5 Countries Formed in the 21st Century

World's Youngest Countries Five of the youngest countries in the world are South Sudan, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and East Timor, in order of their recognition as independent nations. Here's a brief history about how each of these countries, formed in the 21st century, came into existence.

East Timor East Timor, also known as Timor-Leste, became independent on May 20, 2002, emerging as the first new sovereign state of the 21st century. The country was earlier a Portuguese colony until 1975 and under Indonesian rule until 1999, before a UN-sponsored referendum led to its independence.

Serbia The State Union of Serbia and Montenegro was formed in 2003 as a reconstitution and renaming of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which itself was formed in 1992. The union ended in 2006 when Serbia held a referendum, with citizens voting in favour of its dissolution, and adopted a new constitution.

Montenegro Montenegro is another sovereign nation that was born when the erstwhile union of Serbia and Montenegro split in 2006, becoming one of the youngest countries in the world. Both the countries declared their independence after votes in favour of the referendum outnumbered those against it by a small margin.

South Sudan South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on July 9, 2011, becoming the youngest country in the world and the 54th sovereign state in Africa. Its secession was a result of an agreement that ended the continent's longest- running civil war in 2005.

Kosovo Kosovo was the administrative powerhouse of the Serbian Empire before its conquest by Ottoman Turks in the 14th century. The 1913 Treaty of London split it into three countries: Serbia, Montenegro and Kosovo. After each World War, Kosovo was incorporated into a different geopolitical entity, with years of ethnic tensions culminating in the Kosovo War. The country eventually declared independence from Serbia on February 17, 2008.