What are Constituent Countries?

What are Constituent Countries?

Greenland, Scotland, Wales, Aruba, Sint Maarten. What do these lands all have in common? Well, not much, except for one thing: they
are all countries, except not really, they are some of the world’s few constituent
countries. So, are they countries, or are they territories? Or are they something else entirely that will
only take about 30 seconds to explain, but which I will also forcibly stretch out into
a 4-5 minute video? There are numerous definitions to the term
“constituent countries”, for example, the European Union uses the term to refer
to its member nations, and it is also the term used for individual countries when talking
about bilateral meetings and negotiations. However, that’s boring, and you probably
already have an image in your mind when you think of constituent states, like what I mentioned
in the intro. There are three main entities with these such
constituent states: the United Kingdom with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
(yes, Northern Ireland is a country, not a province); the Kingdom of the Netherlands
with the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten; and the Kingdom of Denmark with
Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland. In a sense, each of these “countries”
make up their whole nations as a whole, so “the Netherlands” or “Denmark” can
refer to either the constituent countries, or the whole overarching authority ruling
these lands. This guarantees the other states some kind
of autonomy, as these states don’t necessarily have to listen to London, Amsterdam or Copenhagen
about everything, and can run a lot of their own affairs. This is probably most strongly seen in how
the Netherlands, the UK (for now), and the Denmark are in the EU, but some of their constituent
countries (like Greenland) are not, despite being kind of in the same country, but also
kind of not. Okay, so are these places countries or not? Well, yes… and no, it really depends on
how you look at it. You see, Aruba is its own country, but is
also part of the Netherlands, but is also in the middle of the Caribbean, but is also
in the EU, but also doesn’t use Euros, even though the Netherlands is a Eurozone country. Well that probably wasn’t too helpful, so
let’s look at another example, New Zealand. The Realm of New Zealand also contains three
constituent countries, New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Niue, but this whole kizspazzle
works a bit differently to what’s going on on the exact opposite side of the world. You see, the Cook Islands and Niue are kind
of their own countries, but have a free association with New Zealand, where New Zealand leaves
them self governing, but administers foreign relations on their behalf, and also grants
their citizens New Zealand citizenship. All these territories are also governed by
the Queen of New Zealand (who also just so happens to be the Queen of the United Kingdom). Similar to what we talked about last week,
many countries (notably Russia) have partially independent nations and republics within their
borders (some even with their own anthems [anthem of the Tuva Republic]). However, these are not independent nations,
but small ethnic enclaves deemed too distinct to be fully under Moscow’s control, so some
leeway is granted for them to kind of just do their own thing. On the other end of the spectrum, Palau, Micronesia
and the Marshall Islands are all completely independent nations, with UN seats and everything. However, they have signed a Compact of Free
Association with the United States, when they got their independence from the US. This means that the countries can be fully
independent, but their citizens can freely live and work in the US, but in exchange,
the US can build military bases on these islands (which could be pretty important in the near
future) and US citizens can live and work in these countries as long as they want without
a visa (well, there’s a 1-year limit in Palau, but still). There are numerous other examples of partially
independent areas that still fall under a country’s total control, and ultimately
lose this video’s original questions in a churning stew of questions about sovereignty. Like, if Greenland isn’t independent, what
about places like Hong Kong and Macau, or the individual Emirates of the United Arab
Emirates? And don’t even get me started on all the
various independence movements out there. Ultimately, this proves once again that the
answer to the question “what the hell even is a country, anyway?” is little more than…
hell if I know. Thanks for watching this video, and if you
enjoyed it, be sure to give it a like and subscribe, and follow me on Twitter, and join
the Discord server, and support the channel on Patreon, and all the other things I usually
ask you to do. Okay, bye.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes


  1. …And then you have the UK's Crown Dependencies (Channel Islands, Isle of Man) which are different again aren't they?!

  2. The seat of the Dutch governtment is not Amsterdam, it's the Hague.

    It would be more accurate to say that Dutch constituents don't have to listen to the Hague

  3. I feel like the queens of Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom all look pretty similar

  4. Loved the video! One error did you make tho, at 1:12 you said they dont have to listen to Londen, Amsterdam, or Copenhagen. The dutch parlement is not in Amsterdam, but in Den haag (The Hague). But the video was Awesome!

  5. Aruba, Curaçao and Sint-Maarten are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands*, not just the Netherlands. Also, the Dutch government is situated in The Hague (Den Haag) and not in the capital, Amsterdam.

  6. I live in Aruba, essentially Aruba Curacao and St. Martin are "Autonomous States" within the Realm of the Kindom of the Netherlands. St Eustacious, Saba and Bonaire are "special Administrated regions" of the "government of the Netherlands" (almost provinces but quite not there yet) the Government of the Netherlands mostly comes in when there is. Government falls as in two parties that United to enter government break relations (mostly in Curacao) when the government is borrowing or spending too much money (mostly in Aruba) or when there is a Natural disaster (mostly in St. Martin)

  7. I do not acknowledge the validity of the Welsh flag. ST. DAVID'S CROSS FOREVER. THE GREAT BLACK AND GOLD

  8. could somebody explain why northern Ireland is a country and not a province, since if seen so many people say that it is technically a province and not a country.

  9. If you ever consider Scotland being anything less than a country, a furious mob of Glaswegians will gather outside your door within the next hour.
    Wales, however, is universally accepted as a weird extension of England filled with nice people that no one else likes to acknowledge – just like Cornwall. I’m a neighbour of both and it’s a party.

  10. Northern Ireland is not a Country its a province. I know you literally said it wasn’t but it isnt. If theres one thing Nationalist and Unionist can agree on its that.

  11. What I don't get about these kind of YouTubers, ones that make short infotainment videos, is that they always choose to raise questions and not really answer them. The standard response is that they want to keep them short, but why? I'm guessing they're aiming for quantity, as opposed to volume, to rake in the big bucks. If that's the case though, don't any of them ever want to try to make something a bit more fulfilling and meaningful just for the sake of intellectual satisfaction? Okay, semi-rant over

  12. Is this like how some provinces in southern Mexico obey the Constitution but govern themselves apart from the Mexican government?

  13. I really like your videos… but there are some areas that you can improve on; namely the way you stumble over your words because you say them too quickly, and the overabundance of mildly irritating sound effects.

    Otherwise, I love your channel. You cover interesting topics, and you cover them well!

  14. A constituent league would be a league that makes up a bigger league. An example would be the American League and National League of Major League Baseball, or the Coastal League and Pacific League in Nippon Pro Baseball.

  15. Northern Ireland is NOT a country. It’s the last remenant of the former constituent country – Ireland before Ireland broke away from the U.K. to form the Irish Free State (a dominion of the empire) and later become the fully independent RofI.

  16. Please do more thorough research on Northern Ireland. The U.K. government has not been able to define its status in almost 100 years of existence. It describes it as a country, a region and a province in various official platforms.

    It has officially put forth to the UN that Northern Ireland is a region.

  17. Welsh booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiissssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  18. 1:15 "…and can run a lot of their own affair." But that's the exact point of subsidiary governments within any country. Whether you call them provinces or states, prefectures or territories, they are all lesser government that answer to the greater federal government.

  19. 1:10 yes Amsterdam is the capital of Netherlands, but the government of the Netherlands is sitting in Den Haag, so Amsterdam is not calling any shots.

  20. People forget that it's "Northern Ireland and The Republic of Ireland" not "Northern and Southern Ireland"

    2 different countries, 2 different currencies, 2 different governments etc…

  21. It’s confusing because countries, modern nation-states were just something we invented in 1648 (or 1639 of you really know what’s up.) and when it comes to international politics, we’re just making shit up as we go. We literally made up successor states just so we can bind Russia to treaties the USSR signed without us having to negotiate everything with them. Turkey wanted to put some skin in the game in Crimea because of some ottoman treaty but backed off when we reminded them that by doing that, they are making themselves a successor states and they can no longer keep saying “we are not responsible for the Armenian genocide. It was the ottomans.” Countries are weird. International politics is weird and fun. I don’t care if I go broke in the future, I’m going to be an international relations major.


  23. Well done for saying Queen of the United Kingdom and not Queen of England. It's one of the most common mistakes I see on the internet.

  24. Greenland is an autonomous colony.
    It's not part of the EU because it is autonomous and didn't wish to be in the EU, just like Åland in Finland.

  25. Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius and the Netherlands all use the same EU passport.

  26. When you say "constituent countries" in the video, you aren't actually talking about countries..

    For example, Greenland isn't a country, but a territory owned by Denmark

  27. If you really really bend the definition, the states in the US are technically constituent countries.

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