The 10 Largest Landlocked Countries

From Kazakhstan to the Central African Republic

Map of Kazakhstan
Map of Kazakhstan.

The world is home to nearly 200 different countries and most have access to the world's oceans. Historically, this has helped them develop their economies through international trade carried across the sea—long before airplanes were invented.

However, about one-fifth of the world's countries are landlocked (43 to be exact), meaning they do not have any direct or indirect access to an ocean by water, but many of these countries were able to trade, conquer, and expand their borders without seaports.

The 10 largest of these landlocked countries range in terms of prosperity, population, and land mass.

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Located in central Asia, Kazakhstan has a land area of 1,052,090 square miles and a population of 1,832,150 as of 2018. Astana is the capital of Kazakhstan. Although this country's borders have changed throughout history according to which nation tried to claim it, it's been an independent country since 1991.

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Mongolia has a land area of 604,908 square miles and a 2018 population of 3,102,613. Ulaanbaatar is the capital of Mongolia. Ever since a revolution of government in 1990, Mongolia has been a multiparty parliamentary democracy where citizens elect a President and Prime Minister who both share executive power.

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Chad is the largest of Africa's 16 landlocked countries at 495,755 square miles and has a population of 15,164,107 as of January 2018. N'Djamena is the capital of Chad. Although Chad has long been in the throes of a religious war between Muslims and Christians in the region, the country has been independent since 1960 and has been a democratic nation since 1996.

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Located on Chad's western border, Niger has a land area of 489,191 square miles and a 2018 population of 21,962,605. Niamey is the capital of Niger, which gained its independence from France in 1960, and one of the largest cities in western Africa. A new constitution was approved for Niger in 2010, which reestablished a presidential democracy including shared powers with a Prime Minister.

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Located in western Africa, Mali has a land area of 478,841 square miles and a 2018 population of 18,871,691. Bamako is the capital of Mali. Soudan and Senegal joined to form the Mali Federation in January 1959, but only a year later the federation collapsed, leaving Soudan to proclaim itself as the Republic of Mali in September of 1960. Currently, Mali enjoys multiparty presidential elections.

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Located in eastern Africa, Ethiopia has a land area of 426,372 square miles and a 2018 population of 106,461,423. Addis Ababa is the capital of Ethiopia, which has been independent longer than many other African nations, since May of 1941.

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Located in South America, Bolivia has a land area of 424,164 and a 2018 population of 11,147,534. La Paz is the capital of Bolivia, which is considered a unitary presidential constitutional republic wherein citizens vote to elect a president and vice president as well as members of a parliamentary congress.

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Located in eastern Africa, Zambia has a land area of 290,612 square miles and a 2018 population of 17,394,349. Lusaka is the capital of Zambia. The Republic of Zambia formed in 1964 after the collapse of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, but Zambia has long struggled with poverty and governmental control of the region.

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Located in southern Asia, Afghanistan has a land area of 251,827 square miles and a 2018 population of 36,022,160. Kabul is the capital of Afghanistan. Afghanistan is an Islamic Republic, headed by the President and controlled partially by the National Assembly, a bicameral legislature with a 249-member House of the People and a 102-member House of the Elders.

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Central African Republic

The Central African Republic has a land mass of 240,535 square miles. and a 2018 population of 4,704,871. Bangui is the capital of the Central African Republic. After winning the Ubangi-Shari Territorial Assembly election by a landslide vote, the Movement for the Social Evolution of Black Africa (MESAN) presidential candidate Barthélémy Boganda officially established the Central African Republic in 1958.

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Your Citation
Briney, Amanda. "The 10 Largest Landlocked Countries." ThoughtCo, Sep. 1, 2021, Briney, Amanda. (2021, September 1). The 10 Largest Landlocked Countries. Retrieved from Briney, Amanda. "The 10 Largest Landlocked Countries." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 22, 2023).