As of July 2015, the U.S. Department of State recognizes a total of 195 independent states worldwide, although many other countries consider Taiwan the 196th country. The U.S. government stopped recognizing Taiwan as a nation independent of China in 1979.
There are 193 member nations in the United Nations. Taiwan and Vatican City are not members, and Kosovo has yet to gain member status as of 2015. Since 1990, 29 new countries have come into existence, including 14 former Soviet republics and seven countries that formerly composed Yugoslavia. The newest recognized country is South Sudan, which gained independence in 2011. Additionally, there are 61 colonies or territories around the world, including 16 belonging to the French and 14 belonging to the United States.