In the United States, we have 50 states. Ever since Hawaii joined the country in 1959, it’s been the same number. You can count the stars on the American flag, and you’ll get 50 (one for each state). It’s a nice round number and everyone agrees on it. The number of countries isn’t so easy to count because people don’t always agree.
How many can you name?
According to the U.S. State department, there are 194 countries or “independent states” in the world. To be an independent state, a place must have an organized population of people, set borders, and its own government that is not under the control of another country.
Taiwan is an island that many people think of as a country, but the U.S. doesn’t include it on its list of 194. The reason for this is that the People’s Republic of China claims to be in control of Taiwan, and the U.S. recognizes Chinese authority there.
Grab an atlas or spin the globe. If you don’t have access to either of those, see if a grown-up can help you find a world map online.
Can you name each of the continents? Can you find them on a map? There are seven, but one of them doesn’t have any countries on it.
Once you find the continents, see if YOU can figure out on which continents are the following “U” countries.
United Arab Emirates
Sources & links
“Independent States of the World: Fact Sheet.” 29 July 2009. Bureau of Intelligence and Research. 20 Aug 2009 < http://www.state.gov/s/inr/rls/4250.htm> "Hawaii." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 20 Aug. 2009 < http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/257332/Hawaii>