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Map of the countries of the world.

A country is a part of the world that is sovereign (holds power over itself), and is defined by boundaries and national identity. Countries are governed in different ways, according to the local laws. Some countries are united in unions, that have some common way of governing. The national identity is defined by things like the country's culture, history, language, religion, and symbols (national anthem and flag).

To pass from one country to another, you need a passport to identify yourself, your nationality and your rights in any given country. The reason for this is because nobody can agree on what the best laws are, so every country can decide for themselves. If there were no borders, then if a bad law was made, then it would affect everybody and there would be nowhere to run to, so borders protect us from bad laws in some countries.

Some countries are divided into "constituent countries", also called "countries" for short. Constituent countries are different from sovereign countries in that they are part of a larger country which has at least some power over the constituent country. For example, the United Kingdom is divided into England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. While some laws are made at the national level, the four countries also have the power to make their own laws. You usually don't have to go through passport checks to go between constituent countries within a country.

What makes a country[edit | edit source]

There is some disagreement about what exactly makes a place into a country, and some places aren't "recognized", or considered to be countries, by the governments of some (other) countries. Many international groups also disagree on which places are countries, and have different lists of member countries. The United Nations has 193, and being a member of the UN is often seen as being one of the things that makes a place into a country.

As an example, Kosovo declared itself to be an independent country in 2008, but Serbia doesn't recognize this and considers Kosovo to be part of Serbia. Some countries recognize Kosovo, while some other countries don't and include it as part of Serbia. Serbia is a member of the UN, while Kosovo is not.

There are also cases where there are two sides claiming the same area, and some countries recognize only one side, while some other countries recognize only the other side. An example of this is the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, where Israel controls most of the disputed land and is recognized as a country by some governments, while Palestine also controls some land and is also recognized by some governments. There are countries that recognize both Israel and Palestine, and countries that recognize only Israel, and countries that recognize only Palestine. Israel is a member of the UN, while Palestine isn't but is a "non-member observer state" (the Vatican holds the same status).

List of countries[edit | edit source]

Alphabetical list of countries:

A[edit | edit source]

B[edit | edit source]

C[edit | edit source]

D[edit | edit source]

E[edit | edit source]

F[edit | edit source]

G[edit | edit source]

H[edit | edit source]

I[edit | edit source]

J[edit | edit source]

K[edit | edit source]

L[edit | edit source]

M[edit | edit source]

N[edit | edit source]

O[edit | edit source]

P[edit | edit source]

Q[edit | edit source]

R[edit | edit source]

S[edit | edit source]

T[edit | edit source]

U[edit | edit source]

V[edit | edit source]

Y[edit | edit source]

Z[edit | edit source]