The world's smallest countries can be judged by size or population. Considered either way, the smallest countries are to be found in areas classified as belonging to Europe, Oceania, and North America.
Here are the world’s smallest countries by land mass. Notice that many of them are islands or island groups, and some of these have only relatively recently come into self governance, while San Marino, established in 301 CE, claims to be the world’s oldest republic. Nauru is the world’s smallest independent republic.
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|WORLD'S SMALLEST COUNTRIES BY LAND MASS|
|Order||Country Name||Area||Island(s)?||Date of Self-Rule|
|1.||Holy See/Vatican City||0.17 sq miles (0.44 sq km)||No||1929|
|2.||Monaco||0.75 sq miles (1.95 sq km)||No||originally - 1489|
|3.||Nauru||8.1 sq miles (21 sq km)||Yes||1968|
|4.||Tuvalu||10 sq miles (26 sq km)||Yes||1978|
|5.||San Marino||23.6 sq miles (61.2 sq km)||No||301|
|6.||Liechtenstein||62 sq miles (160 sq km)||No||1806|
|7.||Marshall Islands||70 sq miles (181.3 sq km)||Yes||1986|
|8.||Cook Islands||93 sq miles (240 sq km)||Yes||1965|
|9.||Niue||100 sq miles (260 sq km)||Yes||1974|
|10.||Saint Kitts and Nevis||101 sq miles (261 sq km)||Yes||1983|
|11.||Maldives||116 sq miles (300 sq km)||Yes||1968|
|12.||Malta||122 sq miles (316 sq km)||Yes||1964|
Looking at the population chart, we see that some of the world's smallest countries by population are not represented on the chart of smallest countries by land mass: namely Palau and Dominica – while Malta and the Maldives don’t appear. The explanations are, firstly, that Palau and Dominica, while not that much bigger – 177 sq mi (458 sq km) and 291 sq mi (754 sq km), respectively, they have relatively small populations; and secondly, the Maldives and Malta each have a relatively large population for their size compared to the others: 359,008 and 400,214 respectively.
|WORLD'S SMALLEST COUNTRIES BY POPULATION|
|Order||Country Name||Population (July, 2006 estimate)|
|1.||Holy See/Vatican City||932|
|10.||St. Kitts and Nevis||38,129|