What makes a country huge or small?
Borders define nations. The political and possibly natural limits of a country determine its physical territory, and thus its size.
Political boundaries are the artificial lines that separate one political entity, such as a country or state, from another. Natural borders are oceans, seas, rivers, and mountain ranges.
The Largest Countries
The three largest sovereign countries by surface area are Russia, Canada, and the United States. Together they occupy roughly a quarter of Earth’s landmass. Other heavyweights in size are China, Brazil, Australia, India, Argentina and Kazakhstan.
The Smallest Countries
The three smallest countries in the world are Vatican City, an enclave within Rome, Italy. Monaco, a principality at the Mediterranean coast and an enclave within Southern France, and Nauru, an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.
Image: European Space Agency
Normally, the size of countries does not change much except due to special circumstances such as land reclamation. Land reclamation is the process of creating new land from oceans, seas, and wetlands or expanding coastlines. Reclaimed land increases the size of a country.
Other countries with successful land reclamation of considerable size are the Netherlands (7,000 km²), South Korea (1,550 km²), United States (1,000+ km²), Japan (500+ km²), UAE (470 km²), Bahrain (410 km²), Singapore (135 km²), Bangladesh (110 km²) and Hong Kong (67 km).
You can increase the size of your nation by invading neighboring countries. The process has gone somewhat out of fashion. Occupying other countries was a kind of sporting event in colonial times (Scramble for Africa).
The two world wars were used to reduce the population of the enemy’s civilian population and expand the own sphere of power.
This form of striving for power still exists in some cases. Examples of contemporary military occupations include the Gaz Strip, the West Bank, Northern Cyprus, Abkhazia, the Western Sahara and Crimea.
China is persistently trying to expand its sphere of power in the South China Sea, 90% of which Beijing claims as its territorial waters, ignoring that under international maritime laws Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Brunei are also entitled to their maritime resource zones.