Modern Day Colonies

Modern Day Colonies

We might have heard of colonies in history but did you know that we have modern day colonies too? Let’s find out more. 

What is Colony?

So first of all, for those who do not know, a colony is a country or area under the full or partial political control of another country and occupied by settlers from that country.

Which Countries have never been colonies?

There are a few countries who have never been in colonies. Those are Liberia, Ethiopia, Japan, Thailand, Bhutan, Iran, Nepal, Tonga, China, and possibly North Korea, South Korea and Mongolia.

Which countries had the most colonies?

Historically, the nation who had the most colonies at any one time was Great Britain. At the height of the British Empire, she controlled 1/4 of all the land on the planet. This made the British Empire the largest Empire in human history. 

Subsequent colonial empires included the French, English, Dutch and Japanese empires. By the mid-17th century, the Tsardom of Russia, continued later as the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, became the largest contiguous state in the world, and the modern Russian Federation continues to be so to this day. Russia today has nine time zones, stretching across about half of the world’s longitude.

Below is an animated picture showing the territories ruled by empires along with the year in the top left corner.


Why did colonies perish?

After countless wars fought between colonists and colonies, a wave of decolonization swept across the world in the 20th century, liberating the majority of nations from colonial rule and establishing their independent identity. There was a political revolution after the formation of the United Nations in 1945 that safeguarded the territories of all nations and maintained international peace.

The Special Committee on Decolonization maintains the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories (NSGTs), which identifies areas the United Nations (though not without controversy) believes are colonies. Given that dependent territories have varying degrees of autonomy and political power in the affairs of the controlling state, there is disagreement over the classification of “colony”.

Under Chapter XI of the Charter of the United Nations, the Non-Self-Governing Territories are defined as “territories whose people have not yet attained a full measure of self-government”.

Are there any Colonies (NSGTs) today?

Yes. There are 17 such territories that exist even today.


Highest number of NSGTs are under the rule of British.

AnguillaSince 1946United Kingdom15,000
BermudaSince 1946United Kingdom65,391
British Virgin IslandsSince 1946United Kingdom28,200
Cayman IslandsSince 1946United Kingdom63,415
Falkland Islands (Malvinas)Since 1946United Kingdom3,200
MontserratSince 1946United Kingdom5,045
Saint HelenaSince 1946United Kingdom5,527
Turks and Caicos IslandsSince 1946United Kingdom39,788
GibraltarSince 1946United Kingdom34,003
PitcairnSince 1946United Kingdom48

The USA has 3 NSGTs under its rule.

United States Virgin IslandsSince 1946United States104,919
American SamoaSince 1946United States60,300
GuamSince 1946United States163,875

France rules 2 such NSGTs.

French Polynesia1946-1947 and since 2013France275,918
New Caledonia1946-1947 and since 1986France268,767

There is 1 NSGT under Africa

Western SaharaSince 1963AFRICA567,000

And 1 under New Zealand

TokelauSince 1946New Zealand1,499

Which are the newest countries in the world today? When were they created?

July 2011 – South Sudan


South Sudan declared independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011, after a bloody civil war with the ethnically Arab north that had lasted decades. Almost 99 percent of voters had voted for independence in a referendum, and the new country was swiftly recognized by the international community.

February 2008 – Kosovo


Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on Feb. 17, 2008. The country had been administered by the United Nations since 1999, when NATO bombed Serbia and forced then-President Slobodan Milosevic to withdraw his troops from the ethnically divided province.

June 2006 – Montenegro and Serbia

The single nation of Serbia and Montenegro, formed after the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991, changed into the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro in 2003, and finally into the two separate states of Serbia and Montenegro in 2006.

May 2002 – East Timor

East Timor, now also known as Timor-Leste, achieved independence on May 20, 2002, but the country had effectively voted for independence years before, when a referendum delivered a clear vote that clearly rejected the proposed “special autonomy” within Indonesia. After that referendum, there was brutal violence in the region with pro-Indonesian militias attacking citizens, and a special U.N. force had to be deployed to the country.

October 1994 – Palau

Palau became independent on Oct. 1, 1994, 15 years after it had decided against becoming part of Micronesia due to cultural and linguistic differences.

Following World War II, Palau became a United Nations Trust Territory of the Pacific, administered by the United States, according to the CIA World Factbook. The territory gained independence in 1994, but under a Compact of Free Association, the U.S. provides it financial aid.

Palau has the smallest population of any of the five newest countries, with around 21,500 people.

Wrapping Up

We hope you would have come to know about some new facts reading this article.

Let us know in comments if you want to know more about colonies.

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