The world is constantly changing, and history is full of countries that no longer exist but still contributed to the culture and history of our world. These countries had differing lengths of time as legitimate entities, and today they live on as part of a different nation. Some of these places are known by a new name, others joined with another country, and others broke apart to form two or more completely new countries. Check out these destination nations of the past!
Following World War II, Germany was divided into four zones among the United States, United Kingdom, France, and the Soviet Union, with the Soviets desiring a communist Germany that they could influence. The result was that the Soviet zone became the communist German Democratic Republic or East Germany.
From 1945 until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, East Germany was a separate nation, mostly cut off from western Europe and only able to see the West from their television screens. Germany reunited in 1990, and today, Berlin is the capital of united Germany. Former East Germany is now home to several desirable destinations, such as dining and nightlife in Berlin and Leipzig's art and music scene.
Speaking of the Soviet Union, it too fell, as the 15 nations that made up the communist country decided to go their separate ways at the start of the 1990s. The three Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were first to break away, with the remaining 12 countries splitting up at the end of 1991.
These days, the modern nations of the former USSR have plenty to offer travelers from all walks of life. St. Petersburg's palaces and architecture have earned it the title "The Venice of the North," while Tbilisi in Georgia is home to spa towns and top foodie options on the Black Sea. History buffs can enjoy exploring the Silk Road, parts of which can be found in modern Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan.
Once known as the prison of nations, Austria-Hungary was one of the casualties of the First World War. The joining of Austria and Hungary and all of their possessions was a forced dual monarchy that lasted 51 years before breaking apart into several nations, many of which would change over time.
The two headliner nations, Austria and Hungary, have followed their own paths ever since the end of World War I, with Austria's capital Vienna now known as both the City of Music and one of the best places to live in the world. Budapest is now the capital of modern Hungary, and its architecture and location on the Danube River have earned it the moniker "The Paris of the East." The capitals are just 150 miles apart, making it easy to visit both on one trip.
One of the nations that came out of the breakup of Austria-Hungary was Czechoslovakia, which had some of the same issues as the nation it had just left, only with different leaders in charge. However, the nation persisted for the better part of 75 years, only interrupted by World War II. But at the end of the Cold War, the nations felt they could no longer work together and went their separate ways.
Today, Czechia and Slovakia remain independent nations, and Prague and Bratislava are popular tourist destinations in Europe. Prague is considered one of the jewels of Europe because of its long-standing architecture and affordability compared to other European capitals, while Slovakia is home to 120 different castles that draw in tourists from across the continent.
This was the real prison of nations, and like predecessor Austria-Hungary, it ended in war. The Yugoslav Wars were devastating to the countries involved in the 1990s, as the unstable nation eventually broke into Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Slovenia, and Kosovo.
Among the highlights of these nations are Dubrovnik, Croatia, home to King's Landing in HBO's Game of Thrones, the greenery of Ljubljana, Slovenia, and the bridges of Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Yugoslav Wars are long over, and these nations are now among the true hidden gems of southern Europe.
Technically, East Pakistan was a region of a nation rather than a country in its own right. In the 1950s, Pakistan was a country divided into two sections, with each section voting for its own political parties and creating a political and geographic divide. With West Pakistan refusing to accept a government led by the East, the country descended into civil war, leading to the dissolution of East Pakistan into the independent nation of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh is one of the most unique nations in Asia, as it's mostly untouched by outside influences. The markets of Dhaka offer a unique shopping experience, as does getting around town via a rickshaw. If you go, visiting the pink palace of Ahsan Manzil and riding on a river are absolute musts.
This is one of the ugly parts of history, as Rhodesia should never have existed in the first place and never legally existed at all. This was an effort by European colonizers to stave off the rule of the Black majority of the country, as the white government of South Rhodesia attempted to declare independence from Great Britain before they could be voted out.
The legitimate government of Zimbabwe came to power in 1980, and today, Victoria Falls is the main reason to visit this southern African nation. Whitewater rafting on the Zambezi River and fishing on Lake Kariba are unique experiences is one of the more natural parts of the world.
Are you surprised to see Hawaii on here? Before it became the 50th state, Hawaii was its own independent nation for a century, which ended during the Spanish-American War. The U.S. annexed Hawaii in 1900, and it became a state in 1959.
Hawaii is now well known as an island paradise in the United States, and roughly 10 million people make the trip to the islands every year. Whether it's to explore the mountains on the islands or to relax on the beautiful beaches in perfect weather, you'll find plenty worth your time in Hawaii.
You might get some argument on this one, as both the Republic of Korea (South Korea) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) believe that they are the sole Korea, thanks to the fact that the nations never signed a peace treaty after the Korean War ceased fighting in 1953.
The DPRK is now the most isolated nation in the world, while South Korea is a modern nation that's home to some of the most futuristic-looking structures in the world. Whether you're interested in the tranquil countryside of rural South Korea or the nightlife and restaurants of Seoul, you'll find a vacation pace that suits you in South Korea.
Those who remember the 1970s might remember Vietnam being a divided country, which ended with the fall of Saigon and the conclusion of the Vietnam War in 1975. Since then, Vietnam has been one country, which opened itself to the world in 1986 and has made itself one of the more modern nations of Southeast Asia.
Today, Ho Chi Minh City is the main tourist destination of what was once South Vietnam, as the city is filled with impressive skyscrapers and features some of the best coffee in the world. Riding a motorbike is a truly Vietnamese experience, as Ho Chi Minh City has more motorbikes than any city in the world.