How often have you wondered as to how many countries are there in the world? There are currently more than 200 countries in the world. The list of countries in the world is an exhaustive one and comprises the sovereign nations, the partially recognized countries, and the de-facto or the unrecognized nations.
At present there are 195 sovereign countries in the world. A sovereign country is one that is controlled by its own government. These 195 countries are internationally recognized as being sovereign. Of these 195 countries, 193 are UN Member states while two are UN observer states. The two UN observer states are the Vatican and Palestine.
The partially recognized states have partial diplomatic recognition. These countries are recognized by only a few of the UN member countries and not by the UN as a whole. Some of the countries in the world that fall within this category include Taiwan, Western Sahara, Kosovo, South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and Northern Cyprus.
Apart from the partially recognized states, there are also states that that are not recognized by any UN member state. These are de-facto independent states or may have broken away from a country. Currently there are three states that fall within this category. They include Nagorno-Karabakh, Transnistria, and Somaliland.
The split of Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia led to the creation of a number of independent countries in the 1990s. South Sudan is the latest entry on the list of countries in the world. In 2011, Sudan split into two countries after the people of south voted for independence. Sudan was once the largest country in Africa. Now it is the third largest country in Africa.
The Middle East is a huge region covering West Asia, North Africa, and to some extent Turkey as well. The origin of the term Middle East can be traced back to the early 20th century. The geopolitical term Middle East was first coined in 1902 by a United States naval officer Alfred Thayer Mahan. It was referred to the area between Arabia and India.
However, it was in 1957 Eisenhower Doctrine, which pertained to the Suez Crisis that the U.S. Government officially used the term Middle East.
Middle East consists of Cyprus, the Asian part of Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Egypt and Libya.
The total population of the Middle East region stands at approximately 368,927,551 and it covers and area of 2,742,000 square miles.
The region has a very rich culture and heritage. The three major religions - Christianity, Islam, and Judaism were born in the Middle East. Many of the world’s greatest empire’s, which have left a lasting impact on world history, were also formed in the Middle East. These include Ancient Egypt, the Persian Empire, and the Babylonian Empire.
Some of the major cities of the region include: Istanbul (Turkey), Tehran (Iran), Baghdad (Iraq), Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Ankara (Turkey), Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), Izmir (Turkey), Mashhad (Iran), Halab (Syria), and Damascus (Syria)
A prominent country during the cold war period, Yugoslavia broke up into six countries in the 90s. Factors such as ethnic tensions and a deteriorating economy played a major role in the breakup of the country.
The origin of Yugoslavia dates back to the World War 2. After the communist victory in World War 2, Yugoslavia was formed and comprised six republics - Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia.
In 1945, the country became the Federal People's Republic of Yugoslavia (FPR Yugoslavia, FPRY), with the constitution coming into force in 1946. It changed its name to the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1963.
Yugoslavia was enjoying relative prosperity until the 1980s. According to the 1991 World Bank Statistics, from 1960s to 80s, Yugoslavia was experiencing an annual GDP growth of 6.1%, a life expectancy of 72 years, and literacy rate of 91%. However, after the death of president-for-life Josip Broz Tito in 1980, the situation spiraled out of hand.
Rising ethnic tensions
The 1980s witnessed rising tensions between the six constituents of Yugoslavia. While Slovenia and Croatia were demanding greater autonomy within the Yugoslav confederation, Serbia wanted to strengthen federal authority. With no solution in sight, Slovenia and Croatia decided to break away and declared independence in 1991. By 1992 a further conflict had broken out in Bosnia, which had also declared independence.
The Yugoslav federal government did attempt to forcibly halt the breakup prompting the Yugoslav wars and the ultimate breakup of Yugoslavia into six countries.
Though the country was already facing the problem of ethnic tensions, it was also caught in a web of economic hardships.
Apart from the ethnic tensions, the deteriorating economy of Yugoslavia also played a role in the ultimate breakup of the country. Though enjoying relative prosperity until the 80s, the oil crisis of the 70s greatly impacted the economy of the country. The recession in the developed nations in the West severely hurt Yugoslavia. This in turn halted the economic growth that the country was experiencing for the past 30 years.
In an effort to curb the domestic crisis, Yugoslavia began to take loans from the IMF. Soon, the country’s debt skyrocketed. As a request for incurring so much IMF debt, the IMF demanded market liberalization. Many of the regions responded by introducing new measures such as cutting subsidies, privatizing, and quickly opening trade to allow foreign capital. Rather than improving the economy, these measures only worsened the situation. As the crisis ridden nation fell into further problems, one of the most violent wars started which finally broke up Yugoslavia into six countries.
Bosnia and Herzegovina borders the Adriatic Sea and Croatia. Montenegro is located between the Adriatic Sea and Serbia, while Serbia lies between Macedonia and Hungary. Slovenia lies between Austria and Croatia, while Croatia borders the Adriatic Sea, between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. Macedonia is located in Southeastern Europe, north of Greece.
Will an air assault be enough?
President Barack Obama has ruled out US ‘boots on the ground’, which means the campaign against the Islamic State will be largely carried out through air strikes and, if needed, special forces. But the question is how effective can air strikes be against a foe as determined as the Islamic State? Consider the facts. Within its ranks, the Islamic State has battle-hardened fighters including military officers from Saddam Hussein’s Ba'athist regime, which was systematically dismantled by US forces after they invaded Iraq.
Many of these Ba'athist officers, who were the elite of their society under Saddam, found themselves suddenly hounded and excluded from the new Shia-led government. Experts believe that these men, even if they don’t share the Islamic State’s extreme ideology, are lending support to it because they hold a grudge against US forces and the Iraqi government.
Interestingly, some of the moderate rebel fighters in Syria who were armed by the US and other western nations to fight Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime, have claimed that the Islamic State militants know how to protect themselves in case of an air attack, and air strikes alone will not be sufficient to defeat them.
However, given the far-reaching capability of American air-power, further territorial advances by the Islamic State are now unlikely. Also, targeted attacks against militant pockets could slowly “degrade” their capability. But to “destroy” them — as Obama has pledged — could take much longer.
The sectarian divide
The reason why even the al-Qaida decided to part ways with the Islamic State is that the al-Qaida leadership wanted to project itself as a pan-Muslim organization. The Islamic State, on the other hand, is a self-proclaimed anti-Shia group. In fact, it is violently opposed to all Muslim minorities who don’t fit into its rigid interpretation of Sunni Islam. Needless to say, with such a fanatical group (with a demonstrated capacity for extreme violence) gaining ground, the Arab States are bound to be deeply uneasy about it. After all, the Arab world is home to several diverse Muslim and even non-Muslim communities. That's why 10 Arab states have hopped on to the anti-Isis bandwagon led by the United States. Their support, military and diplomatic, is crucial in the battle ahead.
The Assad factor
The Islamic State may not have evolved into such a serious threat had it not been for the withering away of the Syrian state from large chunks of the country because of the bloody civil war in Syria. The attempt by the US and other western countries as well as Saudi Arabia to selectively arm what they considered to be ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels was always a high-risk strategy — and it seems to have backfired at least in some respects. There are credible reports that sophisticated Saudi and US weapons are now in the hands of the Islamic State fighters, who were also fighting Assad’s forces to begin with. Know what is Islamic State
The dilemma for American strategists is whether the US should strike a deal with the Syrian regime to seek its support in cornering the Islamic State. That could be a potential game-changer, but the US would have come a full circle in its Syrian policy.
The other big political question for the west is if it should reach out to Iran, which is both a regional superpower and an ally of Assad.
As military strategies are fine-tuned, the coming days will also see a lot of diplomatic maneuvering as the coalition of nations confronts the Islamic State in this volatile part of the world.
From a glistening ocean, or a volcano with fissures, culinary delights for your taste buds, or tropical preserves, to the traditional Hula dance; Hawaii has beauty beyond measures. Hawaii will give you memories for a lifetime. So come down and enjoy the best of all pleasures. Read our Travel Blog on Things to Do in Hawaii for detailed information. Here’s a gist of it. One of the most favorite tourist destinations in the US, Hawaii is also known as a jewel on earth.
Let’s check out what are the must-do activities in Hawaii. It is a must to check out the mesmerizing sunrise after you climb up the Haleakala Mountain. There are biking tours available to the volcano. Check out for Hula performances when you’re around in Hawaii, indeed a must to watch.
Besides peaceful activities, Hawaii has a set of interesting ocean sport activities as well, such as surfing, kiteboarding, deep sea fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, parasailing, and jet skis. You can enjoy air adventures with helicopter ride, Tandem skydive, and Paragliding.
Hawaii is a dream destination to many, not just for traveling, but it is a marriage destination as well. Besides romantic getaways, Hawaii also has various Heritage sites to check out. The Big Island is home to seven heritage properties, out of which Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Each of the major islands has some interesting heritage sites. So, remember to plan your vacation accordingly and enjoy your stay in Hawaii.
You can explore the new maps of Armenia, Salvador and Fortaleza in our New Maps and Information section, along with more updates. View Hawaii Map to know all major attractions
Since time immemorial, taxis have been a part of our lives in various forms. What was begun by horse carriages, to the modern-day cabs, taxis have come a long way. Who could have guessed that the first taxi in the world was built in 1897 and was named as Daimler Victoria. It was built by Gottlieb Wilhelm Daimler, in Germany, the first gasoline-powered and meter-equipped taxicab on earth. In today's time, taxicabs come in all shapes, sizes, and colors and are a vital link between destinations in most modern cities. Leave alone on the roads, there came a time when flying cars were projected in various time-travel themed movies. Read our Around the World series on Taxis Around the World to know more.
Did you know that the only city where finding a taxi is not such an easy task is Paris, France. New York is known to have more than 13,000 cabs and they are green and yellow in color. Taxis came to life in the 20th century when the iconic black cab became London's standard taxi.
While, taxis vary in every country, there is a huge variation in how a cab should be stopped. For instance in Russia, if one sticks his/her hand out on a busy road, any car can mysteriously turn into a taxi. Private cars that double up as taxis are sometimes called ‘gypsy cabs’, which in fact outnumber the official ones. Taxicabs can be stopped by waving them by the street or picking up one from a taxi stand in Japan, a country with more than 250,000 cabs.
In today's busy lives, safety has become a major concern, cabs or the famously called 'radio taxis' have come as a sigh of relief for all, across the world.
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The major cities of South Korea are decked up for the upcoming Asian Games, scheduled to take place from 19 September – 4 October 2014. The games will be held in the Incheon city of South Korea. You can read about the city on our Incheon City Map page.
Let's know more about South Korea and what all the country has to offer to its tourists. Maps of World brings to you the Country profile of South Korea, which contains all about the country, from the best cities, to best cuisines, the best tourist spots, to the best museums, etc. to be visited while in the city. We have created a Top Ten List of things in South Korea, to pick and choose from. Find the country, on the World Map of Location of South Korea. You can increase your knowledge about the country's Geography, climate and its economy, along with the wildlife, and also the modes of transportation.
The Road to Hana, Hawaii
The Road to Hana is indeed a beautiful route which ought to be on the must-go road trip list of every person who loves nature and open spaces. With snake-like twists and turns, the Highway 36, known as the Hana Highway is a famous landmark in Hawaii. The scenic road to Hana is one of the top tourist attractions on the Hawaiian Island of Maui.
Yes, we are talking about the road that leads to the town Hana, not the town. The highway has a lot more to offer than just a road. It has panoramic views of seascapes, refreshing water pools, lush rainforests, and botanical gardens on the way. Read our Travel Blog, Road to Hana, Hawaii to plan what to do on your way to the town, along with Travel Tips. En route to Hana, there are mile markers at frequent intervals. Each marker has something interesting associated with it, such as the Twin Falls stop at the 2nd mile marker, or the picnic spot at the 12th marker, or the best of all views, the 80 ft high Wailua Falls at the 45th mile marker.
Check out the New Hawaii Map to get more details about state and updates.
This day 29 May, holds great importance in the historic calender. This is the day when the highest peak in the world, Mt. Everest, was conquered in 1953, for the first time in history by two brave men, Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay. Read in detail about their expedition on our On This Day in History section.
Freezing temperatures, deep crevasses and a high altitude, had kept mountain climbers away from the peak, till this day. The journey which was kick-started by the duo, has been kept in continuation by many more climbers, while some succeeded and some didn't. The journey still goes on...
Surely, after reading about the highest peak in the world, you would be eager to know which other peaks fall in a similar category from other parts of the world. For your delight, MapsofWorld has a list of the World's Major Mountain Peaks on a Map, along with further details about the peaks. Other peaks from Asia itself follow the lead of the Everest in terms of their heights. Mt. Everest, K2, Kanchenjunga, Makalu, Dhaulagiri, Nanga Parbat, and Annapurna together rule the Top Seven highest peaks in the world. Mt. Everest stands proud at a height of 8,848 meters (29,029 feet).
The Alluring Louvre Museum
One of the most famous landmarks of Paris, France, the Louvre Museum is among some of the largest historic museums in the world. Spread across an area of 60,600 sq.m., the museum is estimated to have around 35,000 objects dating back to the prehistoric times upto the 21st century, on exhibit.
The museum has works of art from all over Europe and priceless collections of Assyrian, Greek, Etruscan, Coptic and Islamic art and antiquities on display. The star attraction of the museum is the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci. Locate the museum in our Location Map of Louvre Museum.
Check out the updated Physical Maps of Libya, Lithuania, Luxembourg and Malta on the New Maps and Information page.
Let's find out about the hideouts of the world's biggest money-holders. MapsofWorld brings to you the list of Top Ten Cities with the Most Billionaires, which are home to some of the richest people in the world. The highest ranking in the list of Billionaires has been received by Moscow, Russia, as it maintained its place as the 'billionaire capital' of the world. The New York city follows the lead and was ranked second with the count of 59 billionaires.
London and Hong Kong, stand third and fourth with 41 and 40 billionaires, respectively. Lakshmi Mittal of Indian origin, is the richest among the billionaires who live in London, UK. Mumbai, India; and Sao Paulo, Brazil; have a tie as both have 21 billionaires in total. Mumbai is home to the famous billionaire, business tycoon, Mukesh Ambani of the Ambani group. Taipei, China; Los Angeles, US; and Beijing, China; also have the same number of billionaires and stand intact at the eighth, ninth and tenth positions, respectively.
All About USSR – See Map
Did you know USSR or better known as the Soviet Union was world’s largest country by area? With the longest boundary and coastlines, the USSR was known for its unity in diversity. It was a union of Soviet Socialist republics including, the present countries of Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Moldova, and Ukraine, till 1922. You can find all the countries on the USSR Map, which shows the location of the former republics of the Soviet Union along with neatly drawn republic and international boundaries.
Fire at South Korean hospital, 21 dead
According to media reports, around 21 patients were killed and seven were injured, in a massive fire in a sanatorium in southwestern South Korea, early 28 May 2014. A nurse died of burn injuries in a struggle to stop the fire. However, the fire was reported to have been controlled within half and hour. Authorities said that the patient deaths might have been due to suffocation due to the toxic smoke in the building. See Map to find the location of the accident site.
Do check out the new page on Huacachina, Peru, on the New Maps and Information page, along with updated Road maps of Senegal, Surinam, Turkmenistan, Gambia, and Ukraine. View our World Map for more information
From beaches to deserts, from trekking to diving, from a range of species of plants and animals, and a wide variety of flora and fauna, the islands of Madagascar have it all. We all have seen a glimpse of the beauty of Madagascar in the animated movie-series by the same name.
Madagascar is an island in the Indian Ocean, off the southeastern coast of Africa. Check the Madagascar Map to know more about the country. Well known for its natural attractions, such as national parks, coral reefs and wildlife reserves, it also houses some of the most beautiful beaches around its 5,000 km of coastline, and 250 islands. The Tsingy de Bamaraha, a nature reserve, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site is one of the major tourist spots of the country. Isalo National Park, Andringitra National Park, and Masaola National Park are other famous national parks.
Want to check out Lemurs? You must visit the Tsingy de Ankarana. Antananarivo, Mahajanga, Morondava, Nosy boraha, Canal des pangalanes, Antsirabe, Toamasina, Perinet, Taolanaro, Isalo, and Anakao are among the various sightseeing destinations of Madagascar. Madagascar attracts thousands of tourists every year from different corners of the world. Read the Madagascar Travel Guide on our Travel Blog for detailed information.
Check out Restaurants in California!
A wide variety of interesting restaurants await to tingle your taste buds in California. Follow our Blog's list of Best Restaurants in California, USA, to pick and choose on the basis of cuisine, ambience or a first-hand experience from the eateries.
From the long list of restaurants and cafes, The Kabul Palace, The West End Tap & Kitchen, I Love Sushi, Grub Shack, Oscar's Mexican Seafood, are among a few. Each restaurant has a unique specialty to it, which attracts people. You can read the reviews of each of the restaurant listed in the blog, to plan and visit a place of your choice.
Do go through our page on Iranian Fereni Recipe in the Travel section, and learn the famous recipe of a traditional sweet dish from Iran.
You can view the updated maps of Belo Horizonte, Haiti, Lesotho, Uzbekistan, Andorra, Chad, and the Political Map of Guam on the New Maps and Information page, along with other new pages and new maps. We also all type of world map like political, natural, geographical, and physical