10 Most Short-lived Countries

The Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands are basically in an overly controlling relationship with Denmark. Feifei Cui-Paoluzzo/Getty Images

First of all, where are they? If you're a long-haul seabird leaving Norway and heading west on your way to Iceland, the archipelago called the Faroes would make a perfect halfway rest-stop. It seems they were probably settled by adventurers from Norway who'd spent some generations in Ireland and Scotland before setting off to broaden their horizons.

Norway ruled the Faroes for centuries but in the 1800s, Denmark gained control of the islands. The thing is, they've got their own language and culture, and they're a long way from Denmark. To be fair, they're a long way from anywhere. But that didn't stop the Danish from trying to impose the Danish language and laws on them at different points in the intervening centuries.

In 1946 the local parliament of the Faroe Islands held a referendum in which the population voted for independence. A country was born. But two days later, the Danish government dissolved the Faroe parliament and called a general election. The newly elected parliament negotiated a settlement that continued the archipelago's relationship with Denmark but awarded them greater autonomy [source: Government of the Faroe Islands].