Have you ever wondered which countries have the oldest histories? The answer may surprise you.
Our world is a marvel of fascinating history. From the “20 oldest countries in the world” to modern-day empires and nations, our global family has many stories to learn from and discover. From the sophisticated architecture of ancient cities to Ancient Egypt’s pyramids and monuments, each nation holds something valuable that only it can provide us – knowledge, understanding, and respect for each other’s differences.
In this blog post, we’ll look at the 20 oldest countries in the world and explore their fascinating histories.
World’s Oldest Countries: The Top 20
- San Marino
- Saudi Arabia
1. Iran – The Land of Kings and Conquerors
Iran is located in the Middle East and is home to some of the world’s oldest-known civilizations. It is an ancient land steeped in culture, history, and tradition. The country’s culture is heavily influenced by its Islamic religion and Persian heritage.
Iran is known for its stunning landscapes, unique architecture, world-renowned art, and delicious cuisine. Iran is home to numerous historical sites and monuments, including the ruins of Persepolis, an ancient city once the capital of the mighty Achaemenid Empire.
2. Ancient Egypt – A Journey Through the Ages
Exploring Ancient Egypt is like embarking on a journey through time. The ancient civilization’s rich heritage and mythology are captured in the stately buildings and tombs that remain today, monuments to their unique engineering feats of thousands of years ago.
This “gift from the past” reveals a wealth of knowledge – tales of religious industry, ancient mysteries, and politics embedded in a culture that has continued to influence art and architecture throughout antiquity.
3. Syria – An Epicenter of Ancient History
Syria is a place of untold mysteries and hidden secrets – an epicenter of ancient history. From Palmyra’s canyon walls to Damascus’s quaint cobblestone streets, this country remains a living testament to centuries of civilizations that came before us.
Syria has stood for millennia as a silent witness; to wars, peace, and everything in between. The Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Turks, and Europeans ruled it. Syria is a land of great religious diversity. It is the home of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Syria is also a land of great archaeological importance.
4. Vietnam – Cradle of Civilization
Believed to be first inhabited by humans around 20,000-30,000 BCE, Vietnam is a beautiful example of an ancient cradle of civilization. Archaeological evidence suggests it was where early agricultural innovations such as pottery and weaving arose and wild animals like elephants were domesticated.
Over time, Vietnam has been colonized and invaded by many neighboring empires but maintained its solid cultural identity. Vietnamese culture retains such reminiscences of ancient times in its literature and art forms.
5. India – An Enduring Legacy
India has been known as an enduring legacy, and its culture has survived the test of time. From gorgeous architecture to intricate scriptures, India’s lasting legacy can be seen in every corner of the nation. It is both inspiring and awe-inspiring to experience the immense contributions of Indians.
From breaking science boundaries with Aryabhatta’s contribution to mathematics to the innovative art and cuisine which remain influential worldwide, India truly has an enduring legacy. It will continue to leave its mark for generations yet to come.
6. Armenia – Land of Great Historical Significance
Armenia is a tiny nation with a huge personality. Home to the ancient Ararat Mountain, Armenia offers mesmerizing natural beauty. Remnants of history throughout the land hint at its outstanding historical significance. It was the first Christian nation and is home to the oldest churches in the world, like Echmiatsin Cathedral. Sweeping landscapes and awe-inspiring monuments paving the way to churches, archaeological sites, and numerous monasteries make it an ideal destination for religious believers and adventurous tourists.
7. Korea – Tales of Ancient Trade and Commerce
Korea is one of the 20 oldest countries in the world, and its long history of trade and commerce offers much to explore. Korea has long been a hub for global commerce and trade for centuries. Not just that, they were also renowned merchants who could reach markets all through Asia and beyond – even as far away as Rome!
They built a sustainable economic structure and gained wealth by creating strong trade relations with the Chinese Han dynasty during their reign. Korea’s centuries-old business history was essential in forming the fascinating culture we still see today.
8. China – A Timeless Land
With a vast territory of sprawling mountains, lush valleys, and rural wonders, China is a timeless land full of history and culture. From bustling cities to the tranquil countryside, this ancient country offers something for every traveler.
The world-renowned Great Wall stands proud upon its many mountain ranges and is a testament to the nation’s long-held traditions. At the same time, the incredible Terracotta Warriors tell stories of its mighty yet compassionate conquerors. This land is unlike any other—a marvelous interplay of old and new complexities.
9. Greece – Birthplace of Western Civilization
Much of the Western world we live in today wouldn’t exist without Greece. This ancient country is widely recognized as the birthplace of modern democracy, philosophy, art, literature, and language that has been passed on to generations since.
While various other civilizations around the globe have had their part to play over time, the monumental achievements of this small Mediterranean nation can not be overstated. From famous historical landmarks such as Parthenon and Olympia to legendary mythologies such as Zeus and Aphrodite, Greece continues to shape how we view our past and future.
10. Georgia – Exploring the Glorious Past
Nestled in the Caucus region of Europe, Georgia remains today a way of life reminiscent of its glorious and fascinating past as one of the 20 oldest countries in the world. Its equally rich and mysterious history tells of millennia-old cultures and civilizations that date back centuries.
Rich with stunning natural landscapes, rocky terrains, quaint villages, bustling cities, and ancient ruins, exploring Georgia is unearthing tangible memories from thousands of years. Every step taken amongst these ancient structures and cobblestone streets will reveal an untold story waiting to be discovered.
11. Ethiopia – Remnants of an Ancient Empire
Ethiopia, located in the Horn of Africa, holds a vast collection of ruins nearly hidden in plain sight. From its bustling cities to its gently rolling hills, Ethiopia steadily reveals ancient remnants of civilizations past. Whether it’s stone circles nestled in a grassy meadow or echoes of an ancient text heard from a nearby limestone cliff, Ethiopia preserves such precious wanderings from ages ago.
Ethiopia offers an abundance of historically significant landmarks and beautiful scenery unlike anywhere else. From its lush rainforests to vast deserts, it has remained largely untouched for over 3,000 years.
12. Afghanistan – The Heartland of Central Asia
Afghanistan’s long and complicated history dates back to Alexander the Great, who conquered the Persian Empire in 330 BC. The region has seen the rise and fall of many civilizations and has been at the crossroads of Central Asia for centuries.
The country is home to diverse ethnic groups, including Pashtuns, Tajiks, Hazaras, Uzbeks, and Turkmen. Afghanistan is a land of contrasts with a rich cultural heritage and a landscape that ranges from high mountains to barren deserts.
13. Japan – An Unparalleled Heritage
Japan is one of the 20 oldest countries whose fascinating heritage dates back centuries. Home to many mythical and historical dynasties, Japan has a unique culture and set of customs unparalleled by any other country. From its carefully crafted ideology to its revered temples and shrines to its traditional garments and haiku poetry, Japan has sustained its ancient ways while embracing 20th-century technologies.
Japan is a country truly unlike any other – it is an inspiring reminder that even after centuries of change and evolution, certain traditions can still exist in today’s rapidly advancing world.
14. Ireland – A Rich Cultural Tapestry
Ireland has a fascinating history woven into its cultural tapestry. Throughout its rich past, Ireland has managed to preserve essential elements of its culture through storytelling, music, art, and literature. From night-long pub sessions to traditional folk music performances, there’s something for everyone in Ireland’s cultural mix.
Its literary heritage is almost matchless – from William Butler Yeats to James Joyce – and whether you’re trekking along the coastline or exploring ancient ruins, you’ll always have an eye for beautiful artwork inspired by Irish life.
15. France – An Unparalleled Cultural Legacy
Home to some of the oldest countries in the world, France exudes a palpable cultural legacy. From its renowned cuisine and exquisite architecture to popular art and brilliant literature, France has something for everyone; its wealth of culture is an endurance test for even the savviest travelers.
Whether you’re enjoying a romantic stroll through Paris or winding your way through the quaint villages in Normandy, there’s no shortage of cultural attractions – no matter where you go, France truly is an unparalleled destination.
16. Mongolia – A Land of Conflicting Empires
Nestled between the two still-thriving powers of Russia and China is Mongolia, one of the oldest countries in the world. A country of solid cultural integrity, Mongolia has long been characterized by several different nomadic empires whose practices have shaped much of its land and people.
The land of Mongolia is no stranger to conflict between empires, from Genghis Khan’s mighty Mongol Empire up to World War II, where they were seen as pawns in a power struggle. Despite all the strife and difficulty, it’s clear that the strength of this culture persists even to this day; it proves that a nation’s spirit can last above all else.
17. Somalia – A Forgotten Land
Somalia is a land that often gets forgotten in the larger conversation about the world. Many people don’t know that this beautiful region of Africa is one of the oldest countries in the world, with an illustrious and fascinating history that speaks to its actual strength even when faced with political turmoil and civil war.
From the 8th Century spread of Islam across Somalia to the complete autonomy after the fall of Somalia’s Central Government, it has been on an incredible journey throughout its existence. Though commonly overlooked, Somalia bleeds with unique culture and strength beneath its surface—a genuinely remarkable forgotten land.
18. San Marino – A place of Ancient History and Culture
Since: 301 CE (AD)
San Marino is incredibly unique, steeped in ancient history and culture. With just under 36,000 people, this tiny country in the heart of Italy is celebrated for its breathtaking vistas, medieval stone buildings, fortified towers, and excellent cuisine.
Home to the third smallest population in the world and surrounded by breathtaking scenery, San Marino has a lot to offer to those who visit. From hiking trails that pass through lush forests to excellent locally produced wines and fine chocolates, San Marino provides visitors with a truly authentic Italian experience. It’s no wonder it has become one of the top destinations for tourists from around the globe!
19. Saudi Arabia – From Legendary Kingdoms to Modern Times
Saudi Arabia has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a legendary kingdom. The modern country is renowned for its vast oil wealth and burgeoning economy, but it is also home to some of the most spectacularly preserved historical sites in the Middle East.
From desert fortresses built during the rise of Islam to ancient mosques that still stand today, Saudi Arabia is a treasure trove of history and culture. Saudi Arabia is also home to some of the world’s most impressive archaeological sites. For example, the Nabatean city of Al-Ula is home to hundreds of tombs and ancient ruins still standing today.
20. Denmark – The birthplace of the world’s most influential philosophers
Denmark has a rich and unique history, exemplified by being the birthplace of some of the world’s most renowned and influential philosophers. People such as Søren Kierkegaard, one of the founding fathers of existentialism, whose works have helped shape modern thinking on psychology and ethics; Hans Christian Andersen, an acclaimed fairytale author whose stories are still revered today; and Niels Bohr, who developed groundbreaking ideas in atomic physics that revolutionized the field.
This legacy of innovative minds speaks to Denmark’s culture of progressivism, attracting thinkers and artists from around the world.
Commonly Asked Questions:
Which country has the longest recorded history?
An ancient missionary student of China once said, “Chinese history is far away, monotonous, obscure, and worst of all there is just too much of it.” China has the world’s longest continuous history, with 3,500 years of written history. Even 3,500 years ago, China’s culture was ancient!
Which country is the youngest?
After years of civil war, South Sudan earned independence from Sudan in 2011, but violence continues to destroy the world’s newest country. South Sudan’s civil war began in 2013 and is still ongoing today as political leaders from various ethnic groups battle for power.
Which is the world’s oldest city?
Jericho, a small city in Palestine with a population of 20,000 people, is thought to be the world’s oldest city.
It is fascinating to reflect on history and how the world has evolved. The 20 oldest countries in the world are a testament to this evolution, as they have been around for centuries or even millennia. From China’s 100’s-year-old civilization to San Marino– each country boasts a unique story that can be traced through ancient records and archaeological evidence. Although these nations may differ significantly today, their long histories demonstrate their resilience despite changing political climates and technological advancements. It is truly remarkable what humanity has accomplished throughout all these years!