There are 195 recognise countries in the world today. This total comprises 193 countries that are member states of the United Nations and 2 countries that are non-member observer states: The Holy See and the State of Palestine.
Nonetheless, the number doesn’t remain stagnant and has changed over time. Throughout history, countries have risen and fallen in their numbers.
Borders have rarely stayed static, with new countries forming and others ceasing to exist. Countries cease to exist through merging with another country, splitting to form two or more countries, dissolution, or losing their sovereignty after being annexed by another country.
Here are the countries that no longer exist.
The Ethiopian Empire, also known by the exonym Abyssinia, was a monarchy that spanned a geographical area in the current states of Ethiopia and Eritrea. It began with the establishment of the Solomonic dynasty by Yekuno Amlak from approximately 1270 and lasted until 1974, when Emperor Haile Selassie was overthrown in a coup d’état by the communist Derg.
Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the Dual Monarchy, was a constitutional monarchy and great power in Central Europe between 1867 and 1918. It was formed with the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867, and was dissolved following its defeat in the First World War.
Bengal was an intact country from from 1338 to 1947. With the end of British rule in 1947, West Bengal, Bihar, and Odisha became part of the Republic of India. East Bengal became East Pakistan, but in 1971 it separated from the parent country to become the independent state of Bangladesh.
Ceylon was the British Crown colony of present-day Sri Lanka between 1815 and 1948. Initially the area it covered did not include the Kingdom of Kandy, which was a protectorate, but from 1817 to 1948 the British possessions included the whole island of Ceylon, now the nation of Sri Lanka.
Corsica was ruled by the Republic of Genoa from 1284 to 1755, when it became a self-proclaimed Italian-speaking Republic. In 1768, Genoa officially ceded it to Louis XV of France as part of a pledge for debts and in 1769 France forcibly annexed it. The island has since been part of France, except for a period (1794–1796) when it was under English domination, and during the German and Italian occupation of 1940–1943.
Czechoslovakia, or Czecho-Slovakia, was a sovereign state in Central Europe that existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until its peaceful dissolution into the Czech Republic and Slovakia on 1 January 1993.
7. East Germany
East Germany, officially the German Democratic Republic (GDR), was a state that existed from 1949 to 1990, the period when the eastern portion of Germany was part of the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. The GDR dissolved itself and Germany was reunified on 3 October 1990, becoming a fully sovereign state in the reunified Federal Republic of Germany.
8. East Pakistan
East Pakistan was the eastern provincial wing of Pakistan between 1955 and 1971, covering the territory of the modern country Bangladesh. Its land borders were with India and Burma, with a coastline on the Bay of Bengal. On 16 December 1971, East Pakistan was liberated from Pakistan as the newly independent state of Bangladesh.
9. England, Scotland and Wales
England, Scotland and Wales were all independent countries once. Scotland entered into a political union with the Kingdom of England on 1 May 1707 to create the new Kingdom of Great Britain. Under England’s authority, Wales became part of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707 and then the United Kingdom in 1801. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK), since 1922 comprises four countries: England, Scotland, and Wales (which collectively make up Great Britain) and Northern Ireland.
10. Gran Colombia
Gran Colombia is the name historians use to refer to the state, then known simply as Colombia, that encompassed much of northern South America and part of southern Central America from 1819 to 1831. Gran Colombia was dissolved in 1831 due to the political differences that existed between supporters of federalism and centralism, as well as regional tensions among the peoples that made up the republic. It broke into the successor states of Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela; Panama was separated from Colombia in 1903.
Hawaii was an independent republic from 1894 until August 12, 1898, when it officially became a territory of the United States. On July 12, 1898, the Joint Resolution by U.S. Congress passed and the Hawaiian islands were officially annexed by the United States. Hawaii was admitted as a U.S. State on August 21, 1959.
12. Roman Empire
The Roman Empire, also known as Res Publica Romana or Imperium Romanum or Senatus Populusque Romanus (SPQR), was one of the most important civilizations of the world history. The Roman Empire succeeded the 500 year old Roman Republic (510 BC – 1st century BC) and ruled a large territory between 27 BC – 1453 AD (approximately 5.9 million square kilometers, or 2.3 million square miles).
The Roman Empire included these today’s countries and territories; most of Europe (England, Wales, Portugal, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Gibraltar, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine), coastal northern Africa (Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt), the Balkans (Albania, Greece, Hungary, Bosnia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Turkey), the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea, Asia Minor, and some parts of Mesopotamia and the Middle East (Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan, Israel).
Korea is a region in East Asia; since 1945 it has been divided into what are now two distinct sovereign states: North Korea (officially the “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea”) and South Korea (officially the “Republic of Korea”). In 1945, the Soviet Union and the United States agreed on the surrender of Japanese forces in Korea in the aftermath of World War II, leaving Korea partitioned along the 38th parallel. The North was under Soviet occupation and the South under U.S. occupation. These circumstances soon became the basis for the division of Korea by the two superpowers, exacerbated by their inability to agree on the terms of Korean independence.
14. New Granada
The Republic of New Granada was a centralist unitary republic consisting primarily of present-day Colombia and Panama with smaller portions of today’s Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Venezuela, Peru, and Brazil. It was created after the dissolution of Gran Colombia in 1830, with the secession of Ecuador (Quito, Guayaquil and Azuay) and Venezuela (with Orinoco, Apure and Zulia). In November 1831, with the adoption a new constitution, the country was officially renamed New Granada.
Newfoundland was a British dominion from 1907 to 1934. The dominion, situated in northeastern North America along the Atlantic coast, comprised the island of Newfoundland as well as Labrador on the continental mainland. Before attaining dominion status, Newfoundland was a British colony, self-governing from 1855. In 1934, Newfoundland became the only dominion to give up its self-governing status, ending 79 years of self-government.
16. North Yemen
North Yemen is a name given to the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen (1918–1962) and the Yemen Arab Republic (1962–1990), states that exercised sovereignty over the territory that is now the north-western part of the state of Yemen in southern Arabia. Yemeni unification took place on May 22, 1990, when the area of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (also known as South Yemen) was united with the Yemen Arab Republic (also known as North Yemen), forming the Republic of Yemen (known as simply Yemen).
17. Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman Empire was a state and caliphate that controlled much of Southeastern Europe, Western Asia, and Northern Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. The Ottoman Empire is one of the largest empires in history. In existence for 600 years, at its peak it included what is now Bulgaria, Egypt, Greece, Hungary, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel and the Palestinian territories, Macedonia, Romania, Syria, parts of Arabia and the north coast of Africa.
Persia, historic region of southwestern Asia associated with the area that is now modern Iran. By the 5th century B.C.E., the Persian Empire was the largest empire the world had ever seen, surpassing the size of their Assyrian predecessors. Persia ruled the world’s first true empire, centered in Iran and stretching from Europe to Egypt to India. In 1935 the Iranian government requested those countries which it had diplomatic relations with, to call Persia “Iran”, which is the name of the country in Persian.
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. However, Prussia was delegalized in 1945, today Germany is German Empire minus Prussia. Prussia was divided between Germany (Brandenburg), Poland (Pomerania, Silesia, Old Prussia), and Russia (Old Prussia).
The Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was a colonial federation that consisted of three southern African territories – the self-governing British colony of Southern Rhodesia and the British protectorates of Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland – between 1953 and 1963. The federation fell apart in 1963 after much crisis and turmoil, and Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland became the independent states of Zambia and Malawi in 1964. Southern Rhodesia reverted to its status as a Crown colony of Britain but was now known as Rhodesia, until 1979 when it became today’s Zimbabwe.
Sikkim was a kingdom established when India and Nepal were still many princely states with many rulers at that time and had not unified to the present Union of India and present country of Nepal. It was from 1642 till 16 May 1975 a country ruled by the monarchs. In the early 18th century, the British Empire sought to establish trade routes with Tibet, leading Sikkim to fall under British suzerainty until independence in 1947. Initially, Sikkim remained an independent country, until it merged with India in 1975 after a decisive referendum.
22. South Vietnam
South Vietnam, officially the Republic of Vietnam, was a country that existed from 1955 to 1975, the period when the southern portion of Vietnam was a member of the Western Bloc during part of the Cold War. It received international recognition in 1949 as the “State of Vietnam”, which was a constitutional monarchy. It became a unified country with the north in 1975 when the armed forces of the communist-run Democratic Republic of Vietnam ‘north’ seized the south.
23. South Yemen
South Yemen, officially the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, was a country that existed from 1967 to 1990 as a state in the Middle East in the southern and eastern provinces of the present-day Republic of Yemen, including the island of Socotra. It was also referred to as Democratic Yemen or Yemen (Aden). Yemeni unification took place on May 22, 1990, when the area of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (also known as South Yemen) was united with the Yemen Arab Republic (also known as North Yemen), forming the Republic of Yemen (known as simply Yemen).
The Republic of Texas was a sovereign state in North America that existed from March 2, 1836, to February 19, 1846, although Mexico considered it a rebellious province during its entire existence. Texas was annexed by the United States on December 29, 1845 and was admitted to the Union as the 28th state on that day, with the transfer of power from the Republic to the new state of Texas formally taking place on February 19, 1846.
Tibet declared independence from China in 1913, following the Xinhai Revolution against the Qing dynasty in 1912, without recognition by the subsequent Chinese Republican government. The region maintained its autonomy until 1951 when, following the Battle of Chamdo, Tibet was occupied and incorporated into the People’s Republic of China, and the previous Tibetan government was abolished in 1959 after a failed uprising.
26. Soviet Union
The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, was a federal socialist state in Northern Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991 and was the largest country in the world. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, in practice its government and economy were highly centralized.
Its territory included much of Eastern Europe as well as part of Northern Europe and all of Northern and Central Asia. The USSR consisted of the following present-day countries: Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Belorussia, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia.
27. United Arab Republic
The United Arab Republic was a sovereign state in the Middle East from 1958 to 1971. It was initially a political union between Egypt and Syria from 1958 until Syria seceded from the union after the 1961 Syrian coup d’état – leaving a rump state. Egypt continued to be known officially as the United Arab Republic until 1971.
Vermont Republic is a term used since the 20th century to refer to the government of Vermont from 1777 to 1791. In January 1777, delegates from 28 towns met and declared independence from the jurisdictions and land claims of the British colony of Quebec, and from the American states of New Hampshire and New York. Before it became a U.S. state, Vermont spent 14 years as a de facto independent republic.
29. West Florida
The Republic of West Florida was a short-lived republic in the western region of Spanish West Florida for just over two and a half months during 1810. In 1803, France then sold Louisiana and New Orleans to the United States. The U.S. claimed that West Florida was part of the Louisiana Purchase, a claim disputed by Spain, as it had controlled West Florida as a province separate from Spanish Louisiana since 1783. In October 1810, less than three months after the Baton Rouge skirmish, President James Madison forcibly annexed West Florida and incorporated it into the United States.
Yugoslavia was a country in Southeastern and Central Europe for most of the 20th century. It came into existence after World War I in 1918 under the name of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes by the merger of the provisional State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs with the Kingdom of Serbia, and constituted the first union of the South Slavic people as a sovereign state. By January 1992, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia ceased to exist, having dissolved into its constituent states; Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia.