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Island countries in the world
Countries without land borders

An island country (also island nation[1][2]) is a country whose primary territory consists of one or more islands or parts of islands. As of 2008, forty-seven (appoximately 25%[3]) of the world's countries are island countries.



The percentage of island countries that are democratic is higher than that for continental countries, although historically they have been more prone to political instability.[3]


Island countries have often been the target of maritime greed and historical rivalry between other countries.[4] Island countries are more susceptible to attack by large, continental countries due to their size and dependence on sea lines of communication and air lines of communication.[5] Many island nations are also vulnerable to predation by mercenaries and other foreign invaders.[6 ]

Natural resources

Many island countries rely heavily on fish for their main supply of food.[7] Some are turning to renewable energy—such as wind power, hydropower, geothermal power and biodiesel from copra oil—to combat the rise in oil prices.[8]


Some island nations are more affected by climate change than other nations. Some low-lying Pacific island nations are slowly being submerged by the rising water levels of the Pacific Ocean.[9 ] Climate change also impacts island countries by causing natural disasters such as tropical cyclones, hurricanes, flash floods and drought.[10 ]


Many island countries rely heavily on imports and are greatly affected by changes in the global economy.[11] The economies of island nations are usually smaller and more vulnerable to shipping costs, environmental damage to infrastructure, and isolation from other economies than those of larger, continental countries (excluding Japan and the U.K.) [12][13 ][14 ] The dominant industry for many island nations is tourism.[15]


Many island countries are small with relatively low populations. [16]

Some island countries are centred on one or two major islands, such as the United Kingdom, Trinidad and Tobago, New Zealand, and Japan. Others are spread out over hundreds or thousands of smaller islands, such as the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Maldives. Some island countries share their islands with other countries; these include the United Kingdom and Ireland, Haiti and Dominican Republic, and Indonesia, which shares islands with Papua New Guinea, Brunei, East Timor and Malaysia.

Australia is geographically considered a continent, not an island, although in the past it was considered an island country for tourism purposes.[17] It is sometimes still considered an island country.[18 ]

See also


  1. ^ Lie, John (2004). Multiethnic Japan. Harvard University Press. p. 130. ISBN 0674013581.,M1. Retrieved 2009-04-23. "Japan is an island nation, or shimaguni"  
  2. ^ Trauth, Eileen Moore (200). The culture of an information economy (Illustrated ed.). Springer. p. 229. ISBN 0792365550. Retrieved 2009-04-23. "... being an island nation made Ireland remote in a physical sense."  
  3. ^ a b Ott, Dana (2000). Small is Democratic. Routledge. pp. 128. ISBN 0815339100.,M1.  
  4. ^ Chasle, Raymond (01-OCT-1986). "The quest for identity. (island countries)". UNESCO Courier. Retrieved 2009-02-01.  
  5. ^ Perry, Walt L.; Robert W. Button, Jerome Bracken, Thomas Sullivan, Rand Corporation, United States Navy, Jonathan Mitchell (2002). Measures of Effectiveness for the Information-age Navy. Rand Corporation. pp. 7. ISBN 0833031392.,M1.  
  6. ^ WREN, CHRISTOPHER S. (December 9, 1989). "Mercenary Holding Island Nation Seeks Deal". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-02-01.  
  7. ^ "OTTAWA: REPORT ISSUES WARNING ABOUT FUTURE OF CORAL FISHERIES". Radio Canada International. 2007-04-21. Retrieved 2009-02-01.  
  8. ^ Xingwei, Huang (2008-10-17). "Pacific Islands countries switch to renewable energy source due to increasing fuel prices". Retrieved 2009-02-01.  
  9. ^ "Leader of disappearing island nation says climate change an issue of survival, not economics". June 5, 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-01.  
  10. ^ "FAO: Climate change threatens food security of Pacific island countries". December 02, 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-01.  
  11. ^ "Global economic crisis a concern for Pacific island countries". 2008-10-28. Retrieved 2009-02-01.  
  12. ^ "WTO/FORSEC Trade Policy Course for Pacific island countries". 9 March 2001. Retrieved 2009-02-01.  
  13. ^ "NZ calls for global solutions to problems faced by small island nations". 2005-01-18. Retrieved 2009-02-01.  
  14. ^ Garg, Sarika. "U.N. ambassador gives keynote". Retrieved 2009-02-01.  
  15. ^ "China enlists Pacific island countries as tourist destinations, XINHUA.". 10-AUG-04. Retrieved 2009-02-01.  
  16. ^ "Wen pledges new aid to Pacific countries". International Herald Tribute. April 5, 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-01.  
  17. ^ "Australian Naval Defence". The Brisbane Courier. 24 July 1897. Retrieved 2009-01-31.  
  18. ^ "China, Pacific island countries discuss cooperation at forum meeting". Retrieved 2009-02-01.  


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