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  • Right now, there are 195 countries on Earth.

  • But over the last few decades, the world has witnessed the birth of a few new nations.

  • East Timor split away from Indonesia and gained sovereignty in 2002, and South Sudan became the world's newest nation in 2011.

  • But for every successful bid at nationhood, there's also many more failed attempts.

  • Think of Catalonia or Iraqi Kurdistan's dramatic bids for independence just last year.

  • These examples got us thinking about other "inbetweener" states.

  • Hey guys I'm Judah, this is NowThis World and today we're to talk about just a few of the dozens of "partially recognized states" around the globe.

  • First on our list is Abkhazia.

  • To most of the world, Abkhazia is a region inside of the country Georgia.

  • It's located near the Black Sea, shares a border with Russia, and is home to more than 250,000 people that mostly speak Abkhaz and Russian.

  • Geography aside, Abkhazia's political situation is closely tied to Russia.

  • When the USSR was in full swing and Georgia was a Soviet Republic, Abkhazia enjoyed autonomous status.

  • Things weren't ideal, but at least the region had some form of self-rule under the Soviets.

  • But in April 1991, Georgia declared independence.

  • Its first leader was a fervent nationalist who pledged to assert control over Abkhazia and other autonomous areas like South Ossetia.

  • Months later, the USSR officially collapsed, and by 1992 tensions were high in Abkhazia as countries like Georgia attempted to redraw the lines of Eastern Europe.

  • But between 1992 and 1993, Abkhazia and Georgia fought a bloody conflict.

  • Ethnic Abkhaz, with help from Russia, fought for independence while Georgia fought to secure its territory.

  • The sixteen-month war led to thousands of deaths on both sides, while hundreds of thousands more were displaced from their homes.

  • Ultimately, a ceasefire was declared and Georgian forces were expelled from the territory.

  • 6 years later they declared independence.

  • Today, the state is recognized by only a few other countries, including Russia, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

  • Another region that voiced support for Abkhazian's independence was Northern Cyprus, which is another partially recognized state.

  • Internationally speaking the island of Cyprus is considered one country, but in reality it's divided along ethnic lines.

  • The northern third of the Mediterranean island, which refers to itself as the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, is, as you guessed it, ethnically Turkish, while the rest of the island is Greek.

  • Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960.

  • Like many other post-colonial situations, ethnic tensions flared once the occupiers left.

  • As things got worse in 1964, the UN sent an peacekeeper to the island to prevent the Turks and Greeks from fighting each other.

  • But in 1974, supporters for Greek unification staged an unsuccessful coup.

  • Turkey then invaded the island claiming it was protecting its ethnic Turks from Greek domination.

  • Turkish forces took control of 37% of the island and kicked out 200,000 Greeks from its northern portion.

  • The island has been divided ever since.

  • On November 15, 1983, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus officially declared independence.

  • But here's the thing, only Turkey recognized the North as a separate state, and has about 40,000 troops stationed there.

  • Over the years, the UN has passed several resolutions to maintain the island as a single country.

  • But while both sides have discussed reunification, the last round of talks collapsed late last year.

  • So it seems like Northern Cyprus will remain not only un-unified, but also unrecognized.

  • The last example we'll touch on in today's episode is Somaliland, which is a region located in the northernmost part of Somalia.

  • It declared independence from Somalia almost 27 years ago.

  • But unlike Abkhazia or Northern Cyprus, no other country has legally recognized Somaliland's sovereignty.

  • Despite this lack of acknowledgement by the international community, Somaliland continues to thrive against all odds.

  • Somaliland separated itself from Somalia following that country's brutal civil war on May 18, 1991.

  • Somaliland's claim to statehood stems from the fact that it was sovereign for a short period of time following independence from Britain in 1960.

  • The territory has also done a pretty great job of acting like an independent country in the years since independence.

  • It has a government for the people, by the people, its own currency, its own military and police force, and perhaps most importantly, it has control over its own land.

  • It's definitely not a perfect situation, however.

  • There remain violent disputes over territory with some parts of Somalia,

  • and there are reports that the terrorist organization al-Shabab has sleeper cells in Somaliland.

  • Despite its relative success, some experts say that both international and domestic actors,

  • like the African Union, don't want Somaliland to become a recognized state due to the potential "domino effect" it could have across Africa.

  • So the thought process is basically, If Somaliland gains sovereignty,

  • what's stopping the dozens of other areas on the continent from seeking independence too?

  • So as we saw with these three examples, regions often have very different reasons for seeking independence,

  • but very few of them actually achieve full international recognition.

  • So which region do you think will become the world's 196th country?

  • Let us know in the pinned comment below!

  • Thanks for watching NowThis World!

  • And please don't forget to like and subscribe!

Right now, there are 195 countries on Earth.

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What Are Some of the World's Unrecognized Countries? | NowThis World

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    Jessieeee posted on 2019/02/20
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