Why are there smaller countries than others?

1 Answer
Oct 6, 2017

It depends on how you define a country.


If we accept a political state, for example a member of the UN as a definition of a country, then the reasons for a huge variation in size are varied and historical.

The boundaries of some countries have been defined for hundreds of years, for example the border between Scotland and England. Other countries' are far more common, e.g. the division of Sudan or the creation of Eritrea, both in Africa.

Variation in size can be a result of a national or ethnic identity. For example the break up of Yugoslavia led to the creation of states such as Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia and Moldova amongst others. These reflected ethnic divisions, but there were also substantial ethnic minorities within different countries which led to ethnic cleansing.

In Africa and Asia much of the borders have been artificially created by the colonial powers during the period of decolonisation. These are often borders of convenience for the developed world in order to protect their economic interests.

A final example would be the division of countries such as Korea and Vietnam at lines of latitude again as a consequence of political expediency.