Asia is the largest continent in the world by area occupying 30 percent of the land on earth, and it is also the largest in terms of population with 60 percent of the world’s total population are living here. Out of the 48 countries that comprised Asia, there are countries that might be the smallest in terms of total area, but they have a lot going for them, and some of them are even among the richest in the world.
List of Smallest Countries in Asia by Area
This archipelago of 1,190 coral islands and sandbanks grouped into 26 atolls or clusters in the Indian Ocean at the southern part of Asia is the smallest country in Asia and the 9th smallest in the world. The Republic of Maldives, also called Maldives Islands, has a total area of 298 sq. km, which is about 1.7 times the size of Washington, DC. There are around 200 inhabited islands, and a third of the total population of 391,904 (July 2020 est.) resides in the capital city, Malé, which is centrally located. The rich marine ecosystem of this country makes it a popular tourist destination.
Asia’s second smallest country, Singapore, is one of the richest countries in the world. This city-state or island nation located in southeastern Asia, between Malaysia and Indonesia, has a total area of 719.2 sq. km. With a population of 6,209,660 (July 2020 est.), it has a Gross National Income (GNI) per capita at Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) of $94,670. Singapore’s economy is highly dependent on its export of electronics, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and medical and optical devices. Singaporeans boast of a clean and green environment, highly efficient transportation system, and high-speed internet connection.
The Kingdom of Bahrain, as it is officially known, is a small archipelago in the Middle East made up of 33 natural islands and several artificial ones covering a total area of 760 sq. km. It has a 161-km coastline with the artificial islands having complex shapes that maximized the coastline to create thousands of waterfront residences. The country with a population of 1,505,003 (July 2020 est.) is situated on the Persian Gulf between Qatar and northeastern coast of Saudi Arabia to which it is connected by the 25-km King Fahd Causeway. Bahrain Island, within the Bahrain archipelago, accounts for 83 percent of the country’s landmass and is home to majority of the population.
Negara Brunei Darussalam is the official name of Brunei, wherein Negara is “country” in Malay and Darussalam is “abode of peace.” This country in Southeastern Asia along the northern coast island of Borneo, and bordering Malaysia and South China Sea is the fourth smallest nation in Asia with a total area of 5,765 sq. km. Its largely English-speaking population of 464,478 (July 2020 est.) is under an absolute monarchy or sultanate. Being rich in crude oil, petroleum, and natural gas that accounts for 95 percent of its exports made this tiny nation one of the richest in the world, having a GDP per capita (PPP) of $78,900 (2017 est.). Bruneians boast of having access to free medical services and free education through University level as well as not having to pay personal income taxes.
The State of Palestine in western Asia is recognized by 136 out of 193 member states of the United Nations. It has a total area of 6,220 sq. km as it claims the West bank, bordering Jordan and Israel, and the Gazi Strip, bordering Israel and Egypt, as their territory. Palestine, as Asia’s fifth smallest nation, has a population of 5,051,953 and 93 percent of Palestinians are Muslims. Jerusalem is claimed by both Palestine and Israel as their capital city.
This island in the Mediterranean Sea is geographically considered part of Asia in the Middle East but is culturally and historically a European country. The Republic of Cyprus has a total area of 9,251 sq. km, which makes it Asia’s sixth smallest country with a population of 1,266,676 (July 2020 est.). Cypriots are 98.8 percent Greek and the rest are Turkish-Cypriot, Armenian, and Maronite; 89.1 percent of them are Orthodox Christians. Cyprus is considered one of the oldest countries in the world. A Neolithic Settlement of Choirokitia or Khirokitia was discovered at the Larnaca District, 6 km from southern coast of Cyprus, and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998.
Officially known as the Lebanese Republic, this country is located in the Middle East, between Israel and Syria, and bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on the west. Lebanon is Asia’s seventh smallest country having a total area of 10,400 sq. km with 225-km coastline. It has a population of 5,469,612 (July 2020 est.), and majority of them live in and around the capital, Beirut, and along the Mediterranean coast. Lebanon is known for its diversity in culture, religion, language, cuisine, and arts. It was called the “Switzerland of the East” while Beirut was known as the “Paris of the Middle East” back in the ‘60s before the Lebanese Civil War from 1975 to 1990 devastated the country.
The State of Qatar is a peninsula in the Middle East, bordering Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. It has a total area of 11,586 sq. km with 563-km coastline, making it the eighth smallest country in Asia with a population of 2,444,174 (July 2020 est.). Qatar is the richest country in the world based on its GNI per capita of $116,799. It has the third largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world. This country has a diplomatic crisis that began in June 2017 when Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Bahrain cut diplomatic and economic ties with them for allegedly supporting terrorism and questions its relations with Iran.
With a total area of 14,874 sq. km, Timor-Leste or East Timor in Southeastern Asia is the ninth smallest country in Asia. On May 20, 2002, it became the first new sovereign state of the 21st century when Indonesia relinquished its control. It has a population of 1,383,723 (July 2020 est.) that are predominantly Roman Catholics. Timorese have more than a dozen languages. Dili, also known as the “City of Peace” is the capital and largest city of Timor-Leste.
The tenth smallest country in Asia is located in the Middle East, between Iraq and Saudi Arabia bordering the Persian Gulf. It has a total area of 17,818 sq. km with a coastline of 499 km. Arabic is its official language although English is also widely spoken by its people. It is the world’s fourth richest country based on its GNI per capita PPP of $83,310. Kuwaitis receive money from the government frequently, such as when they get married, have children, and during the anniversary of independence. Population is 2,993,706.
Most of these countries are located in the Middle East or Western Asia with three in Southeast Asia, and one in South Asia. The total area of these smallest countries is 77,691.2 sq. km, which is even smaller than their neighbor in Asia, United Arab Emirates that has an area of 83,600 sq. km.
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