Have You Heard of These Countries?

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Have you ever heard of these countries?

San Marino

This tiny nation is surrounded by Italy.
It was founded in 350 AD and over the
centuries has stayed out of wars and
feuds. It is the oldest republic in
the world.

San Marino survived attacks by Italian
city states, the Napoleonic Wars, the
Unification of Italy, and two World Wars.

Those born in San Marino remain citizens
and can vote no matter where they live.

The Life expectancy is 81.8 years old.

San Marino uses the Euro, the people
speak Italian. Literacy is 96%.

It has no harbour and no airports and
no international disputes.


Tuvulu consists of nine small islands
scattered over 500,000 square miles of
the Western Pacific, just south of the

It is a constitutional monarchy with
a parliamentary democracy.

It became a British protectorate in 1892
and was annexed as part of the Gilbert
and Ellice Islands colony in 1916.

Full Independence was gained in 1978.

Most of the revenue is gained by leasing
its .tv domain name.


Vanuatu is an archipelago of 83 islands
between New Caledonia and Fiji.

The first settlers are believed to have
arrived about 3,500 years ago from New
Guinea and the Solomon islands by canoe.

Portugal sighted these islands in 1606,
and the British in 1774, and named them
New Hebrides.

Arguments between the French and the
British over ownership led to joint rule
in 1906.

Plantations based on imported Vietnamese
labour made the islands rich until 1920
when the markets declined.

Many diseases were brought by missionaries
and traders, and the population went from
about One million in 1800 to 45,000 in 1935.

The islands were a major Allied base in
World War II. After the war the people
began to lobby for independence which
it achieved in 1980.

There was a brief rebellion by French
settlers and plantation workers in May
of that year, and solders were sent from
various places to quell the revolt which
was financed by the Phoenix foundation,
a right-wing U.S.group.

In 2002 a former prime minister was
convicted of forgery and the elected
president had to step down when his
criminal record was revealed.

The John Frum Cargo Cult exists
in Vanuatu.


Lesotho, formerly called Basutoland was
created under British protection by a
treaty signed with a native chief in
1843. It was annexed to the Cape Colony
in South Africa in 1871, but in 1884
was restored to direct control of Britain.

It achieved independence in 1966.

In the 1970 elections the opposition won,
but the sitting Prime Minister, Leabua
Jonathan declared a state of emergency,
suspended the constitution and arrested
Mokhehle, the opposition leader.

The King, Moshoeshoe II was exiled, but
allowed to return when a compromise was

However, unrest continued, the king was
dethroned, sent into exile and his son
sworn in as King Letsie III.

In 1988 hundreds of demonstrators protested
for weeks in front of the palace claiming
voting fraud in the elections that put
Prime Minister Mosisili in power.

Troops from South Africa and Botswana
arrived to stop the riots.

In 2002 Mosisili was reelected.

Lesotho has one of the highest rates of
HIV in the world. Life expectancy is
34.5 years.

Western Sahara

This is a ‘proposed’ state. It is located
in northern Africa with Algeria to the east
Morocco to the north and Mauritania to
the South. It is mostly desert.

The legal status is disputed as Morocco claims
it. However, in 1976 the Saharawi Arab Dem-
ocratic Republic was recognised by 55 countries.

Little is known before the 4th century
B.C. when trade with Europe began.

During the Middle Ages it was occupied by
Berbers, then Muslims. In the 19th century
the Spanish claimed the southern coastal
region and later occupied the northern interior

It was known as Spanish Sahara in 1958.

When the Spanish departed in 1976 there was
a land grab between Morocco and Mauritania.

The indigenous Saharawis fought for independence.
Their political movement, the Polisarios reached
a peace agreement with Mauritania. Morocco seised
the land Mauritania had given up.

The Polisarios fought Morocco to a stalemate and
agreed in 1991 to a cease-fire, contingent on a
referendum for independence.

The UN has failed to hold the referendum due to
disputes over voter eligibility, and Moroccan

In 2001 the proposal that Western Sahara become
an autonomous region of Morocco was mooted
but rejected.

More than 600 Million dollars has been
spent by the UN on peace keeping missions.

In August 2005 the Polisario freed the last
Moroccan prisoners it held. They were the
world’s longest held prisoners of war;
twenty years.


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