the assumption of responsibility for the welfare of the world













The States of Earth research project is intended to describe all of the significant states of the world ― those organizations, namely governments, that actually control territory and the persons and resources within that territory. The standard for inclusion is independence, or impunity de facto. All political entities included are those that act (not might act, but do act) with impunity, that are not held accountable by other powers. No endorsement is meant by the inclusion or exclusion of any particular state; this is simply a statement of political reality. Separate inclusion is also given to regions of mixed control, where no single institution has control. Each independent government has its own page; these can be accessed independently or through the list below.

The states described as democratic are governed by majority rule of the adult population. Democracy is taken not as the end of political progress, but at least as a positive step towards liberalism. (For more on this subject, read The Standard of Justice and The tribunate.) The states described as not democratic are governed by minorities, whether autocratic or oligarchic.

The primary aims of this evaluation are two: first, to present and discuss the actual independent political entities in the world, as opposed to those entities that are recognized as “states” based on diplomatic convention or political concerns; second, to add a measure of skepticism to claims made by régimes (and democratic governments, for that matter) about the political nature of the states in the world. The list is kept up-to-date, as far as reasonably possible, on changes in governmental status, both within states and between states. The determination of control and democratic practice is necessarily a matter of art, not precise science.

But two semi-quantitative evaluations from trusted sources are also referenced for each relevant state. The first is that of Freedom House, which annually assigns each entity a score from 1 to 7 (with 1 the best) for both political and civil rights, and then determines if an entity is free, partly free, or not free based on the average of the two scores. (For those that are partly free, status as an electoral democracy is also noted; all free states are democratic, all non-free states are not democratic.) The second is that of The Economist, which has assigned each entity a score from 10 to 0 (with 10 the best) in five categories of democratic activity, and then determined if an entity is a full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid, or authoritarian state based on the average of the five scores (with the ranking out of 167 entities surveyed). With very few exceptions, the evaluations both look at recognized “states”, and The Economist excludes many entities with small populations. Neither assessment will reflect changes that have taken place since the analyses were completed.

The names are given in native form (in the predominant vernacular dialect), with the English name included where necessary. Other names mentioned, as of persons and parties, are also presented in native form. The native forms are written according to standardized transcription protocols used throughout the Stewardship Project site. In some cases, the native name used within the state is used elsewhere for a different entity, and a modifier has been included. The primary name given is the conventional form, but official forms are also included; the official names are those used by the governments for themselves, whether they are accurate descriptions or accurate reflections of the vernacular. States below are presented geographically, north to south, west to east.

For translation of an unfamiliar word, place the cursor over the word.

Conventional regions:
North America
South America
Middle East
Central and Southern Asia
East Asia




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and O.T. Ford