The World's Newest Countries Since 1990

Mount Ararat and Yerevan viewed from Cascade at sunrise, Yerevan, Armenia, Central Asia, Asia
Armenia. G&M Therin-Weise/Getty Images

Since the year 1990, 34 new countries have been created, many as a result of the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. and Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. Others became new countries as a result of anticolonial and independence movements, including Eritrea and East Timor.

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

Fifteen new countries became independent when the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) dissolved in 1991. Most of these countries declared independence a few months before the Soviet Union officially collapsed:

  1. Armenia
  2. Azerbaijan
  3. Belarus
  4. Estonia
  5. Georgia
  6. Kazakhstan
  7. Kyrgyzstan
  8. Latvia
  9. Lithuania
  10. Moldova
  11. Russia
  12. Tajikistan
  13. Turkmenistan
  14. Ukraine
  15. Uzbekistan

Former Yugoslavia

Yugoslavia dissolved in the early 1990s into five independent countries:

  • June 25, 1991: Croatia and Slovenia
  • September 8, 1991: Macedonia (officially The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) declared independence on this date, but wasn't recognized by the United Nations until 1993 and the United States and Russia until February of 1994.
  • February 29, 1992: Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • April 17, 1992: Serbia and Montenegro, also known as the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

Other New Countries

Thirteen other countries became independent through a variety of circumstances, including independence movements:

  • March 21, 1990: Namibia became independent of South Africa. Previously, Namibia was known as South West Africa when the latter was officially a German territory.
  • May 22, 1990: North and South Yemen merged to form a unified Yemen.
  • October 3, 1990: East Germany and West Germany merged to form a unified Germany after the fall of the Iron Curtain.
  • September 17, 1991: The Marshall Islands was part of the Trust Territory of Pacific Islands (administered by the United States) and gained independence as a former colony. On this date, Micronesia, previously known as the Caroline Islands, also became independent from the United States.
  • January 1, 1993: The Czech Republic and Slovakia became independent nations when Czechoslovakia dissolved. The peaceful separation was also known as the Velvet Divorce, after the Velvet Revolution which had led to the end of communist rule in Czechoslovakia.
  • May 25, 1993: Eritrea, which was part of Ethiopia, seceded and gained independence. The two nations later became involved in a violent war over disputed territory. A peace agreement was reached in 2018.
  • October 1, 1994: Palau was part of the Trust Territory of Pacific Islands (administered by the United States) and gained independence as a former colony.
  • May 20, 2002: East Timor (Timor-Leste) declared independence from Portugal in 1975 but did not become independent from Indonesia until 2002.
  • June 3, 2006: Montenegro was part of Serbia and Montenegro (also known as Yugoslavia) but gained independence after a referendum. Two days later, Serbia became its own entity after Montenegro split.
  • February 17, 2008: Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia. The representatives of the Kosovo people unanimously agreed that the country would be independent of​ Serbia despite the objections of eleven representatives of the Serbian minority.
  • July 9, 2011: South Sudan peacefully seceded from Sudan following a January 2011 referendum. Sudan had been the site of two civil wars, and the referendum received near unanimous approval.