the Maldives is an amazing collection of 1192 islands which lie in the Indian Ocean encompassing a territory which is spread over roughly 90,000 square kilometers, making it one of the most disparate countries in the world. Occupied by 340,000 residents, who only inhabit 200 of the islands, it is the smallest Asian country in both population and area the country and has the lowest average ground level of any country in the world measuring just 1.5 metres above sea level.
3. Marshall Islands
Marshall Islands – 70 square miles – The atolls (including the world’s largest, Kwajalein), reefs, and 34 islands (population 58,000) gained independence in 1986; they were formerly part of the Trust Territory of Pacific Islands (and administered by the United States).
4. Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Kitts and Nevis – 104 square miles – This Caribbean country of 39,000 gained independence in 1983. Nevis is the smaller island of the two and is guaranteed the right to secede.
Liechtenstein lies on the River Rhine between Switzerland and Austria. At 62 square miles, it is the only Alpine country to lie completely within the Alps and is home to 34,000 people. The country has a strong financial sector located in the capital, Vaduz, and has been identified as a tax haven.
Composed of 9 coral atolls along a 360 mile chain in Polynesia, Tuvalu is only 9 square miles and is home to 12,000 people. Known previously as Ellice Islands they were ruled by the United Kingdom until 1978 when they gained independence.
Nauru is the world’s smallest island nation, covering just 8.1 square miles. Settled by Micronesian and Polynesian people, the Pacific Island was annexed and claimed as a colony by the German Empire in the 19th century, before becoming under the trusteeship of the League of nations mandate. Nauru was declared independent in 1968, and today 13000 people inhabit the tiny island which only has one air landing strip which connects it to the rest of the world.
Monaco – 0.7 square miles – The tiny state of Monaco lies along the French Riviera on the French Mediterranean coast near Nice. An impressive 32,000 people live in this state known for its Monte Carlo casinos and Princess Grace. It has been independent off-and-on since the 13th century.
9. Vatican City
Vatican City – 0.2 square miles – The world’s smallest state, the Vatican has a population of 770, none of whom are permanent residents. The tiny country which surrounds St. Peter’s Basilica is the spiritual center for the world’s Roman Catholics (over 1 billion strong). Also known as the Holy See, Vatican City is surrounded by Rome, Italy.
10. At 24 square miles wide, San Marino sits of Mount Titano in nor th central Italy. It has 29,000 residents and San claims to be the oldest recorded sovereign state and constitutional republic in the world, as the continuation of the monastic community founded on 3 September 301 by stone cutter Marinus of Rab.