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Non-Self-Governing Territories [NSGT]

When the United Nations was established in 1945, 750 million people – almost a third of the world’s population – lived in territories that were non-self-governing, dependent on colonial Powers. Today, fewer than 2 million people live in what the UN terms Non-Self-Governing Territories (NSGTs). The General Assembly adopted, in 1960, the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples. Known as the Declaration on decolonization, it stated that all people have a right to self-determination and proclaimed that colonialism should be brought to a speedy and unconditional end. In 1962 the General Assembly established the Special Committee on Decolonization to monitor implementation of the Declaration and to make recommendations on its application.

Western Sahara Since 1963 2 266,000 586,000
Anguilla Since 1946 UK 96 15,700
Bermuda Since 1946 UK 53.35 65,187
British Virgin Islands Since 1946 UK 153 28,200
Cayman Islands Since 1946 UK 264 58,238
Falkland Islands (Malvinas)3 Since 1946 UK 12,173 2,500
Montserrat Since 1946 UK 103 5,000
Saint Helena Since 1946 UK 310 5,765
Turks and Caicos Is. Since 1946 UK 948.2 36,689
USA Virgin Islands Since 1946 USA 352 105,080
Gibraltar Since 1946 UK 5.8 33,140
American Samoa Since 1946 USA 200 55,170
French Polynesia 1946-7 & since 2013 France 3,600 271,800
Guam Since 1946 USA 540 159,358
New Caledonia 1946-7 & since 1986 France 18,575 268,767
Pitcairn Since 1946 UK 35.5 39
Tokelau Since 1946 New Zealand 12.2 1,411

1. All data is from United Nations Secretariat 2016 Working Papers on Non-Self-Governing Territories (NSGTs), and for Western Sahara, from UNdata (data.un.org), a database by the United Nations Statistics Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations.

2. On 26 February 1976, Spain informed the Secretary-General that as of that date it had terminated its presence in the Territory of the Sahara and deemed it necessary to place on record that Spain considered itself thenceforth exempt from any responsibility of any international nature in connection with the administration of the Territory, in view of the cessation of its participation in the temporary administration established for the Territory. In 1990, the General Assembly reaffirmed that the question of Western Sahara was a question of decolonization which remained to be completed by the people of Western Sahara.

3. A dispute exists between the Governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland concerning sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) (see ST/CS/SER.A/42).

Dependencies and Areas of Special Sovereignty

Short-form name Long-form name Sovereign FIPS

(note 1)
Administrative Center

(note 15)
Akrotiri UK AX Episkopi
(note 16)
American Samoa Territory of
American Samoa
USA AQ Pago Pago
Anguilla Anguilla UK AV The Valley
Antarctica (no long-form name) None
(note 2)
AY None
Aruba (no long-form name) Netherlands AA Oranjestad
Ashmore and Cartier Islands Territory of Ashmore
and Cartier Islands
Australia AT Administered
from Canberra
Baker Island (no long-form name) USA FQ Washington, DC
Bermuda Bermuda UK BD Hamilton
Bouvet Island (no long-form name) Norway BV Admin. from Oslo
British Indian
Ocean Territory
(note 3)
British Indian
Ocean Territory
UK IO None
Cayman Islands Cayman Islands UK CJ George Town
Christmas Island Territory of
Christmas Island
Australia KT The Settlement
(Flying Fish Cove)
Clipperton Island (no long-form name) France IP Administered from Paris
(Keeling) Islands
Territory of Cocos
(Keeling) Islands
Australia CK West Island
Cook Islands (no long-form name) New
CW Avarua
Coral Sea Islands Coral Sea
Islands Territory
Australia CR Administered
from Canberra
(note 11)
(no long-form name) Netherlands UC Willemstad
(note 15)
Dhekelia UK DX Episkopi
(note 16)
Falkland Islands
(Islas Malvinas)
Falkland Islands
(Islas Malvinas)
UK (note 4) FK Stanley
Faroe Islands (no long-form name) Denmark FO Tórshavn
French Guiana
(note 5)
French Polynesia (no long-form name) France FP Papeete
Southern and
Antarctic Lands
(note 6)
(no long-form name) France FS Administered
from Paris
Gibraltar Gibraltar UK GI Gibraltar
Greenland (no long-form name) Denmark GL Nuuk (Godthåb)
(note 5)
Guam Territory of Guam USA GQ Hagatna
(note 7)
Bailiwick of Guernsey UK GK Saint Peter Port
Heard Island and McDonald Islands Territory of
Heard Island
and McDonald Islands
Australia HM Administered
from Canberra
Hong Kong Hong Kong Special Administrative Region China
(note 8)
HK None
Howland Island (no long-form name) USA HQ Washington, DC
Isle of Man (no long-form name) British
Crown Dependency
IM Douglas
Jan Mayen (no long-form name) Norway JN Administered
from Oslo
(note 9)
Jarvis Island (no long-form name) USA DQ Washington, DC
Jersey Bailiwick of Jersey UK JE Saint Helier
Johnston Atoll (no long-form name) USA JQ Washington, DC
Kingman Reef (no long-form name) USA KQ Washington, DC
Macau Macau Special Administrative Region China
(note 10)
MC Macau
(note 5)
(note 5)
Midway Islands (no long-form name) USA MQ Washington, DC
Montserrat Montserrat UK MH Plymouth
Navassa Island (no long-form name) USA BQ Washington, DC
New Caledonia (no long-form name) France NC Nouméa
Niue (no long-form name) New
NE Alofi
Norfolk Island Territory of
Norfolk Island
Australia NF Kingston
Mariana Islands
of the Northern
Mariana Islands
USA CQ Saipan
Palmyra Atoll (no long-form name) USA LQ Washington, DC
Paracel Islands (no long-form name) TBD
(note 12)
PF None
Pitcairn Islands Pitcairn,
Henderson, Ducie,
and Oeno Islands
UK PC Adamstown
Puerto Rico Commonwealth
of Puerto Rico
USA RQ San Juan
(note 5)
Saint Barthelemy Saint Barthelemy France TB Gustavia
Saint Helena
(note 13)
Saint Helena,
Ascension, and
Tristan da Cunha
UK SH Jamestown
Saint Martin
(note 17)
Saint Martin France RN Marigot
Saint Pierre and Miquelon Territorial
Collectivity of Saint
Pierre and Miquelon
France SB Saint-Pierre
Sint Maarten
(note 11)
(no long-form name) Netherlands NN Philipsburg
South Georgia
and the South Sandwich Islands
South Georgia
and the South Sandwich Islands
(note 4)
SX None
Spratly Islands (no long-form name) TBD (note 14) PG None
Svalbard (no long-form name) Norway SV Longyearbyen
Tokelau (no long-form name) New
TL None
Turks and
Caicos Islands
Turks and Caicos Islands UK TK Grand Turk
Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, British UK VI Road Town
Virgin Islands, U.S. USA
Virgin Islands
USA VQ Charlotte Amalie
Wake Island (no long-form name) USA WQ Washington, DC
Wallis and Futuna (no long-form name) France WF Matâ'utu
Western Sahara (no long-form name) To be determined WI None


Note 1: Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) 10-4 codes. On September 2, 2008 the National Institute of Standards and Technology withdrew FIPS 10-4 as a USA Government standard. No successor standard for country codes has been identified.

Note 2: Antarctica consists of the territory south of 60 degrees south latitude.   This area includes claims by Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New
Zealand, Norway, and the UK, the legal status of which remains in suspense under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty of 1959.   The USA recognizes no claims to Antarctica.

Note 3: Chagos Archipelago (including Diego Garcia).

Note 4: U.K. Overseas Territory (also claimed by Argentina).

Note 5: French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte and Reunion are departments (first-order administrative units) of France, and are therefore not dependencies or areas of special sovereignty. They are included in this list only for the convenience of the user. The Department of Guadeloupe includes the nearby islands of Marie-Galante, La Desirade, and Iles des Saintes.

Note 6: The French Southern and Antarctic Lands includes Île Amsterdam, Île Saint-Paul, Îles Crozet, and Îles Kerguelen in the southern Indian Ocean; the "Iles Eparses" (Bassas da India, Europa Island, Glorioso Islands, Juan de Nova Island and Tromelin Island) in the Mozambique Channel and western Indian Ocean; and the French-claimed sector of Antarctica, "Terre Adélie." The USA does not recognize the French claim to "Terre Adélie" (note 2).

Note 7: The Bailiwick of Guernsey includes the islands of Alderney, Guernsey, Herm, Sark, and nearby smaller islands.

Note 8: Under a Sino-British declaration of September 1984, Hong Kong reverted to Chinese control on July 1, 1997. It is now a semi-autonomous entity that exists pursuant to international agreement and maintains its own government apart from the People's Republic of China.

Note 9: Administered from Oslo, Norway, through a governor resident in Longyearbyen, Svalbard.

Note 10: Under the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration on the Question of Macau signed in 1987, Macau reverted to Chinese control on December 20, 1999.   It is now a semi-autonomous entity that exists pursuant to international agreement and maintains its own government apart from the People's Republic of China.

Note 11: The Netherlands Antilles dissolved on October 10, 2010. Curaçao and Sint Maarten (the Dutch two-fifths of the island of Saint Martin) became autonomous territories of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius now fall under the direct administration of the Netherlands.

Note 12: South China Sea islands occupied by China but claimed by Vietnam.

Note 13: The territory of Saint Helena includes the Island group of Tristan da Cunha; Saint Helena also administers Ascension Island.

Note 14: South China Sea islands claimed in entirety by China and Vietnam and in part by the Philippines and Malaysia; each of these states occupies some part of the islands.

Note 15: UK sovereign base area on the island of Cyprus.

Note 16: The joint force headquarters, under the Commander of the British Forces Cyprus, administers both sovereign base areas from Episkopi.

Note 17: The island of Saint Martin is divided: the northern three-fifths form the French collectivity of Saint-Martin, while the southern two-fifths (Sint Maarten) is an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Source: Office of The Geographer and Global Issues, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC.

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