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Island Countries

An island is a piece of land surrounded by water
An island is a piece of land surrounded by water.
Images: Matheo JBT

Island Countries

Satellite view of the main islands of Fiji.
Satellite view of the main islands of Fiji, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.
Image: Earthstar

Everybody knows what an island is, a piece of land entirely surrounded by water, smaller than a continent; otherwise, it would be recognized as a continent. One is not so sure about Australia, but the fact that Australia has its own tectonic plate justifies it as a continent.

What is an Island Country?
Island countries, island states or island nations are sovereign countries whose territory consists of one or more islands or parts of islands.

How many Island Countries are there?
There are 46 sovereign states and one disputed territory, Taiwan, which consists only of islands.

Geology of Islands.
Some islands are the above sea level part of a volcano or a seamount whose base is on the sea floor. Mauna Kea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii is such a mountain; it is actually the highest mountain on Earth at 9,330 m (30,610 ft).
Some low-lying tropical islands were formed from organic materials such as corals. Other islands are unsubmerged parts of the continental shelf, the shallow edge of a continental landmass.

Did you know South America is the only inhabited continent without an island nation?

Can you name some island countries?
See the list below.

In the list below, you can find out more about the world's island countries and the largest island nations by area size and population.

Indonesia Flag
1,904,569 km²
Indonesia is an archipelago between the Indian and Pacific oceans in Maritime Southeast Asia north-northwest of Australia.

Indonesia is the most populous island nation and the most populous country in South-East Asia; it is also the island country with the most islands (the figures vary between 13,466 and 18,300)
Japan Flag
377,915 km²
Island chain between the North Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Japan in Northeast Asia.

Japan is the largest island country in East Asia. The country consists of four main islands, Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku and Kyushu - and 6,848 smaller islands and islets.  
Philippines Flag
300,000 km²
Archipelago east of Vietnam, between the Philippine Sea and the South China Sea.

The Philippines consists of more than 7,000 islands, divided into three island groups: Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

United Kingdom Flag
243,000 km²
The United Kingdom is located in the archipelago of the British Isles, between the North Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, north of France.  
The two main islands are Great Britain, occupied by the UK, and the island of Ireland, shared by Ireland and the UK (Northern Ireland).

Madagascar Flag
587,041 km²
Island in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique in Southern Africa.
One main island. Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world.
Flag of Taiwan (Republic of China)
36,188 km²
Taiwan is an island country in the South China Sea, off the southeastern coast of the People's Republic of China.
Taiwan, officially the Republic of China (ROC), consists of one main island and 167 small islands. The People's Republic of China lays claim to Taiwan, considering the island one of its provinces. 
65,610 km²
Island in the Indian Ocean, just southeast of the Indian subcontinent.

One main island. There was a land connection to the Indian mainland (Rama's Bridge), which is now mostly submerged.
Flag of Haiti
27,750 km²
Haiti occupies the western third of Hispaniola, an island southeast of Cuba.
French-speaking Haiti is one of the two island nations on the island of Hispaniola.
Cuba Flag
109,886 km²
One main island in the Greater Antilles archipelago, south of Florida.
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean. It is one of the few remaining socialist countries following the Marxist–Leninist ideology.
Flag of Dominican Republic
48,310 km²
Hispaniola is one of the Greater Antilles islands and the second largest island in the Caribbean after Cuba.
One of the two countries occupying the island of Hispaniola, the other one is Haiti.
Flag of Papua New Guinea
462,840 km²
Papua New Guinea consists of the eastern half of New Guinea and several offshore islands in the western Pacific Ocean.
The largest islands of Papua New Guinea, besides the island of New Guinea, are New Ireland, New Britain, Manus and Bougainville.
Singapore Flag
718 km²
Singapore is a relatively small island adjacent to the southern tip of peninsular Malaysia.

Singapore is considered a city-state and the second most densely populated country. The former trading post of the East India Company is today a sovereign island country and a global financial center.
Flag of New Zealand
270,467 km²
New Zealand is the visible part of Zealandia, a microcontinent in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, about 1,700km (1,000 mi) southeast of Australia.
New Zealand consists of two long and narrow main islands, the North Island (Te Ika-a-Māui) and the South Island (Te Waipounamu) and several far-flung outlying islands, such as Niue Island and Tokelau.
Ireland flag
70,273 km²
The Republic of Ireland occupies most of the island of Ireland, which is separated by the Irish Sea (Muir Éireann) from the island of Great Britain in the North Atlantic Ocean. 
One main island. The island of Ireland is home to the Republic of Ireland. The northeastern part of the island is occupied by Northern Ireland, a province of the United Kingdom.

National Flag of Jamaica
10,991 km²
The third-largest island of the Greater Antilles is situated about 150 km (90 mi) south of the eastern part of Cuba.
Jamaica is a tropical mountainous Caribbean island, once 'discovered' by Christopher Columbus in 1494. The island is known to be the birthplace of Reggae.
Flag of Bahrain
741 km²
The Kingdom of Bahrain is a small archipelago with more than 30 islands centered around Bahrain Island in the Persian Gulf northwest of Qatar.
The island of Bahrain is considered to be the site of the ancient kingdom of Dilmun, a mercantile center that traded with ancient Sumer.
Bahrain is connected to Saudi Arabia by the 25 km-long King Fahd Causeway.
Flag of East Timor
14,874 km²
East Timor, or Timor-Leste, is a sovereign nation occupying the eastern half of the island of Timor in Maritime Southeast Asia.

Portuguese Timor was a colonial territory of Portugal from 1702 until 1975. In December 1975, the Indonesian military invaded East Timor, killing tens of thousands. The country only became independent in May 2002. 
Flag of Trinidad and Tobago
5,130 km²
Tropical twin island country situated 26 km (16 mi) north of Venezuela's coast, South America.
First colonized by the Spanish, the islands came under British control in 1797.

Flag of  Mauritius
2,040 km²
Mauritius is a tropical island nation in the Indian Ocean, about 900 km (560 mi) east of the coast of Madagascar.
Mauritius was a British colony from 1810 until its independence in 1968. The island nation is part of the Mascarene Islands (Mauritius, Rodrigues and French Réunion
Flag of Fiji
18,274 km²
Fiji is a group of 330 islands of volcanic origin in the South Pacific Ocean, Oceania. The highest point is Tomanivi (Mount Victoria) at 1,324 m.
Fiji has two major islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. The country was a British colony for almost a century. In 1970, the archipelago became independent.
Flag of Cyprus
9,251 km²
Cyprus is an island and a Greece-related island country in the northeastern part of the Mediterranean Sea in southern Europe.

The Republic of Cyprus is an island state associated with Greece and is an EU member.
The northeastern part of the island of Cyprus has been occupied by Turkey since the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.
Flag of the Comoros
2,235 km²
Comoros is a tropical, volcanic group of islands in the Indian Ocean at the northern entry of the Mozambique Channel, about 300 km east off the coast of northern Mozambique.
The Union of the Comoros consists of three major islands, Ngazidja (Grande Comore), Mwali (Mohéli) and Nzwani (Anjouan).
Mayotte, an Overseas Department of France, is also part of the Comoro Islands archipelago.
Solomon Islands flag
28,896 km²
The Solomon Islands is a sovereign nation comprising six major islands and over 900 smaller islands straddling the Solomon Sea (part of the southwestern Pacific Ocean), southeast of Papua New Guinea's Bougainville Island.
The Solomons' main islands are Choiseul, New Georgia, Santa Isabel, Guadalcanal, Malaita, and Makira (San Cristobal). The Solomon Islands is one of the island nations threatened by rising sea levels.

Cape Verde flag
4,033 km²
Cape Verde is an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of Africa, about 650 km west of Dakar, Senegal.
Cape Verde, Portuguese: Cabo Verde, is an archipelago of volcanic origin.
The island nation only became independent from Portugal in 1975.  
Malta flag
316 km²
Malta is an island nation in the Mediterranean Sea, between Sicily and the North African coast.
Malta consists of three main islands, Malta, Gozo and Comino. The Republic of Malta is an EU member state.
Brunei Flag
5,765 km²
Brunei is a country on the north coast of Borneo in Maritime Southeast Asia, sandwiched between Malaysia and the South China Sea (see the map of Southeast Asia).
The small nation of Brunei, officially Brunei Darussalam, the Abode of Peace, is a rich, ultra-conservative absolute Islamic monarchy. Brunei gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1984.

Flag of Bahamas
13,943 km²
The Bahamas is an independent state within the Lucayan Archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, southeast of Florida.

The Commonwealth of the Bahamas consists of more than 700 coral islands and cays.
The largest islands in the Bahamas are North Andros, Great Inagua, South Andros, Great Abaco, and Grand Bahama. See Map of Caribbean.
Flag of Maldives
298 km²
A tropical 900 km long north-south oriented chain of islands crossing the Equator. The archipelago is situated in the Laccadive Sea of the Indian Ocean, about 750 km southwest of Sri Lanka. 
The Maldives consists of 1,190 coral islands grouped into 26 atolls. It is the smallest Asian country. The low-lying islands of the Maldives are threatened by rising sea-level.
The highest point is an unnamed location on Villingilli Island in the Addu Atoll at 2.4 m (8 feet). 
Iceland flag
103,000 km²
The Nordic island nation is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, about 300 km (185 mi) off Greenland's southeastern coast.

Iceland boasts the world's oldest functioning legislative assembly, the Althingi, established in 930. Iceland is among the happiest countries in the world and one of the model student nations on the planet, with best grades in Human Development and Transparency.
Vanuatu flag
Vanuatu is a group of about 80 islands between the Solomon Islands, Fiji and New Caledonia in the South Pacific Ocean.

The archipelago was named Australia del Espíritu Santo by the Portuguese in the 17th century. As a British–French Condominium, the archipelago was known as the New Hebrides.
431 km²
Barbados is one of the Windward Islands (Lesser Antilles) and the easternmost island in the Caribbean.

The tropical island nation has been independent within the Commonwealth since 1966. In November 2021, Barbados went from being a parliamentary constitutional monarchy under the British monarch to a parliamentary republic. 
Flag of São Tomé and Príncipe
964 km²
São Tomé and Príncipe is an African island nation located on the Equator in the Gulf of Guinea, about 300 km west of Gabon.
São Tomé and Príncipe consists of two archipelagos grouped around the two main islands of São Tomé and Príncipe.
Samoa flag
199 km²
The Samoan Islands is an archipelago in the central South Pacific Ocean, straddling the International Dateline. The three main islands are Savaiʻi, Upolu and Tutuila; the latter is the main island of American Samoa, an unincorporated overseas territory of the US. 
Samoa, officially the Independent State of Samoa, is a Polynesian island nation consisting of two main islands, Upolu and Savai'i. Until 1997 the country was known as Western Samoa.

Historically the islands were known as the Navigator Islands.

Saint Lucia flag
539 km²
Saint Lucia is a sovereign island nation in the Eastern Caribbean, north/northeast of the island of Saint Vincent.
The island is a popular cruise destination, famous for the Pitons, two volcanic spires.

Flag of Kiribati
811 km²
Kiribati is a group of 32 coral atolls and one raised coral island, Banaba, in the central Pacific Ocean, with three time zones.
A former British protectorate and colony, known as the Gilbert Islands. Kiribati has over 119,000 inhabitants, more than half of whom live on Tarawa, an atoll just north of the Equator.
Flag of Grenada
344 km²
An island country in the Windward Islands, at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea.
Grenada consists of one main island and six smaller islets. Grenada is known as the "Island of Spices.

389 km²
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is an island nation with the main island of Saint Vincent and a chain of smaller islands in the southern Caribbean between Saint Lucia and Grenada.

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, or SVG, was an administrative unit of the West Indies Federation, a former federation of ten British West Indian territories established in 1958. Today, the SVG is an independent Commonwealth realm, with Charles III as its king.  
Flag of the Federated States of Micronesia
702 km²
The FSM is a widely scattered Micronesian archipelago with more than 600 islands north of the Equator in the western Pacific Ocean.
The Federated States of Micronesia is part of the Caroline Islands. Micronesia consists of four island states (groups) Pohnpei, Kosrae, Chuuk and Yap. 
Flag of Antigua and Barbuda
442 km²
A tropical Caribbean twin-island country in the middle of the Leeward Islands archipelago to the north of Guadeloupe and southeast of St. Kitts & Nevis.
Antigua and Barbuda is an independent Commonwealth country that consists of two inhabited islands and several smaller islands, including Redonda.

747 km²
Tonga is a chain of islands east of Fiji and southwest of Samoa. Most of the islands in the archipelago are the peaks of an underwater mountain range, the Tonga-Kermadec Ridge, which stretches from the North Island of New Zealand to the Samoan Islands in the South Pacific. 
The Polynesian kingdom is an archipelago of more than 170 islands; main island is Tongatapu.

Formerly known as the "Friendly Islands." Tonga achieved independence from British "protection" in 1970.

Flag of Seychelles
455 km²
Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, 1700 km (1050 mi) east of the African coast, northeast of Madagascar.
Seychelles has been an independent island nation since 1976 (from Great Britain).

Flag of Dominica
751 km²
A sovereign Caribbean island country and the northernmost of the Windward Islands, between Guadeloupe and Martinique.
Dominica was the last of the Caribbean islands to be colonized by Europeans. "The Nature Island of the Caribbean" is largely covered by rainforest. 
Flag of Marshall Islands
181 km²
The Marshall Islands are located in the North Pacific Ocean, about 4,900 km east of Mindanao (Philippines), 4,000 km southwest of Hawaii, and 1,200 km west of the International Date Line.
The Micronesian archipelago consists of two parallel island chains. Probably best known internationally is Bikini Atoll, where the United States detonated 23 atomic bombs between 1946 and 1958. The bombing left the island radioactively contaminated and uninhabitable forever.
Flag of Saint Kitts and Nevis
261 km²
Two islands within the Lesser Antilles in the West Indies (Caribbean)
Tropical Saint Kitts and Nevis is the smallest sovereign state in the Americas in both area and population.
Flag of Palau
459 km²
Palau is a Micronesian island country in the southern Philippine Sea (Pacific Ocean), east of Mindanao (Philippines).
Palau is an archipelago of more than 300 islands, most of them uninhabited. The majority of the people of Palau live on the island of Koror.
Flag of Nauru
21 km²
Nauru is a Micronesian island country in the South Pacific Ocean.

Nauru is a microstate on the Equator in Oceania, formerly known as Pleasant Island. Its nearest neighbor is Kiribati's Banaba Island.
Flag of Tuvalu
26 km²
Tuvalu is a Polynesian island country in the South Pacific Ocean southeast of Tonga, west of the International Date Line.
Tuvalu consists of three reef islands and six true atolls. Tuvalu was formerly known as the Ellice Islands.



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