The Top 10 of the oldest countries in the world – do you know their names?
The United Nations recognizes the existence of 195 sovereign states. However, several autonomous or semi-autonomous regions or self-proclaimed states are not recognized by the UN. The question inevitably arises as to which is the first country to emerge in the world. Here it is important to note that there are many similar rankings in which you can find quite different information. This is because countries are classified on a different basis.
In this ranking, we have collected the oldest countries that still exist in some form, although quite different from the original.
San Marino is the fifth smallest country in the world. It is one of the three countries in the world that is entirely surrounded by another country’s territory (the so-called enclave). During Diocletian’s persecution of Christians, St. Marini was forced to flee to Mount Titano. He built a small church there, and on September 3, 301, the state of San Marino was founded. It is the oldest constitutional republic in the world. The Constitution was adopted in 1600 and is considered the oldest governing document still in force. San Marino has its own calendar, which began with the founding the republic.
Ancient Iran, or Persia, as it is known in Western countries, was founded around 550 BC. Gradually, Persia became an empire and was one of the greatest nations known in world history. One of the most important battles, which is reflected even today, is the one of Plateia in 479 BC when Xerxes tried to conquer Greece. The outcome of this war was extremely important for preserving Greek culture and democracy and their later adoption by other European countries. Modern Iran was founded after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. That’s certainly one of the Top 10 oldest countries in the world.
The Japanese islands were inhabited in the 30th millennium BC. In the following millennia, the islands were settled mainly by people who relied on hunting and gathering for their livelihood. Japan adopted 660 BC, such as the date of the state’s founding, when Emperor Jim ascended the throne. Historians are not sure whether Emperor Jim and his successors actually existed, as there is insufficient evidence. For example, in Chinese chronicles, the first information about Japan dates back to the 2nd century. Clearly it’s one of the top ten oldest countries.
The first civilizations in Greece were born during the Bronze Age. The archaic period (9th-8th centuries BC) marked the beginning of the Greek polis and the first beginnings of democracy. In addition, significant progress has been made in art, poetry, and the Greek alphabet has been developed. After the campaigns of Alexander the Great came the Hellenistic era, during which Greek culture spread to much of the ancient world. Modern Greece was formed in the first half of the 19th century after the war of independence against the Ottoman Empire.
Ethiopia is located in East Africa and is one of the countries where Homo sapiens appears. The kingdom of Dʿmt was one of the first to be formed in this region around 980 BC. Its subjects used many modern tools and weapons for the time, which testifies to the level of development. It lasted until about 400 BC. Then about 100 AD, the Aksumite Kingdom, inherited from the Zagwe dynasty, was formed. It was overthrown by members of the Solomon dynasty, which ruled until the 1974 coup when the monarchy ended.
It is believed that the kingdom of Colchis was established around the 17th century BC. It became known to the ancient Greeks in the 6th century BC when the Greek cities of Dioscuri and Phasis were founded. In Greek mythology, the kingdom is often mentioned. Colchis then successively came under the control of the Roman Empire, the Muslims, and Russia. During the October Revolution, Georgia declared independence. Still, it was occupied in 1921 and remained part of the Soviet Union until its collapse.
It is believed that the first Chinese dynasty was Xia, whose rule lasted from 2700 BC until 1600 BC. Until recently, there was no record of the first dynasty. Many historians consider it mythological because China’s written history begins with the Shang dynasty. The ancient Chinese invented many things that we still use today, such as compasses, gunpowder, and paper. The dynastic period in Chinese history lasted until 1912 when the republic was formed. The People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949 and still exists today.
According to historians, the Indian civilization had possessions in Afghanistan as early as 3000 BC. In addition, they created one of the first cities in the world – Mundigak, located near the present-day Afghan city of Kandahar. Gradually, various tribes settled in Afghanistan. It was later conquered by the Persian king Darius I and Alexander the Great. The country was part of multiple empires until the founding of the modern Afghan state in 1747. Although today the state is Islamic, the main religion was Buddhism for several centuries.
The Indian subcontinent has been inhabited since about 3300 BC. However, the formation of India took place rather during the Vedic period (1500 BC – 600 BC). At that time, the foundations of Hinduism were laid, and many cultural aspects reflect the development of Indians even today. The state as we know it today was established in 1947 when it gained independence from Britain. Today it is the seventh-largest in the world and the second-most populous.
There have been settlers in Egypt for more than 250,000 years. Although the roots of ancient Egyptian civilization date back to 6000 BC, the founding of the state is considered to be 3100 BC, when Pharaoh Menes (Narmer) united Upper and Lower Egypt. The power of the pharaohs continued until the suicide of Cleopatra VII of the Ptolemaic dynasty because her army lost the battle with Octavian Augustus and Egypt became a Roman province. Egypt was part of various states and empires in the following centuries until 1953, when a coup was carried out, and the country has proclaimed a republic.
As we have seen, some modern countries have their origins much further back in time than we think. And if for Egypt and Greece we expected it, then for Georgia and San Marino, for example, we were definitely surprised. History is full of unexpected surprises… but tell us – do you agree with our oldest country in the world list?
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