There are approximately 185 countries in the world, though that number is continually changing as new countries form and former countries split up. For example, in 2011, the country of Sudan split into Sudan and South Sudan, each with its own government. There are plenty of familiar countries whose names are easily recognizable – Russia, Britain, Mexico, the United States. Nevertheless, with nearly 200 countries in the world, there are probably quite a few that you are not too familiar with. Let’s take a look at some of the lesser-known countries around the world.
Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked country in Central Asia that has extreme temperatures and beautiful landscapes. It only gained independence recently, in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Other countries in the vicinity that you may not have heard of include Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan. They are rarely in the news, and you may not have even read much about them in your high school geography class.
Have you heard of South Ossetia? If you haven’t, you are not alone. Even Google does not register South Ossetia as a country! It is a micro-state in a region of Georgia, and its presence is so controversial that many countries do not even recognize its existence. Nagorno Karabakh is another country in the area that many have never heard of, yet it has its own rich history. The local people are proud of their history, though, and have taken great care to preserve the country’s monuments and artifacts through preservation efforts and museums.
Nauru, Tuvalu, Kiribati, and Palau are all island countries in the South Pacific that you may have never heard of. Palau and Tuvalu were important US military outposts during World War II, but following that critical phase of history, they have been out of the news. However, you may be hearing more about them now, as rising sea levels due to climate change threaten to flood them completely. Futuna in Polynesia and Ascension in the South Atlantic are two other island countries that you may have never heard of. Mayotte, off the coast of Mozambique, is so unknown that many word processors do not even recognize it. It is a small collection of volcanic islands that are under French rule.
The top three unknown countries are Nauru, Tuvalu, and Kiribati.