. What is recognized as a country, is a vague and changeable thing often. From Wikipedia: The thing is, recognizing a country by the UN is a very odd thing. If a few of the countries want to refuse to recognize one, it does not get onto the recognized list. There are many that are in limbo. There are many that are kept off the list for decades because of a few countries that don't like them, etc. The US was the first to recognize Israel, but in the UN? nope, a long time. China and its political/economic pressure, kept Taiwan off the list. 26 limbo countries? I would not be surprised if there were not twice that many. The CIA World FactBook, wording it carefully, compiles data for 266 'entities. I think if you saw the list, that you, and the people who live in those places, would consider them 'countries'. .