Over the millennia, countless nations and countries have arisen and disappeared into the annals of history, but some have stuck around. It’s impossible to say which have been around longest with complete certainty, but here are some of the oldest.
1. San Marino
San Marino is a small town surrounded by Italy from all sides. It is one of the smallest towns in the world. It was founded in the year 301 B.C. in the month of September. It was recognized as an independent country by the pope only in the year 1631 A.D.. The reason behind the late independence of the country is still unknown. It is said that the pope exercised influence over the matters of Italy and its surrounding areas. A monastery at the top of Mount Titano, likely the center of the community, was constructed in sixth century BCE. However, the nation wasn’t recognized as independent until CE 1631 by the pope, who controlled much of central Italy politically at the time. San Marino’s continued independence was made possible by its isolated position amid fortresses in high, mountainous terrain. San Marino’s constitution, written in the year 1600, is the world’s oldest.
- Language: Italian
- Currency: Euro
Japan claims it was founded in 660BCE by the Emperor Jimmu, according to mythology. However, a Chinese chronicle attests to Japan’s existence in the third century CE, which still gives the country some serious staying power. Buddhism spread to Japan soon after, and the nation was already developing a literary tradition in the eighth century, which culminated in the writing of The Tale Of Genji in the early 11th century CE. The period that saw this development, the Heian period (794CE-1185CE), also saw numerous other cultural traits appear that still define Japan today. Over its long history, Japan has seen many different types of governments and leaders. While the country celebrates 660 BCE as the year of its founding, it wasn’t until the Meiji Restoration of 1868 that modern Japan emerged.
Though the founding date of Portugal is not very clear, its magnificent borders and walls are proof that this place, in fact, is very old. Though as the city has been developing, many have noticed the change in Portugal in terms of its infrastructure. The walls guarded Portugal from its enemies back in the day. The Portuguese locals are tied down by traditions. While the founding date of 1139 doesn’t exactly place Portugal among the ranks of ancient civilisations, it deserves a place on this list because of the stability of its borders. As the rest of Europe has shuffled through ever-changing borders with various monarchs, empires, republics and popular democracies, this hasn’t been the case with Portugal. In case you need more convincing, the country was also at the forefront of the Age of Discovery. Though that time was imperialist and detrimental to aboriginal societies, it contributed substantially to creating the world we know today.
The first recorded dynasty in Chinese history existed over 3,500 years ago when the feudal Shang dynasty ruled from 17th to 11th century BCE. However, the modern country of China celebrates 221 BCE as the date of its founding, the year Qin Shi Huang proclaimed himself the first emperor of China. But China went through many more changes and dynasties to become the country it is today. In third-century CE, the Han dynasty unified Chinese culture and tradition. In the 13th century, the Mongols invaded China and decimated its population and culture. china Qing dynasty was overthrown during a revolution in 1912, spurring the creation of the Republic of China. Finally, in 1949, the Republic of China itself was overthrown by Mao Tse Tung’s communist rebels and the People’s Republic of China was created. This is China as the world now knows it.
Rising from the Indus Valley civilization, India began to take its current shape in 1,500 BC at the start of the Vedic Civilization. This is when the foundation of Hinduism began and the cultural aspects of India began to take hold. However, throughout the next 2,500 years,the Indian subcontinent was governed by many different rulers and the area that comprises India today was made up of many different kingdoms. Before India achieved independence in 1947, it was most recently governed by the British and, prior to that, the Mughals. Both had a profound impact on the country and many of the things that the world associates with India today came into existence during the 500 years of British and Mughal rule. Based on this, India can be anywhere between 2,500 years old and just over 70 years old but it is more or less unanimously considered to be one of the oldest living civilizations today.
Ancient Egypt has left behind many architectural wonders along the banks of the Nile River including the only remaining Wonder of the Ancient World that still exists today. Egypt became unified all the way back in 3100 BC and in theory, this should make it one of the oldest countries in the world. However, the culture of Ancient Egypt varies greatly from the Egypt we know today due to a number of different empires that conquered the territory, including the Persians and the Greeks. Egypt became part of the Islamic Caliphate in 969 AD and it is still a majority Muslim country today. The land continued to change hands and it officially came under the rule of the British Empire in 1882. It wasn’t until 1922 that Egyptian proclaimed their independence and became a sovereign state. Based on this, Egypt can be anywhere between 5,000 and 99 years old.