Not-Quite Countries

More than 10.5 million people live in these territories. The largest in area among them — Antarctica — is greater in size than Europe. The others have parliaments and presidents and are self-governed. But from the South Pole's frigid ice to stretches of the Arabian Desert, none of these territories are recognized by the U.N. as independent countries. Abkhazia, Artsakh, the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Somaliland, South Ossetia and Transnistria are de facto republics where no other country's writ runs. Iraqi Kurdistan is formally a part of Iraq but with its own governance structure and military wing. Antarctica is governed through a set of international treaties, with no one country in charge.

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