A microstate or ministate is a sovereign state having a very small population or very small land area, but usually both. Some examples include Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Nauru, Singapore and Vatican City.
Microstates are distinct from micronations, which are not recognized as sovereign states. Special territories without full sovereignty, such as the British Crown Dependencies, The Chinese Special Administrative Regions and overseas territories of Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom, are also not considered microstates.
List of sovereign nations with a non-sea area less than 1,000 km2 (386 sq mi)
|Rank||Country / Territory||Area (km²/sqmi)||Region|
|1||Vatican City||0.44 km2 (0.17 sq mi)||Europe|
|2||Monaco||2.02 km2 (0.78 sq mi)||Europe|
|3||Nauru||21 km2 (8 sq mi)||Oceania|
|4||Tuvalu||26 km2 (10 sq mi)||Oceania|
|5||San Marino||61 km2 (24 sq mi)||Europe|
|6||Liechtenstein||160 km2 (62 sq mi)||Europe|
|7||Marshall Islands||181 km2 (70 sq mi)||Oceania|
|8||Saint Kitts and Nevis||261 km2 (101 sq mi)||Caribbean|
|9||Maldives||298 km2 (115 sq mi)||Asia - Indian Ocean|
|10||Malta||316 km2 (122 sq mi)||Europe - Mediterranean Sea|
|11||Grenada||344 km2 (133 sq mi)||Caribbean|
|12||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||389 km2 (150 sq mi)||Caribbean|
|13||Barbados||430 km2 (166 sq mi)||Caribbean|
|14||Antigua and Barbuda||443 km2 (171 sq mi)||Caribbean|
|15||Seychelles||455 km2 (176 sq mi)||Africa - Indian Ocean|
|16||Palau||459 km2 (177 sq mi)||Oceania|
|17||Andorra||468 km2 (181 sq mi)||Europe|
|18||Saint Lucia||616 km2 (238 sq mi)||Caribbean|
|19||Federated States of Micronesia||702 km2 (271 sq mi)||Oceania|
|20||Singapore||714 km2 (276 sq mi)||Asia|
|21||Tonga||747 km2 (288 sq mi)||Oceania|
|22||Dominica||751 km2 (290 sq mi)||Caribbean|
|23||Bahrain||765 km2 (295 sq mi)||Asia - Persian Gulf|
|24||Kiribati||811 km2 (313 sq mi)||Oceania|
|25||São Tomé and Príncipe||964 km2 (372 sq mi)||Africa - Atlantic Ocean|
With the exceptions of Singapore and Bahrain, all the above have fewer than 500,000 people.
List of sovereign nations with fewer than 500,000 people
Sovereign states with fewer than 500,000 people by latest national statistics or CIA Factbook estimate 2014.
|8||Saint Kitts and Nevis||51,538||197.5||Caribbean|
|12||Antigua and Barbuda||91,295||206.1||Caribbean|
|13||Seychelles||91,650||201.4||Africa - Indian Ocean|
|14||Saint Vincent and the Grenadines||102,918||264.6||Caribbean|
|16||Federated States of Micronesia||105,681||150.5||Oceania|
|20||São Tomé and Príncipe||190,428||197.5||Africa - Atlantic Ocean|
|27||Maldives||393,595||1320.8||Asia - Indian Ocean|
|28||Malta||412,655||1305.9||Europe - Mediterranean Sea|
With the exceptions of Samoa, Vanuatu, Iceland, Bahamas, Belize, and Brunei, all the above have a non-sea area less than 1,000 km2 (386 sq mi).
Historical anomalies and aspirant states
A small number of microstates are founded on historical anomalies or eccentric interpretations of law. These types of microstates are usually located on small (usually disputed) territorial enclaves, generate limited economic activity founded on tourism and philatelic and numismatic sales, and are tolerated or ignored by the nations from which they claim to have seceded.
One example is the Republic of Indian Stream, now the town of Pittsburg, New Hampshire—a geographic anomaly left unresolved by the Treaty of Paris that ended the U.S. Revolutionary War, and claimed by both the U.S. and Canada. Between 1832 and 1835, the area's residents refused to acknowledge either claimant.
Another example is the Cospaia Republic, which became independent through a treaty error and survived from 1440 to 1826. Its independence made it important in the introduction of tobacco cultivation to Italy.
- In Rome, Italy, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (SMOM) (not to be confused with Malta, an island microstate in the Mediterranean) is an effectively non-territorial sovereign entity that might also be considered to be a microstate; its sovereignty is recognized by 105 states, 100 of which have entered into full diplomatic relations (the Order's official website lists them in this table). However, unlike Vatican City state, the SMOM has no substantive territorial base (though its headquarters hold extraterritorial status, similar to an embassy building). Neither the Vatican nor SMOM are members of the United Nations, although both have permanent observer status at the UN: Vatican City is a "non-member state" under the name of the atypical international entity of the Holy See, SMOM is an "other entity".
- "CIA - The World Factbook -- Rank Order - Area". CIA. Retrieved 2008-06-20.
- Demographic Yearbook—Table 3: Population by sex, rate of population increase, surface area and density (pdf). United Nations Statistics Division. 2008. Retrieved 2011-06-12.
- "CIA - The World Factbook -- Rank Order - Population". CIA. Retrieved 2012-06-05.