“the acknowledgement of new State or a new government is an act that only the other States and governments can do. The UN, being neither a State nor a government, is not entitled to acknowledge a State or government”.
The United Nations
There are some countries not acknowledged by the United Nations, even though they have their own flags, currency, territory, laws, and passports. One reason is being located within another country's borders. Others don't meet UN criteria for statehood, which include having a permanent population, a defined territory, a government, and the ability to engage with other states. Want to know more about these countries? Keep reading!
Sealand is a micronation situated on an abandoned British military platform in the North Sea, around 10 miles off the coast of Suffolk, England. It was established in 1967 by Roy Bates, a former British army major and pirate radio broadcaster. Bates declared the platform the Principality of Sealand and equipped it with its own flag, currency, postage stamps, and a national anthem. Despite these features, Sealand isn't officially recognized by any other country in the world.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and is acknowledged by over 100 U.N. member states (though recognition status may vary). Despite this, it faces a challenge as China and Russia, two dissenting nations, have not been granted recognition. Their votes are crucial for Kosovo to achieve full U.N. membership and official nationhood, leaving the situation in a state of uncertainty.
This island country near China was a founding U.N. member as part of the Republic of China (ROC), including the Chinese mainland. However, due to a civil war, the ROC government retreated to Taiwan while the People's Republic of China (PRC) took control of the mainland. As it became apparent that the ROC couldn't reclaim the mainland, the U.N. revoked its membership, recognising the PRC as China's rightful representative.
Despite Taiwan applying for U.N. membership as an independent nation, the PRC, holding veto power as a permanent Security Council member, can block Taiwan's candidature indefinitely. China has also pressured countries to choose between recognising China or Taiwan, severing diplomatic ties with those supporting Taiwan.
Christiania is a self-proclaimed autonomous community in Copenhagen, Denmark. It originated in 1971, when a group of hippies occupied an abandoned military base. This unique community established its own currency, the Christiania Kroner, though it holds no legal tender status in Denmark. Christiania is a vibrant space featuring a range of businesses, such as cafes, restaurants, shops, and art galleries.
Situated on the northern coast of the Black Sea in Eastern Europe, Crimea is officially recognised as part of Ukraine. However, it has been under the de facto control of Russia since 2014. The Crimean War (1853–1856) involved Russia against an alliance comprising France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia. Despite its historical complexities, Crimea remains a well-known tourist destination, celebrated for its beaches, mountains, and historical sites.
Residents of this thinly populated desert nation have long sought independence from neighbouring Morocco. Several proposed referendums, allowing the region's inhabitants to decide on secession, have faced obstacles. Disputes, notably over the voting process, including whether Moroccan immigrants in the region would participate, have hindered the realisation of the referendum so far.
These unknown countries navigate complex global politics, maintaining their unique identities in a world dominated by recognized states. Their stories highlight the complexities of statehood and the diverse political realities worldwide.