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10 new countries in just over 2 decades!

Last updated on: September 19, 2014 19:45 IST

In a historic vote, Scotland on Friday rejected independence from the United Kingdom.   

But if the YES votes overtook the nays, it would put an end to a 307-year-union. lists 10 new countries that were formed over the last two decades.

South Sudan

Formed on: July 9, 2011

How: South Sudan peacefully seceded from Sudan following a January 2011 referendum. Sudan itself was the first to recognize South Sudan and did so one day early, on July 8, 2011.


Formed on: Febraury 17, 2008

How: Kosovo was a part of the former Yugoslavia and following the disintegration of Yugoslavia, it became a part of Serbia as an autonomous province. Kosovo, a landlocked region with a population consisting mainly of ethnic Albanians, declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008 following the bloody 1998-99 war and almost a decade of international administration. The 1998-99 war, triggered by a brutal crackdown by Serb forces against Kosovo's separatist ethnic Albanians, left about 10,000 ethnic Albanians dead before ending after a 78-day Nato bombing campaign. Since then, more than 100 UN member states have recognized Kosovo.


Formed on: June 5, 2006

How: Serbia became a stand-alone sovereign republic in the summer of 2006 after Montenegro voted in a referendum for independence from the Union of Serbia and Montenegro. The two republics had been united in one form or another for nearly 90 years. With separation from Montenegro, Serbia is cut off from the Adriatic Sea and becomes landlocked.


Formed on: June 3, 2006

How: Montenegro emerged as a sovereign state after just over 55% of the population opted for independence in a May 2006 referendum. The EU-brokered deal forming it was intended to stabilise the region by settling Montenegrin demands for independence from Serbia and preventing further changes to Balkan borders.

East Timor (Timor-Leste)

Formed on: May 20, 2002

How: Twice rescheduled because of violence, a UN-organised referendum to decide whether East Timor would secede from Indonesia took place on August 30, 1999. The East Timorese voted overwhelmingly for independence from Indonesia and when the results were announced, the region descended into a state of anarchy. Pro-Jakarta militias and Indonesian soldiers killed hundreds of civilians. According to the United Nations, the militias forced 500,000 East Timorese to flee their homes. Due to international pressure, Indonesia allowed UN forces to enter East Timor on September 12, 1999. By the end of October the last of the Indonesian soldiers had left East Timor. For the next three years, East Timor was governed by the United Nations Transitional Authority in East Timor. Then on May 20, 2002, East Timor declared itself a nation with Mari Alkatiri, a former guerrilla leader, as Prime Minister and former rebel leader Jose Alezandre Gusmao, as president.


Formed on: October 1, 1994

How: After World War II, Caroline Islands (then an archipelago of small islands in the western Pacific Ocean, north of Guinea) came under the administration of the United States as a United Nations Trust Territory. Palau was named as one of the six island districts of this trusteeship. In 1979, a single federated Micronesian state comprising of four Trust Territory districts was formed, but Palau choose not to associate with other islands of the federation that was gradually dissolved. In 1981, Palau adopted its own constitution, and a year later in 1982 it signed Compact of Free Association under which the US remained responsible for island nation's defence for 50 years.


Formed on: May 25, 1993

How: The strategic significance of Eritrea because of its shoreline with the Red Sea and natural resources, together with their common past, was the primary reason for the confederacy with Ethiopia. This confederacy sequentially resulted in Eritrea's takeover as the 14th province of Ethiopia in 1952. It marked the end of a slow method of occupation by the Ethiopian Government, a procedure which incorporated a 1959 decree, laying down the mandatory education of Amharic, the principal Ethiopian language, in every school of Eritrea. The absence of respect for the people of the country triggered the development of a liberation campaign in 1961, which broke out as a 30-year battle against consecutive Ethiopian authorities. The fierce battle stopped in 1991. After a UN-monitored legislature (named UNOVER) where the Eritrean population tremendously yearned for freedom, the country announced its independence and achieved global recognition in 1993. It was formally acknowledged and given a membership of the United Nations in 1993.

The Czech Republic
and Slovakia

Formed on: January 1, 1993

How: On November 17, 1989, a series of public protests, known as the 'Velvet Revolution', began and led to the downfall of communist rule in Czechoslovakia. Dissident groups such as Charter 77 in the Czech Republic and Public Against Violence in Slovakia united to form a transitional government and assist with the first democratic elections since 1948. Several new parties emerged to fill the political spectrum. After the 1992 elections, Vladimir Meciar's Movement for a Democratic Slovakia, based on its appeal on fairness to Slovak demands for autonomy, emerged as the leading party in Slovakia. In June 1992, the Slovak parliament voted to declare sovereignty and the federation dissolved peacefully on January 1, 1993.


Formed on: September 17, 1991

How: Micronesia was formerly a part of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, a United Nations Trust Territory under US administration, but it formed its own constitutional government on May 10, 1979. On November 3, 1986, independence was attained under a Compact of Free Association with the US under which the latter remained responsible for Micronesia's defence for 50 years. On September 17, 1991, it became a member of the United Nations.