Area (sq.km.)Population
Western Sahara Disputed-Morrocco 266,000 500,000
Anguilla United Kingdom 96 14,766
Bermuda United Kingdom 53 68,265
British Virgin Islands United Kingdom 153 24,939
Cayman Islands United Kingdom 260 50,209
Falkland Islands (Malvinas) United Kingdom 11,961 3,140
Montserrat United Kingdom 98 5,118
St. Helena United Kingdom 122 7,670
Turks and Caicos Islands United Kingdom 430 23,528
United States Virgin Islands United States 340 109,750
Gibraltar United Kingdom 6 28,877
American Samoa United States 197 66,432
Guam United States 549 180,865
New Caledonia France 35,853 252,352
Pitcairn United Kingdom 5 48
Tokelau New Zealand 10 1,400

Created by the UN to categorize colonies after WWII that might achieve independence, the UN list of Non-Self Governing Territories has largely outlived its usefulness.  Most of the territories left on the list will never be detached from the mother country for various practical reasons, yet the list remains as a tool for some countries to attempt to shame the United Kingdom, the United States and France with in a post colonial world.

United States Possessions

Applying the same criteria as used to include the US VI would mean that the Northern Mariniaria's and Guam should be on the list as well, but are not.  The USA is highly unlikely to send American Samoa, Guam (with it's large US military presence) or the US Virgin Islands into any kind of independence.  

United Kingdom Colonies

Either too small or of too much strategic importance to release, the UK is done with decolonizing far off lands.  It would be silly to set up self-government for the 48 people on tiny Pitcairn. The 3,140 people on the Falklands are definitely not looking for independence and the the threat of another invasion by Argentina.  Gibraltar is just too much of a choke point at the entrance to the Meditrarian to think about giving away. St Helena and dependencies were all completely uninhabited before the British showed up, so there is little point in decolonizing these islands.


By incorporating the residual portions of its empire legally into the mother country, France got all but one colony off the list of non-self governing areas.  New Caledonia appears to be headed toward independence slowly.

In 1986 the United Nations Committee on Decolonization added New Caledonia on to the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.  Under the Noumea Accord, signed in 1998 following a period of secessionist unrest in the 1980s, New Caledonia is to hold a referendum on independence between 2014 and 2018.

According to the Noumea Accord holds that "a name, a flag, an anthem, a motto, and the design of banknotes will have to be sought by all parties together, to express the Kanak identity and the future shared by all parties." To date, however, there has been no consensus on a new name for the territory, but New Caledonia has increasingly adopted its own symbols, choosing an anthem, a motto, and a new design for its banknotes.  

 New Caledonia adopted the Kanak flag in 2010, along with the existing French tricolor, as the dual official flags of the territory.  This makes New Caledonia one of the few countries or territories in the world with two official national flags. The decision to use two flags has been created tension and led the collapse of a coalition government in February 2011.

New Zealand

The tiny island of Tokelau has twice voted not to succeed from New Zealand.  At 1400 people in residence, and many natives living in New Zealand, it make little sense to create a country with so few resources and people. Many high schools in North America have larger populations than the whole island of Tokelau.

Western Sahara

Mostly controlled by Morocco, who moved in when Spain sailed away from its desert colony, the Western Sahara remains a disputed region.  Algerian backed Polisario Front, calls the area the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR)  and the two sides have been waging physical and diplomatic wars since the 1975. The present stalemate with Morocco in control and the SADR in exile in Algeria is unlikely to budge much.

Western Sahara

The largest non-self governing place according to the UN

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