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What is your percentage?

Travel Forums General Talk What is your percentage?

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21. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 10y

The whole "what is a country question" and "how many countries are there" is one I have to deal with constantly (i'm a cartographer) and there is no one answer. Or rather, there are many answers. In some cases I accept a much higher number, in some cases a lower one. It's fun dealing with different governments etc who recognise different countries, and having to remember where you are or are not allowed to (a) mention or (b) count or discount certain places.

UN membership (plus the Vatican as an official observer) is one method, which gives, i think, 193 - although Montenegro should soon become 194 - but there are always oddities. The Chinese/Taiwanese question is of course one, Western Sahara another. And that's before you get started on numerous overseas terrorities, places with uncertain status, historical issues like the UK and places which are trying to suceed from their countries (Such as Northern Cyprus and Trans-Dinestir), or ones which aren't fully integrated into their country (HK and Macau).

Basically, TP uses a list of "countries" which obviously includes places which aren't sovereign nations, but in most cases are seperate territories or have a specific reason to seperate them. And in most cases, their list makes sense.

Gelli, were you able to travel indepently in Libya by the way, and how did you get your visa?

I've been a couple of times. The first as part of a kind of group with some but limited freedom, the second (and third, although it was essentially one visit with a side trip) was mostly independent. It's a great country, and worth seeing before it becomes more open, especially away from the Italian resorty areas.

I read all the posts but the 32% really doesn't get out of my head. How did you do it without flying?

I get around a fair bit, and frequently.

And i've been travelling since I was fairly young. Most places aren't all that far away either. My recent 15mth trip took me the furthest i've been away from "home"(i made it to about 4hrs south of Bangkok), but it only added 9 TP countries to my list [technically 10, if you include a trip into North Korea territorial waters], although did give me a surreal oddity - which I am working on - that as a non flying constantly travelling European, I visited Macau before Portugal...

And there are actually very few places it isn't possible to get to by surface travel. Ok, I haven't been to the America's yet, but they aren't all that hard to get to, and I will when I get around to it. Australia is trickier, although two friends made it from the Uk to Australia entirely by surface (the Indonesia - Australia leg is hard, and most give up in Indonesia and fly it). And there are places I can get to by surface, that you physically can't get to by Air, so - time and money permitting - I can get to more countries/territories without flying than I can by flying

22. Posted by s_hoot (Respected Member 497 posts) 10y

There are eight accepted criteria used to determine whether an entity is an independent country or not.

A country need only fail on one of the eight criteria to not meet the definition of independent country status. England does not meet all eight criteria; it fails on six of the eight criteria...

1. Has space or territory that has internationally recognized boundaries (boundary disputes are OK).

Yes, England does have internationally recognized boundaries and is 130,395 square kilometers in area. England is the largest component of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

2. Has people who live there on an ongoing basis.

Yes, according to the 2001 census, England's population is 49,138,831.

3. Has economic activity and an organized economy. A country regulates foreign and domestic trade and issues money.
Somewhat. England certainly has economic activity and an organized economy. However, England does not regulate its own foreign or domestic trade, the United Kingdom's parliament acts on the entire nation's behalf.

The Bank of England serves as the central bank for the United Kingdom and does print banknotes for both England and Wales.

4. Has the power of social engineering, such as education.

No. National government departments (such as the Department for Education and Skill) at the national level maintain responsibility for social engineering.

5. Has a transportation system for moving goods and people.

Mostly. England has a transportation system but the system is not fully under English control. There is no English Parliament but some systems are under local control but must of the national transportation system is under national control by Parliament.

6. Has a government that provides public services and police power.

Somewhat. Local governments provides local law enforcement and fire protection but the national government controls criminal and civil law, the prosecution system, the courts, defense and national security across the United Kingdom. England does not and can not have its own army.

7. Has sovereignty. No other State should have power over the country's territory.

No. The Parliament of the United Kingdom definitely has power over England's territory.

8. Has external recognition. A country has been "voted into the club" by other countries.

No. England does not have external recognition nor does England have its own embassies in other independent countries. There's no possible way England could become an independent member of the United Nations.

Thus, as you can plainly see, England (nor Wales, nor Northern Ireland, nor Scotland) is not an independent country; England is an internal division of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

This is the statement from About.com that says there are 193 countries, TP lists 243 but the official UN number is actually 193 at the moment.

I know i mixed up Ireland and Northern Ireland in last post for which one is part of UK, i feel dumb as I lived in the UK for three years, However I didnt make it to Northern Ireland or Ireland though.

23. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 10y

That's interesting, and as I said England does have the least constitutional basis of all member parts of the UK.

Just a couple of observations though (numbered in relation to your post):

3) The Bank of England does regulate a certain amount, in that it is responsible for the base interest rate, and keeping the UK within the aimed for inflation rates (this was introduced about 8 years ago, passing away from the government's responsibility).

4) The education system in England and Wales does differ from each other, though not as much as it does in Scotland. For example, children in Wales began school at a slightly earlier age than in England.

5) The national transportation system in Britain is a mess - a combination of many companies and agencies not really working together, which is a result of mass privatisation which was always a bad idea for national networks such as the train system. Some of this may come down to the anti-monopoly approach of the EU, though not all of it.

7) Technically, the Monarch has sovereignty over England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (being a "United" Kingdom). And taking this further, the EU has some powers over all EU member countries (interesting point: would this disqualify all EU countries from being countries?)

8) England does have some external recognition, within the context of the Commonwealth. For example, in the Commonwealth Games England has its own team, as does Wales, as does Scotland.

I don't deny that England is not an independant country, but a country it certainly is. And some of the points you make are reasons why full devolution should happen for all member parts of the UK, however certain things should be kept at a UK level (2 examples are immigration and defence).

24. Posted by aarantes (Respected Member 165 posts) 10y

I guess being a cartographer must help.

I love to fly because for me it means travelling. But I wish I could live in a more central country, where I would not depend so much on planes.

I hope to make a trip on a Campervan before coming back to Brazil. But I should probably start a new forum about it. I don't want to interrupt the dscussion about the number of countries...;)

25. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 10y

Sorry, but I suppose that someone has to be an awkward b*stard and point out a couple of the holes in that theory, and it may as well be me...

If you take...

There are eight accepted criteria used to determine whether an entity is an independent country or not. A country need only fail on one of the eight criteria to not meet the definition of independent country status.

and

3. Has economic activity and an organized economy. A country regulates foreign and domestic trade and issues money.

It means that amongst many others, Ecuador (because it uses the US dollar) Liechtenstein (uses Swiss currency) and all of the EU countries, (because foreign trade is regulated by the EU, NOT the individiual countries, and in the case of Euro club members, whilst they technically issue their own money - each country has coins, not notes, with their own emblems on, they are interchangeable and in the countries themselves have no control over the prinbting, issuing and supply of money) are not countries.

Monaco, to give just one more example has never had a currency of it's own, whilst it also is militarily protected by the French (and EU, NATO etc).

The Vatican, i believe would only pass maybe 2 of the criteria, but is still accepted as a country by the UN and virtually everybody else. Somalia fails every test going, more or less, but is still fully accepted as a country, whilst Taiwan actually passes all 8 criteria yetvirtually no countries officially recognise it...

I would guess that the list of "countries" of the 193 listed which technically fails at least one of those 8 criteria is probably longer than the list which fully comply!

26. Posted by mojorob (Moderator 1047 posts) 10y

Quoting Gelli

And there are actually very few places it isn't possible to get to by surface travel. Ok, I haven't been to the America's yet, but they aren't all that hard to get to, and I will when I get around to it. Australia is trickier, although two friends made it from the Uk to Australia entirely by surface (the Indonesia - Australia leg is hard, and most give up in Indonesia and fly it). And there are places I can get to by surface, that you physically can't get to by Air, so - time and money permitting - I can get to more countries/territories without flying than I can by flying

I would love to travel more without flying (largely because I can't stand flying...)

Why is the Indonesia-Australia leg so difficult? And how would you go about getting to the Americas from Europe?

27. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 10y

Quoting mojorob

Quoting Gelli

And there are actually very few places it isn't possible to get to by surface travel. Ok, I haven't been to the America's yet, but they aren't all that hard to get to, and I will when I get around to it. Australia is trickier, although two friends made it from the Uk to Australia entirely by surface (the Indonesia - Australia leg is hard, and most give up in Indonesia and fly it). And there are places I can get to by surface, that you physically can't get to by Air, so - time and money permitting - I can get to more countries/territories without flying than I can by flying

I would love to travel more without flying (largely because I can't stand flying...)

Why is the Indonesia-Australia leg so difficult? And how would you go about getting to the Americas from Europe?

Again, can't speak for Gelli, but I reply because it's fun.
I read a book by Peter Moore (Along the Hippy trail or something), he wanted to travel overland from Londen to Sydney. He failed the indonesia-australia leg because the monsoon season had started when he arrived there. Out of the monsoon season the only possibility to get to Australia is to go with Indonesian fishermen who (illegally) go fishing to the australia shores or to be lucky enough to find a place on a private yaught out of Timor. There are no regular passenger services, no cargo ships etc.

As for the europe-america thing: there are (expensive) passenger services (think Queen Elizabeth II) and there are organisations in Europe (i know there is in holland) that have cargo ship cruises...cheaper and much more adventurous.

28. Posted by Gelli (Travel Guru 2457 posts) 10y

Why is the Indonesia-Australia leg so difficult?

No regular cargo ships, and not many places on the North coast of Australia that can be used as a staging post, sdespite the fact it isn't very far away. My friends who did it waited about 3weeks on an obscure Indonesian island before working passage on a private yaught with a guy who was known to come across 3 or 4 times a year (almost certainly doing something dodgy, they said, but asked no questions as it was the only way). He was the only one in Indonesia knew about that went to Australia.

Actually, getting to Australia is relatively easy. The mistake virtually everybody makes is thinking that they should go via Indonesia because it's closest. Lots of cargo vessels from elsewhere in Asia, and even Europe, some of which officially can take up to 6 passengers, some of whom will take you ad-hoc if you talk to the harbour or ship crews.

And how would you go about getting to the Americas from Europe?

Any number of cargo vessels, a number of private yaughts (to the Carib, for example) and also several scheduled cruise liners such as the QE2.

I guess being a cartographer must help.

In my case, yes, it does, but I have a very rare job in the business, and 99%+ of all other cartographers don't travel much, or certainly to the range of places that I do, excepting maybe a couple of conferences a year, or if they are in sales

29. Posted by dwalker66 (Full Member 210 posts) 10y

Using the TP coutires list I have done 25% of the world so far (reports on all of them in my profile - al beit brief on some of them) that's only 61 countries in total though! many more to do yet - off to 4 countries in the next 12 days (Bahrain, India, Oman, Thailand) but been to all of them already so my percentage will remain the same!

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