My first trip abroad was to Czechoslovakia - I was 12 years old, and they were not separated yet. Does it count as two?
SCMT wrote:How should one count Caribbean Islands? I mean, USVI might be the United States, and the Caymans might be UK, but what is Aruba? Is St. Martin France? Is St. Maarten Holland? Is St. Martin/St. Maarten just St. Maarten? Is St. Barths different?
And by the way, how should I count the parts of the UK? I started to post a number and confused myself.
You can choose whether you count the countries as they were when you visited them or as they are right now, but I prefer looking at the present situation because you don't have to remember when
you visited a certain place, and you also avoid potential problems with places you have visited several times and who have changed statues in between the visits. For instance you could have visited Bratislava and Praha in 1990 and that would score as Czechoslovakia at the time. And now you revisit Praha - should you then count Czechia because of Praha and retain Czechoslovakia because of Bratislava which you visited before the separation?
I'm a member of a travel club where we register the countries of each member. I the beginning we used the historical principle, but it turned out that it was too complicated to keep track of all the places our members had visited when you also had to consider when they did it, so we changed the system to the here-and-now principle. And that means that according to the registrations I have visited Uzbekistan, even though I was there during the Sovjet era, and on the other hand I have never been to neither BRD or DDR, only to Germany. This may seem odd, but in a club where members typically have visited at least 40-50 countries plus territories we need a simple registration system. And two dimensions are easier to deal with than three.
As for territories: I have never understood how the United Kingdom could get away with claiming that it consisted of four or five countries in sports. But it is just one country with some subdivisions according to the rules of the United Nations, and that's also how it is counted by the club I mentioned (you don't have to fancy the UN to use its member list as a reference). The same list stipulates that everything French stays French - i.e. the French half of St.Martens is part of France just as well as Ile-de-France or any other department in mainland France (or Saint Pierre and Miquelon in Canada, for that matter). On the other hand most English speaking islands have declared their independence, but a few have chosen to remain British - like the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and Montserrat. The Dutch islands have also remained within the Netherlands, but with a high degree of internal autonomy. Their exact configuration has changed, but this is how Wikipedia defines it:In 1954, the islands became the country (Dutch: Land) Netherlands Antilles (1954−2010). The autonomy of the Netherlands Antilles' island territories was specified in the Islands Regulation of the Netherlands Antilles. Initially the Netherlands Antilles consisted of 4 island territories: Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao and the Windward Islands. The latter split into the Island Territories Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten in 1983.
The island of Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 to become a separate constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, leaving five island territories within the Netherlands Antilles. This situation remained until the complete dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles as a unified political entity in 2010. In that year Curaçao and Sint Maarten became autonomous constituent countries within the Kingdom (like Aruba); while Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba became special municipalities of the Netherlands proper, which is the constituent country that is mainly located in Europe.
But this is also somewhat confusing since all the islands mentioned in the quote remain part of the Netherlands, and speaking about countries within countries is nonsens (although it can be founded on the use of the word "land" in Dutch). By the way: Sint Maarten is only one half of an island - the other part belongs to France. In contrast Suriname is a fully independent country. I visited the three Guyanas a few years ago, and it was funny because I spoke English in Guyana, Dutch in Suriname and French in Guyane Française - and Danish to the only other person in the travel group.
And just to add to the confusion: Puerto Rico and the American Virgin Islands belong to USA, but they aren't states. And Greenland and the Faroe Islands belong to Denmark, but they are not even members of the European Union so we have essentially a national border that doesn't follow the borders of the EU. You may also have noticed that I used the countryname UK (United Kingdom) above. Many refer to the country as 'England' which is a blatant error since it doesn't include Scotland and Wales and Northern Ireland. But many of those who try to avoid this error instead use "Great Britain" as a country name. Well, without going into politics it would have simplified brexit if this name reflected the political realities, but it doesn't since Northern Ireland isn't included (and by the way, what about the Channel islands?). The Netherlands as the name of the country is also more correct than "Holland" since only two af the parts of the Netherlands are named as Holland-something - albeit these parts are the most relevant for tourists. Actually it would be even better to say "Netherland" in the singular since the Dutch call their country "Nederland" - but the plural in the English name goes back at least to the Renaissance and maybe longer so it is probably too late to rectify things.