A Guide to New Nations
Fledgling countries that have emerged since the 1990s
by David Johnson
NEW NATIONSFormer Soviet Union
Since 1990, 29 new nations have come into being. Most of these emerged from the collapse of the Soviet Union, either directly or indirectly, as nationalist fervor swept Eastern Europe and the Balkans in the early 1990s. Several other new countries gained independence from other nations. Still others have changed their names.
The World's Newest Country
On July 9, 2011 after years of fighting and civil war, the Republic of South Sudan declared its independence from Sudan and became Africa's 54th state. Thousands celebrated in the streets of South Sudan's capital, Juba. Kiir, South Sudan's president, signed the interim Constitution. South Sudan's independence was the result of a secessionist referendum held in January 2011 in which 98.8% of voters in the southern part of Sudan chose independence from the north.
Some Reincarnations, Some New Countries
Some, like Armenia, are modern reincarnations of ancient nations, while others, such as the states of Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan), are truly new countries, whose borders followed those of republics within the Soviet Union.
Earning their Independence
Some of the nations appeared peacefully, such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, which emerged from the relatively cordial divorce of the two parts of the former Czechoslovakia. Others, such as Bosnia, or East Timor, were scenes of horrific fighting.
Infoplease's Guide to New Nations
Use the guide at the right to make discovering all the new nations easy.
The list does not include nations formed by mergers of already existing countries. In 1990, North and South Yemen joined to form the Republic of Yemen, located south of Saudi Arabia. Also in 1990, East and West Germany merged to create the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Russian Federation was created in 1991 to comprise the former Soviet Union territory that did not break away into separate countries. Yugoslavia kept its name although it also lost territory in the 1990s.
Five nations have also changed their names since the 1990s. The African nation of Zaire became the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Western Samoa was renamed Samoa; and the Republic of Fiji became the Republic of the Fiji Islands; Comoros adopted a new consititution and changed its name from the "Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros" to the "Union of Comoros Islands." In 2003, Yugoslavia became Serbia and Montenegro.