What Is the Shortest-Lived Country in History?


This video was made possible by Brilliant. Learn something new everyday at brilliant.org/HAI. So, you clicked on this video because you
want to know what the shortest-lived country in history is. And might be thinking, “well come on video
guy, just tell us the answer, don’t stretch it out to a whole video like a jerk.” Well first of all, there’s no need for name
calling. And second of all, while I’d love to just
tell you the answer, the answer is…complicated (and great for watch time.) That’s because what the shortest-lived country
is depends on what’s considered a country. For example, if I say right now—and let
me get the clock ready—“I declare this recording studio, with the consent of its
people—which is me—as the free and independent state of Halfasinteresting-stania! Aaaand, never mind! We’re dissolved”
4.2 seconds. Did I just make the shortest-lived country
ever? Well, probably not, but to be fair to Halfasinteresting-stania,
figuring out when something is a country can be a bit difficult, because it’s tough to
know when something actually is a country, and when it’s just a group of people—or
in my case, person—saying they’re a country. It’s a debate we’re seeing right now about
several states—such as Taiwan, which actually now that I think about it, never-mind. I should not have mentioned Taiwan forget
about the Taiwan thing. That’s like controversy avoidance 101. Look at this fun meme instead. So basically, there are two theories about
what makes a country, a country. One is called the constitutive theory, which
says that being a country is based on international recognition—basically a country is only
a country when other countries say it is. But how many countries have to recognize a
country for it to be…well, a country? The answer is that nobody seems quite sure
and there are some very country-seeming countries, such as South Korea, that are not recognized
by all other countries. If we consider membership in the United Nations
as the mark of real international recognition, then the shortest-lived country is the Sultanate
of Zanzibar, winner of the first annual HAI name awards, which was located here. The Zanzibar Archipelago had been a protectorate
of the British, but on December 10, 1963 was declared independent and was recognized by
the UN on December 16 as its own independent country. But only about a month later the two major
Zanzian…Zanzibaranian….Zazaminian….the two major political parties in Zanzibar came
together to overthrow the Sultan and on January 12, 1964 they declared a new nation—The
People’s Republic of Zanzibar, giving the country a total of 33 days as a UN-recognized
country. Also crazy coincidence, the Sultanate of Zanzibar
was where the shortest war in history, a 39 minute scuffle, was fought but that’s a
story for another time. But here’s a problem with the Zanzibar answer:
membership in the UN feels like a pretty high bar to be called a country—first of all,
the UN didn’t exist until 1945, so any country that was around before then couldn’t have
been in it at all. And second of all—there are plenty of places
that are at least partially recognized as countries but aren’t in the UN, like the
Vatican City, Kosovo, and Taiwan. So, maybe it doesn’t take the whole UN. Maybe it just takes one other country. If we consider one country’s formal recognition
to be enough, then the shortest-lived country is…drumroll please…the Republic of Crimea,
which existed from March 17, 2014 to March 18 of 2014. So about a day. Basically, Crimea held a referendum and declared
its independence on March 17, 2014, and Russia immediately recognized it as a sovereign nation. But then the next day, Russia annexed Crimea,
and made it part of the Russian Federation, thus ending the illustrious reign of the Republic
of Crimea about 24 hours after it began. But wait a minute, because this one is controversial. First of all, Russia was the only one to recognize
the Republic of Crimea—the UN even passed a resolution saying that the referendum declaring
independence was illegal. So….maybe not. Comment engagement is good so make sure to
leave your opinion on Crimean independence in the comments! But like I said before, the constitutive theory
is only one theory of what makes a country a country. The second is called the declarative theory. It sets out four criteria for a country: a
permanent population, a defined territory, a government, and the capacity to enter relations
with other states. According to those criteria, allow me to present
the actual shortest-lived country in history—The Russian Federative Democratic Republic. The Russian Federative Democratic Republic
was formed around noon on January 19th, 1918, when the democratically elected Russian Constituent
Assembly drafted and adopted a resolution that declared the Russian Republic was no
more and that they were now a cool new, democratic country. They had a permanent population—the people
in Russia. A defined territory—you know…Russia. A government—the Russian Constituent Assembly. And the capacity to enter relations with other
states—I mean…they could have sent letters and stuff. But then, around 6pm that same day, Vladimir
Lenin dissolved the Assembly, and formed instead the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic,
giving the Russian Federative Democratic Republic a total existence time of 6 hours. You couldn’t even finish all three Matrix
movies in that time—not that you’d want to. But before we declare it the winner, we have
one last contender to look at—Catalonia. On October 1, 2017, Catalonia held a referendum
and overwhelmingly voted to become independent from Spain. On October 10, the Catalan leader held a speech
where he declared independence, saying “I assume the mandate of the people for Catalonia
to become an independent state in the shape of a republic.” But right after that, he asked Parliament
to suspend his declaration of independence so that he could negotiate with Spain, giving
the independent nation of Catalonia a lifespan of exactly…eight seconds. This independent nation had no international
recognition but, you know, he declared it so make your own conclusion. If you start your own country, you probably
know that any good nation eventually progresses into space exploration. To build a space program, there are a few
fundamentals you’ll need to learn like the essentials of science, physics, classical
mechanics, astronomy, gravitational physics, and more and all of those you can learn on
brilliant.org. Brilliant is the expert in teaching complicated
things through active learning and problem-solving. You can even learn something new everyday
with their short daily problems which each tie into one of their courses if you want
to learn more. Head to brilliant.org/HAI to sign up for free
and access some courses and then, by being one of the first 200 to use that link you’ll
also get 20% off their annual premium subscription and be supporting the show while you’re
at it.

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. Before you scroll any further and check out whatever battlefield the comment section has devolved into, consider this: more than 50% of HAI topics come as suggestions and so, as a citizen of Halfasinteresting-stania you, that's right, you have a legal obligation to report all good topics to the suggestion box here: http://halfasinteresting.com/suggest
    To make it worthwhile, we'll send you a t-shirt to wherever you live if we use your suggestion.

  2. Messland:
    Permanent population: the mold in my closet
    Territory: my room
    Government: me, duh!
    Foreign relations: I got an email from the prince of Nigeria

  3. The State of Sarawak declared independence on July 22 1963 while its neighbour Sabah did the same on the 31st of August 1963. Britain recognised these declarations. However on September 16th both states merged with Malaya & Singapore to become Malaysia.

  4. A Commenter With A Decent Point
    Come on, video guy! Just give us the answer, don't stretch it out to a whole video like a jerk

  5. quick question,if a country occupies the recognition of other countries to be able to be one then how the first country was created?

  6. yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet

  7. i eat my pooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooop

  8. I am from crimea and we had an indepedence Referendum when we already were (annexed) How You are all saying. And after this we had an Second Referendum were 97% Said that we want belong to Russia. So in my opinion it wasn‘t an Annexion. I think Russia (saved) us in a way from the USA and NATO. And If we would have an Referendum in the hole Ukraine i think Most of the people would wanted to be with Russia

  9. I'm Catalan and I never thought I would see anything related to Catalonia in "Half as Interesting".

    The problem is that of all things you could have mentioned you guys chose the one thing that we Catalan people are ashamed of….

  10. As an Spanish person I feel pretty proud of have the greatest failure as independent republic… Part of my family lives in Catalonia so… YEAH I HAD FAMILY IN OTHER COUNTRIES FOR 8 SECONDS

  11. Don’t forget Carpatho-Ukraine! When Nazi Germany annexed the Czech part of Czechoslovakia, and Slovakia declared independence, the third part, Carpatho-Ukraine, had no choice but to declare sovereignty… until they were invaded a day later.

  12. Mao Zedong and the CPC after winning the Chinese Civil War: Chiang Kai-shek? More like Chiang Kai-rekt amirite comrades? laughs in Socialism with Chinese Characteristics

  13. Your video is misleading.
    Crimea was occupied well before the "referendum", so you cannot actually consider it a will of the people. It's a common practice after the occupation to "legalize" it via fake referendum.

    Also, your videos often portray Crimea as a part of Russia, which it isn't.

  14. Catalonia needs independence because spain is slowly collapsing because of the Euro and the Grear reccesion crash of 2008 and Catalonia has their own culture and language.

  15. Russia: Congratulations! You are now independent
    Crimea: Yey!!

    *A day later*

    Russia: Um…I think it's best if i annex you since your not recognized as a nation
    Crimea: Fair point..

  16. What is your country name? Mine is the State of Pikla. I even made a legit flag for it.

    Name: State of Pikla.
    Population: me, mom, dad, cats, plushies
    Government: litteraly just me and my plushies pretty much
    Terriotry: my house and my grandparents house, soon to colonize my Brazilian grandparents house as well

  17. 1:25 Great explanation, but you totally got it wrong on the Korea part. North is the one not recognized by all other countries.

  18. Hadn’t really considered Catalonia as a state, as such. Another candidate for the shortest-lived state is Ruthenia, or more properly Carpatho-Ukraine, on 15 March 1939. Lasted just a day.

  19. Taiwan is a country it is the leftover democratic government of China that lost mainland China during their most recent civil war and yet it still functions as a country

  20. When I first read the title I thought someone saying like
    'i declare this as an independent country!'
    8 seconds later
    'actually wait no'

  21. Come on, video guy! Just give us the answer, don't stretch it out to a whole video like a jerk!

    Edit: Oh… okay…

  22. I declare this closet , with the consent of the clothes- which is my laundry basket- as the free and independent state of The Republic Of Closet!

  23. I declare my room as part of the Messolania government. President: me Population 2. Culture: Lazy gamers. History: a mess since 2016. Countries near: U.S. literally around all my borders. Size: 132 sq. Feet. World records: smallest country, messiest country and laziest country

  24. In my bedroom. I have a permanent population. (Me and the people that live here after.) Defined territory. (The room. ) A Government. (My and my potato friends.) And my foreign relations are my brother's room. Passports soon. So my room is (according to a YT video) a country.

  25. Viewer engagement… engaged:

    As a Russian citizen, I wish my government never tried to annex Crimea. Yeah, Putin now has many naval bases in the Black Sea, but at what cost? All foreign currency has become, like, twice as costly and thanks to all the (well-deserved) tariffs & restrictions, the economy has suffered a terrible fate as a result.

    The Crimea peninsula was one of Ukraine's most pro-Russia regions anyway, heck, many of their street signs and ads were already in Russian in 2000s.

  26. gvb bvmnmvh4efbjytcjdrdf ftjcDryhcjugdenkgmvd omrxk
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  27. I run the communist empire of Actium
    Territory:house,neighbours house,boat,school
    People:57
    Military:two nerf gun soldiers,pirate boat.
    If you have a nation you can join the communist alliance or die!

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