The United States holds a lot of power in deciding the sovereign status of countries.
    • The United States recognizes 195 countries.
    • A country must usually meet certain basic criteria before it can be recognized as a sovereign state.
    • The United States and United Nations sometimes have disagreements on what countries should be recognized as sovereign states.
    • Recognition by the U.S. is crucial for entities wishing to achieve independence in practical terms.
    • Even though the U.S. may not recognize certain entities as independent countries, it may still provide assistance to such entities, as is the case with Taiwan.

    The United States recognizes 195 countries around the world. Creating a new country can be extremely difficult, as can getting other governments to recognize it. Most international law experts believe that there are certain criteria that a country must meet before it can be recognized as a sovereign state. By convention, an entity is usually recognized as a sovereign state when it is recognized by the United Nations , but this is not always the case. Moreover, just because a country is recognized by the UN, it does not mean that it will also be recognized by the US, and it is often the recognition by the latter that is more important for an entity that wants to achieve independence.

    The Criteria For Becoming A Sovereign State

    Most experts on international law would agree that there are certain basic criteria that a country must meet in order for it to be recognized by other governments or the UN as a sovereign state. Four criteria, to be exact. A country must have a people, a defined territory, a government, and the ability to conduct relations with other countries as a sovereign state. Some would say, however, that there is also a fifth criterion that the country seeking self-determination must have the consent of the government that currently has sovereignty over it. Others, however, contend that this fifth criterion is a contradiction of international law that supposedly gives people the right to self-determination. At the same time, though, international law also guarantees the territorial integrity of states. Thus, there is a contradiction. By convention, an entity that is recognized by the UN should formally be recognized as a sovereign state. In practice, however, recognition by the UN does not guarantee an entity’s sovereignty. But recognition, or at least support, from the US government can do just that.

    The Power Of The US To Determine A Country’s Sovereignty

    Map showing the location of Kosovo, a territory claimed by Serbia but recognized as independent by the U.S. but not the United Nations.

    One exceptional case of a country that has recently managed to receive international recognition of its independence without the consent of the authority from which it tried to break away is Kosovo. Kosovo is recognized by over half of the UN’s member countries, including the US, but is not recognized by the UN itself. It is also not recognized by Serbia , the country from which it broke away. Serbia has never granted permission to Kosovo to be independent, and still claims it as its territory. But because the US is the world’s most powerful country, with the world’s biggest economy and most powerful military force, it has effectively been able to decide whether or not a country gains independence. In addition, once the US recognizes a country’s independence, it often provides assistance and protection to that country, as is the case with Kosovo.

    Map showing Israel with the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The two latter territories are claimed by the State of Palestine. Although the UN recognizes Palestine, the US does not.

    The UN, on the other hand, lacks the power to bolster a country’s claim to sovereignty, which is one of the reasons why, for example, Palestine is not a sovereign state. Palestine declared independence in 1988, and has been recognized by both the UN and most of the world’s sovereign states. In fact, there are many more countries that recognize the State of Palestine , as it is formally known, than those that recognize Kosovo. Nevertheless, because Palestine is not recognized by the US, not to mention other important international players like Germany , Japan , the United Kingdom , and France , the Palestinians continue to struggle for independence in practical terms.

    One important difference between Kosovo and Palestine, however, is the fact that Kosovo has a defined territory that is recognized by the international community, even those that do not support its independence. In contrast, the borders of any future Palestinian state are not agreed upon, even by those that recognize the State of Palestine, because although most of the international community acknowledges that there should be a Palestinian state, there is also a general understanding that the final borders of Palestine should be determined by negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel , which effectively controls much of the territory that the Palestinians want as part of their future state.

    Countries Seeking Independence Without US Support

    There are several other entities like Palestine in the world that have proclaimed independence, but because their independence is not sanctioned or supported by the US, they cannot achieve practical sovereignty. These include self-declared states like Abkhazia , Transnistria , and Somaliland , which are recognized by both the UN and the US as part of Georgia , Moldova , and Somalia , respectively. If the US was to suddenly turn around and recognize the sovereignty of these entities, however, many other countries would likely follow, especially if the US decides to provide such entities with practical assistance in asserting their sovereignty, which it often does.

    Map of Taiwan. 

    Indeed, the US may even provide assistance to entities that it does not recognize in order to defend American political interests, as is the case with Taiwan. The US does not formally recognize Taiwan as an independent country. Nevertheless, the US provides Taiwan with military aid to protect it from the People’s Republic of China, even though, in 1979, the US recognized the government in Beijing as the sole legitimate authority in China , including Taiwan, and also recognized that there could only be one China, that controlled by the Beijing-based communist regime.  

    Countries Recognized By The United States

    Rank Country Population Land Area (Km²) Density (P/Km²) 1 Afghanistan 38,041,750 652,230 56.94 2 Albania 2,854,190 28,748 104.61 3 Algeria 43,053,050 2,381,740 17.73 4 Andorra 77,140 468 163.84 5 Angola 31,825,290 1,246,700 24.71 6 Antigua and Barbuda 97,120 443 218.83 7 Argentina 44,938,710 2,780,400 16.26 8 Armenia 2,957,730 29,743 103.68 9 Australia 25,364,310 7,741,220 3.25 10 Austria 8,877,070 83,871 107.13 11 Azerbaijan 10,023,320 86,600 120.26 12 Bahamas 389,480 13,880 38.53 13 Bahrain 1,641,170 760 2012.1 14 Bangladesh 163,046,160 148,460 1239.58 15 Barbados 287,020 430 666.61 16 Belarus 9,466,860 207,600 46.72 17 Belgium 11,484,060 30,528 377.38 18 Belize 390,350 22,966 16.79 19 Benin 11,801,150 112,622 101.85 20 Bhutan 763,090 38,394 19.78 21 Bolivia 11,513,100 1,098,581 10.48 22 Bosnia and Herzegovina 3,301,000 51,197 64.92 23 Botswana 2,303,700 581,730 3.98 24 Brazil 211,049,530 8,515,770 25.06 25 Brunei 433,290 5,765 81.4 26 Bulgaria 6,975,760 110,879 64.71 27 Burkina Faso 20,321,380 274,200 72.19 28 Burundi 11,530,580 27,830 435.18 29 Cote d'Ivoire 25,716,540 322,463 78.83 30 Cabo Verde 549,930 4,033 134.93 31 Cambodia 16,486,540 181,035 92.06 32 Cameroon 25,876,380 475,440 53.34 33 Canada 37,589,260 9,984,670 4.13 34 Central African Republic 4,745,190 622,984 7.49 35 Chad 15,946,880 1,284,000 12.29 36 Chile 18,952,040 756,102 25.19 37 China 1,397,715,000 9,596,960 147.77 38 Colombia 50,339,440 1,138,910 44.76 39 Comoros 850,890 2,235 447.24 40 Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) 5,380,510 342,000 15.36 41 Costa Rica 5,047,560 51,100 97.91 42 Croatia 4,067,500 56,594 72.24 43 Cuba 11,333,480 110,860 109.23 44 Cyprus 1,198,580 9,251 128.71 45 Czechia (Czech Republic) 10,669,710 78,867 137.69 46 Democratic Republic of the Congo 86,790,570 2,344,858 37.08 47 Denmark 5,818,550 43,094 144.84 48 Djibouti 973,560 23,200 41.37 49 Dominica 71,810 751 95.5 50 Dominican Republic 10,738,960 48,670 219.98 51 Ecuador 17,373,660 283,561 68.79 52 Egypt 100,388,070 1,001,450 98.87 53 El Salvador 6,453,550 21,041 309.88 54 Equatorial Guinea 1,355,990 28,051 46.67 55 Eritrea 3,213,970 117,600 34.19 56 Estonia 1,326,590 45,228 30.41 57 Eswatini (fmr. "Swaziland") 1,148,130 17,364 66.06 58 Ethiopia 112,078,730 1,104,300 96.72 59 Fiji 889,950 18,274 48.36 60 Finland 5,520,310 338,145 18.15 61 France 67,059,890 643,801 122.3 62 Gabon 2,172,580 267,667 8.22 63 Gambia 2,347,710 11,300 225.31 64 Georgia 3,720,380 69,700 65.2 65 Germany 83,132,800 357,022 237.29 66 Ghana 30,417,860 238,533 130.82 67 Greece 10,716,320 131,957 83.27 68 Grenada 112,000 344 327.81 69 Guatemala 16,604,030 108,889 152.55 70 Guinea 12,771,250 245,857 50.52 71 Guinea-Bissau 1,920,920 36,125 66.65 72 Guyana 782,770 214,969 3.96 73 Haiti 11,263,080 27,750 403.6 74 Holy See 825 0.44 Data Not Available 75 Honduras 9,746,120 112,090 85.69 76 Hungary 9,769,950 93,028 107.12 77 Iceland 361,310 103,000 3.5 78 India 1,366,417,750 3,287,263 454.94 79 Indonesia 270,625,570 1,904,375 142.56 80 Iran 82,913,910 1,648,195 50.22 81 Iraq 39,309,780 438,317 88.53 82 Ireland 4,941,440 70,273 70.65 83 Israel 9,053,300 21,937 410.48 84 Italy 60,297,400 301,340 202.94 85 Jamaica 2,948,280 10,991 270.99 86 Japan 126,264,930 377,915 347.13 87 Jordan 10,101,690 89,342 112.14 88 Kazakhstan 18,513,930 2,724,900 6.77 89 Kenya 52,573,970 580,387 90.3 90 Kiribati 117,610 811 143.02 91 Kosovo 1,794,248 10,887 164.508 92 Kuwait 4,207,080 17,818 232.17 93 Kyrgyzstan 6,456,900 199,951 32.97 94 Laos 7,169,450 236,800 30.6 95 Latvia 1,912,790 64,589 31.04 96 Lebanon 6,855,710 10,400 669.49 97 Lesotho 2,125,270 30,355 69.44 98 Liberia 4,937,370 111,369 50.03 99 Libya 6,777,450 1,759,540 3.8 100 Liechtenstein 38,020 160 236.94 101 Lithuania 2,786,840 65,300 44.73 102 Luxembourg 619,900 2,586 250.19 103 Madagascar 26,969,310 587,041 45.14 104 Malawi 18,628,750 118,484 192.44 105 Malaysia 31,949,780 329,847 95.96 106 Maldives 530,950 298 1718.99 107 Mali 19,658,030 1,240,192 15.64 108 Malta 502,650 316 1514.47 109 Marshall Islands 58,790 181 324.52 110 Mauritania 4,525,700 1,030,700 4.27 111 Mauritius 1,265,710 2,040 623.3 112 Mexico 127,575,530 1,964,375 64.91 113 Micronesia 113,810 702 160.91 114 Moldova 2,657,640 33,851 94.26 115 Monaco 38,960 2 19083.37 116 Mongolia 3,225,170 1,564,116 2.04 117 Montenegro 622,140 13,812 46.26 118 Morocco 36,471,770 716,550 80.73 119 Mozambique 30,366,040 799,380 37.51 120 Myanmar (formerly Burma) 54,045,420 676,578 82.28 121 Namibia 2,494,530 824,292 2.97 122 Nauru 12,580 21 635.2 123 Nepal 28,608,710 147,181 195.94 124 Netherlands 17,332,850 41,543 511.78 125 New Zealand 4,917,000 268,838 18.39 126 Nicaragua 6,545,500 130,370 53.73 127 Niger 23,310,720 1,267,000 17.72 128 Nigeria 200,963,600 923,768 215.06 129 North Korea 25,666,160 120,538 212.19 130 North Macedonia 2,083,460 25,713 82.59 131 Norway 5,347,900 323,802 14.55 132 Oman 4,974,990 309,500 15.6 133 Pakistan 216,565,320 796,095 275.29 134 Palau 18,010 459 38.93 135 Panama 4,246,440 75,420 56.31 136 Papua New Guinea 8,776,110 462,840 19 137 Paraguay 7,044,640 406,752 17.51 138 Peru 32,510,450 1,285,216 24.99 139 Philippines 108,116,620 300,000 357.69 140 Poland 37,970,870 312,685 124.03 141 Portugal 10,269,420 92,090 112.26 142 Qatar 2,832,070 11,586 242.1 143 Romania 19,356,540 238,391 84.63 144 Russia 144,373,540 17,098,242 8.82 145 Rwanda 12,626,950 26,338 498.66 146 Saint Kitts and Nevis 52,830 261 202 147 Saint Lucia 182,790 616 298.18 148 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 110,590 389 282.59 149 Samoa 197,100 2,831 69.3 150 San Marino 33,860 61 563.08 151 Sao Tome and Principe 215,060 964 219.82 152 Saudi Arabia 34,268,530 2,149,690 15.68 153 Senegal 16,296,360 196,722 82.35 154 Serbia 6,944,980 77,474 79.84 155 Seychelles 97,630 455 210.35 156 Sierra Leone 7,813,220 71,740 105.99 157 Singapore 5,703,570 719 7953 158 Slovakia 5,454,070 49,035 113.29 159 Slovenia 2,087,950 20,273 102.99 160 Solomon Islands 669,820 28,896 23.32 161 Somalia 15,442,910 637,657 23.92 162 South Africa 58,558,270 1,219,090 47.63 163 South Korea 51,709,100 99,720 529.19 164 South Sudan 11,062,110 644,329 17.37 165 Spain 47,076,780 505,370 93.67 166 Sri Lanka 21,803,000 65,610 350.28 167 Sudan 42,813,240 1,861,484 22.6 168 Suriname 581,360 163,820 3.69 169 Sweden 10,285,450 450,295 24.98 170 Switzerland 8,574,830 41,277 215.47 171 Syria 17,070,130 187,437 92.07 172 Tajikistan 9,321,020 144,100 65.57 173 Tanzania 58,005,460 947,300 63.58 174 Thailand 69,625,580 513,120 135.9 175 Timor-Leste 1,293,120 14,874 85.27 176 Togo 8,082,370 56,785 145.05 177 Tonga 104,490 747 143.33 178 Trinidad and Tobago 1,394,970 5,128 270.93 179 Tunisia 11,694,720 163,610 74.44 180 Turkey 83,429,620 783,562 106.96 181 Turkmenistan 5,942,090 488,100 12.45 182 Tuvalu 11,650 26 383.6 183 Uganda 44,269,590 241,038 213.06 184 Ukraine 44,385,150 603,550 77.02 185 United Arab Emirates 9,770,530 83,600 135.61 186 United Kingdom 66,834,400 243,610 274.71 187 United States of America 328,239,520 9,833,517 35.71 188 Uruguay 3,461,730 176,215 19.71 189 Uzbekistan 33,580,650 447,400 74.81 190 Vanuatu 299,880 12,189 24.01 191 Venezuela 28,515,830 912,050 32.73 192 Vietnam 96,462,110 331,210 308.13 193 Yemen 29,161,920 527,968 53.98 194 Zambia 17,861,030 752,618 23.34 195 Zimbabwe 14,645,470 390,757 37.32
    1. Home
    2. World Facts
    3. How Many Countries Are Recognized By The United States?
    Does the US recognize Afghanistan?
    U.S. Recognition of Afghanistan, 1921. The United States recognized Afghanistan on July 26, 1921, when President Warren G. Harding received a mission of the Afghan Government at the White House. more
    What was Afghanistan before it was Afghanistan?
    The countries of Kandahar, Ghazni and Kabul formed the frontier region between Khorasan and the Indus. This land, inhabited by the Afghan tribes (i.e. ancestors of Pashtuns), was called Afghanistan, which loosely covered a wide area between the Hindu Kush and the Indus River, principally around the Sulaiman Mountains. more
    Is Afghanistan landlocked?
    Afghanistan is a landlocked country located in Southern Asia that borders China, Iran, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The geography of Afghanistan is arid and mountainous; the Hindu Kush Mountains run northeast to southwest and divide the northern provinces from the rest of the country. more
    Is Afghanistan nice?
    Lonely Planet once described Afghanistan as a “vastly appealing country.” Having married into an Afghan family many years ago, I can attest that the culture is also extremely hospitable. Welcoming tourists to visit their beautiful nation is a logical extension of the Afghan culture. more
    Is Afghanistan rich?
    Estimating that the mineral wealth of Afghanistan could be worth from $1 trillion to $3 trillion, Afghan officials in 2010 had hoped the mining sector would not only help to eliminate poverty but also end the decadeslong conflict in Afghanistan. more
    Who captured Afghanistan?
    Over the past two decades, governments and international bodies joined U.S.-led efforts to oust the Taliban and bolster Afghanistan's government, democratic institutions, and civil society in the following ways: Military force. U.S. troops quickly overthrew the Taliban after they invaded Afghanistan in October 2001. more
    What was Afghanistan before it became Afghanistan?
    The countries of Kandahar, Ghazni and Kabul formed the frontier region between Khorasan and the Indus. This land, inhabited by the Afghan tribes (i.e. ancestors of Pashtuns), was called Afghanistan, which loosely covered a wide area between the Hindu Kush and the Indus River, principally around the Sulaiman Mountains. more
    Who created Afghanistan?
    The modern state of Afghanistan began with the Durrani dynasty in the 18th century, with the Durrani Afghan Empire being formed by Ahmad Shah Durrani. The Durrani Empire led conquests in which, at its peak, encompassed land that spanned from eastern Iran to northern India. more
    Does Afghanistan recognize Pakistan?
    After Pakistan's creation in 1947, Afghanistan objected to its admission to the United Nations. The Afghan government of the time decided not to recognize Pakistan as the legitimate inheritor of the territorial agreements reached with the British India. more
    Who found Afghanistan?
    Ahmad Shāh Durrānī Ahmad Shāh Durrānī (c. 1723–1773), the founder of the Durrani Empire and regarded as the founder of present-day Afghanistan. more
    Is Afghanistan recognized as a country?
    The United States recognized Afghanistan on July 26, 1921, when President Warren G. Harding received a mission of the Afghan Government at the White House. The Department of State had been notified by British authorities on August 9, 1919, that Afghanistan was “officially free and independent in its affairs.” more

    Source: www.worldatlas.com

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