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For example, a centenarian who has spent her entire life in Rijeka would have lived in five:

  • The Austro-Hungarian Empire (until 1920)
  • The Free State of Fiume (1920-1924)
  • Italy (1924-1947)
  • Yugoslavia (1947-1991)
  • Croatia (1991-present)

Is there any piece of land in the world which has been in more hands than that since March 5, 1898 (the birthdate of the oldest living person)? If so, where?

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I understand why this was put on hold but consider that in attempting to answer the question, you end up exploring a very interesting maze of historical geopolitics. I know I did. So I personally encourage these quirky historical questions as they often act an unique lens for viewing the past. – LateralFractal Sep 25 '13 at 8:42
You will likely find your city in Eastern Europe. For example, Carpatho-Ukraine appears to have been part of A-H, then Czechoslovakia, then declared independent, then Hungary, then Soviet Union, then Ukraine. Of course, it depends on how you define "change of countries" - is Hungary distinct from A-H, is Ukrainian SSR distinct from Ukraine, is Croatia distinct from Yugoslavia? – Jørgen Sep 26 '13 at 8:01
@Jørgen i wanted to answer Carpatho-Ukraine yesterday but at the time the question was closed – Tea Drinker Sep 26 '13 at 23:20
@TeaDrinker Fine, nice answer and nice map! Upvoted :-) – Jørgen Sep 27 '13 at 7:18
up vote 13 down vote accepted

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I think the Carpathian Ruthenia area (the little triangle on the "end" of Czechoslovakia after the end of WW1) gives us five bona fide separate national entities and more if pseudo-states (such as your Fiume) and other periods of loose or brief control are allowed.

up to 1918 Austria-Hungary
1918 Hungary
1918 West Ukraine
1918-1939 Czechoslovakia
1939 Carpatho-Ukraine Republic
1939-1944 Hungary
1944-1945 Czechoslovakia
1945-1991 USSR
1991 - Ukraine

I've marked in bold where nation states were recognisably exercising full sovereignty over the area. Looser claims in italics.

Memelland (now Klaipeda) in Lithuania is another possible candidate.

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Now if you could find some pre-1939 border adjustments between Czechoslovakia or A-H and Poland or Romania... – Jørgen Sep 27 '13 at 7:20
@Jørgen yes! we need some small Carpathian town to have been temporarily given to Romania for a few years, perhaps by cartographic oversight or to solve a problem with a road or some such – Tea Drinker Sep 27 '13 at 23:19


  1. Austria-Hungary (until 1918)
  2. Western Ukrainian National Republic
  3. Poland (1918-1939)
  4. USSR (1939-1941)
  5. Reichskommissariat Ukraine (1941-1944)
  6. Poland (1944-1946)
  7. USSR (1946-1991)
  8. Ukraine (1991-now)

This does not qualify as the most number of different countries, but probably qualifies as the most number of changes in national flag.

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I bet the residents were glad when not in Russia as the Russian winters are so cold. – PurplePilot Mar 28 '14 at 20:40

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