In the Old Days, one country would conquer another and add it to its empire. What was the most recent country to be conquered and cease to exist as a country?

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    Ask again in a while and the answer might be Ukraine... :( Commented May 21, 2014 at 12:59
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    You probably need to clarify your definition of "country". Otherwise all those single-village "separatist movements" will compete to be the latest ones. Like "what was the most recent UN member nation to be conquered and cease to exist as a country". And what does "counquered and cease to exist as a country" exactly means? Would Kuwait annexation count? Yes, it has been detached back, but only after a while, and then, which former member of an empire has not been?
    – user904
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 23:30
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    ... and what do you count for "the most recent"? The initiation of the military action (like Queen Liliʻuokalani overthrow, 1893) or the complete de-jure inclusion (Hawaii Admission Act, 1959). That's 66 year long conquer action.
    – user904
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 23:45
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    @horsh as far as I could tell no UN member nation has been "conquered and ceased to exist as a country" (though of course there have been foreign-induced regime changes). I now looked at the member states of the League of Nations and all of these also appear to exist in some form today.
    – Jørgen
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 7:22
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    A problem perhaps with this question is that their is no real answer, because well now and then that country might change, how does one decide which answer to accept? Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 1:58

6 Answers 6


One candidate for "last widely recognized country to be conquered" would be South Vietnam. From the Wikipedia article:

Despite a peace treaty concluded in January 1973, fighting continued until the North Vietnamese army overran Saigon on 30 April 1975.


Its sovereignty was recognized by the United States and by some eighty-seven other nations. It had membership in several special committees of the United Nations, and would have been a member of the United Nations itself had it not been for a Soviet veto in 1957

I started my search by looking at Wikipedia's list of former United Nations members. Of these, some are countries that ceased to be members because they were absorbed by other countries:

  • East Germany (became part of West Germany; peaceful transition)
  • Tanganyika and Zanzibar (apparently peaceful)
  • Formation of Malaysia (apparently peaceful, or in any case formed from colonies that were not independent until absorbed)
  • North and South Yemen (apparently peaceful)

A reference to North/South Vietnam in the Yemen article got me to think about South Vietnam, which is perhaps an obvious answer to the question. There might be other, non-recognized states: I can think of Biafra, independent from 1967 to 1970 (so in any case earlier than South Vietnam).

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    Zanzibar was only really peaceful after 20,000 muslims were massacred. Commented May 21, 2014 at 14:54
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    @ClintEastwood sorry, perhaps bad phrasing by me: my point was just that Zanzibar+Tanganyika=Tanzania can probably not be termed a "conquest" and that (as far as I know) the merger itself was peaceful, even though atrocities occurred earlier in the process. In any case, feel free to let me know if "South Vietnam" does not answer your question.
    – Jørgen
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 7:19
  • Now that the East Timor situation has been described, South Vietnam is the best answer. Commented May 22, 2014 at 21:57
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    The Malaysian states have a fairly high degree of autonomy. Several of them are sultanates with royal families that has legislative powers. 2 of the states can set their own immigration policy. Singapore was briefly a member until ejected from the federation. So I'm not sure to what degree Malaysian states would count as having disappeared when it's more akin to the UK idea of Countries within Countries than the American idea that federal law trumps state law and secession isn't possible. Or in our case Norway still existed while in a (forced, sorry about that) union with Sweden.
    – Kit Sunde
    Commented Jul 13, 2015 at 23:56

Kuwait was invaded in November 1990 by Iraq, and the Iraqis weren't ejected until February 1991; thus Kuwait ceased to exist for about six months.

It can be argued that Kuwait had a government in exile during that time; but supposedly, South Vietnam still has a government in exile.

  • The Wiki article you linked says Vietnam's government in exile was dissolved in 2013.
    – Allure
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 4:15
  • @Allure THanks. I put another one of the Vietnamese govts in exile in the same link. Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 6:35

In terms of "empire" conquering that has had significant cultural effect, meaning a large change in the ethnic or linguistic nature of a large area of land the biggest changes in the last 100 years:

  • Elimination of Prussia (1945-1948)
  • Elimination of Manchuria (1930s)
  • Collapse of the French empire in West Africa
  • Collapse of the British empire in Africa, India and Southeast Asia
  • Creation of Pakistan, Burma and Thailand
  • Elimination of Austro-Hungarian Empire and creation of Czechoslovakia, Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary
  • Collapse of Ottoman empire, creation of Israel, Iraq, Syria and Kuwait

The most recent significant area to be "conquered" and absorbed by another country is the Crimean peninsula, conquered and annexed by the Russia Federation this year. The most recent time an entire "country" has been conquered and annexed militarily by another country was the de facto annexation of Republic of Chechnya in 2009.

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    Crimea has declared its independence, March 11. So technically it can be considered an independent state "Republic of Crimea", existed for 10 days. That's not better or worse than the same separatist kind of "country" as "Republic of Chechnya". Unless there is a good formal ciriteria for what's a "country", in the original question this is all moot.
    – user904
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 23:52
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    I'm not sure I understand why Tibet has not be mentioned?
    – CGCampbell
    Commented May 23, 2014 at 14:13
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    @Anixx: The Chechen Replublic of Ichkeria was no more or less real than the Autonomous Republic of Crimea...
    – DevSolar
    Commented Sep 21, 2016 at 14:02
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    Uh... Elimination of Prussia, 1945-1948? Prussia lost its "Freistaat" Status in 1933, de facto ceased to exist with the surrender in 1945, and was formally dissolved in 1947...
    – DevSolar
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 9:25
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    I think the annexion of Tibet by the People's Republic of China (1950-51) would feat better than several propositions here, even if I don't consider it th most recent invasion of a country (vs South Vietnam or Chechnya) : en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Evargalo
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 12:00

Arguably, Western Sahara could also fall in this definition. It was decolonized from Spanish rule in 1975 and soon after been occupied by Morocco and Mauritania. Later on Mauritania retreated and Morocco took over most of the land leaving a small territory in the hands of the Polisario Front, a western Sahara's people guerilla movement.

So, this is not a clear cut case as Western Sahara wasn't a sovereign state and it has not completely vanished but it's recent and fairly close to what you're asking. Maybe even more than South Vietnam.


Disclaimer : The correct answer to this question depends on what a "country" is: should it be de facto independant before the invasion, should it be recognized as independant by the UN, etc. ?

That said, my proposition is:

Chechnya, 2000

While Chechnya declared its independance from Russia in November 1991, it had to fight to establish independant institutions. After the First Chechnya war (1994-1996), president Aslan Maskhadov and Boris Eltsin signed the Moscow peace treaty in 1997, which ensured de facto independance and a form of recognition even if the question of the links between the Republic and Russia was not definitely settled.

The Second Chechnya war (August 1999 - April 2000) then fits this question: Russia bombed and invaded Chechnya, and their military victory led to the installation of a pro-Moscow government and ultimately to the 2003 referendum which attached Chechnya to Russia.


Since some people did not like my last answer I will reformulate it. The German Democratic Republic was a member of the United Nations and was recognised by most countries in the world, including the USA. In 1990 it disappeared from the map and was incorporated into the Federal Republic of Germany. It was not conquered militarily by West Germany, but it was annexed by it.

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    – MCW
    Commented Dec 6, 2019 at 13:24

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