Well, do you know?  Of course, we can all name the various countries of Western Europe – and probably quite a good number of African countries. And we know about places like the USA, Australia, China, Russia and so on.

But how many of us, when compiling our list, would remember Kiribati? Tuvalu? The wonderfully-named Eswatini?

There are all manner of countries that could catch us out. Gabon, for example. Nauru. Togo. How many of us could point accurately on a globe to Slovenia and Slovakia?

We’d probably remember to include Pakistan in our list but what about those other ‘stans’? Afghanistan, yes but…

  • Turkmenistan?
  • Kazakhstan?
  • Kyrgyzstan?
  • Uzbekistan?
  • Tajikistan?

Doesn’t it just show us how many wonderful places there are for us to travel to?

So, how many countries are there?

To be honest with you, there’s really no definitive answer. You see, different governments will recognise different countries. For example, some governments don’t recognise the Holy See or the State of Palestine as countries. Other do.

There are about 195 ‘places’ that can be categorised as ‘countries’ but we have to remember that borders, political upheavals and so on can change that number It also depends on your own outlook too, of course. For example, let’s take the UK, the United Kingdom.

When you visit the UK, without taking a boat or a plane – in other words remaining on the mainland – you can visit three countries. They are England, Scotland and Wales. What about Ireland? Well, there are three official designations:

  • The United Kingdom. Recognised as a sovereign state and comprising the mainland, England, Scotland and Wales
  • The British Isles. The three countries named above, including all Ireland. It’s basically a geographical term and includes all the tiny island around the mainland, plus the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands which are not part of the UK as they are what is known as ‘crown dependencies’
  • Great Britain. The mainland, it’s small islands but not any part of Ireland

So if you weren’t confused before, the chances are that you are now. If you’ve been to Wales, which is a country, have you been to the United Kingdom, the British Isles or Great Britain? A combination of two or more? If you’ve been to Wales have to been to England?

Exactly. It’s all much too complicated to the average brain to really want to bother with, isn’t it?

So the next time you’re planning a trip don’t just look at the old favourites like people used to in the old days. Take a good look at a world map and see if there’s somewhere that you’ve never heard of before that’s offering exactly the exciting adventure and complete change of scene that you’ve been looking for.

If you don’t want to go it alone, try G Adventures.





JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.

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