List of former sovereign states

List of former sovereign states

This page attempts to list the many extinct sovereign states, countries, nations, empires or territories that have ceased to exist as political entities, grouped geographically and by constitutional nature.


Criteria for inclusion

The criteria for inclusion in this list is similar to that of the List of states with limited recognition. To be included here, a polity must have claimed statehood and either:

  • had de facto control over a territory, a population, a government, a capacity to enter into relations with other states, or
  • have been recognised as a state by at least one other state.

Ancient and medieval states

Modern states

States and territories grouped by geographical location


Nordic countries
Modern France
Modern Germany
Historical states of Italy
Modern United Kingdom
Low Countries
Modern Poland

Baltic Countries

Central Europe


North and Central America

Name Location Origin Fate Notes
Indigenous peoples of the Americas The whole of North America (including the Inuit of the Arctic). Native Americans in the United States and the First Nations of Canada had established varying levels of governmental organization before contact with Europeans. The most advanced civilizations of North America were represented by the indigenous peoples in Mexico and Central America. All the native peoples were eventually incorporated into the United States, Mexico, Canada and Central America, but many retain various levels of self-government and autonomy within those nations.
Cahokia Illinois, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky and parts of Ohio. The population of the town at Cahokia exploded circa 1050 AD, indicating the establishment of a large "chiefdom". The population of Cahokia dispersed in the 14th Century, indicating the decline of the Cahokia "chiefdom". Other political bodies existed in the Mississippian culture; the Mississippian culture article has a list of Known Mississippian Chiefdoms.
Huron Confederacy Central Ontario. Confederacy of five Iroquoian tribes and several smaller groups. Controlled trade in corn and furs in the upper Great Lakes area and sporadically through the Ottawa and St. Lawrence River valleys. The Hurons were dispersed by the Iroquois in 1649. Many fled to the northern Lake Michigan region and Quebec, while a large group joined the Iroquois.
Iroquois Confederacy Upstate New York and surrounding areas. Formed before European contact; arguably as early as 31 August 1142, though also likely sometime in the 15th to the 17th Century. The Treaty of Canandaigua, signed in 1794, established relations between the United States government and the Iroquois; the treaty is still in force, though the Confederacy is no longer effectively an independent nation.
Cherokee Nation Originally in the southeastern United States, primarily Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, and parts of Alabama and Tennessee. Parts of The Nation (and its government structures) ended up in present-day Oklahoma. The original Cherokee Nation was unified from an interrelated society of city-states in the late 18th century. They enjoyed relatively peaceful relations with the Spanish, British, French, and later (with the exception of the Chickamauga factions), to the USA. The modern Cherokee Nation, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians are the three federally recognized tribal successors to the original Cherokee Nation, being somewhat autonomous within the United States.
Vermont Republic State of Vermont. Organized by Ethan Allen and others in 1777 from territory claimed by New York and New Hampshire. Admitted as a state to the United States of America in 1791. They were originally a part of British North America via the newly conquered province of Quebec. Originally known as Republic of New Connecticut, it had the first written national constitution in North America.
State of Franklin Northeastern part of the Washington District, North Carolina (easternmost Tennessee). Seceded from North Carolina 23 August 1784. Government was largely abandoned and the area officially re-incorporated into North Carolina in 1789. Applied for admission to the United States as a separate state. Whether Franklin considered itself independent of the United States is unclear.
State of Muskogee Western Florida, near Tallahassee, might claimed parts of Georgia (U.S. state) and Alabama. Creek and Seminole Indians under English adventurer William Augustus Bowles declared independence in 1799. Annexed by Spain in 1803.
First Mexican Empire All of modern day Mexico, parts of modern day United States (California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Texas with parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma) and Central America (without Panama). After independence from the Kingdom of Spain, Mexico decided on a monarchical system of government, backed by Mexican conservatives and some liberals. A European prince was sought, but Spain prohibited any from taking the throne. Agustín I, in the meantime, was proclaimed emperor of Mexico in 1821. In December 1822, Generals Antonio López de Santa Anna and Guadalupe Victoria wrote and signed the Plan of Casa Mata, an agreement between the two generals, amongst other Mexican generals, governors, and high-ranking governmental officials, to abolish the monarchy and replace it with the United Mexican States, which was done in 1823. Emperor Maximilian I of Mexico, head of the Second Mexican Empire, adopted Agustin's grandsons. Their descendants live in exile.
West Florida Gulf Coast of the United States, parts of present-day Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Rebelled and declared independence on 3 September 1810. The Republic lasted only 90 days. Formal reannexation was complete by 10 December 1810. Applied for admission to the United States as a separate state, but the U.S. refused to recognize it as such.
Republic of Indian Stream Pittsburg, New Hampshire Formed 9 July 1832 in territory claimed by both the United States and Great Britain, where the treaty description of the border was unclear. Voted to annex to the United States in 1835, Britain relinquished claim in January 1836, and U.S. jurisdiction was acknowledged around May 1836.
Republic of Texas Texas and some surrounding territory. Seceded from Mexico in 1836. Voluntarily annexed to the United States of America and admitted as a state in 1845. Annexation to the U.S. triggered the Mexican-American War the next year 1846.
California Republic California, though based in Northern California. American settlers declared independence from Mexico in June 1846. Claimed by U.S. Navy for the United States of America in July 1846, and admitted as a state in 1850. The Republic was in Sonoma, California 30 miles north of San Francisco and has not covered a large area that became the present-day state of California in 1850.
Alta California Southern California, centered in San Jose and Santa Barbara. After U.S. occupation of Los Angeles in 1846, the Californios revolted and defeated an American force on 30 September 1846, and organized a government and an army. Signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo accepting American sovereignty over California on 2 February 1848. By November 1846, the Californios had gained back control of all the territory south of San Francisco, leaving America in control of just San Diego and Monterey.[1]
Confederate States of America Southeastern United States of America, from Texas to Virginia. Political factions in the "border states" of Kentucky and Missouri declared themselves parts of the Confederacy and controlled small portions of those states early in the war. The major Indian tribes in Oklahoma signed an alliance with the Confederacy, and participated in its military efforts. Seceded from United States of America in 1861. Reintegrated into United States of America in 1865. Reconstruction ended in 1876, US troops withdrew as an occupation force in 1877. South Carolina was the first state to secede on Dec 20, 1860.
Second Mexican Empire Modern day Mexico Mexico's second monarchy was formed when Napoleon III set Maximilian I, of the House of Habsburg, on the throne of Mexico in 1864. His consort was Carlota of Mexico, a Belgian princess. France occupied Mexico, starting in 1861. Many Mexicans, including the nobility, backed his government. Maximiliano's rule was blemished by constant conflict. Liberals found backing from United States after the Civil War in 1865, and the French withdrew in 1867, leaving Maximilian and his supporters on their own. Maximilian was captured and, on orders of Benito Juárez, executed in the Cerro de las Campanas near Querétaro.
Republic of Manitoba Manitoba Founded in June 1867 by Thomas Spence at the town of Portage la Prairie in Rupert's Land or the "Northwest Territories". By late spring 1868, the Republic had been informed by the Colonial Office in London that its government had no power. The Province of Manitoba was organized within Canada on 12 May 1870, and promised the Metis people of Manitoba an autonomous government.
The Great Republic of Rough and Ready Northern California Hoping to avoid paying a recently-introduced tax on new mining claims, in April 1850 residents of the town of Rough and Ready drew up articles of secession, forming the "Great Republic of Rough and Ready." The new country lasted only three months, until an Independence Day change of heart convinced the miners to vote themselves back into the union.
Dominion of Newfoundland Newfoundland and Labrador. A former Crown Colony which had rejected confederation with Canada in 1869, the Dominion of Newfoundland was established on 26 September 1907. Newfoundland entered into confederation with Canada on 31 March 1949, becoming a province. In 1934, Newfoundland voluntarily gave up self-government and reverted to direct control from London.
Olmec nation In and around Veracruz and Tabasco. Arose approximately 1200 BC. Decline through approximately 400 BC. First people to use zero.
Toltec kingdom/empire Central Mexico. sometime after 750. Destroyed by Chichimeca ("barbarian") invasions around 12th Century AD.
Aztec Empire Central Mexico, might extended northward to present-day U.S. by the Mexican border, and southward towards Central America (El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras). 1325, founded Tenochtitlan (present-day Mexico City). 1521, conquered by Hernán Cortés. When he and his crew first arrived in 1519, it was thought to be the world's largest city.
Tlaxcala nation Tlaxcala, Mexico, north of Mexico City. unknown (present in 1521). Absorbed by Spanish conquest into New Spain. Never conquered by Aztec Empire, assisted Hernán Cortés in his campaign against the Aztecs in 1520.
Zapotec kingdom Oaxaca and surrounding areas of southern Mexico. unknown (present in 1521). Submitted to Spain in 1551 after previous resistance against the Spaniards.
Maya civilization Southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and Belize. Political structures formed by about 250 AD. Last Mayan kingdom conquered on 13 March 1697 by the Spaniards, and later the British in Belize. Mayan political structures tended to center around the person of the king; even when one king conquered another, the result was usually a tributary arrangement, and the identity of the conquered kingdom persisted.
Northern America Viceroyalty of New Spain and Captaincy General of Guatemala Withdrew from Spain on November 6, 1813. It became the Mexican Empire. The United Provinces of Central America seceded from Mexico one year later (1814).
Republic of the Rio Grande Mexican states of Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas, and the U.S. state of Texas along the Rio Grande river. Withdrew from Mexico on 17 January 1840. General Canales, commander of the forces of the Republic of the Rio Grande, accepted a command in the Mexican Army on 6 November 1840. The Republic of the Rio Grande claimed territory north to the Nueces River and the upper Medina River, territory also claimed by the Republic of Texas by 1845.
Republic of Yucatán Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico (The modern states of Yucatán, Campeche and Quintana Roo) were later separated from the state of Yucatán. Declared independence 1840, due to dislike of centralization of Mexican government. Resolved differences with central government and rejoined partially to Mexico in December 1843 with self-government. Rejoined Mexico to obtain assistance against Mayans in the Caste War of Yucatán, treaty signed 17 August 1848. Republic of Yucatán declared neutrality in Mexican-American War 1846-48.
United Provinces of Central America Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica with a southern portion of Chiapas, Mexico. Formed in aftermath of independence from Spain in 1823. Confederation dissolved civil war in 1840. Attempts were made to reunite in 1842-44, 1852, the 1880s, 1896–98 and 1921-22.
Chan Santa Cruz Quintana Roo Territory. Formed during the Caste War of Yucatán, named about 1850. The eponymous capital was conquered by Mexico on 5 May 1901, though low-level fighting persisted for another 10 years. Withdrawal of British recognition and end of trade with Belize in 1893 led to eventual reconquest by Mexico.
Republic of Sonora Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sonora Declared an independent state by filibuster William Walker January 10, 1854. Disestablished May 8, 1854. After he was captured William Walker was put on trial in California and acquitted by the jury.

South America

Name Location Origin Fate Notes
Republic of Acre present-day state of Acre, Brazil. Created 1899 declaring independence from Bolivia. Annexed by Brazil in the Treaty of Petrópolis. Three attempts at independence in 1899, 1900, and 1903.
Kingdom of Araucania and Patagonia present-day Eastern Patagonia in Argentina, and the Araucanía in Chile. Created 1860 by the French lawyer Orelie-Antoine de Tounens who was appointed king by indigenous Mapuches. It never controlled its vast territory and was an unrecognized state. Lost the only portion of land under its control, Perquenco, in 1862 to Chile. The micronation was allied with Napoleon III of France.
Kingdom of Chimor Indigenous people of northern Peru and Ecuador. unknown (present in 1531). Incorporated into the Inca Empire in the 1470s. Chimors or the Chim migrated from Colombia over 1,000 years ago.
Confederation of the Equator States of Pernambuco and others in the northeast of Brazil. unknown, might been formed in 1821. Incorporated into the Brazilian Empire in November 1824.
Gran Colombia present-day Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Panama. Created 1819 during wars for independence from Spain. Broke apart in 1830, formally dissolved in 1831. Successor states were Colombia, which included present-day Panama, Venezuela, and Ecuador. Its official name was República de Colombia: there never was a state called "Greater Colombia" or "Gran Colombia"; this is an addition by later historians in order to distinguish it from the present-day Republic of Colombia. Although the literal translation is "Great Colombia", historians have traditionally chosen to translate it as "Greater Colombia".[citation needed]
Inca Empire large parts of modern Ecuador, Peru, western and south central Bolivia, northwest Argentina, north and north-central Chile, and southern Colombia. around 1197 Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Its capital was in Cuzco, Peru.
Juliana Republic present-day Santa Catarina state of Brazil. Created as a separatist state from the Empire of Brazil on July 24, 1836. Dissolved as a result of the War of the Farrapos on November 15, 1839. The land was disputed with Paraguay and Uruguay.
Liga Federal present-day Uruguay and the Mesopotamia region of Argentina, also known as the state of Parana. 1830's. It was reannexed to Argentina and Brazil (now Uruguay). The land was disputed with Paraguay and Uruguay.
Peru-Bolivian Confederation Approximately present-day Peru and Bolivia, plus some of northern Chile and other territories. Created 1836 through union of Republic of North Peru, Republic of South Peru, and Bolivia. Dissolved as a result of the War of the Confederation, 1839. Another conflict, the War of the Pacific followed in the 1870s. The Chileans defeated the Bolivians and Peruvians. Chile annexed the Arica and Tacna provinces in 1881, but returned Tacna to Peru in 1928.
Riograndense Republic present-day Rio Grande do Sul state of Brazil. Created as a separatist state from the Empire of Brazil in 1836. Dissolved as a result of the War of the Farrapos in 1845. Was disputed between Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

Pre-colonial Africa

See also: List of Great Lakes kingdoms and East African City-States

States and territories grouped by type

Former colonies, possessions, protectorates and territories

These were all colonies, most of which were renamed after their independence.

Dismembered countries

These states are now dissolved into a number of states, none of which retain the old name.

Renamed countries

These country names have been replaced. Only major and/or famous cases are listed, there are thousands of relatively obscure former names.

Nominally independent homelands of South Africa

Four of the homelands, or bantustans, for black South Africans, were granted nominal independence from South Africa. Not recognised by other nations, these puppet states were re-incorporated in 1994.

  • Bophuthatswana - Declared independent in 1977, reincorporated in 1994.
  • Ciskei - Declared independent in 1981, reincorporated in 1994.
  • Transkei - Declared independent in 1976, reincorporated in 1994.
  • Venda - Declared independent in 1979, reincorporated in 1994.

Secessionist states

These nations declared themselves independent, but failed to achieve it in fact or did not seek permanent independence and were either re-incorporated into the mother country or incorporated into another country.

Annexed countries

These nations, once separate, are now part of another country. (At present cases of voluntary accession are included)

See also


  1. ^ Californios
  2. ^ España en el África Atlántica, Volumen 1, Antonio Rumeu de Armas, Ediciones del Cabildo Insular de Gran Canaria, 1996
  3. ^ Historia general de España y América: Los Trastámara y la unidad española, 1369-1517
  4. ^ The Opinions of the Badinter Arbitration Committee: A Second Breath for the Self-Determination of Peoples
  5. ^
  6. ^ The Simla Convention (1914) and its appendix identified Tibet as "under the suzerainty of China.....[forming] part of Chinese territory;" China refused to ratify however and instead Britain and Tibet alone signed and ratified three treaties recognizing Tibet's autonomy but not China's claims [Article 2, Note 2]. [1]
  • Harding, Les. Dead Countries of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries: Aden to Zululand. Scarecrow Press, 1998. ISBN 0-8108-3445-6

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