My friend recently posted an article about Nagorno-Karabakh (never heard of it, neither had I until yesterday). It is one of about a dozen states in the world that are fighting for recognition by the United Nations. As I like learning about new things I wanted to find out something about these places, starting with Nagorno-Karabakh.

Place you never knew existed

Nagorno-Karabakh

Nagorno-Karabakh until 1991 was and according to the UN arguably still is a part of Azerbaijan. The problem is that the President of Nagorno-Karabakh, it’s parliament and army would be quick to point out that it is an independent country. The only way to get here is a ling eight hour bus ride from Armenia as the country doesn’t have a functioning airport.

Places you never knew existed

Transnistria

Transnistria is still officially a part of Moldova, despite having broken away from the country in 1992. Like Nagorno-Karabakh, although it has yet to be officially recognised by any of the countries in the world, Transnistria has it’s own President, parliament and army. They also produce some very nice brandy, but you’re unlikely to be able to buy it in a supermarket near you any time soon!

Country you never knew existed

Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic

Like the name implies, the Sahrawi Republic is located in North Africa, on the Sahara belt and is in theory a part of Morocco. The Sharawi Arab Democratic Republic first declared independence in 1976, which means it’s been around for a lot longer than other places on this list like¬†Nagorno-Karabakh. It has also been recognised as a state by almost a third of the countries in the UN, which means it might actually one day get a seat at the UN.

Countries You Never Knew Existed

Somaliland

Even though it declared independence in 1991, Somaliland is only recognised as an autonomous region of Somalia. Just like Nagorno-Karabakh, Somaliland has gained zero support from the international community. Given the significant Western support for the state of Somalia, this situation is unlikely to ever change.

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Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

It should come as absolutely no surprise that the only country to recognise the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is Turkey. The region declared independence in 1983. I can actually remember looking at photos from a holiday that my grandparents took in Cyprus in the early 90’s. In the middle of a beautiful tourist beach there was a long metal fence guarded by soldiers. This hasn’t changed much and the border is still a sensitive area, unlike most of the rest of Europe.