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Mapped: Overseas Territories and Dependencies of the World – Visual Capitalist

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overseas territories and dependencies around the world and their sovereign states.

Overseas Territories and Dependencies of the World

An overseas territory or dependency is a region with ties abroad to a sovereign nation—not a completely independent state, but also not a constituent part or administrative subdivision of the parent country.

Their histories vary, but most are tied to either “modern” colonialism from the 1400s onwards, or wars from the 19th and 20th centuries. Many of these regions still depend on their parent country to some capacity for economic, military, and diplomatic affairs.

This graphic by Pranav Gavali maps the overseas territories of various countries, using a variety of sources including WorldAtlas, Statista, and official country releases.

Where are the World’s Overseas Territories and Dependencies?

There are a total of 73 overseas territories listed on the map spread across the world.

It excludes territories claims in Antarctica, which are currently governed by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty. As an overseas map, it also excludes territories sharing a border, or that are part of a larger state or province (like Germany’s Heligoland, part of the state of Schleswig-Holstein).

Each region has its own unique present-day status. Some are “autonomous territories” or “constituent countries,” while some are administered almost entirely as part of the parent country.

SovereignOverseas Territory / DependencyRegion
🇦🇺 AustraliaAshmore and Cartier IslandsIndian Ocean
🇦🇺 AustraliaChristmas IslandIndian Ocean
🇦🇺 AustraliaCocos (Keeling) IslandsIndian Ocean
🇦🇺 AustraliaCoral Sea IslandsPacific Ocean
🇦🇺 AustraliaHeard & McDonald IslandsIndian Ocean
🇦🇺 AustraliaNorfolk IslandPacific Ocean
🇩🇰 DenmarkFaroe IslandsAtlantic Ocean
🇩🇰 DenmarkGreenlandAtlantic Ocean /
Arctic Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceBassas da IndiaIndian Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceClipperton IslandPacific Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceEuropa IslandIndian Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceFrench GuianaSouth America
🇫🇷 FranceFrench PolynesiaPacific Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceGlorioso IslandsIndian Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceGuadeloupeCaribbean
🇫🇷 FranceJuan de Nova IslandIndian Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceMartiniqueCaribbean
🇫🇷 FranceMayotteIndian Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceNew CaledoniaPacific Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceRéunionIndian Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceSaint BarthélemyCaribbean
🇫🇷 FranceSaint Pierre and MiquelonAtlantic Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceSaint-MartinCaribbean
🇫🇷 FranceTromelin IslandIndian Ocean
🇫🇷 FranceWallis and FutunaPacific Ocean
🇳🇱 NetherlandsArubaCaribbean
🇳🇱 NetherlandsBonaireCaribbean
🇳🇱 NetherlandsCuraçaoCaribbean
🇳🇱 NetherlandsSabaCaribbean
🇳🇱 NetherlandsSint EustatiusCaribbean
🇳🇱 NetherlandsSint MaartenCaribbean
🇳🇿 New ZealandCook IslandsPacific Ocean
🇳🇿 New ZealandNiuePacific Ocean
🇳🇿 New ZealandTokelauPacific Ocean
🇳🇴 NorwayBouvet IslandAtlantic Ocean
🇳🇴 NorwayJan MayenArctic Ocean
🇳🇴 NorwayPeter I IslandSouthern Ocean
🇳🇴 NorwaySvalbardArctic Ocean
🇵🇹 PortugalAzoresAtlantic Ocean
🇵🇹 PortugalMadeiraAtlantic Ocean
🇪🇸 SpainBalearic IslandsMediterranean
🇪🇸 SpainCanary IslandsAtlantic Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomAkrotiri (British Forces)Cyprus /
🇬🇧 United KingdomAnguillaCaribbean
🇬🇧 United KingdomBermudaAtlantic Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryIndian Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomBritish Virgin IslandsCaribbean
🇬🇧 United KingdomCayman IslandsCaribbean
🇬🇧 United KingdomDhekelia (British Forces)Cyprus /
🇬🇧 United KingdomFalkland Islands (Islas Malvinas)Atlantic Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomGibraltarEurope
🇬🇧 United KingdomGuernsey (Channel Island)Atlantic Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomIsle of ManAtlantic Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomJersey (Channel Island)Atlantic Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomMontserratCaribbean
🇬🇧 United KingdomPitcairn, Henderson, Ducie & Oeno IslandsPacific Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomSaint Helena, Ascension & Tristan da cunhaAtlantic Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomSouth Georgia & South Sandwich IslandsAtlantic Ocean
🇬🇧 United KingdomTurks & Caicos IslandsCaribbean
🇺🇸 United StatesAmerican SamoaPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesBaker IslandPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesGuamPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesHowland IslandPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesJarvis IslandPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesJohnston AtollPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesKingman ReefPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesMidway Islands / AtollPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesNavassa IslandCaribbean
🇺🇸 United StatesNorthern Mariana IslandsPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesPalmyra AtollPacific Ocean
🇺🇸 United StatesPuerto RicoCaribbean
🇺🇸 United StatesU.S. Virgin IslandsCaribbean
🇺🇸 United StatesWake IslandPacific Ocean

More than half of the overseas territories were in either the Pacific Ocean (21) or the Caribbean (18). The United States by itself accounts for 11 of the territories spread out across the North and South Pacific.

Another highlight is that the majority of these regions are islands located quite a distance from their parent countries. One of the furthest is New Caledonia, a French territory around 17,000 km away from European France.

They also vary mightily in terms of size, population, and political apparatus. For example, the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico has 3 million people, and its own constitution and elected government, while another U.S. territory of Johnston Atoll is tiny and entirely uninhabited.

Here’s a brief look at some of the best known territories on the list:


First colonized by Spain in the 16th century, the U.S. occupied the North Pacific islands in the aftermath of the Spanish–American war (along with Puerto Rico and the Philippines). The island was briefly occupied by Japan during World War II—attacked at the same time as Pearl Harbor—before being recaptured by the United States. It currently has an elected legislature and governor and is home to a large U.S. military base.


When Bermuda was first discovered in the 1500s by the Spanish in the Caribbean, and then a century later by the English, there was no Indigenous population documented. At first it was used by passing ships as a replenishment spot, but the English eventually settled it in the 17th century. It now has a constitution, a parliament, and a governor who exercises power on behalf of the British head of state.

Cook Islands

Unlike others on this list, the Cook Islands in the South Pacific is not only self-governing but also runs its own foreign and defense policy and is in “free association” with New Zealand. While Cook Islanders are New Zealand citizens, with the same monarch as head of state, they are also separate Cook Island nationals.


This island in the Indian Ocean 700 km off the coast of Madagascar was first settled by the French in the 17th century, though it was discovered earlier by the Portuguese. It is one of the many French Overseas Territories that together are home to 2.6 million people.

Countries With the Most Overseas Territories and Dependencies

Depending on if you count island territories independently or group them together, the final accounting of overseas territories and dependencies by country can vary.

But by most official designations of territories, the UK and France are tied with 17 overseas territories.

CountryOverseas Territories & Dependences
🇫🇷 France17
🇬🇧 United Kingdom17
🇺🇸 United States14
🇦🇺 Australia6
🇳🇱 Netherlands6
🇳🇴 Norway4
🇳🇿 New Zealand3
🇩🇰 Denmark2
🇵🇹 Portugal2
🇪🇸 Spain2

Unsurprisingly, two great empires of the past—British and French—still have largest remnants of their past breadth. The British still maintain many ties to several territories in the Caribbean (formerly the British West Indies) while French influence stretches from the Pacific to South America.

And consider that this list reflects current status as of 2023. Former colonies that would have been counted in the past include British India (which became India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) and French Indochina (which became Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam).

As for the U.S. at #3, though the majority of its territories are in the Pacific, they were acquired well before World War II. In addition to islands ceded by Spain, the rest were unclaimed islands incorporated as part of the Guano Islands Act of 1856, which sought sources of guano—feces of bats and seabirds used as agricultural fertilizer and for gunpowder production.

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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist’s Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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