Geopolitical Changes Timeline

What countries have recently gained independence, changed their name or moved their capital? Read here to find out!

This timeline is a condensed version of the Wikipedia article Timeline of historical geopolitical changes.

Date Event
2019 The Indian state Jammu and Kashmir splits into two union territories: Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Kazakhstan changes the name of its capital from Astana to Nur-Sultan in honor of ex-President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Macedonia changes its name to North Macedonia as part of a deal to prevent Greece from vetoing its accession to NATO and the European Union.
2018 Burundi moves its capital from Bujumbura to Gitega.
Swaziland changes its name to Eswatini.
2016 The Czech Republic votes to adopt "Czechia" as its official short-form name in English.
2014 Crimea was annexed by Russia. Ukraine itself and much of the international community maintain that Crimea is illegally occupied by Russia.
2013 The Republic of Cape Verde decrees the official English-language rendering of its name to be "Cabo Verde."
2011 South Sudan gains independence from Sudan, with Juba as its capital.
2008 Kosovo declares its independence from Serbia, with PriŇ°tina as its capital. Serbia maintains that Kosovo remains a part of Serbia.
2006 Montenegro secedes from the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. Podgorica remains the capital.
2005 Myanmar moves its capital from Yangon to Naypyidaw.
2003 Yugoslavia changes its name to Serbia and Montenegro.
2002 East Timor gains independence from Portugal. East Timor was occupied by Indonesia in 1975, and was placed under United Nations administration in 1999.
1999 Portugal transfers sovereignty of Macau to the People's Republic of China.
1998 Palestine declares independence from Israel. It claims the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Kazakhstan changes the name of its capital from Aqmola to Astana.
1997 Kazakhstan moves its capital from Almaty to Aqmola.
The United Kingdom transfers sovereignty of Hong Kong to the People's Republic of China.
Zaire changes its name back to the Democratic Republic of the Congo
1996 Tanzania moves its capital from Dar-es-Salaam to Dodoma.
Madras, India, is renamed Chennai.
1995 Bombay is renamed Mumbai.
1994 Palau gains full independence from the United States. Koror is the capital.
1993 Kazakhstan changes the name of its capital from Alma-Ata to Almaty.
Eritrea secedes from Ethiopia. Asmara is the capital.
The Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic gain full independence with the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.
1992 Bosnia and Herzegovina secedes from Yugoslavia.
Slovenia secedes from Yugoslavia.
Croatia secedes from Yugoslavia.
1991 The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is formally dissolved.
Kazakhstan secedes from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Nigeria moves its capital from Lagos to Abuja.
Uzbekistan secedes from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Turkmenistan secedes from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Armenia secedes from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Tajikistan secedes from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Macedonia secedes from Yugoslavia.
Leningrad is renamed St. Petersburg.
Lithuania secedes from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Kyrgyzstan secedes from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The capital Frunze is renamed Bishkek.
Azerbaijan secedes from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Moldova secedes from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Belarus secedes from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Ukraine secedes from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Latvia secedes from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Estonia secedes from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR).
Kuwait regains its independence. Iraq relinquishes its claim to Kuwait.
1990 German reunification. Bonn yields to Berlin as the capital.
Iraq annexes Kuwait.
Namibia gains independence from South Africa. Windhoek is the capital.
1989 Vietnam ends its occupation of Cambodia.
Burma changes its name to Myanmar.
Kampuchea is renamed Cambodia.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) ends its occupation of Afghanistan.
1986 The Federated States of Micronesia gain independence.
The Marshall Islands gain independence.
1984 Upper Volta changes its name to Burkina Faso.
Brunei gains independence from the United Kingdom.
1983 Saint Kitts and Nevis gains independence from the United Kingdom.
The Ivory Coast moves its capital from Abidjan to Yamoussoukro.
1982 Sri Lanka moves its capital from Colombo to Sri Jayawardenapura-Kotte.
Zimbabwe renames its capital from Salisbury to Harare.
1981 Antigua and Barbuda gain independence from the United Kingdom.
Belize gains independence from the United Kingdom.
1980 Vanuatu (formerly known as the New Hebrides) gains independence from France and the United Kingdom.
Zimbabwe (formerly known as Southern Rhodesia) gains independence from the United Kingdom.
1979 The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) occupies Afghanistan.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines gain independence from the United Kingdom.
Kiribati (formerly known as the Gilbert Islands) gains independence from the United Kingdom.
Saint Lucia gains independence from the United Kingdom.
1978 Dominica gains independence from the United Kingdom.
Tuvalu gains independence from the United Kingdom.
The Solomon Islands gain independence from the United Kingdom.
1977 Djibouti (formerly The French Territory of the Afars and the Issas) gains independence from France.
1976 Saigon is renamed Ho Chi Minh City.
The Seychelles become independent from the United Kingdom.
The Philippines reinstates Manila as the capital.
1975 The Malagasy Republic changes its name to Madagascar.
The Republic of Dahomey changes its name to the People's Republic of Benin.
Suriname (Dutch Guiana) gains full independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Angola gains independence from Portugal.
The Republic of North Solomons declares independence from Australia.
São Tomé and Príncipe gain independence from Portugal.
Cabo Verde gains independence from Portugal.
Mozambique gains independence from Portugal.
The Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam renames the capital from Saigon to Ho Chi Minh City.
Democratic Kampuchea (Cambodia) supersedes the Khmer Republic. 
The capital of Malawi is moved from Zomba to Lilongwe.
1974 Pakistan recognizes the independence of Bangladesh.
Grenada gains independence from the United Kingdom.
1973 Uruguay recognizes Martín García Island as Argentine.
The United Kingdom changes the name of its Crown Colony of British Honduras to the Crown Colony of Belize.
The Bahamas gain independence from the United Kingdom. Nassau remains the capital.
1972 The Dominion of Ceylon changes its name to the Free, Sovereign and Independent Republic of Sri Lanka.
1971 The Democratic Republic of the Congo changes its name to the Republic of Zaire.
Qatar gains full independence from the United Kingdom.
Bahrain gains full independence from the United Kingdom.
1970 Fiji gains independence from the United Kingdom.
Tonga gains full independence from the United Kingdom.
The Khmer Republic (Cambodia) supersedes the Kingdom of Cambodia.
1969 The border between Saudi Arabia and Kuwait is defined.
Following a coup, the Kingdom of Libya becomes the Libyan Arab Republic.
1968 Spanish Guinea gains independence from the Spanish State, becoming the Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
The Swaziland gains full independence from the United Kingdom.
Mauritius gains independence from the United Kingdom. Port Louis remains the capital.
1967 South Yemen declares its independence from the United Kingdom.
The Republic of Benin is taken over by Nigeria.
Pakistan's capital is moved from Rawalpindi to Islamabad.
As a result of the Six-Day War. Israel captures the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.
1966 Barbados gains independence from the United Kingdom.
Botswana gains independence from the United Kingdom.
Malawi gains independence from the United Kingdom.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo renames its capital from Léopoldville to Kinshasa.
Guyana gains independence from the United Kingdom.
1965 Singapore secedes from Malaysia. 
The Gambia gains independence from the United Kingdom. Banjul remains the capital.
1964 Northern Rhodesia gains independence from the United Kingdom, becoming the Republic of Zambia.
Malta gains independence from the United Kingdom.
Malawi gains independence from the United Kingdom. 
1963 Kenya gains independence from the United Kingdom. Nairobi remains the capital.
Singapore gains independence from the United Kingdom.
Zanzibar and Pemba gains independence from the United Kingdom.
1962 Uganda gains independence from the United Kingdom.
Trinidad and Tobago gains independence from the United Kingdom.
Jamaica gains independence from the United Kingdom.
The United Kingdom creates the Crown Colony of the Cayman Islands, with George Town as its capital.
Western Samoa gains independence from New Zealand.
1961 The Republic of India annexes Goa, Daman, and Diu from Portuguese India.
Tanganyika gains independence from the United Kingdom.
The Netherlands New Guinea is renamed West Papua.
The Antarctic Treaty System is enforced to administer the continent of Antarctica.
Kuwait gains independence from the United Kingdom.
Sierra Leone gains independence from the United Kingdom. Freetown remains the capital.
India annexes Portuguese India, while Portugal maintains its claims to it.
1960 Nigeria gains independence from the United Kingdom.
Mali gains independence from France.
Senegal gains independence from France.
Gabon gains independence from France.
Cyprus gains independence from the United Kingdom.
The Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) gains independence from France.
The Central African Republic gains independence from France.
Chad gains independence from France.
Niger gains independence from France.
Dahomey gains independence from France.
Pakistan's capital is moved from Karachi to Rawalpindi.
Madagascar gains independence from France.
Brazil moves its capital from Rio de Janeiro to Brasília.
1959 The Turks and Caicos Islands become a separate colony from Jamaica.
Fernando Pó and Río Muni are merged to form Spanish Guinea.
1958 The Republic of Guinea gains independence from France.
The United Arab States are created from Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen (North Yemen) and the United Arab Republic.
The Egyptian Republic and the Syrian Arab Republic unite to form the United Arab Republic. Cairo is the capital.
Iraq and Jordan unite to form the Arab Federation of Iraq and Jordan.
The United Kingdom establishes the West Indies Federation.
1957 The Federation of Malaya gains independence from the United Kingdom.
Ghana gains independence from the United Kingdom.
1956 The Egyptian Republic declares its complete independence from the United Kingdom.
Tunisia gains independence from France.
Sudan gains independence from the United Kingdom.
1955 Austria regains its independence. Allied occupation ends.
1954 France recognizes the independence of Vietnam.
The Geneva Accords grant independence to Vietnam, which is provisionally divided into North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
1953 Cambodia declares its independence from France.
Laos gains independence from France.
The Korean Armistice Agreement is signed, establishing the Korean Demilitarized Zone on the border between North Korea and South Korea.
1952 End of the Allied occupation of Japan.
1951 The Libya gains independence from a United Nations trusteeship. Tripoli is the capital.
The unrecognized country of Tibet is taken over by China.
1950 India adopts a republican constitution and changes its name to the Republic of India.
1949 The government of the Republic of China moves from Mainland China to Taiwan. Taipei becomes the de facto capital.
Israel declares Jerusalem its official capital. Tel Aviv remains the de facto capital.
The remains of French Indochina become French-administered Cambodia.
New Guinea and Papua merge to form the Territory of Papua and New Guinea.
The German Democratic Republic (East Germany) is established in occupied eastern Germany.
Mao Zedong proclaims the People's Republic of China.
The Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) is established in occupied western Germany.
The Kingdom of Siam reverts its name to the Kingdom of Thailand.
1948 Korea is divided between the North Korea (with Pyongyang as the capital) and South Korea (with Seoul as the capitals).
The Philippines moves its capital from Manila to Quezon City.
The State of Israel is established. Tel Aviv is the capital.
The Crown Colony of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) gains independence from the United Kingdom.
Burma gains independence from the United Kingdom.
1947 India gains independence from the United Kingdom. New Delhi is the capital.
Pakistan gains independence from the United Kingdom. Karachi is the capital.
1946 The Republic of the Philippines gains independence from the United States of America. Manila is the capital until 1948.
Indonesia moves its capital from Jakarta to Yogyakarta.
1945 Poland becomes independent.
The Soviet Union annexes northern East Prussia.
Laos, no longer under Japanese occupation, is taken back by France.
The Soviet Union's occupation of the Korea ends.
The Kingdom of Thailand changes its name back to the Kingdom of Siam.
Vietnam declares its independence from France.
The Empire of Japan surrenders to Allied Forces.
China moves its capital from Chongqing back to Nanking.
British Hong Kong becomes a crown colony.
Indonesia declares its independence from the Netherlands.
Hong Kong, after being liberated from Japan by Allied forces, is put under British rule.
Korea gains independence from the Empire of Japan.
Japanese-occupied Vietnam is taken back over by France.
The Greater German Empire surrenders to the Allied Forces.
Croatia is taken over by Allied forces and given back to Yugoslavia.
The Italian Social Republic is recovered from Nazi Germany and given to the Kingdom of Italy.
The Czechoslovak Republic is liberated from Nazi Germany.
Cambodia declares independence from Japan under its occupation.
Vietnam declares independence from Japan under its occupation.
Hungary is liberated from Nazi Germany.
1944 The Republic of Poland gains independence.
Macedonia is liberated from the Axis powers, and Yugoslavia takes it back.
East Turkestan declares independence from the Republic of China.
Albania is liberated from the Axis powers.
Luxembourg is liberated from Nazi Germany.
1943 The Japanese-occupied Philippines is given independence.
Montenegro becomes a protectorate under Nazi Germany from Italy.
Albania becomes a protectorate of Nazi Germany from Italy.
Burma is given independence under Japanese occupation.
1942 The Allied Forces take Madagascar from Vichy France.
The Allied Forces take Morocco from Vichy France.
The Allied Forces take French West Africa from Vichy France.
The Commonwealth of Australia ceases to be a dominion within the British Empire.
The Japanese occupy Burma from the United Kingdom.
The Japanese occupy the Netherlands East Indies from the Netherlands as Indonesia.
The Japanese occupy Portuguese Timor and Dutch Timor as Timor.
The Japanese occupy Singapore from the United Kingdom as Syonan-to.
The Japanese occupy the Commonwealth of the Philippines from the United States as the Philippines.
1941 The Japanese occupy Hong Kong.
Guam is taken over by Japan from the United States.
The Japanese begin the invasion and takes over Malaya.
Italian East Africa is taken over by the Allied Forces.
After the invasion of Ukraine, Nazi Germany creates the Reichskommissariat Ukraine.
After the invasion of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, Nazi Germany creates the Reichskommissariat Ostland.
After Italy invades Montenegro, it creates the protectorate of the Kingdom of Montenegro.
Yugoslavia is dissolved due to Axis invasions.
Greece is taken over by Axis forces.
1940 The General Government for the Occupied Polish Territories is renamed the General Government.
The Estonian, Latvian and the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republics are declared in Soviet-occupied Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Jersey is taken over by Nazi Germany.
Guernsey is taken over by German Empire.
The Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic is declared in Soviet-occupied Moldavia.
The French Republic is renamed the French State (Vichy France).
The Soviet Union invades Estonia and Latvia.
The Soviet Union invades Lithuania.
Nazi Germany annexes Alsace-Lorraine.
The Realm Commissariat for the Occupied Norwegian Territories is created when German forces invade Norway.
German forces invade Belgium.
German forces invade the Netherlands.
German forces invade Luxembourg.
Denmark is invaded by German forces.
1939 Poland is partitioned between the Greater German Empire and the Soviet Union.
The Republic of Poland falls as a result of inviting military occupation by the Greater German Empire.
World War II begins with the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany.
The third German Empire changes its name to the Greater German Empire.