Island Countries Of The World

An aerial view of Male, the capital city of Maldives, an island nation.

Indonesia is an archipelago in Southeast Asia and it is the biggest island nation both by population and by the size of the land area. Throughout history, island nations have been vulnerable to the rivalry between nations, maritime greed, as well as political upheaval. Due to their position, island countries have had to depend on sea and air lines of communication rendering them susceptible to invasion from larger mainland countries. Most of the island countries are small in size and are home to relatively low populations.

What Is An Island Nation?

An island by definition refers to a land mass surrounded by water. An island nation denotes an independent state consisting of one or more islands. An island country does not border other countries except where they control their islands with other countries as in the case of Haiti and the Dominican Republic and are therefore not borderless. Some island countries including Madagascar govern one or more islands and are thus described as borderless. An island country can cover an archipelago such as in the case of the Philippines.

Indonesia: The Biggest Island Nation By Size And Population

Indonesia is situated in Southeast Asia, strategically between the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean. The island country stretches for 1,760 km from north to south and 5,120 km from east to west. The number of islands making up the archipelago has been estimated to be over 18,000. There are five major islands namely Sulawesi, Borneo, Java, New Guinea, and Sumatra and two primary archipelagos: The Maluku Islands and Nusa Tenggara as well as sixty smaller archipelagos. Some of the islands are shared with other countries including Borneo (Brunei and Malaysia), Timor (East Timor), and New Guinea (Papua New Guinea). The country’s land area totals to 1,904,569 Km2, with a population of 255,461,700. Java is the most populated island in the archipelago as well as in the world.

Does Australia Deserve A Position On The List?

Australia’s geographical characteristics render it a continent rather than an island nation. Its large land mass, calculated at 7,692,024 km2, automatically makes it a continent. Australia has its tectonic plate known as the Australian Plate, one of the criteria required by a region garnering for continental status. Other criteria that Australia meets are having its unique flora and fauna, cultural uniqueness, and a significant population which believes it is a continent.

Privileges Enjoyed By Island Nations

The unique locations of island nations enable them to bank lucratively on tourism. The states have stretches of coastlines, tropical climates, and historical and cultural significance which are some of the factors that drive tourism. The nations are also strategically located for maritime trade as their economies mostly rely on imports and exports. Most of these nations boast numerous natural resources such as fisheries, arable land, minerals, and forestry.

Global Warming: How Can It Affect Island Countries?

The geographical location of island nations makes them particularly susceptible to the effects of global warming. The rising sea level is threatening to submerge the nations. Other adverse effects which have been witnessed in the countries include typhoons, cyclones, tides, floods, and droughts which have had a devastating effect on people’s lives, infrastructure, and vegetation.

Which Are The Island Countries Of The World?

RankNamePopulationArea (km²)
1 Indonesia255,461,7001,904,569
2 Madagascar20,653,556587,041
3 Papua New Guinea6,732,000462,840
4 Japan127,433,494377,873
5 Philippines101,398,120300,000
6 New Zealand4,691,194268,680
7 United Kingdom60,587,300244,820
8 Cuba11,245,629109,884
9 Iceland316,252103,000
10 Republic of Ireland4,588,25270,273
11 Sri Lanka20,277,59765,610
12 Dominican Republic10,652,00048,442
13 Solomon Islands523,00028,400
14 Haiti9,700,00027,750
15 Fiji859,17818,274
16 East Timor1,212,10714,874
17 Bahamas392,00013,878
18 Vanuatu243,30412,190
19 Jamaica2,847,23210,991
20 Cyprus858,0009,251
21 Brunei393,3725,765
22 Trinidad and Tobago1,299,9535,131
23 Cape Verde518,4674,033
24 Samoa179,0002,831
25 Comoros784,7452,235
26 Mauritius1,244,6632,040
27 São Tomé and Príncipe163,0001,001
28 Kiribati98,000811
29 Dominica71,293754
30 Bahrain1,316,500750
31 Tonga104,000748
32 Singapore5,469,700718.3
33 Federated States of Micronesia101,351702
34 Saint Lucia173,765616
35 Palau20,000459
36 Seychelles87,500455
37 Antigua and Barbuda86,295440
38 Barbados285,000430
39 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines120,000389
40 Grenada110,000344
41 Malta404,500316
42 Maldives329,198298
43 Saint Kitts and Nevis51,300261
44 Marshall Islands62,000181
45 Tuvalu12,37326
46 Nauru13,63521

More in World Facts