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6 January, 2016

What new countries may be formed in 2016?

Realistically, none, even taking into account unrecognized countries. But here are the three least remote possibilities in the near future, if not 2016:

0 . Scotland In light of recent news I’m gonna add to the answer, since it still gets views. Scotland rejected independence from the UK in 2014 in a 55–45 vote. However, one of the big assumptions back then was that the UK would remain an EU member. Just yesterday the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU, while every single Scottish constituency voted to remain. With EU membership at stake, the dissenting Scots are now very likely to run a new independence referendum, which has a good chance of succeeding.

1 . Catalonia – Currently part of Spain, this area (dark green on the map) accounts for nearly a quarter of the Spanish economy. But with a distinct culture and constant dissatisfaction with Madrid’s government there has been constant pressure to secede. The fact that relatively little Catalan tax money flows back into the region exacerbates this point. Currently a 48% plurality support independence. Barcelona would likely be the capital. However, even if the process of secession begins in 2016 we wouldn’t see a separate Catalonia until 2017 or much later.

2 . Kurdistan – For decades Kurdish leaders have been formally pushing for political independence. Officially, their homeland is divided amongst Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. In Iran and Turkey there is little hope for full Kurdish independence. But with the rise of the Islamic State and the collapse of Syrian and Iraqi control over much of their territory, the Kurds have finally gotten the chance to take direct control. While currently Kurdish armed forces have de facto control over many areas, formal political recognition could be part of a peace deal in the region. Kurdish militias control the parts approximately marked in orange and yellow on the map.

3 . Somaliland – In virtually every way, this country already exists. It has a stable government, an army, a currency, social services, and the like. An outsider would be surprised to learn that the ineffectual Mogadishu government is the one receiving international recognition, rather than this island of stability in a sea of tribalism and civil strife. Somaliland is located within the northern part of Somalia’s formal borders. The only thing this country is missing is formal recognition by the international community, which for many reasons has yet to happen. The West poured a lot of money and resources into propping up Mogadishu, so recognizing Hargeisa (Somaliland’s capital city) would be like admitting defeat. Other countries are simply uninterested, though occasionally we see glimmers of hope. But 2016 could be the year for Somaliland.

Answer via Quora.

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