Feel free to interpret the question as referring to either permanent human habitation or human habitation in general.

  • 1
    Why did you tag this "pacific-islanders"? Are you expecting an answer in line with that tag?
    – Shimon bM
    Mar 30, 2017 at 6:18
  • And what about countries that only exist for a very brief period of time? Would that count?
    – Shimon bM
    Mar 30, 2017 at 6:19
  • Possibly, not necessarily, but it seems to be the only island related tag.
    – Colin
    Mar 30, 2017 at 6:19
  • I mean a current country, considered as a territory. e.g. USA has been inhabited for thousands of years.
    – Colin
    Mar 30, 2017 at 6:21
  • Does it have to be continuous? I can think of several islands that historically had other people on them, but were uninhabited when the present owners showed up. Also, would I be correct in assuming that autonomous regions/possessions of other countries (eg: Azores, Pitcairn, Greenland) wouldn't count?
    – T.E.D.
    Mar 30, 2017 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


Wikipedia has an article called List of countries and islands by first human settlement. The latest by continuous habitation is Crozet Islands, which was discovered in 1772 but was only intermittently inhabited (by sealers) until 1963 with the establishment of the Alfred Faure research station. However it is part of France, which is obviously much older.

Another contender is Antarctica, which did not have a permanent settlement until 1948. By treaty it does not belong to any country, but this also means it is not a country itself.

This leaves Seychelles, which was first permanently settled in 1770 by France, then Britain, but gained independence in 1976.

  • Wow, somewhat surprised that exists. Looks like the Seychelles are the latest sovereign state at 1770.
    – Colin
    Mar 30, 2017 at 6:29
  • 1
    Honorable mention to NZ at 1250 as the last major landmass.
    – Colin
    Mar 30, 2017 at 6:34

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