In the age of exploration, numerous seafarers and captains set out into the unknown waters in search of land and gold. They traversed the treacherous waters in order to attain glory for their nation. Some of the most successful countries in their expeditions include the United Kingdom, the United States, Portugal, and the Netherlands. Today, however, many of their territories have already grown into flourishing jurisdictions nearly independent of all their economic and socio-political decisions. While they may not still be considered countries, these places have achieved many feats many other nations could only think of.
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Bermuda is one of the world’s most popular non-sovereign territories that is currently under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom. It has now a thriving economy which can be attributed to international business, tourism, and as the headquarters of prestigious financial services companies such as the LOM Financial Group. It is known for its high-cost economy. According to the World Bank, it ranks third worldwide in terms of gross national income per capita. Despite its modest land area and relative geographical isolation, it is an economic powerhouse and frequented by the rich and famous.
Puerto Rico on the other hand is an unincorporated overseas territory of the United States. It is considered as one of the most competitive economies in Latin America and the Caribbean. Decades ago, citizens relied heavily on sugar production for their national revenue. Currently, manufacturing is dominating the market as well as tourism and commerce. With a new referendum to be held next month, Puerto Rico might soon officially become a US state.
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Another non-sovereign but thriving territory of the United States is Guam. This piece of tropical paradise in the Pacific Ocean depends primarily on hospitality services, Department of Defense installations, and locally owned businesses. Its tourist hub, Tumon, boasts of more than a dozen large hotels, indoor aquarium, a Duty Free Shoppers Galleria, Pleasure Island district, Sandcastle Las Vegas–styled shows, and other shopping and entertainment venues. Experts are viewing the island’s financial future with optimism.
North of Venezuela in the Caribbean lies three islands belonging to the Kingdom of Netherlands: Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao, also known as the ABC Islands. Aruba and Curaçao are autonomous, self-governing constituent countries of their mother country while Bonaire is a special municipality of the Netherlands proper. All three however, have excellent reputation as diving Meccas, being home to a great diversity of marine life. Not surprisingly, eco-tourism plays an extremely important role in these territories’ economies.
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In Asia, perhaps the most popular special administrative regions of a much larger country are Hong Kong and Macau. These cities are technically found in mainland China but have their own economic policies and political affairs. Hong Kong is a former British territory and is now a hugely successful global city home to numerous large companies and a thriving stock exchange. Macau, meanwhile, was previously administered by the Portuguese Empire but is now an autonomous territory famous for its Las Vegas-style casinos, luxury hotels, and vibrant entertainment venues.
In conclusion, a certain administrative entity does not have to be fully independent or geographically large for it to be economically successful. In fact, many of the world’s small territories actually have very high standard of living and rank well in many other lists related to quality of life. It’s all about efficient governance, smart economic moves, and having a pleasant reputation in the international community.