We all like new things, but what about new countries? If you area country collector, what do you do when you run out of countries? Well, you wait for new ones, of course!
For regular readers of YPT, you will know that we have more than a passing interest in strange places, unrecognised countries and indeed what counts as a country! What counts as a country is a remarkably varied debate, with our personal opinion being that it falls somewhere between the 195ers and the 100 club.
To read our official rules on what counts as a country, click here.
Now! With these rules firmly in place, we will not count unrecognized countries, such as Transnistria, which you can read about here. We will also not be mentioning Catalonia, or Scotland, both of which tried and failed miserably and are not all that interesting.
This article is about places that might legitimately become new countries in 2023, or 2024.
Donetsk and Luhansk were previously on our list, although whilst being given brief “independence’ have now been incorporated into the Russian Federation.
7. Bougainville – Papua New Guinea
Bougainville is officially part of Papua New Guinea, but they fought a long and very bitter civil war over independence. There are a lot of reasons why they don’t feel like being part of PNG, with a considerable portion being that the area sees little from its rice in resources.
At the end of 2019, the nation voted 98% for independence, with said independence due to occur between 2025 and 2027. One only hopes that Papua New Guinea, which has its own problems agrees to this and there is no new bloodshed. Oh and they even have a Micronation.
You can check out our PNG and Bouganville tours here.
6. Chuuck – Federated States of Micronesia
There are four “states” that make up the former US colony of the Federated States of Micronesia. The biggest and richest is Chuuk, and it turns out they think they would be better off alone.
They have been talking about holding a referendum for a long time, but it keeps getting postponed. It was to take place in 2023, but again it did not happen, perhaps in 2024?
Should it take place though do not be shocked if colonial overlords Uncle Sam step in to spot another China ally being born…
5. West Papua – Indonesia
Probably the least likely, but most deserving “country” on our list. They have fought against Indonesia for many years, but unlike Timor-Leste have failed to actually achieve independence
Were recently in the news after kidnapping a Kiwi pilot, and have received support in their bid for statehood from a number of Pacific states, including Vanuatu. Sadly PNG are not an open supporter.
You can check out our West Papua Tours here.
4. New Caledonia – France
An overseas territory of France in the beautiful Pacific Ocean. There is a wide disparity in wealth between the indigenous population and the colonialists. There have been three independence referendums here, following the Nouméa Accord of 1998 which promised to grant increased political power to New Caledonia and its original population, the Kanaks.
The first two votes, in 2018 and 2020, had tight results, the independence being rejected by a small (and decreasing) margin. The final vote was organized in December 2021 amid a boycott from the Kanak population. Voters overwhelmingly voted against independence (96.5%) but the results weren’t recognized by the Kanaks. Discussions regarding the future status of New Caledonia are now taking place again.
3. Gagauzia – Moldova
You might have heard of Transnsitria, but perhaps not Gagauzia, well they also had a war for independence with Moldova. In the end it was settled with autonomy, but there are a few interesting points here. Whilst peace was made if Moldova enters any pact, or alliance such as the EU, or NATO it reserves the right to declare independence, or join. the Russian Federation.
Gagauzia is currently massively pro-Russian, so should Russia make it to Ddessa, this may well bright light to the Gagauzai question. Should this happen we may see a new country even sooner than 2024.
Honorable mention – A split Libya
There is every chance that the formerly mighty Libya might split into two states, although the reality will probably be reaming as is. You can join us in Libya here.
2. Bermuda – British Empire
Again another one of those places, much like the Cayman Islands that is basically a country anyway. They have their own money, passport and a football team. Technically they are still part of the British Empire.
Though the current government is pro-independence and unlikely, the British would stand in their way.
1. Rojava – Syria
One of the most interesting places on our list and again another result of western foreign policy. Technically still part of Syria, but they are fighting not only the central government but ISIS as well.
This state is run on socialist and Anarchist lines and could rightly be seen as the closest the world has to an anarchist state. Technically have said they do not want independence, but should the war continue as it does this still may happen. Being Kurds though, sadly someone will probably block them in the end.
You can read more about Rojava here.
And that marks the seven most likely new countries in the world you might see in 2024. Some have better chances of recognition than others, but all form fascinating potential travel destinations!
But what if I have already been to one of them?
Sadly if you visit Bougainville before it gets independence, then you visited Papua New Guinea! To qualify for having been to a “new” nation, it must be post-independence.