There are currently 195 sovereign countries in the world, with the largest being Russia, which has an area of more than 17,000,000 square kilometers. The accompanying list of the world’s ten smallest countries below shows the Vatican City has the smallest geographical area, but its status as a “country” is actually quite questionable. The Vatican became a part of unified Italy in the 19th century and was given identity as a sovereign state due to its religious status. However, its government, as well as the other aspects of its administration, are still intricately linked with Italy. Besides the Vatican, there are nine more countries that are considered the smallest in the world, although they are not as small as the sovereign state in Italy. Here is a list of the ten smallest countries on Earth.
10. Grenada (329 square kilometers)
Grenada is a sovereign state situated in seven islands in the Grenadines island chain in the Caribbean Sea. The state of Grenada consists of one large island of the same name, and also six small islands located to the north. Since July 2018, the state has an estimated population of more than 112,000 people living in its islands. Grenada is mostly known by foreigners as the “Island of Spice” because it exports large amounts of mace crops and nutmeg.
9. Malta (321 square kilometers)
The next smallest on the list is Malta, a state located in the Mediterranean Sea. Like Grenada, Malta is comprised of several islands, but in this state’s case, there are three. The first island is Malta, which is the biggest island in the country, while the other two are Comino and Gozo. It is reported that the island has a population of 450,000 people, and these numbers are what makes it one of the most densely populated countries on Earth due to how many inhabitants are living in the islands while only having a small geographical area.
8. The Maldives (300 square kilometers)
The Maldives is a famous vacation destination for tourists during the summer, but most people probably don’t know that that this group of islands to the south of India is actually a sovereign state. In the historical records, you will see that the Maldives and its people have been conquered and colonized by three countries, namely Portugal, the Netherlands, and Portugal. However, in 1965, Maldives became an independent state.
7. Marshall Islands (181 square kilometers)
Another popular tourist destination, Marshall Islands is surrounded by beautiful beaches and magnificent coral reefs. Officially known as the Republic of Marshall Islands, this country is situated within the Pacific Ocean, and it is currently an island that belongs to Micronesia, a group of islands between Australia and Hawaii. There are about 800 species of fish discovered in its waters, making it one of the most biodiverse countries on planet Earth.
6. Liechtenstein (161 square kilometers)
Located in the Alps, Liechtenstein is a country in between Austria and Switzerland. Despite being relatively close to its neighboring countries, it is fairly difficult to get into Liechtenstein. In order to visit the country, you must first go to Zurich Airport in Switzerland and purchase a ticket to get inside the plane that will take you there.
5. San Marino (60 square kilometers)
San Marino, officially named the Republic of Marino, is located at the center of the northeastern portion of Italy. Regarded as the oldest sovereign state in the world, San Marino currently has about 30,000 inhabitants. In addition, the country is stated to be the wealthiest country while also having one of the lowest unemployment rates out of all countries.
4. Tuvalu (26 square kilometers)
Situated to the northeast of Australia in the Pacific Ocean, Tuvalu was once called Ellice Islands before it was a sovereign state. Tuvalu was once a colony of Britain, but it eventually achieved independence in 1978. Unlike most of the island countries mentioned on this list, the islands in Tuvalu are not popular for tourists due to the country’s almost unreachable location, as you would sometimes have to hire a plane or a boat to get inside the country.
3. Nauru (21 square kilometers)
A country also located near Australia, Nauru is considered as the smallest island country on the planet because of its small geographical area. Nauru was called Pleasant Island before it became an independent country, mainly because of the abundance of resources that humans can get in its land. Unfortunately, Nauru lost more than 70% of resources because of the severe phosphate mining that was done in the country, but there are still people living within the island.
2. Monaco (2 square kilometers)
The second smallest country on Earth is Monaco, which is also one of the wealthiest countries due to serving as the home for billionaires and millionaires that can afford the costs of living in the country. Similar to San Marino, Monaco is situated within another country, but this time it is France. Monaco is popular from its Formula 1 race tracks where the drivers, as well as the audience, can see the beautiful sceneries in the country.
1. Vatican City (0.44 square kilometers)
Vatican City, as mentioned at the start of this article, is the smallest country in the world. Located at the center of Rome, Italy, the Vatican has the biggest church on Earth, which is the Saint Peter’s Basilica that serves as the home of the Pope as well as some of the most popular artworks, like the Creation of Adam and The Pieta by Michelangelo. Interestingly, the Vatican gets funding to keep running as a sovereign state from donations by those who are faithful to the Catholic Church, and also from their sales in merchandise and admission tickets.