15 Oldest Countries and Nations in the World

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If you are among history lovers, I bet you always wanted to have in front of you a list of the oldest countries and nations in the world. Well, we decided to make that wish come true. Just to make it clear from the beginning – this won’t be one of those lists of top 100 oldest countries in the world. It will have a more educational purpose of shedding light on the age of the Earth as a whole, and then on its continents and finally, the “age” of countries. So, let’s start.

The age of the Earth was a center of discussion for many, many years. Between the 18th and the 19th century, the first who spoke about the approximate age of the Earth was Arthur Holmes, the geologist. By developing a technique for measuring the age of rocks, Holmes proposed that the Earth is around 1.6 billion years old. In the years after, and still, nowadays, the Earth and its age are continuously questioned and analyzed. According to Live Science, the planet of humans is considered to be about 13.7 billion years old.  On the other hand, if we talk about continents, there are lots of debates regarding their age, as well. Some would say that Europe is the oldest one, while others suggest Australia is, because of the latest discoveries regarding evidence of life on land. However, first signs of the civilized world happen to be in the Middle East. So, that’s why when researching this topic the question that arises most often is: Is Iran the oldest country in the world? We wouldn’t say so, and you will find out why, on the pages that follow.

15 Oldest Countries and Nations In the World


The country’s age can also be measured by the year of its independence. For example, youngest country in the world is currently South Sudan as it became independent in 2011. In contrast, the oldest country in Africa is Ethiopia, which is also the symbol of independence, because apart from the Mussolini’s occupation, it has never been colonized. When we talk about Europe, according to some searches, the oldest country is France or England. However, when it comes to civilizations, that position would be taken by the Greeks. We couldn’t resist asking Wikipedia as well for the oldest countries in the world, and according to it, in the first three places are Greece, Lebanon, and Syria. Speaking of oldness – check out one of our previous articles about countries with the oldest population in the world.

We were also brainstorming about the term “nation.” According to Western tradition, the term nation is mainly connected with the existence of the country as a territory where language, religion, culture, and ancestry seem to be less important parameters. Furthermore, Mariam-Webster describes it similarly. For example, there is Switzerland, where official languages are German, French, Italian, and Romansh and yet citizens of that country are proud to call themselves the Swiss. They are the so-called “nation of will” or “nation by choice.” On the other hand, there is the Eastern tradition claiming that nations are defined without the necessity of having territorial borders. Therefore, we have so-called “stateless nations, ” and the best example is the Roma people. There are never-ending debates about this issue, and many scholars are still writing about it. The terms nation and nationality are difficult to define. From my point of view, the nation exists with the existence of its country. After all, Americans are equating their nationality with allegiance and citizenship, aren’t they?

To create our list of oldest countries and nations in the world, first we had to decide which “indicators of oldness” to choose. Our goal wasn’t to make another list of top 10 oldest countries in the world, nor to rank the oldest countries by age, as there are plenty of those. We first took the suggestions from the Target Map that measured how long are countries (read nations) independent, in other words, the age of their independence and ranked them in that manner. Then, we consulted The World Factbook obtained from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) website, to find out more about the history of these countries and their nations. So, if you want to see the results we got regarding the oldest countries and nations in the world and find out which is the oldest country in the world by age of independence, just click next.

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