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Mapping the World’s Overseas Territories and Dependencies

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overseas territories and dependencies around the world and their sovereign states.

Overseas Territories and Dependencies of the World

An overseas territory or dependency is a region with ties abroad to a sovereign nationโ€”not a completely independent state, but also not a constituent part or administrative subdivision of the parent country.

Their histories vary, but most are tied to either “modern” colonialism from the 1400s onwards, or wars from the 19th and 20th centuries. Many of these regions still depend on their parent country to some capacity for economic, military, and diplomatic affairs.

This graphic by Pranav Gavali maps the overseas territories of various countries, using a variety of sources including WorldAtlas, Statista, and official country releases.

Where are the World’s Overseas Territories and Dependencies?

There are a total of 71 overseas territories listed on the map spread across the world.

It excludes territories claims in Antarctica, which are currently governed by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty. As an overseas map, it also excludes territories sharing a border, or that are part of a larger state or province (like Germany’s Heligoland, part of the state of Schleswig-Holstein).

Each region has its own unique present-day status. Some are “autonomous territories” or “constituent countries,” while some are administered almost entirely as part of the parent country.

SovereignOverseas Territory / DependencyRegion
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ AustraliaAshmore and Cartier IslandsIndian Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ AustraliaChristmas IslandIndian Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ AustraliaCocos (Keeling) IslandsIndian Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ AustraliaCoral Sea IslandsPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ AustraliaHeard & McDonald IslandsIndian Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ AustraliaNorfolk IslandPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ DenmarkFaroe IslandsAtlantic Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ DenmarkGreenlandAtlantic Ocean /
Arctic Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceBassas da IndiaIndian Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceClipperton IslandPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceEuropa IslandIndian Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceFrench GuianaSouth America
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceFrench PolynesiaPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceGlorioso IslandsIndian Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceGuadeloupeCaribbean
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceJuan de Nova IslandIndian Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceMartiniqueCaribbean
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceMayotteIndian Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceNew CaledoniaPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceRรฉunionIndian Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceSaint Barthรฉlemy Caribbean
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceSaint Pierre and MiquelonAtlantic Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceSaint-MartinCaribbean
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceTromelin IslandIndian Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท FranceWallis and FutunaPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ NetherlandsArubaCaribbean
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ NetherlandsBonaire Caribbean
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ NetherlandsCuraรงao Caribbean
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ NetherlandsSaba Caribbean
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ NetherlandsSint Eustatius Caribbean
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ NetherlandsSint Maarten Caribbean
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ New ZealandCook IslandsPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ New ZealandNiuePacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ New ZealandTokelauPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด Norway Bouvet IslandAtlantic Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด NorwayJan MayenArctic Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด NorwayPeter I IslandSouthern Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด NorwaySvalbardArctic Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น PortugalAzoresAtlantic Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น PortugalMadeiraAtlantic Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomAkrotiri (British Forces)Cyprus /
Mediterranean
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomAnguillaCaribbean
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomBermudaAtlantic Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryIndian Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomBritish Virgin IslandsCaribbean
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomCayman IslandsCaribbean
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomDhekelia (British Forces)Cyprus /
Mediterranean
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomFalkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)Atlantic Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomGibraltarEurope
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomGuernsey (Channel Island)Atlantic Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomIsle of ManAtlantic Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomJersey (Channel Island)Atlantic Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomMontserratCaribbean
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomPitcairn, Henderson, Ducie & Oeno IslandsPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomSaint Helena, Ascension & Tristan da cunhaAtlantic Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomSouth Georgia & South Sandwich IslandsAtlantic Ocean
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United KingdomTurks & Caicos IslandsCaribbean
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United StatesAmerican SamoaPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United StatesBaker IslandPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United StatesGuamPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United StatesHowland IslandPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United StatesJarvis IslandPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United StatesJohnston AtollPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United StatesKingman ReefPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United StatesMidway Islands / AtollPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United StatesNavassa IslandCaribbean
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United StatesNorthern Mariana IslandsPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United StatesPalmyra AtollPacific Ocean
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United StatesPuerto RicoCaribbean
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United StatesU.S. Virgin IslandsCaribbean
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United StatesWake IslandPacific Ocean

More than half of the overseas territories were in either the Pacific Ocean (21) or the Caribbean (18). The United States by itself accounts for 11 of the territories spread out across the North and South Pacific.

Another highlight is that the majority of these regions are islands located quite a distance from their parent countries. One of the furthest is New Caledonia, a French territory around 17,000 km away from European France.

They also vary mightily in terms of size, population, and political apparatus. For example, the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico has 3 million people, and its own constitution and elected government, while another U.S. territory of Johnston Atoll is tiny and entirely uninhabited.

Hereโ€™s a brief look at some of the best known territories on the list:

Guam

First colonized by Spain in the 16th century, the U.S. occupied the North Pacific islands in the aftermath of the Spanishโ€“American war (along with Puerto Rico and the Philippines). The island was briefly occupied by Japan during World War IIโ€”attacked at the same time as Pearl Harborโ€”before being recaptured by the United States. It currently has an elected legislature and governor and is home to a large U.S. military base.

Bermuda

When Bermuda was first discovered in the 1500s by the Spanish in the Caribbean, and then a century later by the English, there was no Indigenous population documented. At first it was used by passing ships as a replenishment spot, but the English eventually settled it in the 17th century. It now has a constitution, a parliament, and a governor who exercises power on behalf of the British head of state.

Cook Islands

Unlike others on this list, the Cook Islands in the South Pacific is not only self-governing but also runs its own foreign and defense policy and is in โ€œfree associationโ€ with New Zealand. While Cook Islanders are New Zealand citizens, with the same monarch as head of state, they are also separate Cook Island nationals.

Rรฉunion

This island in the Indian Ocean 700 km off the coast of Madagascar was first settled by the French in the 17th century, though it was discovered earlier by the Portuguese. It is one of the many French Overseas Territories that together are home to 2.6 million people.

Countries With the Most Overseas Territories and Dependencies

Depending on if you count island territories independently or group them together, the final accounting of overseas territories and dependencies by country can vary.

But by most official designations of territories, the UK and France are tied with 17 overseas territories.

CountryOverseas Territories & Dependences
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France17
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง United Kingdom17
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ United States14
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia 6
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Netherlands6
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด Norway4
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ New Zealand3
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Denmark2
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡น Portugal2

Unsurprisingly, two great empires of the pastโ€”Britian and Franceโ€”still have largest remnants of their past breadth. The British still maintain many ties to several territories in the Caribbean (formerly the British West Indies) while French influence stretches from the Pacific to South America.

And consider that this list reflects current status as of 2023. Former colonies that would have been counted in the past include British India (which became India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) and French Indochina (which became Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam).

As for the U.S. at #3, though the majority of its territories are in the Pacific, they were acquired well before World War II. In addition to islands ceded by Spain, the rest were unclaimed islands incorporated as part of the Guano Islands Act of 1856, which sought sources of guanoโ€”feces of bats and seabirds used as agricultural fertilizer and for gunpowder production.

Editor’s note: The original graphic and article included a source which had incorrect sizes and listed Spain as having two territories. The graphic, article, and relevant tables and overall numbers have been updated.

Interested in an overview of who leads countries around the world? Check out Visualized: The Head of State of Each Country, by Age and Generation for the easiest breakdown.
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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Demographics

Mapped: The Population of China and India in Perspective

We compare the populations of India and China to other top countries and regions for a unique perspective on the world’s demographics.

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The Population of China and India in Perspective

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

China and India, the world’s two most populous countries, each boast populations exceeding 1.4 billion people.

To put this into perspective, we visualized populations of China and India beside other leading countries and regions. All figures are for 2023, and were accessed via Worldometer.

Data and Key Takeaways

All of the data we used to create this graphic is listed in the table below.

Country / RegionPopulation (2023)
๐ŸŒ Africa1,460,481,772
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ India1,428,627,663
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China1,425,671,352
๐ŸŒŽ Latin America & the Caribbean664,997,121
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง EU plus UK516,659,018
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.339,996,563
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Indonesia277,534,122

From these figures, we can see that the entire population of Africa (currently the fastest growing region in the world) barely surpasses that of China and India.

The populations of China and India are each more than double the size of Latin America and the Caribbean, and nearly triple that of the European Union (including the UK).

Fast Facts on Global Population

Here are some important figures to know regarding the world’s population:

  • China accounts for 17.7% of the worldโ€™s population, while India represents a slightly larger 17.8% share.
  • Africa is the fastest growing region in the world, with annual growth of about 2.4%.
  • Europe is the only region in the world that is shrinking, at about -0.17% annually.

Learn More About Demographics from Visual Capitalist

If you enjoy graphics like these, be sure to check out Population Projections: The Worldโ€™s 6 Largest Countries in 2075.

It reveals a startling contrast between the trajectories of China and India, with the latter peaking at 1.7 billion in the mid-2060s.

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