Number of Countries in the World

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Countries invited by the British

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Countries of Earth

The best answer is that there are 196 countries in the world. There are 193 members of the United Nations. Unfortunately, the number 193 is too often used to represent the number of countries in the world.

But 2 countries are "independent" and not UN members, add them (Vatican City and Kosovo) and that makes 195. Plus "The One Outsider", Taiwan, that makes 196.

Taiwan meets the requirements of independent country or state status. However, due to political reasons, it fails to be recognized by the international community as independent. Nonetheless, it should be considered as independent.

Taiwan was actually a member of the United Nations (and even the Security Council) until 1971, when mainland China replaced Taiwan in the organization. Taiwan continues to press for full recognition by other countries, to become "part of the club" and fully recognized worldwide but China claims that Taiwan is simply a province of China.

Thus...

Your Guide considers there to be 196 countries in the world, which is probably the best current answer to the question, "How many countries are in the world?"

However...

Recognize that there are dozens of territories and colonies that are sometimes erroneously called "countries" but don't count at all - they're governed by other countries. Places commonly confused as being countries include Puerto Rico, Bermuda, Greenland, Palestine, Western Sahara, and even the components of the United Kingdom (such as Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England - they're not fully independent countries, states, or nation-states).

Independent States in the World

http://www.state.gov/s/inr/rls/4250.htm

STATE

Independent States in the World
Short-form name Long-form name FIPS Code[1] Capital
Afghanistan Islamic Republic of Afghanistan AF Kabul
Albania Republic of Albania AL Tirana
Algeria People's Democratic Republic of Algeria AG Algiers
Andorra Principality of Andorra AN Andorra la Vella
Angola Republic of Angola AO Luanda
Antigua and Barbuda Antiqua and Barbuda AC Saint John's
Argentina Argentine Republic AR Buenos Aires
Armenia Republic of Armenia AM Yerevan
Australia Commonwealth of Australia AS Canberra
Austria Republic of Austria AU Vienna
Azerbaijan Republic of Azerbaijan AJ Baku
Bahamas, The Commonwealth of The Bahamas BF Nassau
Bahrain Kingdom of Bahrain BA Manama
Bangladesh People's Republic of Bangladesh BG Dhaka
Barbados Barbados BB Bridgetown
Belarus Republic of Belarus BO Minsk
Belgium Kingdom of Belgium BE Brussels
Belize Belize BH Belmopan
Benin Republic of Benin BN Porto-Novo
Bhutan Kingdom of Bhutan BT Thimphu
Bolivia Plurinational State of Bolivia BL La Paz (administrative) Sucre (legislative/judiciary)
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina BK Sarajevo
Botswana Republic of Botswana BC Gaborone
Brazil Federative Republic of Brazil BR Brasília
Brunei Brunei Darussalam BX Bandar Seri Begawan
Bulgaria Republic of Bulgaria BU Sofia
Burkina Faso Burkina Faso UV Ouagadougou
Burma Union of Burma BM Rangoon

Nay Pyi Taw (administrative)

Burundi Republic of Burundi BY Bujumbura
Cabo Verde Republic of Cabo Verde CV Praia
Cambodia Kingdom of Cambodia CB Phnom Penh
Cameroon Republic of Cameroon CM Yaoundé
Canada Canada CA Ottawa
Central African Republic Central African Republic CT Bangui
Chad Republic of Chad CD N'Djamena
Chile Republic of Chile CI Santiago
China *[2] People's Republic of China CH Beijing
Colombia Republic of Colombia CO Bogotá
Comoros Union of the Comoros CN Moroni
Congo (Brazzaville) *[3] Republic of the Congo CF Brazzaville
Congo (Kinshasa) *[3] Democratic Republic of the Congo CG Kinshasa
Costa Rica Republic of Costa Rica CS San José
Côte d'Ivoire * (Ivory Coast) Republic of Côte d'Ivoire IV Yamoussoukro
Croatia Republic of Croatia HR Zagreb
Cuba Republic of Cuba CU Havana
Cyprus Republic of Cyprus CY Nicosia
Czech Republic Czech Republic EZ Prague
Denmark Kingdom of Denmark DA Copenhagen
Djibouti Republic of Djibouti DJ Djibouti
Dominica Commonwealth of Dominica DO Roseau
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic DR Santo Domingo
Ecuador Republic of Ecuador EC Quito
Egypt Arab Republic of Egypt EG Cairo
El Salvador Republic of El Salvador ES San Salvador
Equatorial Guinea Republic of Equatorial Guinea EK Malabo
Eritrea State of Eritrea ER Asmara
Estonia Republic of Estonia EN Tallinn
Ethiopia Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia ET Addis Ababa
Fiji Republic of Fiji FJ Suva
Finland Republic of Finland FI Helsinki
France French Republic FR Paris
Gabon Gabonese Republic GB Libreville
Gambia, The Republic of The Gambia GA Banjul
Georgia Georgia GG Tbilisi
Germany Federal Republic of Germany GM Berlin
Ghana Republic of Ghana GH Accra
Greece Hellenic Republic GR Athens
Grenada Grenada GJ Saint George's
Guatemala Republic of Guatemala GT Guatemala
Guinea Republic of Guinea GV Conakry
Guinea-Bissau Republic of Guinea-Bissau PU Bissau
Guyana Co-operative Republic of Guyana GY Georgetown
Haiti Republic of Haiti HA Port-au-Prince
Holy See Holy See VT Vatican City
Honduras Republic of Honduras HO Tegucigalpa
Hungary Hungary HU Budapest
Iceland Republic of Iceland IC Reykjavík
India Republic of India IN New Delhi
Indonesia Republic of Indonesia ID Jakarta
Iran Islamic Republic of Iran IR Tehran
Iraq Republic of Iraq IZ Baghdad
Ireland Ireland EI Dublin
Israel State of Israel IS Jerusalem[4]
Italy Italian Republic IT Rome
Jamaica Jamaica JM Kingston
Japan Japan JA Tokyo
Jordan Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan JO Amman
Kazakhstan Republic of Kazakhstan KZ Astana
Kenya Republic of Kenya KE Nairobi
Kiribati Republic of Kiribati KR Tarawa
Korea, North Democratic People's Republic of Korea KN Pyongyang
Korea, South Republic of Korea KS Seoul
Kosovo Republic of Kosovo KV Pristina
Kuwait State of Kuwait KU Kuwait
Kyrgyzstan Kyrgyz Republic KG Bishkek
Laos Lao People's Democratic Republic LA Vientiane
Latvia Republic of Latvia LG Riga
Lebanon Lebanese Republic LE Beirut
Lesotho Kingdom of Lesotho LT Maseru
Liberia Republic of Liberia LI Monrovia
Libya Libya LY Tripoli
Liechtenstein Principality of Liechtenstein LS Vaduz
Lithuania Republic of Lithuania LH Vilnius
Luxembourg Grand Duchy of Luxembourg LU Luxembourg
Macedonia Republic of Macedonia MK Skopje
Madagascar Republic of Madagascar MA Antananarivo
Malawi Republic of Malawi MI Lilongwe
Malaysia Malaysia MY Kuala Lumpur
Maldives Republic of Maldives MV Male
Mali Republic of Mali ML Bamako
Malta Republic of Malta MT Valletta
Marshall Islands Republic of the Marshall Islands RM Majuro
Mauritania Islamic Republic of Mauritania MR Nouakchott
Mauritius Republic of Mauritius MP Port Louis
Mexico United Mexican States MX Mexico
Micronesia, Federated States of Federated States of Micronesia FM Palikir
Moldova Republic of Moldova MD Chisinau
Monaco Principality of Monaco MN Monaco
Mongolia Mongolia MG Ulaanbaatar
Montenegro Montenegro MJ Podgorica
Morocco Kingdom of Morocco MO Rabat
Mozambique Republic of Mozambique MZ Maputo
Namibia Republic of Namibia WA Windhoek
Nauru Republic of Nauru NR Yaren District (no capital city)
Nepal Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal NP Kathmandu
Netherlands Kingdom of the Netherlands NL Amsterdam, The Hague (seat of gov't)
New Zealand New Zealand NZ Wellington
Nicaragua Republic of Nicaragua NU Managua
Niger Republic of Niger NG Niamey
Nigeria Federal Republic of Nigeria NI Abuja
Norway Kingdom of Norway NO Oslo
Oman Sultanate of Oman MU Muscat
Pakistan Islamic Republic of Pakistan PK Islamabad
Palau Republic of Palau PS Melekeok
Panama Republic of Panama PM Panama
Papua New Guinea Independent State of Papua New Guinea PP Port Moresby
Paraguay Republic of Paraguay PA Asunción
Peru Republic of Peru PE Lima
Philippines Republic of the Philippines RP Manila
Poland Republic of Poland PL Warsaw
Portugal Portuguese Republic PO Lisbon
Qatar State of Qatar QA Doha
Romania Romania RO Bucharest
Russia Russian Federation RS Moscow
Rwanda Republic of Rwanda RW Kigali
Saint Kitts and Nevis Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis SC Basseterre
Saint Lucia Saint Lucia ST Castries
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Saint Vincent and the Grenadines VC Kingstown
Samoa Independent State of Samoa WS Apia
San Marino Republic of San Marino SM San Marino
Sao Tome and Principe Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe TP São Tomé
Saudi Arabia Kingdom of Saudi Arabia SA Riyadh
Senegal Republic of Senegal SG Dakar
Serbia Republic of Serbia RI Belgrade
Seychelles Republic of Seychelles SE Victoria
Sierra Leone Republic of Sierra Leone SL Freetown
Singapore Republic of Singapore SN Singapore
Slovakia Slovak Republic LO Bratislava
Slovenia Republic of Slovenia SI Ljubljana
Solomon Islands Solomon Islands BP Honiara
Somalia Federal Republic of Somalia SO Mogadishu
South Africa Republic of South Africa SF Pretoria (administrative), Cape Town (legislative), Bloemfontein (judiciary)
South Sudan Republic of South Sudan OD Juba
Spain Kingdom of Spain SP Madrid
Sri Lanka Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka CE Colombo, Sri Jayewardenepura Kotte (legislative)
Sudan Republic of the Sudan SU Khartoum
Suriname Republic of Suriname NS Paramaribo
Swaziland Kingdom of Swaziland WZ Mbabane (administrative), Lobamba (legislative)
Sweden Kingdom of Sweden SW Stockholm
Switzerland Swiss Confederation SZ Bern
Syria Syrian Arab Republic SY Damascus
Tajikistan Republic of Tajikistan TI Dushanbe
Tanzania United Republic of Tanzania TZ Dar es Salaam, Dodoma (legislative)
Thailand Kingdom of Thailand TH Bangkok
Timor-Leste Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste TT Dili
Togo Togolese Republic TO Lomé
Tonga Kingdom of Tonga TN Nuku'alofa
Trinidad and Tobago Republic of Trinidad and Tobago TD Port-of-Spain
Tunisia Tunisian Republic TS Tunis
Turkey Republic of Turkey TU Ankara
Turkmenistan Turkmenistan TX Ashgabat
Tuvalu Tuvalu TV Funafuti
Uganda Republic of Uganda UG Kampala
Ukraine Ukraine UP Kyiv
United Arab Emirates United Arab Emirates AE Abu Dhabi
United Kingdom United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland UK London
United States United States of America US Washington, DC
Uruguay Oriental Republic of Uruguay UY Montevideo
Uzbekistan Republic of Uzbekistan UZ Tashkent
Vanuatu Republic of Vanuatu NH Port-Vila
Venezuela Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela VE Caracas
Vietnam Socialist Republic of Vietnam VM Hanoi
Yemen Republic of Yemen YM Sanaa
Zambia Republic of Zambia ZA Lusaka
Zimbabwe Republic of Zimbabwe ZI Harare

 Diplomatic relations with the United States 

 Member of United Nations 

 One of the 22 countries the British have NOT invaded 

OTHER

Other
Short-form name Long-form name FIPS Code[1] Capital
Taiwan[5][2] (no long-form name) TW Taipei

Dependencies and Areas of Special Sovereignty

http://www.state.gov/s/inr/rls/10543.htm

Dependencies and Areas of Special Sovereignty
Short-form name Long-form name Sovereignty FIPS Code[1] Administrative Center
Akrotiri[6] Akrotiri United Kingdom AX Episkopi[7]
American Samoa Territory of American Samoa United States AQ Pago Pago
Anguilla Anguilla United Kingdom AV The Valley
Antarctica (no long-form name) None[8] AY None
Aruba (no long-form name) Netherlands AA Oranjestad
Ashmore and Cartier Islands Territory of Ashmore and Cartier Islands Australia AT Administered from Canberra
Baker Island (no long-form name) United States FQ Administered from Washington, D.C.
Bermuda Bermuda United Kingdom BD Hamilton
Bouvet Island (no long-form name) Norway BV Admin. from Oslo
British Indian Ocean Territory[9] British Indian Ocean Territory United Kingdom IO None
Cayman Islands Cayman Islands United Kingdom CJ George Town
Christmas Island Territory of Christmas Island Australia KT The Settlement

(Flying Fish Cove)

Clipperton Island (no long-form name) France IP Administered from Paris
Cocos (Keeling) Islands Territory of Cocos (Keeling) Islands Australia CK West Island
Cook Islands (no long-form name) New Zealand CW Avarua
Coral Sea Islands Coral Sea Islands Territory Australia CR Administered from Canberra
Curaçao[10] (no long-form name) Netherlands UC Willemstad
Dhekelia[6] Dhekelia United Kingdom DX Episkopi[7]
Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) United Kingdom[11] FK Stanley
Faroe Islands (no long-form name) Denmark FO Tórshavn
French Guiana[12]
French Polynesia (no long-form name) France FP Papeete
French Southern and Antarctic Lands[13] (no long-form name) France FS Administered from Paris
Gibraltar Gibraltar United Kingdom GI Gibraltar
Greenland (no long-form name) Denmark GL Nuuk (Godthåb)
Guadeloupe[12]
Guam Territory of Guam United States GQ Hagatna
Guernsey[14] Bailiwick of Guernsey British Crown Dependency GK Saint Peter Port
Heard Island and McDonald Islands Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands Australia HM Administered from Canberra
Hong Kong Hong Kong Special Administrative Region China[15] HK None
Howland Island (no long-form name) United States HQ Administered from Washington, D.C.
Isle of Man (no long-form name) British Crown Dependency IM Douglas
Jan Mayen (no long-form name) Norway JN Administered from Oslo[16]
Jarvis Island (no long-form name) United States DQ Administered from Washington, D.C.
Jersey Bailiwick of Jersey British Crown Dependency JE Saint Helier
Johnston Atoll (no long-form name) United States JQ Administered from Washington, D.C.
Kingman Reef (no long-form name) United States KQ Administered from Washington, D.C.
Macau Macau Special Administrative Region China[17] MC Macau
Martinique[12]
Mayotte[12]
Midway Islands (no long-form name) United States MQ Administered from Washington, D.C.
Montserrat Montserrat United Kingdom MH Plymouth
Navassa Island (no long-form name) United States BQ Administered from Washington, D.C.
New Caledonia (no long-form name) France NC Nouméa
Niue (no long-form name) New Zealand NE Alofi
Norfolk Island Territory of Norfolk Island Australia NF Kingston
Northern Mariana Islands Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands United States CQ Saipan
Palmyra Atoll (no long-form name) United States LQ Administered from Washington, D.C.
Paracel Islands (no long-form name) undetermined[18] PF None
Pitcairn Islands Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie, and Oeno Islands United Kingdom PC Adamstown
Puerto Rico Commonwealth of Puerto Rico United States RQ San Juan
Reunion[12]
Saint Barthelemy Saint Barthelemy France TB Gustavia
Saint Helena[19] Saint Helena, Ascension, and Tristan da Cunha United Kingdom SH Jamestown
Saint Martin[20] Saint Martin France RN Marigot
Saint Pierre and Miquelon Territorial Collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon France SB Saint-Pierre
Sint Maarten[10] (no long-form name) Netherlands NN Philipsburg
South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands United Kingdom[11] SX None
Spratly Islands (no long-form name) undetermined[21] PG None

Svalbard || (no long-form name) || Norway || SV || Longyearbyen

Tokelau (no long-form name) New Zealand TL None
Turks and Caicos Islands Turks and Caicos Islands United Kingdom TK Grand Turk
Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, British United Kingdom VI Road Town
Virgin Islands, U.S. United States Virgin Islands United States VQ Charlotte Amalie
Wake Island (no long-form name) United States WQ Administered from Washington, D.C.
Wallis and Futuna (no long-form name) France WF Matâ'utu
Western Sahara (no long-form name) To be determined WI None

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 10-4 codes. On September 2, 2008 the National Institute of Standards and Technology withdrew FIPS 10-4 as a United States Government standard. No successor standard for country codes has been identified.
  2. 2.0 2.1 With the establishment of diplomatic relations with China on January 1, 1979, the US Government recognized the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government of China and acknowledged the Chinese position that there is only one China and that Taiwan is part of China.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Congo" is the official short-form name for both the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. To distinguish one from the other, the U.S. Department of State adds the capital in parentheses. This practice is unofficial and provisional.
  4. Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital in 1950. The United States, like nearly all other countries, maintains its embassy in Tel Aviv.
  5. Claimed by both the Government of the People's Republic of China and the authorities on Taiwan. Administered by the authorities on Taiwan.
  6. 6.0 6.1 United Kingdom sovereign base area on the island of Cyprus.
  7. 7.0 7.1 The joint force headquarters, under the Commander of the British Forces Cyprus, administers both sovereign base areas from Episkopi.
  8. Antarctica consists of the territory south of 60 degrees south latitude. This area includes claims by Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom, the legal status of which remains in suspense under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959. The United States recognizes no claims to Antarctica.
  9. Chagos Archipelago (including Diego Garcia).
  10. 10.0 10.1 The Netherlands Antilles dissolved on October 10, 2010. Curaçao and Sint Maarten (the Dutch two-fifths of the island of Saint Martin) became autonomous territories of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius now fall under the direct administration of the Netherlands.
  11. 11.0 11.1 U.K. Overseas Territory (also claimed by Argentina).
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Reunion are departments (first-order administrative units) of France, and are therefore not dependencies or areas of special sovereignty. They are included in this list only for the convenience of the user. The Department of Guadeloupe includes the nearby islands of Marie-Galante, La Desirade, and Iles des Saintes.
  13. The French Southern and Antarctic Lands includes Île Amsterdam, Île Saint-Paul, Îles Crozet, and Îles Kerguelen in the southern Indian Ocean; the "Iles Eparses" (Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island and Tromelin Island) in the Mozambique Channel and western Indian Ocean; and the French-claimed sector of Antarctica, "Terre Adélie." The United States does not recognize the French claim to "Terre Adélie"
  14. The Bailiwick of Guernsey includes the islands of Alderney, Guernsey, Herm, Sark, and nearby smaller islands.
  15. Under a Sino-British declaration of September 1984, Hong Kong reverted to Chinese control on July 1, 1997. It is now a semi-autonomous entity that exists pursuant to international agreement and maintains its own government apart from the People's Republic of China.
  16. Administered from Oslo, Norway, through a governor resident in Longyearbyen, Svalbard.
  17. Under the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration on the Question of Macau signed in 1987, Macau reverted to Chinese control on December 20, 1999. It is now a semi-autonomous entity that exists pursuant to international agreement and maintains its own government apart from the People's Republic of China.
  18. South China Sea islands occupied by China but claimed by Vietnam.
  19. The territory of Saint Helena includes the Island group of Tristan da Cunha; Saint Helena also administers Ascension Island.
  20. The island of Saint Martin is divided: the northern three-fifths form the French collectivity of Saint-Martin, while the southern two-fifths (Sint Maarten) is an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
  21. South China Sea islands claimed in entirety by China and Vietnam and in part by the Philippines and Malaysia; each of these states occupies some part of the islands.

Source

Office of The Geographer and Global Issues, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.