The 10 Oldest Countries in the World in 2024

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Egypt: Estimated to be founded in 3150 B.C.E., Egypt is considered the oldest country in the world. Narmer, the first king of the first dynasty, is credited with unifying Upper and Lower Egypt, as depicted on the Narmer Palette.

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Iran: The ancient kingdom of Elam, founded around 2600 B.C.E. in present-day Iran, had Susa as its capital. Archeological evidence shows urban life in Susa from the fifth millennium B.C.E. to the 13th century C.E.

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India: The Indus Valley civilization, thriving from 2500 B.C.E. until around 1500 B.C.E., marks India as one of the world's oldest countries. The region's extensive civilization stretched from the Arabian Sea to near present-day New Delhi.

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Armenia: Genetic evidence suggests Armenian origins dating between 3000 and 2000 B.C.E., aligning with the legendary establishment of Armenia in 2492 B.C.E. If true, Armenia could be one of the oldest countries.

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Iraq: Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq, is often called "the cradle of civilization." Sargon's rule in 2334 B.C.E. marked the beginning of the Akkadian empire, the first Semitic dynasty.

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China: Government in China dates back to at least 1600 B.C.E. with the founding of the Shang dynasty. The Shang dynasty developed a 12-month calendar and the writing system used today.

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Greece: The Mycenaean Civilization, beginning around 1600 B.C.E., consisted of multiple kingdoms, including Thebes and Athens. Mycenae and Tiryns are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

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Mexico: The Olmec civilization, founded around 1200 B.C.E., is the starting point for present-day Mexico's history. Known for colossal basalt heads, the Olmecs influenced later Mayan and Aztec cultures.

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Japan: With a semi-mythical founding date around 660 B.C.E., Japan's imperial dynasty is believed to be the world's oldest continuous hereditary monarchy. The archipelago has been occupied since Paleolithic times.

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San Marino: Holding the Guinness World Record for the oldest existing republic, San Marino, with a founding date around 301 C.E., is one of the smallest countries, preserving its independence for centuries.