10. East Germany, 1949-1990
Created from the Soviet controlled sector of Germany after the Second World War, East Germany was probably best known for its Wall and its tendency to shoot people who attempted to cross over it. Now, it’s one (over-reactionary) thing to shoot foreigners who are trying to enter your country illegally, but these were its own people!
9. Czechoslovakia, 1918-1992
Forged from the remnants of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, during its brief existence it was one of the few bright spots in Europe, managing to maintain one of the continent’s few working democracies prior to the Second World War.
8. Yugoslavia, 1918-1992
Like Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia was a by-product of the breakup of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire in the aftermath of WWI. Basically made up of parts of Hungary and the original state of Serbia, it unfortunately did not follow Czechoslovakia’s more enlightened example.
7. Austro-Hungary, 1867-1918
While all of the countries that found themselves on the losing side after the First World War suffered economically, and geographically to some degree, none lost more than the once-powerful Austro-Hungarian Empire, which found itself carved up like a Thanksgiving Day turkey in a homeless shelter.
6. Tibet, 1913-1951
While the land known as Tibet has been around for over a thousand years, it wasn’t until 1913 that it managed become an independent country. Under the peaceful tutelage of a chain of Dalai Lamas, it finally ran afoul of Communist China in 1951 and was occupied by Mao’s forces, thus ending its brief foray as a sovereign nation.
5. South Vietnam, 1955-1975
Created from the forceful expulsion of the French from Indo-China in 1954, someone decided it would be a good idea to split Vietnam in two, roughly at the 17th parallel, leaving a Communist north and a pseudo-democratic south.
4. United Arab Republic, 1958-1971
In yet another ill-fated attempt to bring unity to the Arab world, Egypt’s fiery socialist president, Gamel Abdel Nasser, thought it would be a splendid idea to unite with his distant neighbor, Syria, in an alliance that would effectively surround their sworn enemy, Israel, and make them a regional superpower.
3. Ottoman Empire, 1299-1922
One of the great empires in history, the Ottoman Empire finally came to an end in November of 1922, after a pretty respectable run of over six hundred years. Once extending from Morocco to the Persian Gulf, and from Sudan to as far north as Hungary, its demise was a slow process of dissolution over many centuries until, by the dawn of the 20th century, it was but a shadow of its former self.
2. Sikkim, 8th century CE-1975
What? You’ve never heard of the place? What rock have you been hiding under? Seriously, it’s not likely you would have heard of tiny, land-locked Sikkim, nestled securely in the Himalayan Mountains between India and Tibet…er, China.
1. Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (Soviet Union), 1922-1991
What would the 20th century have been without the good ‘ol USSR to stir things up? One of the truly scary counties on the planet until its anticlimactic collapse in 1991, for seven decades it stood as the bulwark of Marxist Stalinism, with all the misfortune that brought with it. It was created in the chaotic aftermath of the breakup of Imperial Russia after WWI, and both survived and thrived despite inept economic policies and brutal leadership.