From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Politics (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Politics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of politics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject European Microstates (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject European Microstates, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of European Microstates on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.


São Tomé & Príncipe official parliament page says the country has 1001 km2. See

See tags: SOBRE O PAÍS > PAÍS —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:12, 17 May 2011 (UTC)

(no header)[edit]

Just out of curiosity: how small must a microstate be to be considered one? (Is Luxembourg a microstate?) D.D. 11:49 Jan 20, 2003 (UTC)

Sealand, which is listed on the micronation page, has been recognised by the courts of Britain and Germany to be a sovereign state, and thus should rightly be on the Microstate page, not the Micronation page. It has also been recognised by the British Home Office. In this, Sealand has as much right to claim sovereign status, and be categorized as a microstate, as the Knights of Malta. More, even, since Sealand at least has sovereign territory, while the SMOM does not beyond an 'embassy' in Rome. - Mike Lorrey 18:26 1/27/05 EST

Official diplomatic recognition is not a "recognition" by district courts or even the Home Office. It should be the diplomatic recognition by the whole government including the Foreign Office--Yuriy Kolodin (talk) 01:24, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
Do you have any reference for these classifications? David.Monniaux 14:35, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)

I would be happy to see references.

Who uses this term?
Ruhrjung 01:05, Mar 5, 2005 (UTC)

This term is used in geography. However, it's difficult to find a definition on the Web. For example, here [1], [2] , [3] microstate is defined as a country with population of less than a million people. In this paper there is some interesting background of the term and another definition (population os less then a 1.5 million pepople) TG 18:30, 5 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Such arbitrary population standards are unsupported by history. Before the US Constitution was ratified, the freed colonies were all fully sovereign governments, most of less than 1 million population. Were they 'microstates'? I think it is clear that if a state gains diplomatic recognition by any nation that is widely recognised itself, then the new nation should be considered a state. If it's small, call it a microstate. And I don't care if they take a frivolous attitude to governance either. If more nations took their nationhood a little less seriously, there'd be a lot less strife in the world.Mike Lorrey 01:32, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Another point of contention: I also believe it is improper to count historically real nations that once existed as 'micronations', particularly those that held significant amounts of territory, like Sarawak or the Indian Stream Republic, which would today rival many fully recognised minor nations like Bhutan, Lichtenstein, Andorra, Brunei, etc. 01:35, 13 Mar 2005 (UTC)

I agree that it's inappropriate to use population criteria listed above for historical nations. The 1 million people limit can be applied exclusively to modern states. The term microstate is used to classify states and it's meaning depends on the goal of classification.
In modern economical and social geography population limit of 1 million people is appropriate. In some cases it's possible to use territory area to classify states (A micro-state then, is usually a state that is no bigger then Luxemburg). But historically this term was used together with the concept of "great powers" in Europe. I do not see how any of these definitions is relevant to historical nations in general. TG 09:39, 14 Mar 2005 (UTC)

more confusion[edit]

The term microstate is sometimes confused with the term micronation. The distinction is that the former are recognized as sovereign states whereas the latter are not.

There are three distinct things here, which the foregoing serves only to smoosh together:

  1. a micro-state which is recognized by other countries
  2. a micro-state which is not generally recognized (or only recognized by one country)
  3. the silly idea of "micronations" which some Internet jokers are trying to spread and legitimize.

We should:

  • distinguish between the micro-states and the "micronation" idea
  • avoid endorses micronations as "real" or investing them with the trappings of micro-states, such as taxoboxes, coats of arms, etc.
  • just say that certain people have declared certain apartments, oil rigs, sunken barges, etc., as having sovereignty - without endorsing or condemning these assertions.
  • report on how the rest of the world reacts to, or deals with, these three types of things.

And I could use some help with this, because it's all tangled up - especially Sealand. Uncle Ed July 8, 2005 22:17 (UTC)

In case you want it, I suggest the following to add after the main body of the article. It adds confusion rather than clarifies, but it does bring up a few important points in terms of questioning definitions:

The distinction, however, is not always an easy one. The Principality of Sealand for example has been recognised as an independent territory by British courts, but is most often classified as a micronation. Further, labelling a country a micronation merely because it is not recognised poses the problem of countries such as Northern Cyprus (which is recognised only by Turkey, but is definitely not considered a micronation).
Most micronations lack actual territory to claim sovereignty over, but this is not a sufficient means to distinguish them from microstates either, since this would mean classifying a micronation such as Hutt River Province as being a microstate.

- Aridd, July 27th 2005

I was going to provide a scenario to demonstrate the microstate/micronation ambiguity, but it seems unecessary since there are numerous ones cited above. jmd 06:56, 10 January 2006 (UTC)

That's not really true about Sealand. It wasn't decided by the highest court in the land, and it even appears that the judge based his findings on a misunderstanding of fact. It wad court, not courts. You can bet your last dollar that if anything slightly dodgy was to happen at Sealand the British navy would have it under their control almost immediately. The 'sovereignty' of 'Sealand' is an interesting fallacy. Sealand has no military and no allies, and is essentially powerless whatever a district court might have said. --kingboyk 00:25, 5 February 2006 (UTC)


Anyone notice that Hong Kong and Macau are both on the microstate map even though they are not sovereign states? Some one needs to fix that.

Temporary minor states[edit]

Can someone put in links from here to the lists of minor states and Soviet states that existed mostly in the period 1917-23? Came across them the other day and cannot seem to find the lists again - Green Ukraine and Kingdom of Poland (1916–1918) were on the lists) - and people generally might wish to explore the topic. Jackiespeel (talk) 18:16, 5 March 2008 (UTC)

Problem of Definition[edit]

It seems problematic to me that we're discussing whether to call Luxembourg, or any other country past or present, a microstate. That really isn't something we at Wikipedia should even be discussing. Because we're an encyclopedia, whether or not Luxembourg is a microstate isn't up to us at all. If there's some difference of opinion outside of the Wikipedia community, then our article should describe that difference of opinion. We shouldn't be discussing amongst ourselves whether to include Luxembourg.

I came to this conclusion when I consulted Wikipedia to find out how a microstate is defined. I found this article, but it didn't actually include a hard and fast definition that I could take to the bank, so to speak. If there is no single, specific, and widely accepted definition of a microstate, then we need to lay out, as clearly and unambiguously as possible, the issues central to the debate. If there is a single, specific, and widely accepted definition, then we need to stick to it and let it tell us what countries to include. —CKA3KA (Skazka) (talk) 19:36, 13 May 2008 (UTC)

A minor point re: naming[edit]

I did two Google Books searches for "micro-state/microstate" and "mini-state/ministate", using the first five states listed here.([4], [5]) The results showed that the difference in frequency of these two sets of terms is not significant (187 to 146), according to Wikipedia's naming conventions (such as WP:UE). Thus, I thought it proper to give them equal billing in the first sentence. SamEV (talk) 18:37, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Some thoughts[edit]

I think that The Military Order of Malta is not a state, so there is no neccesity to present the information about it here. Also I think that the information about disproportionately large influence of the Microstates on the world politics is POV. There is no facts when microstates could influence the world politics beyond their real scope. Politically microstates is very dependent from their bigger partners (a lot of microstates is dependent from USA, San-Marino is dependent from Italy, Andorra and Monaco from France, Liechtestein from Switzerland). Their votes in UN General Assembly often simply copy the votes of their bigger partners, and we can mention this. But we should remove the information about "disproportionately large influence".--Yuriy Kolodin (talk) 00:55, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

What about partially recognized microstates?![edit]

For example, Abkhazia and South Ossetia are the microstates which are recognized by

1. Each other

2. Russian Federation

3. Nicaragua

4. Unrecognized Transnistria.

I think it is better to have special section for such states--Yuriy Kolodin (talk) 01:09, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

List of sovereign nations with fewer than one million people[edit]

Could we trim this to 1/2 million? None of the nations between 500K and 1M are on the list of nations smaller that 1000KM2. I can do the editing but I was wondering if there was a compelling reason for having it the way it is. Someidiot (talk) 00:23, 27 October 2009 (UTC)

... And now the title needs to be changed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:07, 16 December 2009 (UTC)


I noticed that there is actually no sourced definition for the term in the article, which makes it seem like WP:OR. This is a term used in geopolitical studies though, even though the exact definition might be disputed. Here is one that I found in the Glossary for Political Geography, organized by Joe Naumann of the University of Missouri–St. Louis:[6]

Microstates: The smallest independent States in the world. They typically possess less than 1,000 square miles. Examples include Liechtenstein, Malta, Nauru, and San Marino.

Lampman (talk) 16:00, 31 May 2010 (UTC)

Why two tables?[edit]

Is there a specific reason to have two separate tables, one for small-population states and another for small-area states? It would seem that a single table with a sorting button would be better.

This table would have the following columns: Population Rank — Area Rank — Country / Territory — Population — % of world population — Area (km²/sqmi) — Region. The reader could click on the sorting button in the Population Rank column or the Area Rank column to reproduce the current tables.

Is there a reason not to do this? — Lawrence King (talk) 00:52, 4 November 2012 (UTC)

this is wikipedia, you can fix what is unperfect, and "we" gonna thank you for that, also I am not good enough to do that unique table.--Feroang (talk) 02:57, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
My reason is that there are some countries which qualify only to one list. Bahrain and Singapore have both over 1 million of population. And there are several entries on the population list which are over 1000 km² in area. (talk) 07:42, 18 June 2013 (UTC)

Unificating table[edit]

List of sovereign nations with fewer than 500,000 people[edit]

Sovereign states with fewer than 500,000 people by latest national statistics or CIA Factbook estimate 2012.[1]

Rank Country/territory/entity Population  % of world population Area (km²/sqmi) Region
1   Vatican City 836 0% 0.44 km2 (0.17 sq mi) Europe
2  Nauru 9,947 0.0001% 21 km2 (8 sq mi) Oceania
3  Tuvalu 11,126 0.0001% 26 km2 (10 sq mi) Oceania
4  Palau 18,324 0.0002% 459 km2 (177 sq mi) Oceania
5  San Marino 33,461 0.0004% 61 km2 (24 sq mi) Europe
6  Monaco 36,371 0.0005% 1.95 km2 (0.75 sq mi) Europe
7  Liechtenstein 36,476 0.0005% 160 km2 (62 sq mi) Europe
8  Saint Kitts and Nevis 50,726 0.0007% 261 km2 (101 sq mi) Caribbean
9  Marshall Islands 68,480 0.0009% 181 km2 (70 sq mi) Oceania
10  Dominica 69,017 0.0009% 751 km2 (290 sq mi) Caribbean
11  Andorra 84,082 0.0011% Europe
12  Antigua and Barbuda 85,903 0.0011% Caribbean
13  Seychelles 89,188 0.001% Africa - Indian Ocean
14  Kiribati 100,743 0.002% Oceania
15  Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 103,869 0.002% Caribbean
16  Tonga 105,916 0.002% Oceania
17  Federated States of Micronesia 106,836 0.002% Oceania
18  Grenada 108,419 0.002% Caribbean
19  Saint Lucia 161,557 0.002% Caribbean
20  São Tomé and Príncipe 179,506 0.002% Africa - Atlantic Ocean
21  Samoa 193,161 0.003% Oceania
22  Vanuatu 224,564 0.003% Oceania
23  Barbados 286,705 0.004% Caribbean
24  Iceland 311,058 0.005% Europe
25  Bahamas 313,312 0.005% Caribbean
26  Belize 321,115 0.005% Central America
27  Maldives 394,999 0.006% Asia - Indian Ocean
28  Brunei 401,890 0.006% Asia
29  Malta 408,333 0.006% Europe - Mediterranean Sea


Hi! why Israel is not included? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:21, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

It's larger than states included in this list. CMD (talk) 15:41, 25 November 2012 (UTC)


Vatican City having 0% of the world’s population seems to be a bit misleading, seems to imply exactly zero. Should it say something like "<0.00001%"? Or perhaps "<0.0001%" to match the calculation for Nauru? Didn't see any clear guidance in WP:%. --「ѕʀʟ·」 06:21, 20 August 2013 (UTC) Makes sense. I like your second option. --Richardson mcphillips (talk) 23:21, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Big country bias[edit]

I'm curious about the basis for defining a microstate (on population terms) as under 500,000 people. It surprises me that a country like Iceland would be regarded as "micro". It is small - yes, but micro? I would have thought 100,000 would be the largest cut-off point and 50,000 may be even more appropriate when using terms like microstate. I'd have thought a microstate would have only thousands of people, not hundreds of thousands. 500,000 is way too big. I think this may be a perception bias on the part of people who live in countries with 50 million + people. (talk) 13:25, 1 September 2013 (UTC)

Perhaps a table of countries which have BOTH a population of 100,000 people or less AND an area of less than 1,000km squared would be a suitable definition of a microstate. That way you also get rid of countries that are clearly not microstates such as Singapore and Iceland. (talk) 11:35, 2 September 2013 (UTC)

Looking at the population list there are a several countries that sit around the 100,000-110,000 mark and then a big gap until the next country at around 170,000. For the sake of compromise we could define the cut-off at 150,000 people & 1000km squared. Once we get bigger than that I think the "micro" in microstate gets stretched somewhat. I've been to Tonga and never thought of it as a microstate. Small yes, but not in the same category as Liechtenstein or the Vatican. (talk) 12:23, 2 September 2013 (UTC)