The independent country is not only self-governed nation with own authorities, this status needs the international diplomatic recognition of sovereignty. Thereby, we can say, that the total number of independent states in the world are 197, including fully recognized 193 members of the United Nations, 2 countries, Vatican City and Palestine, have the status of permanent observers in the UN. Another 2 states we include are Kosovo (recognized by 108 UN members) and Taiwan (recognized by 22 countries).
Europe is a unique continent, which is not surrounded by water from all directions, and has an overland border with the neighbouring Asia. Physiographically, it occupies the northwestern part of the large landmass known as Eurasia and surrounded from the north by the Arctic Ocean, from the west by the Atlantic Ocean, from the south by the Mediterranean Sea, and from the southeast by the Black Sea.
Definition of correct border between two continents was a big question for geographers and politicians. Nowadays it is commonly delineated by the Ural Mountains in Russia, the Caspian Sea and Caucasus Mountains.
Totally now Europe includes 51 independent states. Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey are the transcontinental countries, partially located in both Europe and Asia. Armenia and Cyprus politically are considered European countries, though geographically they are located in the West Asia territory.
Europe’s largest country is Russia (37% of total continent area) and the smallest one is Vatican City, which occupies only a small area in the center of Rome.
The most visited travel destination in this region is France with its capital Paris as the best place of interest, followed by Spain, Italy, United Kingdom and Germany.
Being the biggest continent in the world, Asia includes 50 independent countries and occupies the eastern part of the single Eurasian landmass. Surrounded by the Arctic Ocean from the north, by the Pacific Ocean from the east and by the Indian Ocean from the south, it is separated from Africa by Suez Canal. The Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea separate Asia from Europe, farther the overland border runs through the Caucasus Mountains, the Caspian Sea, the Ural River and Ural Mountains. This boundary crosses through the territory of Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, so these states are in both continents.
Armenia and Cyprus geographically are in Asia, but politically and culturally they also are considered as a part of Europe.
The largest of the Asian countries by area is Russia, which occupies about 30% of the total territory of the continent. The smallest one of the independent states is the Maldives, it is an archipelago of islands famous for its beach resorts.
The most visited by tourists country in this region is China as a huge cultural center, followed by no less popular destinations like India, Thailand, Malaysia, Turkey.
Surrounded by water from all directions, Africa is a continent with clearly determined and absolutely accurate borders. In the north it is separated from Europe by the Mediterranean Sea, in the northeast, is separated from Asia by the Suez Canal and farther by the Red Sea. From the east and southeast it is surrounded by the Indian Ocean, from the west by the Atlantic Ocean.
The total number of independent states in Africa is 54. The transcontinental country in this region is Egypt, having also a small part of its territory in Asia, on the other side of the Suez Canal, but politically it is a member of the African Union.
Among the African countries, the biggest one is Algeria, occupying around 7% of the continent’s territory. And the smallest nation is the Seychelles, the worldwide famous luxurious beach holiday destination, occupying 115 islands stretching along the mainland’s eastern coast.
The colorful Morocco is in the first place among the most popular travel spots in this part of the world, the second place belongs to South Africa, followed by Egypt and Tunisia.
Occupying the northern part of the large supercontinent known as Americas or New World, North America is surrounded by the Arctic Ocean from the north and by the Atlantic Ocean from the east, by the Pacific Ocean from the west and south. It has an overland border with South America continent, which runs along the state boundary between Panama and Colombia.
Totally in North America, there are 23 officially recognized independent states. The largest of them is Canada, followed by also rather big the United States, these two giants together occupy more than 79% of the whole continent area. The smallest country in this part of the world is Saint Kitts and Nevis, it is only two small islands in the Caribbean.
Among the most visited North American countries the number one is the USA, where New York City is considered the most attractive landmark for travellers, further followed by Mexico and Canada.
This continent occupies the entire southern part of the supercontinent of the Americas, that’s why is called South America. It is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean from the west, by the Atlantic Ocean from the east and north, by the Caribbean Sea from the northwest and is connected with North America in the northeast part. An overland border between two continents stretches along the Panama-Colombian state boundary.
Totally there are 12 independent countries and 3 dependent territories in South America. The largest country by area and the most populated is Brazil, it occupies about the 50% of the total mainland area and more than 52% of the population live on its territory. The smallest independent state is Suriname, it is the only nation in this region, speaking Dutch as an official language.
As for travel, the most visited among the South American countries are Brazil, Argentina and Peru, the last one is the home of the region’s most famous tourist attraction Machu Picchu, the mysterious city of the Incas.
The smallest in the world continent of Australia and Oceania is surrounded by the Indian, Southern and Pacific Oceans. It consists of the Australian mainland, such big islands as New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea (only it’s eastern half), and the many thousands of petty tropical islands of the Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia regions, scattered throughout the South Pacific.
There are 14 independent countries and 12 dependent overseas territories. The largest state is Australia, occupying about 86% of the region’s total area. The smallest independent country is Nauru, which is so tiny that you need less than an hour to drive around it.
The most visited tourist destinations in this part of the world are the Australian cities of Sidney and Melbourne, the famous beach resorts of the Gold Coast. The best natural attraction is the Great Barrier Reef, and the popular island holiday destinations are Fiji and Bora Bora.
The “Birthday” of the European Union is considered May 9, 1950. Annually, 9 May is celebrated as Europe Day.
The first agreement establishing the European Economic Community was signed in 1957 between six countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
Denmark, Ireland and the UK are joined in 1973, Greece in 1981, Spain and Portugal in 1986, in subsequent years many other countries have joined the Union. Today the EU consists of 28 member countries.
It is not only an economic union, but the single market with no borders for trade, with the single euro currency used by 19 member states of the Eurozone. Furthermore, it is the political union with own parliament and other institutions. The Schengen Agreement signed in 1985 allows the free movement of citizens without passport controls at border crossings within Schengen Area.