The Sovereign Military Order of Malta
One of the more interesting states, the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta is the crusading order of the Knights Hospitaller.
Founded in 1099 by Pope Paschal II through the Papal Bull ‘Pie Postulatio Voluntatis’, the Order participated in the Crusades for the Holy Land, and in many other historic battles.
The Order issues its own passports, currency, and stmps, and even has three military brigades liaisoned with the Italian Armed Forces.
Their modern day purpose fits their motto – ‘Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum’, meaning ‘Defence of the faith and assistance to the poor’.
While the Order has a mere 3 citizens, it has 13,500 knights, and employs over 25,000 medical staff, supported by over 80,000 volunteers.
The Order is governed by the Prince of the Church and Grand Master, who is currently Friar Matthew Festing. He is originally from Northumberland, and is the third English person in history to serve as Grandmaster.
Before World War II, China was in the grips of a civil war – the Communist Party and the Nationalist Party were fighting for control. The Nationalists were making ground, and then the Japanese invasion happened.
The factions put aside the civil war to try and repel the Japanese, unsuccessfully. Upon the end of the Japanese occupation, the civil war continued, and the Communists won, repelling the Nationalists to Taiwan.
In the 50s, most countries, as well as the United Nations, switched their recognition from the Nationalist ‘Republic of China’ to the Communist ‘People’s Republic of China’.
Some nations, however, never switched their recognition. All but one of the countries in Central America continue to recognise the Republic of China, as do various others, including, interestingly, the Vatican.
As such, more than 10% of the sovereign states on Earth do not recognise the People’s Republic of China as the legitimate government of the Chinese people.
Interestingly, neither the RoC or PRC have dropped their claims on the other – both still believe in one China. They just differ greatly on whether it should be a multi-party liberal democracy or a communist totalitarian state.
The Republic of Somaliland is the only state in the world that both recognises no other breakaway state, and is recognised by no sovereign state.
When one thinks of Somalia, the first thing to pop to mind will often be pirates and war. Somaliland has a dynamic, thriving economy, and is regarded as one of the safer parts of the region.
Sheffield City Council and Cardiff City Council have both passed ceremonial resolutions to recognising Somaliland, and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) have expressed their support for recognition of Somaliland by the Foreign Office.
Once a republic within the Soviet Union, when it started to collapse, tensions grew between Abkhazia and Georgia.
Now recognised as a part of the Republic of Georgia by most of the world, Abkhazia is known as an autonomous republic within it.
Despite this, Akbhazia has a more or less functioning government of its own, electing its own President, and engaging in foreign relations with the one country that recognises it – Russia.