This is a question that has been on my mind for quite a while. Since my life goal is to set foot in every country in the world, it would really come in handy to know how many are there so I can keep track of my progress, if you know what I mean… Ha!

Because of that, I started researching for some answers, only to end up with more questions than before. According to different sources, the number can vary between 190-something and 230-something. The UN, Google, Lonely Planet, Ebay, The Olympics and a multitude of different websites and organizations all use radically different lists of “countries”. But how many are there after all?!

I’ll skip the tedious “what constitutes a country” discussion.

Hong Kong

Romania

Vatican

Nowadays the few surviving colonies and dependencies of this world have evolved into fairly independent regions, culturally at least. And some of today's "real" countries are so tiny that they're almost geographically “irrelevant”.

In many cases their independent populations may actually be smaller than the populations of some of the world's un-sovereign colonial dependencies. So for the sake of it, I’ll count dependencies as countries as well.

The biggest list I could find included 239 countries. However, that list was outdated as it included the former country Yugoslavia, which is now divided into two different countries: Serbia and Montenegro. Also, it didn’t include a new country that emerged in July of 2011: Republic of Sudan.

That said, I made my own list. That list has a total of 241 countries. Here goes:

1. AFGHANISTAN
2. ALBANIA 
3. ALGERIA 
4. AMERICAN SAMOA 
5. ANDORRA 
6. ANGOLA 
7. ANGUILLA 
8. ANTARCTICA 
9. ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA 
10. ARGENTINA 
11. ARMENIA 
12. ARUBA 
13. AUSTRALIA 
14. AUSTRIA 
15. AZERBAIJAN 
16. BAHAMAS 
17. BAHRAIN 
18. BANGLADESH 
19. BARBADOS
20. BELARUS 
21. BELGIUM 
22. BELIZE 
23. BENIN 
24. BERMUDA 
25. BHUTAN 
26. BOLIVIA 
27. BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
28. BOTSWANA 
29. BOUVET ISLAND 
30. BRAZIL 
31. BRITISH INDIAN OCEAN TERRITORY
32. BRUNEI DARUSSALAM 
33. BULGARIA 
34. BURKINA FASO 
35. BURUNDI 
36. CAMBODIA 
37. CAMEROON 
38. CANADA 
39. CAPE VERDE
40. CAYMAN ISLANDS
41. CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC 
42. CHAD 
43. CHILE 
44. CHINA 
45. CHRISTMAS ISLAND 
46. COCOS (KEELING) ISLANDS 
47. COLOMBIA 
48. COMOROS 
49. REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

Cambodia

China

Czech Republic

50. DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO 
51. COOK ISLANDS 
52. COSTA RICA 
53. COTE D'IVOIRE 
54. CROATIA 
55. CUBA 
56. CYPRUS 
57. CZECH REPUBLIC
58. DENMARK 
59. DJIBOUTI 
60. DOMINICA
61. DOMINICAN REPUBLIC 
62. EAST TIMOR 
63. ECUADOR 
64. EGYPT 
65. EL SALVADOR 
66. EQUATORIAL GUINEA 
67. ERITREA
68. ESTONIA 
69. ETHIOPIA 
70. FALKLAND ISLANDS (MALVINAS) 
71. FAROE ISLANDS 
72. FIJI 
73. FINLAND 
74. FRANCE 
75. FRENCH GUIANA 
76. FRENCH POLYNESIA 
77. FRENCH SOUTHERN TERRITORIES 
78. GABON 
79. GAMBIA 
80. GEORGIA
81. GERMANY 
82. GHANA 
83. GIBRALTAR 
84. GREECE 
85. GREENLAND 
86. GRENADA
87. GUADELOUPE 
88. GUAM 
89. GUATEMALA 
90. GUINEA-BISSAU 
91. GUINEA 
92. GUYANA 
93. HAITI 
94. HEARD ISLAND AND MCDONALD ISLANDS 
95. HOLY SEE (VATICAN CITY STATE) 
96. HONDURAS 
97. HONG KONG 
98. HUNGARY 
99. ICELAND 

Iceland

India

Italy

100. INDIA 
101. INDONESIA 
102. IRAN
103. IRAQ 
104. IRELAND 
105. ISRAEL
106. ITALY 
107. JAMAICA
108. JAPAN 
109. JORDAN 
110. KAZAKSTAN
111. KENYA 
112. KIRIBATI 
113. NORTH KOREA
114. SOUTH KOREA
115. KUWAIT 
116. KYRGYZSTAN 
117. LAOS 
118. LATVIA 
119. LEBANON 
120. LESOTHO
121. LIBERIA 
122. LIBYAN ARAB JAMAHIRIYA
123. LIECHTENSTEIN
124. LITHUANIA
125. LUXEMBOURG 
126. MACAU 
127. MACEDONIA
128. MADAGASCAR 
129. MALAWI 
130. MALAYSIA 
131. MALDIVES 
132. MALI 
133. MALTA
134. MARSHALL ISLANDS
135. MARTINIQUE 
136. MAURITANIA 
137. MAURITIUS
138. MAYOTTE 
139. MEXICO 
140. MICRONESIA
141. MOLDOVA  
142. MONACO 
143. MONGOLIA 
144. MONTENEGRO
145. MONTSERRAT 
146. MOROCCO
147. MOZAMBIQUE 
148. MYANMAR
149. NAMIBIA 
150. NAURU
151. NEPAL 

Morocco

Nepal

Netherlands

152. NETHERLANDS ANTILLES 
153. NETHERLANDS 
154. NEW CALEDONIA
155. NEW ZEALAND 
156. NICARAGUA 
157. NIGERIA
158. NIGER 
159. NIUE 
160. NORFOLK ISLAND 
161. NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS
162. NORWAY 
163. OMAN 
164. PAKISTAN 
165. PALAU 
166. PALESTINIAN TERRITORY, OCCUPIED
167. PANAMA
168. PAPUA NEW GUINEA
169. PARAGUAY 
170. PERU 
171. PHILIPPINES 
172. PITCAIRN 
173. POLAND
174. PORTUGAL
175. PUERTO RICO 
176. QATAR 
177. REPUBLIC OF SOUTH SUDAN
178. REUNION 
179. ROMANIA 
180. RUSSIAN FEDERATION 
181. RWANDA 
182. SAINT HELENA 
183. SAINT KITTS AND NEVIS
184. SAINT LUCIA 
185. SAINT PIERRE AND MIQUELON 
186. SAINT VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES
187. SAMOA 
188. SAN MARINO 
189. SAO TOME AND PRINCIPE 
190. SAUDI ARABIA 
191. SENEGAL 
192. SERBIA
193. SEYCHELLES 
194. SIERRA LEONE 
195. SINGAPORE 
196. SLOVAKIA 
197. SLOVENIA 
198. SOLOMON ISLANDS 
199. SOMALIA 
200. SOUTH AFRICA 

Singapore

Spain

Sri Lanka

201. SOUTH GEORGIA AND THE SOUTH SANDWICH ISLANDS 
202. SPAIN 
203. SRI LANKA 
204. SUDAN
205. SURINAME
206. SVALBARD AND JAN MAYEN 
207. SWAZILAND
208. SWEDEN
209. SWITZERLAND
210. SYRIAN ARAB REPUBLIC
211. TAIWAN 
212. TAJIKISTAN 
213. TANZANIA, UNITED REPUBLIC OF 
214. THAILAND 
215. TOGO 
216. TOKELAU 
217. TONGA 
218. TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO 
219. TUNISIA 
220. TURKEY 
221. TURKMENISTAN 
222. TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
223. TUVALU 
224. UGANDA 
225. UKRAINE
226. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 
227. UNITED KINGDOM 
228. UNITED STATES MINOR OUTLYING ISLANDS
229. UNITED STATES 
230. URUGUAY 
231. UZBEKISTAN 
232. VANUATU 
233. VENEZUELA 
234. VIETNAM 
235. VIRGIN ISLANDS, BRITISH 
236. VIRGIN ISLANDS, U.S. 
237. WALLIS AND FUTUNA 
238. WESTERN SAHARA 
239. YEMEN
240. ZAMBIA 
241. ZIMBABWE

So now I know exactly how many places I want to set foot in. I hope I gave you a better understanding of how many different territories form our world, setting aside the sketchy criteria of what constitutes a sovereign nation. Hence, giving you an actual and precise number: 241. As for me, in a nutshell, I’ve now been to 43 out of 241 places, which means it is a scant 17%, and I still have a long way to go. Hehe. Wish me luck!

Andreia Coutinho

23/01/18 20:45 PM