Why are countries in Europe relatively small compared to countries in the rest of the world.


Kind of a showerthought, at the same time. I honestly have no idea.

In: Other

European countries are typically based off of kingdoms and alliances from the last thousand years. a lot of the big countries around the rest of the world are put together by agreements and colonies that were just joined together. The middle East would have a whole lot smaller ones if it wasn’t for the Ottoman empire breaking up and the British empire drawing lines where it was politically expedient.

Until relatively recently, national boundaries reflected tribal boundaries. Empires — Roman, British, Soviet, Prussian/German, etc. — tended to ignore tribal nations or nation-states and instead imposed new boundaries that reflected the realpolitik and/or administrative needs of the empire.

That’s why, for example, Yugoslavia fell apart into half a dozen nations (or aspiring nations) after Tito’s death. Ditto, the Soviet Union. Ditto, India/Pakistan/Bangladesh. Ditto, Afghanistan, which was stitched together by Britain from three tribal territories whose tribes couldn’t stand one another.

I’m not sure the premise is true. There are a number of small countries in Central America and South America, as well as Central Asia and South east Asia. The Middle East is home to a number of small countries like Lebanon, Kuwait, the UAE; east Asia has N. and S. Korea which are quite small. Then there are Island countries, which are the smallest countries of them all, which exist exclusively outside of Europe.

The main force pushing countries to be bigger is conquest and imperialism. A particular group or government gets powerful enough to dominate unrelated areas and unite them into the same state. The main force pushing countries to be smaller is nationalism. People are more likely to share values and sympathy with others who grew up in the same place and with the same culture, so they dislike sharing their country with unrelated groups.

Europe has recently been subject to much more nationalism than it has conquest. There were big 20th century wars of conquest fought in Europe, but the conqueror consistently lost. The USSR assembled a large bloc of what were essentially conquered territories and vassal states, but this dissolved in the 1990s. The chaos caused by the fall of the USSR, combined with an overall move towards democracy, has led to a tendency to carve European territories into finer and finer divisions based on national identities. This process is ongoing (see for example Scotland, Catalonia, and Brittany).

In most of the rest of the world, the situation is the opposite. European conquest and imperialism glommed together people of many different national identities into administrative colonies (sometimes intentionally, to sow discord amongst the colonized). The process of sorting that mess out will likely require much more time than it took to create, but slow progress is being made, and absent another wave of conquest, borders outside of Europe will eventually shrink and reshape themselves to better reflect traditional national boundaries.

A major exception to this is former colonies that are now mostly populated by colonists/immigrants. To put it bluntly, in places like the USA, Canada, and Australia, the nations originally occupying the land were so thoroughly decimated by disease and dominated by colonists that their traditional borders are largely moot.

Because the small countries in Europe drew the borders on the maps on most of the rest of the world.

If you tried to draw a political map other continent before Europeans invaded and colonized them, you would find hat often the locals did not share the same sort of mindset that mad drawing borders on a map a thing and in as far as hey did, they had similarly small sovereign ‘nations’.

There is a reason why there are some many Nigerian princes, Because there were so many small political entities that could be considered tribes or their own kingdom.

Many lines on maps were drawn by British and French and other Europeans without any regard for the different groups of people who lived there.

Also there is no reason to draw borders where nobody lives.

[If you look at this map from wikipedia](https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/31/Countries_by_area.svg/800px-Countries_by_area.svg.png)

You will find that places like Russland or Brazil or Canada or Australia and the United Sates are huge. They in part are big because they include the former territory of large numbers of independent tribes/nations, but also because they include huge chunks of places where very few people live like the rain forest or the Siberian tundra or the Austraian outback or Canada frozen North or the American Mid-West.

Similarly the Sahara has a number of mid-sized countries in it but only smaller parts of those countries are habited.

At the same time Europe is consolidating. Look at maps from a couple of generations ago and how many different countries there were in what is now Italy or Germany.

Basically Europe was the where all the super powers were.

So they found land and claimed it.

France and Britain basically got all of the USA and Canada and parts of Africa.

Spain got Mexico and parts of south America.

Portugal got Brazil

Germany, France and England carved up most of Africa.

Etc etc etc.

I’d argue the ottoman empire and maybe Russia were the other significant major players on the world stage until american independence. Japan was small, china and India was basically colonized and had european influences.

So tldr.

Europe took what it wanted form Africa and the americas and then after European power waned new governments took over those territories.

Big countries are actually the weird outliers. There’s the US, Russia and China. That’s three by my count.

Is the US even a country by the way? I thought it was a federal union comprised of some fifty-odd individual states?

Russia is mostly made up of snow and conquered natives and half the population lives in the suburbs of Europe.

China is only so big because the Mongols invaded every piece of land that was traversable on horseback and then left the keys to the castle lying around when they got bored finally

What use are big countries. Are they supposed to impress us on any level?