Next Tuesday America prepares to celebrate its 241st birthday party on the 4th of July. While being an independent nation for 241 years is relatively young when compared with many major countries in Europe and Asia, America is not even in the top 50 when it comes to youngest countries in the world based on when they gained their independence. So without further ado, here are the 10 youngest countries on the planet based on when they gained their independence with a brief explanation of how or why.
10. Bosnia and Herzegovina
The nation of Bosnia and Herzegovina became an independent nation from Yugoslavia, which was beginning to fall into civil war in 1992. After 1990 parliamentary elections, the three ruling parties were split on independence, with the Serbs wanting to remain and the Bosnians and Croatians wanting to leave Yugoslavia. Because of the split, the Serbs left parliament in Sarajevo to form their own council, where they would go on to declare the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Independence was officially gained via a referendum and was granted instant UN status following independence.
9. The Czech Republic and 8. Slovakia
The nation that was once Czechoslovakia, a nation that was one of the biggest members of the Warsaw Pact and puppet of the Communist regime in Moscow, was broken up by parliament in January of 1993. The split of the countries began with the Velvet Revolution, a peaceful month long protest in December 1989 against the communist party’s one party rule that resulted in the move from one party rule to a parliamentary system. Nationalist tensions in the early 1990s after the revolution, anchored by the fall of the USSR and the sight of civil war beginning in Yugoslavia, the countries both decided to peacefully split.
This tiny African nation gained its independence in April of 1993 following the end of a 30-year long civil war between the Eritrean Liberation Movement and Ethiopian forces. The army invaded the capital of Ethiopia, prompting a UN-supervised referendum in with Eritrea voted for independence. The celebration was sadly short last, as the Liberation Front took power for themselves and have ruled a dictatorship without elections since.
Palau is a tiny western Pacific island that gained its independence in the fall of 1994, after years of being on its own after deciding to not be part of Micronesia. The independence came via referendum.
5. East Timor
East Timor is another small Pacific island that became independent in 2002 but not without a fight. After voting for independence from Indonesia years earlier, the government came in and brutally attacked the people of East Timor. East Timor had been long oppressed by Indonesia, who had been responsible for 180,000 deaths after taking over the region from Portugal in 1975.
3 and 4. Serbia and Montenegro
These two tiny Balkan nations in Eastern Europe were their own country of Serbia and Montenegro for fifteen years following the utter collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991. After suffering through civil war and disputes thereafter, including a name change in 2003, the Montenegrins decided to split in 2006 after a referendum showed 55 percent of them didn’t want to stay aligned with Serbia. Montenegro then was granted an ability to declare its independence in June of 2006 and then shortly after Serbia, now on their own as a nation, declared its independence as well.
This tiny Balkan nation finally gained its independence from Serbia in February 2008. Infamous for the Kosovo War during the 1990s, resulting in U.S. intervention by way of airstrikes, Kosovo independence had been opposed by Serbia and Russia. In 2006 the UN security council first met to begin the process of determining Kosovo’s status. After a couple years of trying to get Russia to approve of Kosovo independence to no avail, The U.S. and its European allies decided to back Kosovo independence anyways, and Kosovo declared it right after the 2008 Serbian elections, with the instant support from 111 UN nations.
South Sudan is the youngest country on the face of the Earth. The country became independent after years of tension between the Christians in South Sudan and the Muslims in the northern part of the country. This tension had led to a long civil war in the country of Sudan, and in 2011 South Sudanese people voted for independence with almost 99% voting yes to succeed from the rest of Sudan. The country officially became independent on July 9, 2011, but is still sadly ravaged by civil war to this day.
Even though many of these countries are now independent, they still have their problems with war, poverty, and sadly for some, a dictatorship has taken over that has led to a life that is worse then before independence. One can only hope that future countries and these as well turn into thriving democracies with a good, western economy, to not only benefit the people of these nations, but the world as well.