It is really no exciting news to hear the birth of another new country. Do you know? There are simply 31 widely-recognized plus 5 controversially-recognized and 1 unrecognized new-born countries that are no more than 21 years old (that is born no earlier than 1990, the legal age to do anything in most of US states), prior to 9th July, 2011 (Hong Kong, Macau being unique cases back to China, anything would be unique regarding China anyhow nowadays). Assuming most of the readers live in relatively politically stable regimes and have little sense of how dynamic and volatile global political equilibrium could be, it must be a shock to see there are so many split break-up of old countries and formation of new countries in the past two decades. I say it’s purely amazing. Here is some collective information of those countries:
- 23 widely recognized countries in Eurasia were created mainly due to historical ethnic dispute:
15 countries born out of the dissolution of the former Soviet Union in 1991; they are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan.
6 countries born out of dissolution of the former Yugoslavia from 1991 to 2006; they are: Slovenia (1991), Croatia (1991), Bosnia and Herzegovina (1992), Serbia (1992 as Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, then 2006 as Serbia after split with Montenegro), Macedonia (1991), Montenegro (2006).
2 countries split out of the dissolution of the former Czechoslovakia in 1993; they are Czech Republic and Slovakia.
- 6 widely recognized countries in Africa and Oceania emerged as a consequence of historical colonial divisions:
6 countries obtained independence status that result from former colonial divisions; they are: Namibia (1990 from South Africa, as it used to a German colony rather than British), Eritrea (1993 from Ethiopia, as it used to Italian colony rather than part of Ethiopia, though the majority inhabitants share same roots, culture and religion), Marshall Islands (1991 from US trusteeship, as it used to be German colony, controlled by Japan after WWI, and US after WWII), Palau (1994, from US trusteeship, as it used to be part of the Caroline Islands under first Spanish, then German, Japanese and later US rule), Micronesia (1990 from US trusteeship, as it used to be ruled by Spanish, German, Japanese, and US, chronologically), East Timor (2002 from Indonesia, as it used to Portuguese colony rather than Dutch East Indies).
- 2 widely recognized countries in Eurasia founded as a result of ethnic unification:
Germany (1990) was founded based on the reunification of former West Germany and former East Germany after the fall of iron curtain. Yemen (1990), which is in deep political chaos at the moment, was established based on the unification of North Yemen and South Yemen, under the leadership the current unpopular president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
- 5 controversially recognized political entities in Europe due to historical ethnic dispute (in an ethno-geographic sense)
Kosovo (2008) declared independence unilaterally under heavy support of the US from Serbia, with its independence not widely recognized.
Transnistria (1990), declared independence after the dissolution of the former Soviet Union, the de facto independence from Moldova reinforced after the Transnistria war in 1992, recognized only by Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia.
Nagorno-Karabakh (1992) proclaimed its independence in the middle of the Nagorno-Karabakh war (1988-1994) between Armenian and Azerbaijani, currently only recgnized by Transnistria, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia (both 2008), both announced their sovereignty soon after the collapse of Soviet Union, both soon engaged in warfare with Georgia shortly after (Abkhazia war and South Ossetia war) and controlled by Georgia after Georgia’s victory, and both gained de facto independence in 2008 with heavy military support from Russia. They are mutually recognized together with Nagorno-Karabakh and Transnistria. Besides, they are also recognized by Russia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Nauru.
- 1 totally unrecognized political entity in the Horn of Africa
The sad and lonely political regime that is totally forsaken by the global community (the other being Western Sahara and that was under de facto Moroccan control) lies in the upper part of the Horn of Africa, it’s called Somaliland, self-proclaimed independence from the god-forsaken land Somalia after the initial stage of Somali civil war in 1991 (As Somaliland used to be Italian colony rather than British Africa). Interestingly, unlike its former ruling regime Somalia, which turns into a hell place of constant wars and killings and the latest haven of infamous Somali pirates as the forgotten zone/no-go land of human civilization, Somaliland has enjoyed quite nice relative political and social stability, albeit no one really gives a damn.
AND NOW, ONE MORE NEW KID CAME IN TOWN ON 9th July, 2011, what’s the name of that country again? South Sudan?!
Good for the South Sudanese (I guess this is the term, though it is not really a ethnic term), after being long repressed by the Sudanese (North Sudanese?), their arabized north brothers (only a very small of them probably have one or two real Arab paternal ancestor in the past thousand years anyway), it’s time to start a new chapter for the sons and daughters of the ancient Nubians (or just some random tribes from the South). Interestingly, albeit its ambivalent and questionable excuses behind its independence (the endemic momentum for independence is from neither long-going ethnic disputes nor colonial divisions, but rather religious conflicts which are comparable to Nigerian situation in my opinion), South Sudan surely seems to enjoy more international applause than any other new born countries since Montenegro. Most of other countries act like simply can’t wait to greet the new nation with overwhelming “smile and rapture”.