Tuesday, 8 February 2011
A new country to count
Only hard-core "country collectors" are likely to be in any hurry to visit Southern Sudan, but it seems worth noting that by the end of this year, if all goes well following the recent plebiscite, there will be one more generally-recognized independent country.
Of course, many countries have declared their independence without having it widely recognized by other countries' governments. As IPS' Foreign policy In Focus puts it in an insightful survey of the recent history of country creation in their newsletter today, "For every successful South Sudan, there are several suppressed Chechnyas."
That complicates life for country collectors. What's a country? Should I count my having visited East Turkestan? Kashmir? Taiwan? What about Puerto Rico or other colonies? And what about my friend who visited the territory of what is to become Southern Sudan a couple of years ago when it was still part of (united) "Sudan"?
I know, the Travelers Century Club has its own country counting list. But it's nonsense, including, for example, Prince Edward Island (which isn't even entirely an island since the completion of the Confederation Bridge) as a separate country from Canada. With all due respect to my friends in (on?) PEI, that's absurb. Québec, maybe. PEI, no. (But the TCC doesn't count Québec.) And that's only one of many bizarre entries on the TCC list.
Feel free to post your own country-counting rules or interesting "edge cases" in the comments.
Posted by Edward on Tuesday, 8 February 2011, 13:24 ( 1:24 PM)
I use my passport to travel. So, if citizens of the place have their own valid and internationally recognized passport then its a country.
How many people are living there? Before Southern Sudan descended into civil war, the country's protected areas supported some of the most spectacular and important wildlife populations in Africa, and hosted the second largest wildlife migration in the world.
Har, har. I'm an amateur radio operator, and we have our own country list, with its own criteria:
The number on that list is 338.
But it's a weird list, and includes these two:
"c) The Spratly Islands, due to the nature of conflicting claims, and without recognizing or refuting any claim, is recognized as a Special Entity. Operations from this area will be accepted with the necessary permissions issued by an occupying Entity. Operations without such permissions, such as with a self-assigned (e.g., 1S) callsign, will not be recognized for DXCC credit.
d) Control of Western Sahara (S0) is currently an issue between Morocco and the indigenous population. The UN has stationed a peacekeeping force there. Until the sovereignty issue is settled, only operations licensed by the RASD shall count for DXCC purposes."
I've been to Western Sahara, and spent a month in the Philippines NOT getting to the Spratly's.
Google for DX0DX.
I use the Olympics / World Cup rule, which is that any "country" that is allowed to compete independently at the Olympics or World Cup counts.
For example, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have their own Olympic teams, and thus count as countries by this rule.
In the World Cup, FIFA recognizes Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England as being separate countries, so they count as four in my book.
There is obviously fault with this methodology, as the British "home nations" are only allowed to compete independently due to soccer's roots and long history in Britain. Other semi-autonomous regions such as Catalunya, Galicia or Basque-land in Spain should arguably meet the same criteria, but aren't recognized by FIFA.