According to most dictionary definitions, a state is a nation or territory considered as an organized political community under one government. Believe it or not, they do not have to be recognized by other countries to exist. Today we are going to present some of the smallest states that have ever existed.
Republic of Palau is an island country located on over 300 islands of various sizes. Its population is about 21,000 though there is a huge number of foreigners, too. Palau is one of the most amazing places in the world. Its tropical forests are rich in unique species of plants and birds. Its waters are natural habitat of 130 endangered species of sharks. However, its most spectacular sight is a lake with over 2 million jellyfish. In spite of their appearance, they are completely harmless. Due to lack of any natural predators they have lost their toxic tentacles. Surprisingly, Palau has no foreign debts, though its economy is based upon farming and tourism only.
Niue is a small island country in the south Pacific Ocean, In spite of the impressive views it offers, tourism is not that important there. Consequently, the country heavily relies on foreign help, especially from New Zealand. Its capital, Alofi, is nothing but a small village with population of 600. Still, the island has its own airport and a real supermarket – the only one there. Its area is 260 square kilometers and its total population in 2017 was exactly 1626 people.
#8 Saint Kitts and Nevis
These two neighboring islands became independent of Great Britain in 1983. Their citizens are mostly of African origin (92.5%). The population is about 52,000. The economy hinges upon farming, though tourist industry is steadily developing bringing more and more profits.
One of the main sources of its income is the economic citizenship program which enables everyone who has at least $250,000 to invest in local sugar industry and automatically become the citizen of St. Kitts. Another option is purchasing real estate worth at least $400,000 on either of the two islands.
#7 Principality of Hutt River
Principality of Hutt River was located in the Australian province of the same name. it was established by Leonard Casley who declared his farm as a new and independent country in 1970. Its 30 citizens haven’t paid any taxes since then which several times resulted in legal problems. Although the country had never been recognized by any other states, it had its own currency, post stamps and passports. In various parts of the area tourists can still see monuments of Prince Leonard, who died on February 13, 2019.
His son, Graeme Casley sold the property on August 2020 and declared that the territory had returned to Australia. The profits had to be spent to cover the tax arrears of 3,000,000 Australian dollars.
This is one of the smallest and the poorest countries of the world. Its main sources of income are fishing and farming (78% of working population) and industry, including construction (9%). The service sector employs 13% of the nation. No wonder the country receives a lot of aid from abroad.
Nauru is the smallest independent republic and the smallest island state on our planet. Nauru doesn’t have an official capital or public transport system. Its citizens use private vehicles to get around the island. Due to extreme environment pollution caused by phosphate rock exploitation, the republic is not very popular with tourists. The unemployment rate there in 2004 was estimated at 90%! Another problem is obesity. The obesity rate in this country exceeds 70%!
#4 Principality of Seborga
This micro-nation living on the territory of Italy is ruled by His Majesty Marcello the First.
In fact, Principality of Seborga is a town of the same name located near the French border. According to the statistics of 2010, this ‘independent’ area is inhabited by 319 people, including 37 foreigners. This unrecognized country has got an army of three people, consisting of the Minister of Defense and two board guards. The total area if the state is 14 square kilometers.
#3 Republic of Molossia
The republic was established by Kevin Baugh in 1977. It is completely surrounded by the USA as it is located in Nevada. There are 27 people living there, most of them belong to the family of Baugh. Molossia has its own anthem, emblem and flag. You’d better be careful there – serious crime is punishable even with death there! The ‘country’ issues its own passports and is busy developing its own space program.
#2 Sovereign Military Order of Malta
Apart from Vatican, Rome hosts yet another tiny state, namely Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Its area is 0.012 square kilometer and includes three buildings. Two of them are in Rome, the third is in Malta. The beginnings of the order date back to middle ages. Now its mission is to work in charity. The Order enjoys permanent observer status at the United Nations and UNESCO. The state has its own currency, post stamps, website, car number plates and passports.
What could you do if you had an offshore platform (40 x 140 meters) belonging to Fort Roughs near the cost of Great Britain? Paddy Roy Bates, a former British army officer, decided to set up a small state. His motivation was excessive taxes he had to pay, which he found was nothing but a way to torment the citizens.
The main source of income was going to be a pirate radio station called Radio Essex.
Sealand is ruled by Michael Bates, a son of the founder, who later became the regent. In fact everyone can become a count or even a duke there – everything is just a matter of the right price you have to pay. Everything is available at a few hundred pounds at the official website of Sealand. According to various sources, there are 27 people living there, though the number is not really stable.
Bonus state: The smallest officially recognized country is
This interesting state is located on the French Riviera in Western Europe. It remains in close relationship with France, which gives it a high status in the European Union structures. Monaco is a constitutional monarchy, ruled by the family of Grimaldi. Its present representative is King Albert II. Monaco is so small that most of the citizens and tourists get around on foot. Its population is about 37,000 people.