You’ve thought about it, we’ve thought about it. They did always say “the sun never sets on the British Empire” and all that. Heck, at its height in the 1910s, the British Empire had direct control over about a quarter of the world’s then population as well as about a quarter of Earth’s land. You wouldn’t be too mistaken for thinking Britain has controlled pretty much every country on the planet. But how about a list of countries Britain never invaded? What would that look like?
Of the 197 countries that exist today, the British Empire has only stayed out of the business of a small handful. No literally–it’s exactly 22. Which means Britain has invaded or otherwise occupied about 90% of all the countries that exist today.
Further Reading: What Is a Country?
So here’s a list of countries Britain hasn’t invaded (yet…). Also, some random trivia about them, because that’s what we do.
List of Countries Britain Never Invaded
They’re not a part of the EU, but they do still use the Euro. Also, Andorran’s sport the longest average life expectancy, sitting in the low to mid 80s. That’s about 10 years above the global average of ~70. Probably because Andorra wasn’t worried about being invaded.
Further Reading: Euro Countries – Which Countries Use the Euro?
Fun fact, Belarus is the only country on this list that celebrates Maslenitsa. Which, in English, is better known as Pancake Week. They also call it Butter Lady or Butter Week.
Bolivia houses a lot of Earth’s biodiversity, with a crazy number of species hanging out in the Madidi National Park. They also have a Law of Rights of Mother Earth, which gives nature itself the same rights as people.
As of May 21, 2020, Burundi is going through an election, which seems to be catching them in some drama. They’ve been criticized for letting rallies be held during a global pandemic, and social media was largely shut down on election day.
5. Central African Republic
While the Central African Republic was never occupied by the Brits, they were occupied by France as a part of the Scramble for Africa. They gained their independence in 1960.
Further Reading: What Was the Scramble for Africa?
Along with the Central African Republic, Chad was also invaded and occupied by France. Their independence was claimed from France two days before the Central African Republic on August 11, 1960. Also, about one third of Chad’s surface area is taken by the Sahara Desert.
7. Republic of the Congo
Despite never having been occupied by the UK military, The Republic of the Congo’s oldest national park is being threatened by the UK oil company, Soco. It’s named the Virunga National Park, and was one of Africa’s first protected areas.
Known colloquially as “the food of the gods,” Guatemala is considered the home of the chocolate bar. Neat!
9. Côte d’Ivoire
Also known as The Ivory Coast, Côte d’Ivoire is home to the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace. Which was consecrated in 1990, and is among the largest churches in the world.
Despite being with 30 Scrabble points (we know it’s not allowed but just bear with us), Kyrgyzstan is a big fan of the number 40. Their flag features a sun of 40 rays, it’s a reference to the Epic of Manas.
Lichenstein may never have been invaded by the British, but they were invaded by Switzerland. Twice. On accident. Once in 1992 and again in 2007. Liechtenstein never retaliated, and even admitted that they had no idea of this invasion until Switzerland brought it up. In fairness, Liechtenstein had no standing army.
Luxembourg boasts the highest EU minimum wage, at 2,071.10 EUR per month as of July 2019.
Another country caught up in the Scramble for Africa, Mali also gained their independence from the french in 1960. They still mostly speak French though. Mali also happens to be the biggest country in West Africa. If you want a state for scale, it’s about two Texas-es.
14. The Marshall Islands
The Republic of the Marshall Islands is spread out over a little over 1,100 islands and islets. There are also 29 coral atolls, which are cool ring shaped coral reefs. Also, their territory is literally 98% water.
Monaco might not be the smallest country in the world, but they are the second smallest. The actual smallest is also on this list. Oh, also Monaco’s flag looks almost exactly like Indonesia’s, with one exception. Indonesia has a longer flag.
They do represent entirely different things, though. Monaco’s flag represents the shield of the Monegasque, and Indonesia’s is tied to the Majapahit Empire.
Mongolia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, numbering about 3 million people. They’re also home to the world’s oldest national park, which is the area surrounding the Bogd Khan Uul Mountain. It was established in 1778.
Pistol duelling is still legal in Paraguay. So in case you have some bets to settle or something, you know where to go we guess? Both duelists have to be registered blood donors, though.
18. São Tomé and Príncipe
São Tomé and Príncipe wasn’t occupied by the British or the French this time, but they were occupied by the Portugese from 1470 to 1975. They also export mostly cocoa, and about a third of their territory is composed of national parks.
Per capita, Sweden has the most McDonald’s restaurants in Europe. So we guess if you need some more chicken nuggets, they have you covered?
Tajikistan is home to the Fedchenko Glacier, sitting at about 45 miles long. Turns out, it’s the largest non-polar glacier out there.
Fun fact, Uzbekistan is not only landlocked–but it is doubly so. The countries that border it are also landlocked, and no Uzbekistan rivers make it to major bodies of water.
Further Reading: What Countries are Landlocked? A Complete Guide
22. Vatican City
On top of the Vatican City being the smallest country, it also has its own military, football (soccer) team, and mints its own currency.
Quiz yourself: Can you name the countries of the world?