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Adolph Archer
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« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2012, 04:34:43 AM »

04. United Arab Republic, 1958-1971



In yet another ill-fated attempt to bring unity to the Arab world, Egypt’s fiery socialist president, Gamel Abdel Nasser, thought it would be a splendid idea to unite with his distant neighbor, Syria, in an alliance that would effectively surround their sworn enemy, Israel, and make them a regional superpower. Thus was created the short-lived U.A.R., an experiment that was doomed to failure almost from the start. Being several hundred miles apart made creating a central government almost impossible, while Syria and Egypt never could quite agree on what constituted national priorities.

The problem might have been rectified had Syria and Egypt managed to link their halves together by destroying Israel, but that nasty Six Days War came along in 1967, dashing their plans for a common border, and handing both halves of the U.A.R. a defeat of biblical proportions. After that the merger’s days were numbered, and finally came to an anti-climactic end with the death of Nasser in 1970. Without the charismatic Egyptian President around to hold the fragile alliance together, the U.A.R. quickly dissolved, restoring the nations of Egypt and Syria once again.

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« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2012, 04:35:22 AM »

03. Ottoman Empire, 1299-1922



One of the great empires in history, the Ottoman Empire finally came to an end in November of 1922, after a pretty respectable run of over six hundred years. Once extending from Morocco to the Persian Gulf, and from Sudan to as far north as Hungary, its demise was a slow process of dissolution over many centuries until, by the dawn of the 20th century, it was but a shadow of its former self.

But even then, it was still the main power broker in the Middle East and North Africa, and might still be that way today had it not chosen to ally itself with the losing side in World War I. It saw itself dismantled in the aftermath, with the biggest chunk of it (Egypt, Sudan, and Palestine) going to England. By 1922 it had outlived its usefulness, and finally died when the Turks won their war of independence in 1922 and abolished the Sultanate, creating the modern-day nation of Turkey in the process. Still, you’ve got to give it credit for making such an impressive run before giving up the ghost.
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« Reply #8 on: December 24, 2012, 04:36:03 AM »

02. Sikkim, 8th century CE-1975



What? You’ve never heard of the place? What rock have you been hiding under? Seriously, it’s not likely you would have heard of tiny, land-locked Sikkim, nestled securely in the Himalayan Mountains between India and Tibet…er, China. About the size of a hot dog stand, it was basically one of those little-known, and largely forgotten, little monarchies that managed to hold on into the twentieth century before it finally realized it had no particularly good reason for being independent, and decided to merge with modern India in 1975.

Its coolest claim to fame? Though just a little bigger than Rhode Island, it has no fewer than eleven official languages, which must play havoc with traffic signs—assuming, that is, that they have any roads.
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« Reply #9 on: December 24, 2012, 04:36:51 AM »

01. Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (Soviet Union), 1922-1991



What would the 20th century have been without the good ‘ol USSR to stir things up? One of the truly scary counties on the planet until its anticlimactic collapse in 1991, for seven decades it stood as the bulwark of Marxist Stalinism, with all the misfortune that brought with it. It was created in the chaotic aftermath of the breakup of Imperial Russia after WWI, and both survived and thrived despite inept economic policies and brutal leadership. The USSR actually managed to beat the Nazis when no one thought that Hitler could be stopped, enslaved eastern Europe for over forty years, instigated the Korean War in 1950, and very nearly got into a shooting war with the United States over Cuba in 1962, making its tenor on the world stage nothing if not eventful.

Finally coming apart in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989, and the subsequent collapse of Communism in eastern Europe, it broke into no fewer than fifteen sovereign countries, creating the largest new block of countries since the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1918. What followed was the pseudo-democratic Republic of Russia, though it still retains much of the autocratic air it has always been famous for.

Jeff Danelek is a Denver, Colorado author who writes on many subjects having to do with history, politics, the paranormal, spirituality and religion.
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