This beloved planet of ours, with its own moon, orbits the Sun in the Heavens', of who knows where.
In its infancy, at least 5 billion years ago, the earth was likely to have been just a hot glowing ball of hot gases. As the temperature began to cool changes in the earth began.
Firstly, the gases became liquid. As the temperature cooled further, heavier liquids were attracted to the centre of the earth. The liquid on the earth's surface developed a crust. Perhaps this formed in much the same way as a skin forms on custard, as it cools.
This surface wrinkled in parts and cracks appeared. Water from below the surface pushed through these cracks. Pressure from the earth's centre helped to form land masses. The fresh clear water on the earth's surface was soon evaporated and the first clouds and rain on earth were formed.
As the rainfell, due to gravity, some went back into the sky by evaporation. This cycle produces our rain. The water with time though had chemicals from the earth. The water on the surface froze and formed our rivers, valleys and lakes. When the ice melted land masses were divided.
It would seem that most our our land masses were originally formed due to gases and pressure.
It took millions of years of changes for the earth to begin to resemble what we know today.
In time man classified the land masses into continents and countries.
The continent Africa, for example is made up of many smaller countries. Yet Africa is really one huge Island.
In its time the British Empire ruled many countries around the world. These days most of these countries have gained independence.
Of course man populated areas of land that were favourable and so some areas were almost uninhabited or not inhabited at all for many years. Man set out to discover as much of the earth as he could. His early voyages of discovery led to small islands at one side of the world being ruled over, or owned by, larger countries many miles away. People were often forced to leave their native lands and be slaves in foreign lands.
Man fought wars over land rights and in the past there have been many such battles.
The names of some countries have changed over the years. For example, Sri Lanka was once known Ceylon. Other changes have affected maps of the countries of the world and more. With the fall of the Soviet Union of Russia, countries such as Chechnya, became independent, in some ways, of Russia. However, many of these new countries have problems.
If you look at a globe, which represents the world and its countries, it is hard not to be impressed. However, compare a globe from a century ago and you will also see many countries have changed their names.
Countries that have been world leaders at some time or another in history tend to have lost this stature.
Greece and the Roman Empire no longer have the world presence that they once enjoyed.
The United Kindom no longer enjoys the privileges of having a British Empire and Colonies.
Perhaps this century will see the USA undergo such changes. It is hard to decide who the next world super power will be and we can only hope that it is not an extremist country.
With shifting plates the Earth is still changing. Earthquakes and active volcanoes remind us that the earth and its countries are not as stable or settled as we might want them to be.