February 1991 - Kuwait liberatedAsia
Ireland1542Foundation of the Kingdom of Ireland21 January 1919Elected Irish Parliament Dáil Éireann unilaterally declares Ireland's independence from the United Kingdom6 December 1922 - Irish Free State secedes from United Kingdom by agreement in accordance with the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty but remains a dominion of the British Empire| 11 December 1931 - Statute of Westminster confers legislative independence from the United Kingdom| 29 December 1937 - Constitution of Ireland establishes the roles of Taoiseach and President, and replaces the Irish Free State (or Saorstat Eireann in Irish language) with a new state named Ireland (or Éire in Irish language)| Republic of Ireland Act 1948 terminates the functions of the British King in Ireland's diplomatic relations| 2 December 1999 - Amendment to the Irish constitution removes irredentist claims to Northern IrelandEurope
Israel14 May 194814 December 1981- The Golan Heights Law annexes the Golan Heights, conquered from Syria in the Six-day war to Israel proper; they were administered as a militarily-occupied territory until that point| 12 September 2005 - The Completion of Israel's unilateral disengagement from the Gaza StripAsia
Italy2 January 888 c.Sovereignty of the Kingdom of Italy, an independent successor state of the dissolved Carolingian Empire2 June 1946Italian Republic founded.17 March 1861 - Italian unification| 25 April 1945 - Disestablishment of the German-backed Italian Social Republic, whereby the unity and independence of the Italian state was restoredEurope
Ivory Coast4 December 1958Autonomous republic within French Community7 August 1960Independence from FranceAfrica
Jamaica6 August 1962Independence from the United KingdomAmericas
Japan11 February 660 BCTraditional founding date of the imperial dynasty by Emperor Jimmu.22 December 1885On December 22, 1885, "Daijo-kan No. 69" were established, and the Cabinet system was established in place of the Daijo-kan system.15 May 1972 - Return of the Ryukyu Islands to Japan and abolition of the United States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu IslandsAsia
Jordan25 May 1946End of the British Mandate for Palestine1 January 1952Constitution of Jordan12 June 2011- The Cabinet of Jordan is made an elected body| 26 October 1997 - Signing of the Israel–Jordan Treaty of Peace, whereby most of the disputed 400 square-kilometer area in the Arabah was handed back to JordanAsia
Kazakhstan16 December 1991Independence declared from the Soviet Union30 August 1995Constitution of Kazakhstan5 December 1936 - Establishment of the Kazakh SSR| 30 March 1993 (disputed) - Baikonur Cosmodrome and surrounding areas leased to RussiaTranscontinental states
Kenya12 December 1963Independence from the United KingdomAfrica
Kiribati12 July 1979Independence from United Kingdom1 October 1975 - Separation of the Gilbert Islands (later Kiribati) and the Ellice Islands (later Tuvalu)Australia/Oceania
Kuwait1752Establishment of the Sheikhdom of Kuwait11 November 1962Constitution of Kuwait18 December 1969 - Formal division of Saudi-Kuwaiti neutral zoneAsia
Kyrgyzstan31 August 1991Independence from the Soviet Union10 June 2010Constitution of Kyrgyzstan introduces parliamentary system5 December 1936 - Establishment of the Kirghiz SSRAsia
Laos22 October 1953Independence from France2 December 1975Lao PDR formedAsia
Latvia7 November 1922Constitution of Latvia enforced4 May 1990Independence (from Soviet Union) reasserted1944 - Abrene district ceded to Russian SFSR (modern Russia)Europe
Lebanon23 May 1926Lebanese Republic formed26 November 1941Independence from France declared22 November 1943 - Independence from France recognized| 1 September 1920 - France establishes State of Greater Lebanon with current boundariesAfrica
Lesotho4 October 1966Independence from the United KingdomOn 12 March 1868 area that is now Lesotho placed under British ruleAfrica
Liberia26 July 1847Independence from American Colonization SocietyCurrent constitution came into effect in 1984Africa
Libya24 December 1951Independence from UN Trusteeship (British and French administration after Italian governance ends in 1947)4 August 2014House of Representatives takes power.13 February 1984 - Aouzou Strip awarded to ChadAfrica
Liechtenstein19 October 1813Dissolution of the Confederation of the Rhine16 March 2003The 2003 Liechtenstein constitutional referendum increases the Prince's powers and makes the country an absolute monarchyEurope
Lithuania16 February 1918Independence declared from Germany and Russia11 March 1990Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania independence (from the Soviet Union) reasserted, end of occupation27 October 1939 and 3 August 1940 - Western part (approximately half) of Vilnius Region ceded to LithuaniaEurope
Luxembourg23 November 1890Separates from union with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, becomes Grand Duchy in its own right1945End of German occupation during World War II19 April 1839 - Partition of Luxembourg under the Treaty of LondonEurope
Madagascar14 October 1958The Malagasy Republic was created as autonomous state within French CommunityAfrica
Malawi6 July 1964Independence from the United KingdomAfrica
Malaysia31 August 1957Malayan Independence from the United Kingdom was declared in Dataran Merdeka (Independence Square)16 September 1963Malaysia was formed by the federation of North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore with the existing States of the Federation of Malaya9 August 1965 - Singapore expelled from the Federation of MalaysiaAsia
Maldives26 July 1965Independence from the United Kingdom11 November 1968Declaration of RepublicAsia
Mali25 November 1958French Sudan gains autonomy22 September 1960Independence from FranceSenegal secedes from Mali Federation in 1960Africa
Malta21 September 1964Independence from United Kingdom13 December 1974The State of Malta became a republicEurope
Marshall Islands1 May 1979Constitution and local government established21 October 1986Compact of Free Association with the United StatesAustralia/Oceania
Mauritania28 November 1960Independence from FranceOn 11 August 1979 Mauritania withdraws from Tiris al-Gharbiyya (part of Western Sahara)Africa
Mauritius12 March 1968Independence from the United KingdomSeparation of Chagos Archipelago in 1965Africa
Mexico16 September 1810Independence from Spain declared7 February 1917Constitution of Mexico27 September 1821 - Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire| 28 December 1836 - Declaration of Independence recognized by Spain| 30 December 1853 - The Gadsden PurchaseAmericas
Micronesia3 November 1986Compact of Free Association with the United States10 May 1979Constitution ratified10 May 1979 - Yap, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae unite to form the Federated States of MicronesiaAustralia/Oceania
Moldova27 August 1991Independence from Soviet Union27 August 1997Constitution of Moldova2 September 1990 - Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic declares independence. The government is not recognized by any UN member, but has de facto control over the Transnistria regionEurope
Mongolia1206Mongol Empire formed12 February 1992Constitution of Mongolia declares the country a parliamentary democracy.29 December 1911 - Proclamation of Mongolian independence from Manchu's Qing dynastyAsia
Montenegro3 June 2006Declaration of independence from Serbia and Montenegro.22 October 2007Constitution of MontenegroEurope
Morocco788 ADEnthronement of Idris I in Volubilis18 November 1956Protectorate AbolishedThe Green March was a strategic mass demonstration in November 1975, coordinated by the Moroccan government and military, to force Spain to hand over the disputed, autonomous semi-metropolitan province of Spanish Sahara to MoroccoAfrica
Mozambique25 June 1975Independence from Portugal27 October 1994Mozambique holds its first multiparty election since the Civil WarAfrica
Myanmar4 January 1948Myanmar (Burma) declares independence from the British Empire1 February 2021The SAC with help from the Tatmadaw overthrows the elected government1956 - Signing of border treaty with the People's Republic of ChinaAsia
Namibia21 March 1990Independence from South African rule1 March 1997 - Walvis Bay was integrated into NamibiaAfrica
Nepal25 September 1768Nepali unification28 May 2008Formation of Republic2 December 1815 - Sugauli Treaty ends the Gurkha WarAsia
Netherlands26 July 1581Plakkaat van Verlatinghe signed, independence from Spain15 December 1954Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands signed24 August 1815 - Adoption of the constitution of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands| 16 March 1839 - The United Kingdom of the Netherlands divided under the Treaty of London| 5 May 1945 - Surrender of Nazi forces occupying the Netherlands| 25 November 1975 - Suriname declares independenceEurope
New Zealand6 February 1840Treaty of Waitangi where the British Crown established a right to govern from indigenous Māori tribes10 December 1947Full power to amend own constitution17 January 1853 - Self-Government| 26 September 1907 - Granted nominal independence (Dominion status)| 25 October 1926 - Balfour Declaration of 1926 — Great Britain and the Dominions are "autonomous Communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs"| 1 December 1967 - Governor-General becomes a New Zealand appointmentAustralia/Oceania
Nicaragua15 September 1821Nicaragua becomes state in Federal Republic of Central America, which declared independence from Spain9 January 1987Constitution of Nicaragua established5 November 1838 - Independence from Federal Republic of Central America| 24 July 1850 - Independence recognized by SpainAmericas
Niger4 December 1958Autonomy within French Community3 August 1960Independence from FranceAfrica
Nigeria1 October 1960Independence from the United KingdomBiafra re-integrated into Nigeria on 15 January 1970 Northern Cameroons integrated in Nigeria on 1 June 1961Africa
North Korea918The Goryeo Dynasty unified the Korean states, the exonym Korea originated from the word Goryeo.25 December 1972The Constitution of North Korea replaced Communism with Juche as North Korea's governing philosophy9 September 1948 - Kim Il-sung declared Premier of North Korea, establishing the still-ruling Kim dynasty. Independence declared from the Soviet Union| 12 October 1962 - Signing of the Sino–Korean Border Agreement with the People's Republic of ChinaAsia
North Macedonia8 September 1991After a referendum, the Socialist Republic of Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia17 November 1991Constitution of North Macedonia2 August 194- Establishment of SR MacedoniaEurope
Norway872King Harald I of Norway unifies the Petty kingdoms of Norway.1814Dissolution of the union between Norway and Denmark and Constitution of Norway7 June 1905 - Dissolution of the union between Norway and Sweden| 8 May 1945 - German occupying forces surrender.Europe
Oman26 January 1650Expulsion of the Portuguese10 June 1749Beginning of the Al Said dynasty, current absolute monarchical line of Oman1996 - Basic Law of Oman| 8 December 1958 - Gwadar sold to PakistanAsia
Pakistan14 August 1947Independence from British India in the Partition14 August 1973Constitution of PakistanAsia
Palau1 January 1981Republic of Palau created upon adoption of constitution1 October 1994Emerged from United Nations trusteeship (administered by the United States).Australia/Oceania
Palestine15 November 1988Palestinian Declaration of Independence4 May 1994Agreement on the Gaza Strip and the Jericho Area15 June 2007- Hamas takeover of the Gaza StripAsia
Panama3 November 1903Independence from Colombia11 October 1972Constitution of Panama established10 May 1904 - Independence from Spain recognized| 31 December 1999 - Sovereignty of Panama Canal Zone transferred to Panama from the United StatesAmericas
Papua New Guinea1 December 1973Self-governing territory16 September 1975Independence from AustraliaAustralia/Oceania
Paraguay14 May 1811Independence from Spain declared20 June 1992Democratic Constitution of Paraguay10 September 1880 - Independence from Spain recognized| 1938 - Paraguay awarded a large portion of the Gran Chaco as a result of the Chaco WarAmericas
Peru28 July 1821Independence from Spain declared31 December 1993Constitution of Peru established14 August 1879 - Independence from Spain recognized| 26 February 1942 - Rio Protocol ends border dispute with EcuadorAmericas
Philippines12 June 1898The evolving revolutionary movement in the Philippines declares itself independent from the Spanish Empire. Spain regarded this as an expression of continued rebellion30 November 1935The Commonwealth of the Philippines was established through provisions of the Tydings–McDuffie Act10 December 1898 - Spain, still sovereign,[note 9] cedes the Philippines to the United States via the Treaty of Paris| 4 July 1946 - The United States recognizes Philippine independence under the provisions of the Treaty of Manila (1946). The 1935 Constitution remained in effect until 1973, when the Marcos regime promulgated a newer one, in turn replaced by the present 1987 Constitution| 2012 - In 2012, the United Nations approved a 2009 claim by the Philippines to the Benham RiseAsia
Poland966Adoption of Christianity by the first historically documented Polish ruler Mieszko I4 June 1989The first partially free Parliament's vote after 45-year-long Soviet domination11 November 1918 - Poland regains its independence| 15 February 1951- Polish-Soviet border adjustment treatyEurope
Portugal5 October 1143Formation of Kingdom of Portugal by Treaty of Zamora signing2 April 1976Constitution of Portugal6 June 1801 - Spain occupies the present day border town of Olivença since the War of the Oranges| 20 December 1999 - Portuguese Macau transferred to the People's Republic of China| 20 May 2002 - Portuguese Timor, occupied by Indonesia since 1975, officially dissolved to form the independent state of East TimorEurope
Qatar18 December 1878Independence from the Ottoman Empire8 September 1971Influence from Britain concluded4 November 2021 - Acquisition of the rest of Khawr al UdaydAsia
Romania24 January 1859Autonomous Principality of Romania founded; becomes kingdom in 1866 and achieved independence 1878 Ottoman Empire22 December 1989Romanian Revolution of 198913 July 1878 - International recognition by the Treaty of Berlin| 10 February 1947 - Soviet occupation of Bessarabia and Northern BukovinaEurope
Russia882Formation of the Kievan Rus'25 December 19931993 Russian constitutional referendum replaces the Supreme Soviet with the Federal Assembly and increases presidential power25 December 1991 - After the USSR ceased to exist, the Russian Federation became an independent state and was recognized by the international community as the successor state of the USSR| 30 September 2022 (disputed) - Annexation of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts by RussiaTranscontinental states
Rwanda1 July 1962Independence from BelgiumAfrica
Saint Kitts and Nevis27 February 1967Associated state of the United Kingdom19 September 1983Independence from the United Kingdom19 December 1980 - Anguilla separated from Saint Christopher-Nevis-AnguillaAmericas
Saint Lucia27 February 1967Associated statehood22 February 1979Independence from the United KingdomAmericas
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines27 October 1969Associated statehood27 October 1979Independence from the United KingdomAmericas
San Marino3 September 301Independence from Roman Empire1600Constitution of San Marino1463 - Added Fiorentino, Montegiardino, Serravalle, and FaetanoEurope
Saudi Arabia13 January 1902Establishment of the Third Saudi State23 September 1932Regions of al-Hasa, Qatif, Nejd and Hejaz unified to become Saudi Arabia4 November 2021 - Fixed border territory with QatarAsia
Senegal20 August 1960Independence from FranceAfrica
Serbia7808th century-Creation of the Principality of Serbia in the Southeastern Europe8 June 2006Republic of Serbia declared legal successor to Serbia and Montenegro, ending the process of the dissolution of Yugoslavia13 July 1878 - International recognition by the Treaty of Berlin| 27 April 1992- Independence from SFR Yugoslavia, forming the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia| 17 February 2008 (disputed) - The region of Kosovo declared independence unilaterally on 17 February 2008, and is recognized by 97 UN states. Serbia recognizes the government of Kosovo but claims its territory as an Autonomous ProvinceEurope
Seychelles29 June 1976Independence from the United KingdomAfrica
Sierra Leone27 April 1961Independence from the United KingdomAfrica
Singapore3 June 1959Self-government under the United Kingdom9 August 1965Singapore ceased to be a state of MalaysiaAsia
SlovakiaOctober 1918Creation of Czechoslovakia1 January 1993Dissolution of CzechoslovakiaEurope
Slovenia25 June 1991Declaration of independence from Yugoslavia13 December 1991Constitution of Slovenia19 February 1945 - Formation of SR SloveniaEurope
Solomon Islands1 June 1962Independence from New Zealand7 July 1978Independence from the United Kingdom2 January 1976 - Self-government granted by United KingdomAustralia/Oceania
Somalia1 July 1960Union of Trust Territory of Somalia (former Italian Somaliland) and State of Somaliland (formerly British Somaliland)20 August 2012Federal Government of Somalia establishedSomaliland declares independence, but is not recognized by any UN state (18 May 1991)Africa
South Africa31 May 1910Creation of the autonomous Union of South Africa from the previously separate colonies of the Cape, Natal, Transvaal and Orange River31 May 1961Republic declared11 December 1931 - Statute of Westminster, which establishes a status of legislative equality between the self-governing dominion of the Union of South Africa and the UK| 4 February 1997 - The post-Apartheid Constitution of South Africa comes into effect| 21 March 1990 - South West Africa declares independence, forming Namibia| 27 April 1994 - Reincorporation of the nominally independent but unrecognised bantustans into post-apartheid South Africa|Africa
South Korea918The Goryeo Dynasty unified the Korean states, the exonym Korea originated from the word Goryeo.29 October 1987Current Sixth Republic of South Korea founded, ending military rule15 August 1948 - First Republic of Korea established, Independence declared from the United States| 27 July 1953 - Cease-fire in the Korean War creates the northern border along the Military Demarcation LineAsia
South Sudan9 July 20112011 South Sudanese independence from Sudan referendumAfrica
Spain1479Dinastical unification of the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon by the Catholic Monarchs. The governments, institutions, and legal traditions of each kingdom remained independent of each other; alien laws (Leyes de extranjeria) determined that the national of one kingdom was a foreigner in the other Crowns/States6 December 1978Spanish Constitution1831 - Dissolution of crowns and kingdoms and creation de jure, of the unified Kingdom of Spain 26 February 1976 - Spanish Sahara is lost following the Madrid AccordsEurope
Sri Lanka4 February 1948Independence from United Kingdom22 May 1972Constitution of Sri Lanka14 February 1815 - The Kandyan Kingdom is annexed by British Ceylon| 18 May 2009 - The Sri Lankan government regains control of the whole island following the end of the Sri Lankan Civil WarAsia
Sudan1 January 1956Independence from Egyptian and British joint rule15 April 2010First democratic election since the Second Sudanese Civil War9 July 2011 - South Sudan secedes from SudanAfrica
Suriname15 December 1954Self-government granted25 November 1975Independence from NetherlandsAmericas
Sweden970 (Or prior)Eric the Victorious, the first king of Sweden about whom anything definite is known, becomes king1 January 1974Instrument of Government6 June 1523 - Gustav Vasa elected King of Sweden and marking a definite secession from the Kalmar Union| 29 March 1809 - Loss of Finland to Imperial RussiaEurope
Switzerland1291Traditional founding12 November 1848Foundation of the federal state after Sonderbund war7 August 1815 - Restoration of the Ancien Régime (federalism), reverting the changes imposed by Napoleon BonaparteEurope
Syria28 September 1961End of the United Arab Republic27 February 2012Constitution of Syria8 November 1941 - Lebanon declares independence from the French Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon| 10 June 1967 - Israel conquers the Golan Heights from Syria during the Six-day WarAsia
Tajikistan9 September 1991Independence from the Soviet Union5 December 1929 - Establishment of the Tajik SSRAsia
Tanzania9 December 1961Independence of Tanganyika from the United Kingdom1 July 1991Amendment to Constitution of Tanzania ends status as one-party state26 April 1964 - Merger of Zanzibar with Tanganyika to form TanzaniaAfrica
Thailand6 November 1767Salvage Independence by King Taksin the Great consist of expulsion of Burmese out of former capital (Through Taksin's reunification of Siam on October-6 November 1767) and Establish a New kingdom together with reunification of Thailand6 April 2017Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand 201710 March 1909 - Anglo-Siamese Treaty of 1909Asia
Togo30 August 1958Autonomy within French Union27 April 1960Independence from FranceAfrica
Trinidad and Tobago31 August 1962Independence from the United KingdomAmericas
Tunisia20 March 1956Independence from France25 July 20222022 Constitution of TunisiaAfrica
Turkey1299Formation of the Ottoman Empire24 June 20182017 Turkish constitutional referendum comes into effect; Turkey transitions from a parliamentary republic to a presidential republic29 October 1923 - The provincial government, formed in 1920, declares the foundation of the Republic of Turkey, as the legal successor state to the Ottoman Empire| 29 June 1939 - Turkey annexes the once Syrian province of HatayTranscontinental states
Turkmenistan27 October 1991Independence from the Soviet Union28 September 2008Constitution of Turkmenistan7 August 1921 - Establishment of the Turkmen SSRAsia
Uganda1 March 1962Self-government granted9 October 1962Independence from the United KingdomAfrica
Ukraine882Formation of the Kievan Rus'24 August 1991Independence of former Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic from Soviet Union declared22 January 1918 - Ukraine declares independence as the Ukrainian People's Republic| 30 September 2022 (disputed) - Annexation of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia oblasts by RussiaEurope
United Arab Emirates2 December 1971End of treaty relationship with the United Kingdom11 February 1972 - Ras al-Khaimah joins the UAEAsia
United Kingdom927Kingdom of England8 December 1922The Irish Free State seceded from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland by agreement in accordance with the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922, however Northern Ireland opted to exclude itself from the Irish Free State two days later creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland843 - Kingdom of Scotland| 1057 then 1165 - Kingdom of Wales then Principality of Wales| 1171 then 1542 - Lordship of Ireland then Kingdom of Ireland| 1 May 1707 - Kingdom of Great Britain (United the parliaments of Scotland and England)| 1 January 1801 - United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (United the parliaments of Great Britain and Ireland)| December 1922 - Irish Free State secedes from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland by agreement in accordance with the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty and the Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922Europe
United States4 July 1776Independence from Great Britain declared4 March 1789United States Constitution enters into force, replacing the previous Articles of Confederation and creating a new system of government3 September 1783 - Independence from Great Britain recognized| 7 September 1981 - The United States cedes Serrana Bank and Roncador Bank to the Republic of Colombia as a result of a treaty signed in 1972Americas
Uruguay25 August 1825Independence from Empire of Brazil declared, joined in union with United Provinces of the Río de la Plata (current Argentina)8 December 19961996 Uruguayan constitutional referendum27 August 1828 - Treaty of Montevideo signed, recognizing Uruguay's independence by Brazil| 19 July 1870 - Independence recognized by SpainAmericas
Uzbekistan31 August 1991Independence from the Soviet Union declared24 October 1924 - Establishment of the Uzbek SSRAsia
Vanuatu30 July 1980Independence from joint British-French condominiumAustralia/Oceania
Vatican City1274Birth of current form of government the Papal conclave in 12747 June 1929Ratification of the Lateran Treaty, making the Vatican City a sovereign state11 February 1929 - Signing of the Lateran TreatyEurope
Venezuela19 April 181020 December 1999New Constitution of Venezuela establishes the Bolivarian Fifth RepublicAmericas
Vietnam2 September 1945Withdrawal of the Japanese after World War II1 January 2014Current Constitution of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam31 December 1959 - North Vietnam declared a socialist republic| 2 July 1976 - Reunification of North Vietnam and South Vietnam as Socialist Republic of VietnamAsia
Yemen1 November 1918North Yemen independence from the Ottoman Empire22 May 1990Unification of North Yemen and South Yemen30 November 1967 - South Yemen independence from the United Kingdom| 21 September 2014 - Houthis seized control of the bulk of the former North Yemen territory and its capital Sana'a| 26 April 2020 - Southern Transitional Council declares self-governance of Socotra and some areas controlled by the former PDR YemenAsia
Zambia24 October 1964Independence from the United KingdomAfrica
Zimbabwe11 November 1965Unilateral declaration of independence by Southern Rhodesia18 April 1980Recognized independence from the United Kingdom as Zimbabwe22 December 1987 - revises the Constitution of Zimbabwe to create an executive presidencyAfrica
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How long on average do countries last?

Average countries typically last 158 years while empires stick around for 250 years. However, the lifespans of individual countries are difficult to predict.

Frequently Asked Questions