Few would argue that between being the 58th president of ‘Murka and defeating Man-Bear-Pig, creating the internet was probably Al Gore’s finest hour. Nowadays if a country is so rubbish it gives up we would all hear about it via Snapchat, but interwebz stuff still happened before Snapchat.
We’ve compiled our five bestest countries that simply gave up being countries because it was too hard; not former countries like glorious CCCP, or Central African Empire, but short-lived ones that gave up. We have not included joke countries like the Confederate States of America or Scotland.
We hope most of you like our list, and at least a few snowflakes are offended.
Dominion of Newfoundland
When one think of Canada it is natural to think of the military might of the Royal Canadian Nuclear Moose-Mounted Cavalry, Terrence and Philip, and an inability to pronounce “about”. But before Canada became great socialist military power it was initially two countries – Canada and Newfoundland.
The Dominion of Newfoundland decided against joining Canada and instead became independent as Dominion in 1907. They lasted a mighty 27 years before asking the British to take it back as a colony and help with its massive debt. As most colonies were trying to leave the Empire, the Brits duly obliged before deciding to let the Newfies sort their own shit. In the referendum of 1948, 44.6% people voted for independence, 44.1% for confederation with Canada, and 14.3% basically didn’t understand the question. Long story short, the run-off was rigged and Newfoundland joined Canada. We will now never see them win a World Cup.
Oh them Nazis! Whilst watching Macron and the German bird talking about Brexit might make you think Germany and France have always been great allies, historically for brief periods they have not, such as World War I and its sequel World War II. Following said global conflict, France felt somewhat wronged and that they should get some cash back from the naughty Germans. Saarland was an area rich in natural resources that the French ran at the end of the war. The French idea was that after they left the German-speaking sphere of influence, they would rather be an independent country eating baguettes and relying on France, rather than jumping back into bed with the Reich.
This lasted OK as a plan for a while, with Saarland even taking part in the 1954 World Cup qualifiers. In the 1955 the dastardly French arranged a referendum on independence that failed; in 1957, Saarland rejoined Germany in the mini-reunification.
Kingdom of Sikkim
Despite the British Empire doing cool things like making railways run on time, inventing tea, and giving gift of cricket there were a few elements of the British withdrawal from the Indian Raj that could be described a shit show, namely the withdrawal itself.
India, rather than being one country, was made up of a hell of a lot of princely states – some of which had cash, some of which did not. Some had Muslim leaders ruling Hindus, some had Hindus ruling Muslims, and others had more of a mixture. Things were set for hilarity when the Brits decided to give all princely states the option of joining India, joining Pakistan, or remaining independent. Alas option three resulted in the creation of a few countries neither India nor Pakistan fancied, and much hilarity ensued. British India was partitioned into India, East Pakistan, West Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, and Sikkim. You will have heard of Nepal and Bhutan as they are both genuine countries; Sikkim, maybe not.
Sikkim originally gained its independence as a protectorate of India in 1950, but the king of Sikkim wasn’t much a fan of democracy or sharing any of his immense wealth. After a fair bit of internal disruption over the next 25 years, the prime minister of Sikkim appealed to India in 1975 to take over the place, to which they duly obliged. They held a definitely-not-rigged referendum in which 97.5% percent of people voted to get rid of the monarchy and thus by default become a state in India. People in Sikkim are still poor, but so is the king, so you could call it a draw.
Free Territory of Trieste
Whilst the end of World War 2 resulted in peace in Europe, there was the odd issue thrown up the whole period of global warfare, not least the changes in borders and the growing issue of the peace-loving Soviets against the capitalist pigs. It was under these circumstances that the Free Territory of Trieste was born.
After the war Trieste, which bordered Italy and Yugoslavia, found itself a place of ethnic diversity being argued over by these two countries. The UN decided that instead of letting the two countries fight like bickering ladies, or worse go to war, Trieste would be neutral and independent. This great idea lasted from 1947 until 1954 when Italy and Yugoslavia simply split the area, but then pretended they didn’t until 1975 when both admitted the Free Territory of Trieste no longer existed. They did not play any football matches.
Located between eternal friends Germany and Belgium, and on premium invasion territory, it was never gonna make it easy for neutral Moresnet to exist. But from 1816 – 1920 that’s precisely what it did. Initially it was held in condominium between Holland and Prussia before soon getting its own version of independence.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Neutral Moresnet had great hopes of statehood, making its own stamps and money (like genuine real country) and even proposing that it be the world’s first and only country to have Esperanto as its national language. This was a great idea, although for it to work, people would have needed to learn Esperanto.
Alas at the start of WW1 Germany annexed the now not-so-Neutral Moresnet. At the end of the war, it was given to Belgium as a prize for supporting the winning team. The sequel to WW1, WW2, involved some Chuckle-Brotherish “to you to me” moments, but Neutral Moresnet was never to be the Esperanto-speaking homeland it promised to be.
What does the future hold? Will the USA feature on a future version of this list when they throw in the towel on their failed reality-TV experiment and return to the Crown? Stay tuned to find out!