Magazine article Geographical

Which Are the World's Oldest and Newest Countries?

Magazine article Geographical

Which Are the World's Oldest and Newest Countries?

Article excerpt

R Bentley, Basingstoke

ANSWER: The newest country to be formed and recognised by the UN is East Timor, a former Indonesian colony that won its independence in 2002. The country makes up about half of the island of Timor; the western half is still part of Indonesia.

The island was carved up into halves by the Portuguese and the Dutch during the 19th century. Although the Portuguese traded with Timor and then colonised the island in the 16th century, they later ceded the western half to the Dutch after a series of bloody skirmishes in the archipelago. After Portugal withdrew from its various colonies, the East Timorese declared independence on the 28th November 1975, only to find the country invaded by Indonesian troops nine days later.

Colonialism muddies the water of what constitutes the oldest nation state, as the majority of those with early written histories and a clear record of government have been invaded and ruled by someone else for at least some of their history. …

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