The world contains billions upon billions of people spread far and wide over this big green and blue orb, and just like the people themselves the countries can be rather strange and hold some very interesting facts. I often wonder what’s the largest, longest, lowest or most luxurious country in the world and what wonders does that particular country hold. Here we’re going to look at 10 of the world’s smallest countries but don’t be fooled by their size, these places hold some fascinating bits of information from the people to the landscape.
Grenada – 133 Square Mile
Grenada, or the Spice of the Caribbean, is the tenth smallest country in the world. As of January 1st 2016, Grenada has a population of over 107,000 and compared to some of the countries to come, is a reasonably lower populated location measuring 133 sq. mile (344 sq. km). Grenada is known as the Spice of the Caribbean as its one of the largest producers of nutmeg and mace in the world, with inhabitants saying the smell wafts around the island. The most popular sport in the country is cricket.
Malta – 122 Square Mile
When compared to Grenada’s population of 107,000, Malta is practically a bustling empire, with over 419,500 people as of January 1st 2016, this makes it one of Europe’s most populated countries. The republic of Malta is made of 3 separate parts; Gozo, Comino and Malta. According to a 2013 report by the UN, Malta is the 48th happiest country in the world. Malta is home to Calypso cave, a cave that overlooks Sandy Beach, Ramla Bay, this apparently features in Homers ‘The Odyssey’ as the location Calypso kept Odysseus locked up as a ‘prisoner of love’ for seven years, She guaranteed him immortality if he stayed with her but he ran away to his wife Penelope.
Maldives – 116 Square Mile
The Maldives is an archipelago of 1,192 coral islands grouped into 26 coral atolls, of which 200 are inhabited; this makes the Maldives the most dispersed country in Asia. The Maldives became an independent country in 1965 and as of the 1st January 2016 the population was just under 367,000. Climate change is a serious issue when it comes to this area, in 2009 the then-president and 13 other officials sat at desks at the bottom of the sea dressed in full scuba gear to raise awareness about the potential dangers the islands face.
Saint Kitts and Nevis – 101 Square Mile
This two-island country is located in the Eastern Caribbean and as of the 1st January 2016, the population is over 6 times less than the Maldives at 55,000 and is just 15 sq. miles smaller, this shows the sheer secluded nature of the beautiful place. There are some much respected figures who have at one stage called this island home, Alexander Hamilton one of the founding fathers of the US for example was born here.
Liechtenstein – 62 Square Mile
Liechtenstein is an incredibly interesting country with some very weird occurrences over its lifetime. As of January 2016, the population was just 37,000, that’s 10 times smaller than the Maldives. Found between Switzerland and Austria the country is an incredibly safe one, crime rate is drastically low with the last murder occurring in 1997! Lichtenstein have a weird history when it comes to the military as well, in March 2007 the country was accidentally invaded by the Swiss army when 170 armed soldiers wandered 1 mile across an unmarked border.
San Marino – 23.5 Square Mile
San Marino claim to be the oldest surviving sovereign state and with a population of around 32,000 people as of January 1st 2016, it’s not hard to see that this is a fairly small country that’s actually quite densely populated when compared to Saint Kitts and Nevis which has an extra 77.5 square miles and only 13,000 more people! San Marino has a rather strange relationship with the US, in 1861 the San Marino government wrote to then-president Abraham Lincoln asking if he would like to form an alliance and in turn they would give him honorary San Marino citizenship, Lincoln accepted this offer. When it comes to sports though, and particularly that of football, San Marino aren’t that successful, after forming in 1990 their first international win didn’t come until 2004 when they beat Liechtenstein 1-0!
Tuvalu – 10 Square Mile
Tuvalu was previously known as the Ellice Islands (no not that Ellis Island) just off the North East of Australia. There is just one 1 hospital on the island for its population of just under 10,000 as of January 1st 2016, that’s 384 people per sq. km! The island is quite a low lying one with the highest point being just 16ft above sea-level. Tuvalu is a reasonably secluded location with only 2,000 visitors in 2010 and 65% of those were for business. However it does hold a rather strange caving system; in 1986, 2 scuba divers discovered underwater caves, this is of course not that strange but when they noticed dark patches similar to that of fire scorching, eyebrows were raised. It’s believed that many thousands of years ago the island was that much higher out of the sea compared to today, theoretically showing just how much sea-levels have varied.
Nauru – 8 Square Mile
Nauru is an island east of Australia, it’s the smallest island country and with a population of around 10,200 people as of January 1st 2016, it’s obviously not that lowly-populated compared to earlier examples. The country, even though stunningly beautiful, has a real issue with unemployment, only 10% of the residents are apparently employed, all of them are by the government. The island has a serious problem with obesity, it’s often categorized as the most obese island nation, with 97% of men and 93% of women affected, due to this type 2 diabetes is also very prominent in Nauru, with 40% of people suffering.
Monaco – 0.75 Square Mile
Monaco are a very wealthy country as we are all aware; hosting Grand Prix’s and numerous other events. The country is bordered by France and its flag is very similar to that of Indonesia, the difference being that the Indonesian flag is wider. AS Monaco, the country’s major football club, play in the flag’s red and white and are called Les Rouge et Blanc or the red and whites. AS Monaco’s stadium Stade Louis II is able to fit over half of the country’s population, which as of January 1st 2016 was over 37,500!
State of the Vatican City – 0.17 Square Miles
Located in Rome, Italy, the Vatican City is the home of the Pope and many other religious figures. With a population of just 800 and of those only 450 hold actual citizenship, many citizens actually live elsewhere. Its sovereignty was recognized by Italian government under Lateran Treaty on 11th February 1929. The Vatican prints its own stamps, issues passports and number plates, mints its own euros and has its own flag and anthem, the one ability it does lack is that of taxation. The Swiss Guard protect the Vatican City, its main purpose is to protect the Pope and has been since 1506 when the then-Pope Julius II hired the Swiss as his own protectors.
So there we have it, whether you’re religious and view the State of the Vatican City simply for its significance in the church, or whether you merely love the sheer quirkiness of the isolated tiny country, I strongly believe everyone should visit just to say you’ve done so. Even when you disregard that of Vatican City, the other countries on this list are well worth a visit, be it for the beauty, the culture or for the smell (in Grenada’s case).