There are 196 countries in the world. Only 24 of them has a land area less than 1000 square kilometres. Some of these small countries including Vatican City, Monaco and Nauru are smaller than cities like New York, Tokyo, Chicago and Atlanta. Here the list of 10 smallest countries on Earth.
1Vatican City, 0.44 square kilometres
The Vatican City is the smallest country in the world, surrounded by the city of Rome. This small country covers just an area of 100 acres. The Vatican is also the least populous country in the world, has only 842 inhabitants. St.Peter’s basilica – The largest Catholic church in the world also located in Vatican city.
The railway lines in Vatican city traverse only about 1.27 kilometres and it is the shortest railway system around the world. The St.Peter’s Basilica, Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel are the main attraction of Vatican City. Every year this small country attracts more than 4 million visitors.
Vatican city was not that small until the unification of Italy in 1870. The Papal states in Italian peninsula were ruled by popes for more than a century (from 700 – 1870). Those territories covered more than 44000 square kilometres at that time. But after Italian unification in 1870 majority of the Papal States became part of Italy. It was a Lateran treat, The agreement between the Kingdom of Italy and Holy See made the Vatican City as an independent country on 11th February 1929.
2Monaco, 2 square kilometres
The principality of Monaco located in Western Europe is the second smallest country in the world with the land area of 2 square kilometres. But this small country has a population of 36950 and this makes it most densely populated the country in the world. Monaco is a constitutional monarchy headed by the members of Grimaldi family. This small country has only one municipality. In that way, Monaco is both an Independent Nation and a city.
Monaco is one of the wealthiest countries in the world with high GDP($6.7 billion). Monaco is well known for its Monte Carlo casino. It is also one of the main economic factors of the country. The country also demands no income tax and low business tax because of its high income from the Monte Carlo casino. Monaco Grand Pix is another important attraction in Monaco. It is one of the most popular races in the world.
3Nauru, 21 square kilometres
Nauru is the smallest Island country in the world with an area of 21 square kilometres. Nauru is also the second least populous country in the world, only has 9378 inhabits. It is a great phosphate rock Island. The extraction of this valuable resource became the main source of income for the country between 1960 and 1970. But the excessive mining leads to depletion of the great resource. This Island nation is surrounded by coral reefs and known for white-sandy beaches. But tourism in Nauru is limited. The phosphate mining, coconut products and offshore banking are the main industries in Nauru.
4Tuvalu, 26 square kilometres
The small Tuvalu nation consists of five atolls and four Islands, located in the Western Pacific. There is only 11000 inhabitants in this tony Island nation. Tuvalu is one of the lowest countries in the world. The highest point of this small nation is about 4.5 meters from mean sea level. This makes the small Islands of Tuvalu to vulnerable to sea level rise. There is only one airport in this country, located in Funafuti Atoll.
The first ever inhabitants of Tuvalu were Polynesians in first century A.D. In 1976 Tuvalu became a single British colony. This Island nation gained independence in 1978. Tuvalu is a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system. Funafuti is the capital of Tuvalu. This large atoll is home to 6194 people. The capital city is known for its 18 kilometres long and 14 kilometres wide lagoon. It is also one of the finest destinations for swimming and snorkelling. The pleasant climate and beautiful beaches also make Tuvalu to the finest tourist destinations in the world.
5San Marino, 61 square kilometres
With a land area of 61 square kilometres, San Marino is the third smallest country in Europe. This small country is entirely surrounded by Italy. San Marino is also the oldest republic in Europe, founded in 301 A.D. San Marino only has a population of 30000. The country has nine municipalities and the city of San Marino is the capital. San Marino is also one of the richest countries in the world in accordance with GDP. San Marino is also famed for having more vehicles than its population. The economy of San Marino mainly based on tourism, banking and textiles.
6Liechtenstein, 160 square kilometres
Liechtenstein is a small Alpine country located between Austria and Switzerland. This tiny national only has a land area of 160 square kilometres and a population of 37132. It is the only country in the world that is entirely located in the Alps. According to GDP per capita (the U.S $25000), Liechtenstein is the richest country in the world. The unemployment rate of Liechtenstein also very low, under 1.5 percentage.
Liechtenstein has a unitary parliamentary system and a constitutional monarchy. The administrative centre of the nation housed in the capital city of Vaduz. Liechtenstein has 11 municipalities and Schaan is the largest city in the country with a land area of 25 square kilometres. German is the official language of Liechtenstein. Metal manufacturing, ceramic, dental products and electronics are major industries in Liechtenstein. This Alpine country is also one of the popular winter sports destinations in the world.
7Marshal Islands, 181 square kilometres
The Marshall Islands comprise hundreds of Islands and thousands of Islets connected by 29 coral atolls. There are only 24 inhabited Islands with a population of 68000. The Marshall Islands were occupied by Spanish, German, Japanese, British and Americans in between the 16th century and 20th century. The Marshall Islands gained Independence in 1986 under the compact of free association with the United States.
The U.S dollar is the official currency of the Marshall Islands. The people of Marshall Islands speak both Marshallese and English. The major industries of this small Island country include handicraft, copra, fish processing and tourism. The crystal clear blue waters of this nation home to 160 species of coral and 800 species of fishes. The Marshall Islands is also one of the finest destinations for scuba diving and snorkelling.
8Saint Kitts and Nevis, 261 square kilometres
The St.Kitts and Nevis comprise two beautiful Islands located in the Caribbean. The earliest inhabitants of St.Kitts and Nevis were Carib people. These Islands were first explored by Christopher Columbus in 1498. The British occupied St.Kitts and Nevis respectively in 1623 and 1628. The French also settled on these Islands in 1627. The British and French fought for a century to get full control of St.Kitts and Nevis. In 1713 these Islands became a single British colony. The St.Kitts and Nevis became an associated state in 1967 and gained independence in 1983.
This small Caribbean country has a total land area of 261 square kilometres, St. Kitts is 168 square kilometres and Nevis is 93 square kilometres. Today the country has a population of 51538. Both Islands are famed for their pristine beaches, green valleys rain forests and pleasant climate. The economy of the country is mainly based on sugar cultivation and tourism.
9Maldives, 298 Square Kilometers
The Maldives archipelago located in the Indian ocean comprises 1090 Islands in total. But there are only 200 inhabited Islands in the Maldives. This beautiful country only has a land area of 298 square kilometres and a population of 3,93,500. The Maldives has been inhabited since the 5th century B.C. The Portuguese, Dutch and British empires have dominated this country respectively in 16th, 17th and 19th century. Finally, Maldives became an independent country in 1965.
Many Islands of Maldives appear to be only 1.5 meters above mean sea level. This low ground level elevation makes the Maldives as the lowest country in the world. Unfortunately, the rise in sea level due to global warming is about to erode away many Islands of the Maldives in nearby future. At the same time the white-sand beaches, coral reefs, rich marine life and turquoise water make the Maldives as one of the most beautiful and popular tourist destinations in the world.
10Malta, 316 square kilometres
Malta is an archipelago of seven Islands located in the Mediterranean sea. This small country only has an area of 316 square kilometres. Only three Islands named Malta, Gozo and Comino are inhabited in this archipelago. These three Islands are also the largest Islands in Malta. The country has a population of 4,46,547, make it one of the densely populated countries in the world.
The country has great historical and cultural significance. It is one of the most remarkable prehistoric sites in the world. The ‘hypogeum’, a 5000-year-old underground structure located in Paola town of Malta represents this fact. There are also seven prehistoric temples in Malta, dated back to 3600 B.C- 700 B.C.A number of civilizations including the Phoenicians, Romans, Sicilians, French and British have ruled Malta in a different period of time.
Malta gained independence in 1964. English and Maltese are the main languages of this country. Today tourism is one of the main sources of income for Malta. The prehistoric monuments and beautiful beaches of Malta attract about one million tourists every year.