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Saturday, December 16, 2006

112 Countries - According To Neo-Counter That Is.

As you can see from my Neo-Counter thing, I have hits from 112 Countries! But what the hell do the people at Neo-Counter know anyway? And how many Countries are there in the world anyway? All good questions.

There are 194 Countries in the world. Sort of. There is the Taiwan question to consider. And the answer to the Taiwan question is the opposite of the "do you want cheap imports from China" question.

After WWII, China went through a civil war of sorts. The the Nationalist government of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek was forced to retreated to Taiwan in December 1949. Thus was born the Republic Of China, commonly known as Taiwan. The Communist government of Chairman Mao formed the People's Republic Of China, commonly known as just China. The Republic Of China formed a democratic form of government, with free markets and so on. The People's Republic Of China isolated itself. The west quickly made friends with Taiwan.

But the PRC (People's Republic of China) never considered the ROC (Taiwan) a country. The PRC considered ROC a breakaway Provence of China. The government of the ROC considered itself the rightful government of China, forced into exile by the communist.

At some point, Taiwan was admitted to the UN. They held a seat there for a good 20 years. This seat represented ALL of China, even the communist parts. This, of course, really pissed off the communist government in Beijing. In October 1971, the PRC was admitted to the UN. Taiwan was forced to give up its seat.

But China was not done with their "break away provence" that everyone else considered a nation. In order to maintain diplomatic relations with the PRC, Beijing requires nations to break any formal relations with Taiwan. The USA stopped recognizing Taiwan in the 1970. Carter was forced to make this change, but he did not really want to. This means that in the USA there is no Taiwan Embassy. But the USA still maintains unofficial relations with Taiwan. More than 100 nations maintain unofficial relations with Taiwan. There is the "Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States (TECRO)" based in Washington DC and 11 "Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO)" branches scattered through the United States and Guam. The United States has a consular like office in Taiwan, which is authorized to issue visas and assist US Citizens in Taiwan. But it is not called a Consulate, it is called the American Institute in Taiwan, and is a private non-profit corporation.

Interestingly enough, Taiwan has fairly good relations with Beijing. Considering all of the above, the sometimes rough language the PRC uses when talking about the ROC, the military posturing, and everything else - Taiwan and Mainland China are trade partners, Taiwan has investments inside Mainland China, and direct travel from Taiwan to China is possible.

Long story short, there are 194 Countries in the World unless you do not count Taiwan - in which case there are 193 Countries in the World.

But Neo-Counter thinks there are far more than 194 Countries in the World. Just look at the flags in that sidebar thing. I will point out the flags in question here.

1. 51 hits are from "Country Not Detected". That is not a country.

2. 18 hits from Taiwan. Although not considered by the UN or most nations as a Country - on this blog Taiwan is recognized as an independent nation. As if it makes any difference at all.

3. 14 hits from Hong Kong. Hong Kong was handed over to the PRC by the UK in a peaceful ceremony. As a result, Hong Kong is not a country. Neo-Counter counts it as a country.

4. 7 hits from Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is not a country. It is a commonwealth of the United States. The government of Puerto Rico is similar to the government of any of the 50 States. Residents of Puerto Rico are issued US Passports and are US Citizens. But they can not vote in national elections. Neo-Counter counts Puerto Rico as a country. It is not.

5. 6 hits from "Serbia and Montenegro". The problem here is that just this year Montenegro split from Serbia. Neo-Counter counts both nations as the same place - but they are not. Serbia is Serbia, and Montenegro is Montenegro.

6. 4 hits from "Europe", which is not a nation.

7. 4 hits from Aruba. Aruba is a commonwealth of The Netherlands. It is not a nation.

8. 4 hits from the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. Virgin Islands are another commonwealth. Residents are US Citizens. Unlike Puerto Rico there is a non-voting representative from the US Virgin Islands in Congress.

9. 1 hit from Gibraltar. This is not a country, but a territory of the UK.

10. 1 hit from the British Virgin Islands. Not a country Neo-Counter! It is a "Crown Colony" of the UK. The BVIs are economically independent from the UK, and the islanders elect their own government.

11. 1 hit from Bermuda. Bermuda is another Crown Colony of the UK. And like the BVIs, the UK pretty much leaves Bermuda alone. Bermuda has full autonomy, except for matters of foreign relations, national defense, and internal security. An excellent deal - no expensive military to maintain!

12. 1 hit from a "satellite provider". Neo-Counter gives this its own flag.

13. 1 hit from the Palestinian Territory. Some reliable sources still list this as a "proposed nation". But from all appearances, it is already a nation. There is a government elected by the people, lines on a map defining a border, and so on.

Now if you do some math, I can claim 102 countries. This subtracts everything listed above EXCEPT Taiwan, Serbia and Montenegro, and the Palestinian Territory. If you assume that half of the hits for "Serbia and Montenegro" came from Serbia and half from Montenegro then I am up to visitors from 103 countries.

By the way, of the 194 countries in the world, 192 have a seat in the UN. What are the two holdouts? Taiwan and Vatican City. One by force and one by choice.

Why do I know all this stuff? Why do I find this to be a subject of interest? I have no idea. It probably has a great deal to do with the last real job I had.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I truly feel that I learned something today after reading this blog!
My son knows much more about this stuff than I do. I admit to being something of a geographical idiot.

Blogger Fuzz said...

Apparently you have a lot of time on your hands.
This is not necessarily a bad thing.

Blogger Ed Abbey said...

I used to have one of those things on my blog until I realized that 99% of those hits from foreign countries were for less than 30 seconds in length. If I started adding up those visitors from foreign countries that stayed awhile and keep coming back, the list is shortened to about four.

Blogger astrogalaxy said...

Thanks for this info.
You have a very COOL blog too!


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