What are the World's Smallest Countries? (with pictures)

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

The world's smallest countries can be judged by size or population. Considered either way, the smallest countries are to be found in areas classified as belonging to Europe, Oceania, and North America.

Vatican City, which is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's smallest country.
Vatican City, which is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's smallest country.

Here are the world’s smallest countries by land mass. Notice that many of them are islands or island groups, and some of these have only relatively recently come into self governance, while San Marino, established in 301 CE, claims to be the world’s oldest republic. Nauru is the world’s smallest independent republic.

WORLD'S SMALLEST COUNTRIES BY LAND MASS
OrderCountry NameAreaIsland(s)? Date of Self-Rule
1.Holy See/Vatican City0.17 sq miles (0.44 sq km)No1929
2.Monaco0.75 sq miles (1.95 sq km)Nooriginally - 1489
3.Nauru8.1 sq miles (21 sq km)Yes1968
4.Tuvalu10 sq miles (26 sq km)Yes1978
5.San Marino23.6 sq miles (61.2 sq km)No301
6.Liechtenstein62 sq miles (160 sq km)No1806
7.Marshall Islands70 sq miles (181.3 sq km)Yes1986
8.Cook Islands93 sq miles (240 sq km)Yes1965
9.Niue100 sq miles (260 sq km)Yes1974
10.Saint Kitts and Nevis101 sq miles (261 sq km)Yes1983
11.Maldives116 sq miles (300 sq km)Yes1968
12.Malta122 sq miles (316 sq km)Yes1964
Vatican City is technically the world's smallest country.
Vatican City is technically the world's smallest country.

Looking at the population chart, we see that some of the world's smallest countries by population are not represented on the chart of smallest countries by land mass: namely Palau and Dominica – while Malta and the Maldives don’t appear. The explanations are, firstly, that Palau and Dominica, while not that much bigger – 177 sq mi (458 sq km) and 291 sq mi (754 sq km), respectively, they have relatively small populations; and secondly, the Maldives and Malta each have a relatively large population for their size compared to the others: 359,008 and 400,214 respectively.

WORLD'S SMALLEST COUNTRIES BY POPULATION
OrderCountry NamePopulation (July, 2006 estimate)
1.Holy See/Vatican City932
2.Niue2,166
3.Tuvalu11,810
4.Nauru13,287
5.Palau20,579
6.Cook Islands21,388
7.San Marino29,251
8.Monaco32,543
9.Liechtenstein33,987
10.St. Kitts and Nevis38,129
11.Marshall Islands60,422
12.Dominica68,910
Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

Mary Elizabeth
Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth is passionate about reading, writing, and research, and has a penchant for correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to contributing articles to about art, literature, and music, Mary Elizabeth is a teacher, composer, and author. She has a B.A. from the University of Chicago’s writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont, and she has written books, study guides, and teacher materials on language and literature, as well as music composition content for Sibelius Software.

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Discussion Comments

anon29040

Actually the smallest country in the world is Sealand six miles off of the Suffolk coast and has its own flag, coins, newspaper, passports.

anon5123

How many people does Vatican city have and what currency and what language do they use?

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    • Vatican City, which is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's smallest country.
      Vatican City, which is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's smallest country.
    • Vatican City is technically the world's smallest country.
      Vatican City is technically the world's smallest country.