Not complacent we

How many countries are there in the world? The question is not as simple as it seems.

The United Nations claims 191 members, the United States Department of State supposes 192 independent countries, while the C.I.A. World Factbook spreads its net even further by suggesting 268 nations, dependent areas, and other entities.

But leaving aside whether territories or colonies such as Puerto Rico or Bermuda should be included (not to mention the political status of such “non-countries” as Palestine, Tibet, and Taiwan) there are a vast number of claims from other, less well-known nations asserting their independent status.

Call them micro-nations, model countries, ephemeral states, or new country projects, the world is surprisingly full of entities that display all the trappings of established independent states, yet garner none of the respect.